Already a vibrant city, New Orleans lights up when ESSENCE Fest comes to town, welcoming thousands of visitors. Food, music, and just strolling down Bourbon Street become an art form in the town founded nearly 300 years ago. The local people play a big role in what makes this city so unique and a must on everyone's list. Read about some of their stories below, captured by our man on the street, hometown Photographer Patrick Melon.

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