Hey MayaIndia Sweeties! Happy 4th of July! One year ago today, I was in New Orleans with my college roommate Carmen. We've remained friends for over 20 years! She insisted we travel to New Orleans to experience the 20th anniversary of the Essence Music Festival. If you've never been to New Orleans, please put this trip on your bucket list. The festival was fantastic, but in addition, the people of New Orleans are super friendly, and the food is phenomenal! We stayed at the W, a cute boutique hotel located in the French Quarter. I hadn't attended the Essence Fest since 2004, so I was really excited about the trip. Of course, airline tickets to fly anywhere on July 4th weekend were outrageously priced, so Carmen suggested I fly into Houston, where she lives, and we would drive six hours to New Orleans. Although six hours might sound like a long drive, it was like old times and we had a blast! As usual, I had to sample the traditional fare, first on my list was my favorite, a Shrimp Po Boy. I wasn't adventurous enough to try the fried gator, but maybe on my next trip! Of course there was lots to see. The concert was fantastic. Three days of live performances by some of my favorites including Prince, Jill Scott, Mary J. Blige, Charlie Wilson and Erika Badu. There were many more performers, but those artists made the trip so worthwhile for me. I enjoyed myself so much, I decided to try to recreate some of the flavors of N'awlins, as the locals call it, with my family. I brought back seasonings, etouffe mix, Cafe Du Monde Beignet Mix and pralines. Simply YUMMY! I was unable to go back to New Orleans this year because Sade Maya was studying in Spain and just returned this afternoon. Suffice it to say I will definitely be looking forward to my next opportunity to visit again and enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer. Have a happy 4th of July! Until next time, Stay Sweet!