The NOLA Caribbean Festival is one event here that makes you wonder whether or not you’re really living in the United States. If it weren’t for the “Eat, Sleep, Breathe NOLA” t-shirt I spotted on my way in, the Caribbean simulation would have been complete. Central City BBQ provides the perfect outdoor space for an event featuring a music stage, boutique and food vendors. The BBQ joint easily transforms into a mini-community of happy people slowly moving in clumps around the space, making new friends and dancing to the drums.
Among them is a close friend of mine who’s introducing herself to each and every vendor. She introduces me to a tall queen dressed in green, Adrianna Bryan, Mother of ExoticChild. She’s flown in from Jamaica to sell her work at the Caribbean festival along with similar artists that also set up shop throughout the dates of the festival. Bryan explains to us the grand importance of checking her jewelry out on Instagram and we take note.
We walk over to get drinks and the team of adults working with the festival playfully spritz us and each other with toy water guns all the while making drinks and giggling. The sun is shining and a red-lipped woman is singing her heart out on stage with vip, vim, and vigor. My friend leans over and whispers something about losing interest in her upcoming vacation plans to the beach. I smile and snap a shot of a couple friends with pineapples in their hand.
The festival is nearing its end and the vendors have blended together which makes finding a clear path nearly impossible, as locals and visitors chat on as the sun sets. The festival is a clear success and my clump purveys our haul of eclectic clothes and gifts as we meander towards the exit. We wonder how the Mother of ExoticChild faired this weekend...