Highlights Of The New Orleans Caribbean Festival 2016

Highlights Of The New Orleans Caribbean Festival 2016

My first experience at the New Orleans Caribbean Festival and the things I enjoyed most.

Ahhh, the Caribbean. The Caribbean usually sparks a relaxing feeling in many people because it is associated with summer vacations and perceived as an amazing retirement spot. Did you know that New Orleans is referred to as the Caribbean’s northern-most city? So, it makes sense that many Caribbean cruises leave the New Orleans docks each year.

The New Orleans Caribbean Festival is a young multi-cultural festival established to celebrate Caribbean culture and emphasize the cultural connection between New Orleans and the Caribbean. A perk resulting from the youth of this festival was that it was not overly crowded. So instead of spending your time waiting in lines and getting bumped by people, you can have your personal space to enjoy yourself! The festival attracted a wonderful crowd of locals looking to hear live music and soak up some Caribbean culture. The people enjoyed swaying, singing and dancing along to music from nine different countries. The bands that I most enjoyed came from Jamaica and Cuba.

Of course, we have to talk about the food. After careful consideration, I decided on a place called The Pupusa Lady. The ceviche was tempting, but I ultimately chose the delicious Caribbean barbecue chicken paired with fried rice and beans and pupusa. Pupusa is a traditional Salvadorian dish. It is described as a thick tortilla that is usually stuffed with cheese, beans, or meat. To put a Caribbean twist on the pupusa for the festival, they stuffed it with plantains!

I had the pleasure of meeting an artist named Kevin

at his tent. I was intrigued by his vibrant, colorful pieces. When I asked him what inspired his work, he explained to me his love for New Orleans, Caribbean and African cultures. He wanted his work to reflect his love for these cultures and show them beautifully blended together. Kevin was proud to follow in his father’s footsteps as a talented artist. He made the decision to not attend art school because he already had the best teacher: his father.

Another tent that intrigued me (because I am a health nut) was the Fresh Cane tent. Fresh Cane is a local company that produces sugar cane juice. The founder, named Arpit, was kind enough to let my boyfriend and I sample his local sugar cane juice. To my surprise, it was absolutely delicious. I have previously tasted plain sugar cane juice and I remember having a hard time drinking that cup. The Fresh Cane juice tasted completely different from that first juice experience. Arpit explained that they add ginger and lemon to the juice. Not only does this add amazing nutrients, but it made the juice taste phenomenal as well! If you wish to try it yourself, Fresh Cane can be found at the Downtown Farmers’ Market in New Orleans.

After a Caribbean rum punch, people were ready to salsa (regardless of how hot it was). Two salsa dancers led the group as we danced our cares away. I like to think I held my own next to those instructors, but it doesn’t matter how well you dance as long as it puts a smile on your face!

All in all, the Caribbean Festival will definitely give you a “don’t worry, be happy” feel by the end of it. The vibes were positive, the adults were happy, the children were playful, and the food was good! I have a feeling that this festival will grow in popularity each year. Thanks for a great Saturday NOLA Caribbean Fest


Cover Image Credit: NOLA Caribbean Festival

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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4 Reasons Hydroflask Is The Superior Water Bottle, This Is Not Up For Debate

We all know the risk of dropping a Hydro Flask.


I am currently on my second Hydro Flask, third lid, and I have entered the sticker phase of owning a defense weapon that holds your water at pleasantly cool temperatures. Since getting my first Hydro Flask I feel as if I have a little companion. I never get thirsty, my pee is a color that my doctor would be proud of, and I get to leave class a lot because I pee so much. I think Hydro Flask is the best reusable water bottle to exist. Heck, of course, it is better than a plastic water bottle, making a Hydro Flask the best water bottle in the world.

1. Picking the correct size and color


Okay, when picking out a Hydro Flask on the company's website, you can customize your own vacuumed insulated stainless steel water bottle. There are 11 different sizes, 3 different lid options, and over 16 different colors. So the options are almost endless.

2. Your water is always fresh, always, I don't even want to argue

Yes, that was me on the floor in fetal position featuring my best friend, Hydro Flask.

Bre Andre

We all know that melting moment in the semester. Water is always strapped to my backpack and ready to support me through my struggles. I simply pull out my water bottle drink a little bit of water to replenish from crying over a missed assignment while I email my professor to apologize.

3. Opening a Hydro Flask or dropping it in public brings a lot of attention your way

Opening/closing your hydro flask be like. People turn their heads in class. God forbid you to drop it and make everyone jump and get real quiet. But it sounds a heck of a lot better than the crackling of a plastic water bottle and my water is not cold like Nalgene water bottles.

4. Will get dents but they are just decorations like your stickers

My friend Ricky and I showing each other our dented but decorated Hydro Flasks.

Abigail Cawthorn

You are going to drop your water bottle and it will dent. But the dent will not prevent your Hydro Flask from keeping your water fresh. It adds character and identity to your water bottle like the stickers you will eventually cover it with.

My friend Julia showing off her straw lid Hydro Flask.Abigail Cawthorn

Haley is thankful for her awesome green Hydro Flask it goes everywhere with her. Abigail Cawthorn

Allison does a great job of decorating her Hydro Flask. Abigail Cawthorn

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