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NOLA Is Hot, But Our Festivals Are Hotter

Fri, 05/20/2022 - 14:46

Hey everyone! I hope you all are finishing out the school year strong. Last week, we wrapped up finals here at Tulane so our students are looking forward to a relaxing, fun summer. While summertime is hot here in New Orleans, we have plenty of exciting festivals to distract you from the heat.

Read on to learn about some of our ~hottest~ summer festivals! 🔥

1. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival [April 29 – May 8]

A picture of one of the big screens at Jazz Fest, taken by Executive Director, Leila.

I know this one is already over, but as one of the biggest celebrations in New Orleans it is definitely worth a mention! Held at the Fairgrounds Race Course, Jazz Fest celebrates local music and culture of New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. With 12 stages, Jazz Fest features artists in multiple genres including jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, blues, R&B, rock, funk, African, Latin, Caribbean and folk. Some notable mentions who performed at this year’s Jazz Fest are The Who, Stevie Nicks, Jimmy Buffett, Willie Nelson, and Erykah Badu. Look out for next year’s Jazz Fest starting on April 28, 2023!  

  1. French Market Creole Tomato Festival [June 11 – 12]

A brass band playing outside of the French Market during Creole Tomato Festival.

This year will be the 36th annual Creole Tomato Festival where visitors can hear live music and test out Creole tomato dishes! This festival takes place at the French Market where you can peruse food and clothing vendors, shop for sweets and home goods, and explore art galleries. Besides listening to music and eating food, you can also compete in the Creole Tomato Eating Contest and experience a cooking demonstration held at the Louisiana Cookin’ Culinary Stage.

  1. The ESSENCE Festival of Culture [June 30 – July 3]

An image from ESSENCE Festival 2019 which featured American fashion designer Dapper Dan.

As the largest festival in the country with over 530,000 attendees annually, the ESSENCE Festival of Culture works to bring together generations of Black women to promote sisterhood, personal development, wealth creation, civic engagement, and community leadership. This year, ESSENCE Fest will feature performances from Kevin Hart, Nicki Minaj, Janet Jackson, and New Edition. Beyond performances, ESSENCE Fest includes experiences like the Beauty Carnival, featuring big brands, influencers, and beauty experts, and a Wellness House, which promotes self-care, health, and wellness.

  1. Running of the Bulls [July 8 – 10]

A New Orleans “bull” mid whack.

Inspired by Spain’s Encierro de Pamplona, New Orleans’ Running of the Bulls is a charity run which benefits local organizations. But, we’ve put our own spin on things here. Instead of bulls, this festival features roller derby skaters wearing horned helmets and sporting plastic bats, which they use to whack participants. While this is the main event, the festival also features an opening night event hosted by one of the charities, live music, and food.

  1. White Linen Night [August 6]

A group of White Linen Night goers at the New Orleans Art District block party.

Hosted throughout the Arts/Warehouse District of New Orleans, White Linen Night celebrates the continually growing arts scene in the city and benefits the Contemporary Arts Center. Over 20 galleries participate in this night of performances and exhibitions, gallery showings, and parties. White Linen Night is totally free and open to the public so stop by if you’re in town early August!

     6. Satchmo SummerFest [August 6 – 7]

A shot of musicians at Satchmo SummerFest.

If you love Jazz music, then this festival is for you! Held at the New Orleans Jazz Museum, Satchmo SummerFest celebrates the life, legacy, and music of Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, a New Orleans native. The festival not only features live music, but also New Orleans cuisine and lectures about Armstrong.

  1. Red Dress Run [August 13]

Our TX regional counselor, Julie, sporting her most fashionable red attire at Red Dress Run. (Fun Fact: the man in the middle is Julie’s friend from Tulane who is a 7 ft basketball player from Prague!)

Hosted by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, Red Dress Run is a charity “run” that goes through the Marigny/Bywater and French Quarter neighborhoods of New Orleans. The run ends on Bourbon Street where runners and spectators enjoy lunch and live music. Red dresses are a requirement!! 💃

  1. Southern Decadence [September 1 – 5]

A shot of Southern Decadence from a French Quarter balcony.

To celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community in New Orleans, this festival, held every year on Labor Day Weekend, includes parties, parades, brunches, and other events! This festival began back in 1972 as a street festival between a group of friends who called themselves the “Decadents.” Now, the festival is a weekend long and spans a number of neighborhoods in New Orleans including the French Quarter, Marigny, and Lower Garden District.

Meet the Class of 2026!

Tue, 05/03/2022 - 16:23

Now that May 1 has passed, we want to take the time to recognize our record-breaking Class of 2026! We had a bumpy start this admission year with Hurricane Ida, causing Tulane to be closed for several weeks. During the shutdown, we were still able to hit the road and meet students both virtually and in-person, kicking off the cycle which would ultimately result in our most selective, most diverse, and academically strongest class to date! We are so honored to welcome the students who have chosen to become a part of the Tulane family.

So, let’s introduce you to the Class of 2026!

Our acceptance rate this year was 8.5%. I know…this number is scary. I’m simply here to tell you Tulane is becoming a more selective university. This number has decreased from 25% in 2016. At the same time, we received over 43,000 applications this year, which marks a 21% increase since 2017.

This was the strongest class academically to date. For the Class of 2026, the middle 50% ACT score range is a 31-34 and the converted highest SAT score is a 1474. This was the second year in a row Tulane has been test-optional, a policy we are continuing next year. With that being said, 54% of our incoming class applied without a test score. We have no doubt the Class of 2026 will accomplish big things in their time at Tulane and beyond!

Our yield rate improved from 45% to 52%. I’m using some admission jargon here, but to explain, yield rate is the percentage of admitted students who end up enrolling. This means that over half of our admitted students this year chose to attend Tulane! This is over double what our yield was in 2016. This means that more students are excited about Tulane and want to become a part of the Tulane community.

30% of the class identifies as BIPOC. The Class of 2026 wins the title for Most Diverse Class to Date! With a third of our incoming class identifying as BIPOC, that’s a 43% increase in 5 years. Of those students, 118 identify as Black or African American, an 82% increase since 2017. Tulane definitely still has a ways to go, but we are excited about the progress the university is making when it comes to diversity.

The class represents 25 countries and 44 states. This year we will welcome 84 international students hailing from 25 different countries! Based on citizenship, those countries are: China, India, Canada, Brazil, Turkey, Peru, Colombia, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Australia, Nigeria, Bermuda, Chile, South Korea, Panama, Costa Rica, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Honduras, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Mexico. From the US, the only states which aren’t represented in this class are Alaska, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and West Virginia. Our top 5 states represented (in order) are California, New York, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Texas with Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida, Maryland, and Connecticut rounding out the top 10. We will also be welcoming students from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands!

32 students were granted the Louisiana Promise. This was the second year Tulane granted the Louisiana Promise, a scholarship intended to meet full, institutionally-calculated financial need without loans. Beginning with the Class of 2025, Tulane pledged a commitment to the state of Louisiana and its students to provide more college access initiatives. We are proud to say that 32 students from Louisiana will be attending Tulane with their full need met and graduating with no loans!

 

I want to end by saying congrats to all our students in the Class of 2026! You are well-rounded, passionate, and excited about Tulane and we cannot WAIT to have you on campus. To end, I leave you with advice from some of our graduating seniors.

 

“Never stop making friends” – Luisa

“Don’t let other people’s definition of success define your own; pave your own path” – Lance

“Get a bike right away and start exploring the city on Day One!” – Sara

“Take your time to smell the roses! It’s corny, I know, but there truly is no place like Tulane. Enjoy it!” – Kennedy

“Go easy on yourself. I think since the college process has become increasingly competitive, it is easy to idealize the university you choose. While Tulane has so much to offer, not every day will be perfect and you don’t have to put pressure on yourself to do everything perfectly either. The college transition takes time, so go easy on yourself” – Tara

“You can be academically successful while taking time to explore the people and places you care about” – Max

All Things Residential Learning Communities (RLCs)

Thu, 04/28/2022 - 09:52

Welcome to the Class of 2026 – we can’t wait to have you here on campus!

In the next week and a half, you have the opportunity to apply for on-campus housing (by May 8th) in one of our many first year halls. Although housing assignments are random, you have the option to apply to live in a Residential Learning Community (RLC). RLCs are immersive spaces in a residence hall where students live together to learn about and participate in activities centered around a theme. In an RLC, you will live with other RLC students who are interested in exploring the same topic as you. While each RLC is different, all of them involve increased interaction with Tulane staff and faculty, unique programming and out of classroom experiences, and designated TIDES courses so that students are learning together both in and out of the classroom

Think you might be interested in living in an RLC? Read on to learn about our 7 RLCs for this year!

  1. Current

The image for the Current RLC as seen on Housing and Residence Life’s website

Current brings together first-year women to build and engage in academic, intellectual, STEM-focused communities at Tulane, in New Orleans, and beyond. Provided by the Newcomb Institute, first-year women will be able to form connections with fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumnae through STEM- and gender-focused programming, research, and development opportunities.

Campus Partner: Newcomb Institute

Program Examples: Faculty and Practitioner Dinners, Research Panels, Service project with Girls in Science and Tech (GiST)

Residence Hall: Josephine Louise Hall

2. Kaleidoscope

The image for the Kaleidoscope RLC as seen on Housing and Residence Life’s website

Kaleidoscope focuses on diversity, inclusion, and social justice through a multitude of activities. Through intellectual conversations, experiences, and programs, students from diverse backgrounds will learn how to identify solutions to complex social problems. Kaleidoscope is inspired by D. Scott Tharp’s theoretical framework for designing social justice education curriculum and helps students critically think about their personal experiences, cultural perspectives, social interaction, and institutional systems in our society.

Campus Partner: The Carolyn Barber Pierre Center for Intercultural Life

Program Examples: Family Dinners, Book Club, Kaleidoscope Fridays

Residence Hall: Warren Hall

3. Ignite

A student in the Freeman School of Business presenting to fellow classmates

If you’re interested in innovation and entrepreneurship, Ignite is the RLC for you! Ignite students will learn about launching and building a business from those who have done it, including student startup founders, the vibrant New Orleans business community, and Tulane Alumni. Whether you’re thinking of starting your own business or just want to learn more about the startup process, Ignite will help you make connections and gain real-world experience in entrepreneurship.

Campus Partner: Albert LePage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Program Examples: Ignite Expo, Skill Building Workshops, Family Business Roundtable Discussion

Residence Hall: Monroe Hall

4. Spark

Roommates living in the Spark RLC

Looking to find your “spark”? This RLC helps first-year women forge their own Tulane pathway through connecting with fellow students, faculty, staff, and alumnae through the gender-focused programming and opportunities. Spark encourages women to build and engage in creative, intellectual, and social justice communities at Tulane, in New Orleans, and beyond!

Campus Partner: Newcomb Institute

Program Examples: Faculty Dinners, Annual Retreat, New Orleans excursions to women-owned businesses

Residence Hall: Josephine Louise Hall

5. Squad

Tulane students holding a Tulane Green Wave Flag at a football game in Yulman Stadium

A One, A Two, A Helluva Hullabaloo! Squad will help you build your leadership and teamwork skills while exploring what it means to be a Tulanian through school pride. As a member of Squad, you will have the opportunity to learn from coaches, athletics staff members, and leaders in the New Orleans community on how to create a vibrant and supportive campus environment. As an added bonus, Squad participants will have access to exclusive athletic events, guest speakers, and an insider’s view of our athletic traditions!

Campus Partner: Department of Athletics

Program Examples: Leadership Assessment, Escape Room, VIP Treatment

Residence Hall: Sharp Hall

6. The 1963 Collective

A group of students hanging out on the Academic Quad of Tulane’s campus

If you’re interested in exploring Black history, culture, and knowledge, consider applying for The 1963 Collective! This RLC celebrates Black excellence by following in the footsteps of trailblazers like Deidre Dumas Labat, Reynold T. Décou, and others. Programming includes trips to culturally relevant sites of the past and present including festivals, museums, restaurants, sporting events, concerts, and more. Students participating in The 1963 Collective will also participate in the Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Intercultural Leadership Retreat and their Peer Mentor program, The Wave Makers.

Campus Partner: Office of Multicultural Affairs

Program Examples: New this year!

Residence Hall: Butler Hall

7. Third Coast

An alligator laying in the bayou

For an inside look into New Orleans and the Gulf South region, apply for Third Coast! With Third Coast, students will gain an “insider” understanding of how culture and environment intertwine in this fertile place and how their academic and professional goals can connect with the needs and interests of the surrounding community and the University.

Campus Partner: New Orleans Center for the Gulf South

Program Examples: Tet Fest, Map Making, Cajun Music and Dance

Residence Hall: Monroe Hall

Don’t forget, Housing Applications and RLC Applications are due May 8th!

If you would like to apply for an RLC, you can find the supplemental RLC application in your Housing Portal when you are filling out your Housing Application. You will be taken to a separate form where you will select which RLCs you would like to apply for and you will need to fill out some supplemental essay questions for each RLC to which you are applying. We recommend answering the questions in a Word document and then pasting them into the RLC application just in case the page times out. Due to the size of the RLCs, there may be some students who do not get into their top choice so we recommend applying to any that may interest you!

If you have any questions about RLCs, feel free to reach out to Housing & Residence Life Learning Communities (learningcommunities@tulane.edu).

See you on campus soon!

Waitlist FAQs

Wed, 04/06/2022 - 15:36

Hi everyone!

As you have seen, decisions for our Class of 2026 have all been released as of last week. A good number of students were placed on the waitlist. Based on my inbox, I know many of you have questions, so we’re putting all the answers in one place!

What is a waitlist? A waitlist is a group of students who have been flagged as being admissible, but institutions aren’t sure if they have space in the class for them. Every year, enrollment managers do their best to try to project the size of their incoming class, but it is never a precise process. As deposits come in as the May 1 deadline approaches, Deans across the country are monitoring their yield and figuring out how many seats they have open. Waitlists are a necessary part of the admission process, but we acknowledge that it can be a frustrating decision to receive.

Who is on the waitlist? While Tulane does not release the exact number of students who have been waitlisted, I can tell you that it is a significant (but not humongous) group. The number will get smaller as we ask students if they would like to remain on the waitlist over the course of the coming months.

Is the waitlist ranked? No, it is not. All students on the list are in the same boat..

Will you go to the waitlist this year? That all depends on one factor: space in the freshman class. We have a finite number of spaces in the class, and we simply can’t admit everyone who is academically qualified and interested in Tulane. As we get closer to May 1st, we compare our numbers to previous years and predict how large the class is going to end up. If we are seeing that our numbers are a bit lower than we would like, at that point we can admit a few students off the waitlist. If the numbers are up, it is less likely that we will be able to admit anyone from the list. It is worth noting again that we did over-enroll last year, so we are being conservative so we don’t do it again.

What has happened in previous years? Some years, we admit a group of students off the waitlist, others not. Last year, it was fewer than 50.

If I am admitted from the waitlist, will there be aid available? Yes, students admitted off the waitlist are eligible for merit-based scholarships and need-based aid. Merit scholarships are evaluated with your application by the Admission Office, while you can apply for need-based aid through the Financial Aid Office.

What can I do to strengthen my case? For the most part, the ball is in our court. There is no need to send in additional documentation at this point. Maybe just ONE email to your counselor if you’ve already been in touch. Be sure to reply to every one of those emails we send out asking if you would like to remain on the list.

When will I know? We will release decisions by July 1 at the latest. It comes down to numbers and available space, and we won’t exactly what our situation looks like until after May 1.

So… doesn’t that mean I need to have a backup plan, in case I am not admitted from the waitlist? Yes. You will have to deposit somewhere else by May 1st.

I know this can be a frustrating and stressful time, so I hope this helps answer some of your questions. Best of luck as May 1 approaches!

It’s All Going to Work Out

Mon, 03/28/2022 - 14:26

Hey y’all! I know many of you have been anxiously waiting for your decisions. We will be releasing all decisions on Wednesday, March 30th at 3 PM CDT.

I decided to not make a meme out of this round of decisions because this time of year can be more serious and stressful for seniors with decisions from schools around the country rolling out. Regardless of what decision you get on Wednesday (or with your other decisions), I want to reassure you that you are going to be okay.

I hate to copy something directly from Jeff’s blog, but he references an article that I just have to mention at this time of year. In a piece for The Atlantic, Derek Thompson writes:

The raw numbers are instructive. There are more than 4 million 18-year-olds in the United States. About 3.5 million of them will go to college. And just 100,000 to 150,000 of those—somewhere around 3 percent of the entire age group—go each year to selective schools that admit fewer than half of their applicants. College-admissions mania is a crisis for the 3 percent.

Three percent! If you are reading this, you are killing it! You are going to go to college! You are going to learn a lot! I’m sure you have already gotten into many wonderful institutions. “Selective” or not, finding a school that is a great fit for you is the ultimate goal. I am a firm believer that each of us has a handful of these perfect fits. So even if you had your heart set on a particular school, there will be other places where you can have an equally amazing 4 years. At the end of the day, the school you go to matters way less than what you do while you are there!

Another important thing to remember is that this process does not define you. Please do not let the outcome of your Tulane application affect your self-worth! Tulane’s process is not perfect. We get too many qualified applicants than we have room for, and not getting into Tulane says infinitely more about us and our process than it says about you as a human being. It is not a reflection of your worth or your character. We received over 42,000 applications this year, and our goal is for our class to be around 1,800 people. With an increasing yield rate, this means that far fewer students are getting admitted than in the past. It’s a good problem to have, but it makes things difficult.

If you more of a numbers person, I’m happy to break things down for you a bit.

We are going to sound like a broken record here, but this year has been our most competitive to date. Our 42,000 applications this year represents an 18% increase over apps received 5 years ago. In 2016, our yield rate (the percentage of accepted students who ended up enrolling) was just 26%. Last year that figure was 45%. More accepted students are saying yes to Tulane, whether they applied binding Early Decision or otherwise. Because of this increase in yield, we cannot accept as many students. This year’s acceptance rate is shaping up to be around 10%, while it was 25% in 2016.

The numbers don’t lie. Tulane is remarkably more selective than it was 5 years ago. I’m not sure if I would still get in. In fact, I didn’t get into a few of the schools I was super interested in.

Back in 2010, admission mania was still very much alive. It paled in comparison to today’s frenzy, but it was certainly stressful and weird. I applied to 7 schools over the course of my senior year: three state schools, three medium sized research institutions, and a small liberal arts college. My mom had been meticulous with her college spreadsheet, and we were constantly looking at the Naviance scattergram that my high school provided. Ultimately, I got into 4 of my schools and denied from 3.

Getting rejected sucked. I had put a ton of work into supplements, interviews, and taking campus tours. It felt like a project was left unfinished. While Tulane was at the top of my list, I was excited to explore two of the other schools more in depth at admitted student days and give them a fair shot.

Ultimately, Tulane was perfect for me, but not for the reasons I thought it would be. When I was in high school, I was mainly concerned about going to a college with a rowing team and warm weather. It wasn’t until I got to campus that I realized that the people I surrounded myself with would define my college experience. Did I love my time at Tulane? You bet I did. But do I think it’s the only college with amazing people? Absolutely not. Wherever you go, don’t be afraid to say yes to things. Push your comfort zone, try new experiences, and don’t worry so much that people are judging you. I promise, they’re EXCITED to get to know you and support your journey!

When I was a freshman, I was too nervous to apply to be a tour guide. I was scared of getting rejected. When I joined a fraternity (something I was also hesitant to try), a bunch of the guys were tour guides and encouraged me to apply. Fast forward a few months and I ended up getting hired in the fall of my sophomore year. After a busy year of giving tours, I was hired as an admission intern, unknowingly beginning my admission career!

The point is, you never know exactly how things are going to play out. Life works in strange ways, and the decision from one college will not make or break you! Best of luck!

 

 

How to Stay Admitted

Tue, 03/15/2022 - 09:11

Hey folks!

I hope everyone is doing well! The weather here in New Orleans has been stunning over the past few days. Springtime here is always beautiful, but for us Directors, it can sometimes have a shadow cast on it by discipline committee meetings.

See, whenever an admitted student finds themselves in trouble at school, we have to meet to discuss what happened and if it will have an impact on their admission to Tulane. This happens quite a few times every year. It is never fun! As a reminder, in every acceptance letter there is a paragraph that says:

“Your admission is contingent upon your continued academic performance and the successful completion of your senior year. Disciplinary violations or poor academic performance your senior year may result in Tulane University deferring or rescinding your offer of admission”.

Unfortunately, a handful of students each year do not listen to that message and have their acceptance rescinded for various reasons. Do NOT be in that number. Here are some common missteps to avoid (and some general life advice).

1. Don’t be a jerk! This one counts as general life advice. It’s not a hard instruction to follow and yet students disappoint us every year. It costs nothing to be a nice person! It is defeating as an admission counselor to find out that a student you supported and rooted for turned out to be a mean person. We’ve even had admitted students be rude to other admitted students or our tour guides at events! I hate it! On the flip side, if you reveal yourself to be horrible through cyberbullying, racism, sexual violence, or anything else, we will NOT have a hard time rescinding your admission. We don’t need that negativity on our campus.

Parents, the next few months are also a great time to have a conversation with your college-bound student about consent. I know it can be a difficult topic to broach, but students need to be prepared and educated as they begin their adult life.

2. Be smart on social media. Everything lives forever on the internet. While we don’t have the time or desire to browse students’ profiles, we are often sent things that we cannot ignore. The easiest way to prevent someone from screenshotting something you posted on your finsta and sending it to a college is to never post it. Use your brain, and listen to rule #1! If you are ever unsure if a joke has gone too far, err on the side of caution (I’ve learned my lesson a time or two with our TikTok). Even Harvard has had to deal with this!

3. Don’t catch a horrible case of Senioritis. The grades we admitted you with are (roughly) the grades we expect you to finish high school with. We all know that you have worked hard up to this point to successfully complete high school. Certainly enjoy your senior spring, but don’t totally throw caution into the wind. A C or two will not torpedo your application, but a total nosedive in grades can be cause for alarm. Please don’t ask us “how bad can my grades get?” or “If I get an X in this class will I be rescinded?”. That attitude to scrape by is kind of sad.

I personally got the best grades of my life the spring of my senior year. I felt so free because I knew I was going to college and the pressure was off. I promise, it isn’t that hard to maintain a similar GPA to what you’ve already been doing!

4. Don’t drop all of your classes. Similar to #3, we admitted you with a certain expectation for your senior year. If you drop from AP Calc to Honors Calc that is one thing, but dropping AP Calc for a free period is another. Check with your counselor at school and your Tulane admission counselor before you make any major changes. Most changes are not a big deal, but we don’t want you dropping all of your rigorous classes.

I also want to remind people of the value of testing on HL IB exams and AP exams. You get college credit for your scores! I know it can be tempting to blow these tests off, but you can save yourself some time and money in college by doing well on them. Check out our chart to see what classes you could get credit for!

5. Don’t go wild socially. This is an easy one. We all know Tulane and New Orleans are fun places. Don’t miss out on the chance to experience our festivals just to get drunk on White Claw at your prom. It’s not worth it! Just be smart and know you’ll have plenty of time to be social in college.

So there you have it. The secret to staying admitted to college. Just be smart, and do your best to be a good person! Not so complicated, is it?

Our Favorite Black-Owned New Orleans Businesses

Thu, 02/10/2022 - 11:38

It’s February, so you know what that means – Black History Month! While every month is a great month to celebrate Black history, culture, and community, we wanted to take this time to highlight successful Black entrepreneurs right here in our hometown. So, in honor of Black History Month, we asked our colleagues to submit some of their favorite Black-owned businesses here in New Orleans! Whether it be through food, art and literature, or fashion, these Black business owners have brought their passions and skills to life- please enjoy!

Special thanks to Bailey Gabrish for compiling everyone’s ideas and writing most of this blog!

Fashion and Style

The cover photo for Nolabraider Natural Hair Salon

 

  1. Nolabraider (from Tysha): Founded by Amber Ward, Nolabraider is the perfect place to go for twists, boxbraids, fauxlocs, and more. Ward started the salon back in 2012 out of her home giving women a place, not only to get their hair done, but also to embrace their natural hair. She also wanted to provide a place for professional women and included business hours before and after the traditional work day to accommodate more clients. The salon now has 3 locations with over 10 entrepreneurs who have years of experience in protective styles!
  2. West London Btq (from Becky): What began as a single rolling rack in the home of founder/owner Mariah Walton Bencik soon became a thriving boutique located on Magazine Street, one of New Orleans’ most popular retail streets. West London Btq brings European style to American culture and is described as “feminine, romantic, and dramatic.” Not only has the boutique been featured in The New York Times, New Orleans Magazine, and Southern Living Magazine, but owner Bencik has also earned herself a spot on the A-List of Adore Magazine’s Top 25 Most Influential New Orleanians!

Cuisine

The late Leah Chase, otherwise known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine.

 

  1. Dooky Chase’s Restaurant: What is now an upscale Creole restaurant located in the oldest African American neighborhood in the country, was once a sandwich shop and lottery ticket outlet in 1939. Originally founded by Emily and Dooky Chase, Sr., Dooky Chase’s Restaurant historically served as a meeting space for entertainment, culture, and civil and economic rights discussions for the African-American community in New Orleans. The late owner Leah Chase, also known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, transformed the shop into one of the first African-American fine dining restaurants in the country and, by showcasing African-American art throughout the establishment, the first art gallery for Black artists in New Orleans. The restaurant remains family owned and operated today and has served a number of influential people from Beyoncé to Barack Obama. (Fun Fact: Chef Leah Chase served as the inspiration for Princess Tiana from Disney’s Princess and the Frog!) Leah’s grandson, Dook Chase, was recently named the restaurant partner for Tulane’s new Thirteen15 building!
  2. Beaucoup Eats (from Justin): With a motto like “Everyone deserves good food,” how can you go wrong with Beaucoup Eats? Founded in 2019 by Chef Lakesha Reed, Phillip Hare and Veteran Corie Reed, Beaucoup Eats serves Creole Comfort Cuisine with a modern healthier twist. The restaurant also features vegetarian and vegan options as well as dishes made with their own homegrown veggies! As Justin says- they only serve good food!

    Griot plate from Fritai!

  3. Fritai: Chef Charly Pierre grew up in Cambridge, MA but moved to New Orleans in 2015 after cutting his teeth at some of Boston’s best restaurants. He continued working as a chef here in New Orleans before deciding to open up his own business with co-founded Minerva Cherches. They opened the original Fritai at St. Roch Market and were met with great success- so much so that they relocated to their own restaurant on Basin Street! Parents, the cocktails are also delicious!
  4. Queen Trini Lisa (from Crissy and Zac): Lisa Nelson (AKA Queen Trini Lisa) has won awards for her Jerk chicken. She has brought her Trinibagonian Island soul food to New Orleans! She is inspired by African, East Indian, and Asian cultures and works to meld the spices and ingredients into amazing food. Zac recommends the doubles!
  5. We Dat’s (from Owen): Owen also covered We Dat’s in last year’s Black History Month TikTok video, but he doesn’t care. We Dat’s started as a food truck and has blossomed into a thriving business with multiple locations and a line of seasonings and mixes. The owner, Greg Tillery, was inspired by Food Truck Wars and put in the hard work to serve great food while building a brand. His hard work has paid off!

 

History and Literature

A mural of author James Baldwin painted on the spines of books next to the fiction section in Baldwin & Co.

  1. Baldwin & Co. (from Stuart): Born and raised in New Orleans, founder/owner DJ Johnson grew up just a few blocks away from where Baldwin and Co. now stands. Throughout his childhood, Johnson read the works of many influential African-American writers, one of his favorites being James Baldwin, who would later become the inspiration for the bookstore’s name. Serving as a space for adults and children from the community, Baldwin & Co. features a wide selection of books, events with local and visiting authors, and a coffee shop all in one!
  2. Community Book Center (from Bailey): Founded by Vera Warren-Williams, Community Book Center is “more than a bookstore,” and acts as an educational home featuring African-centered books, art, gifts and more. The space is also available to schools, churches, and other community organizations for performances, pop-ups, book fairs, and art galleries. In 2016, Tulane’s Small Center for Collaborative Design paired with Community Book Center to renovate the space and make it more accessible to educators, students, and families in the neighborhood.

 

Yummy Treats

A bowl of Ice Cream 504’s strawberry ice cream made with sugar, milk, and fresh strawberries.

  1. Ice Cream 504: Named the High Priest of Ice Cream, Michael Southall opened Ice Cream 504 in 2011. Inspired by childhood memories of making fresh ice cream on his Aunt Ruby’s porch during the hot New Orleans’ summers, Southall recreates his own experiences of fresh, natural ice cream. At Ice Cream 504, ice cream is made from fresh fruits, sometimes homegrown, with an old-fashioned churn, just like Aunt Ruby used to make it. Recently, Ice Cream 504 reopened at a new location within walking distance of Tulane’s campus!
  2. Botanicals NOLA (from Angel): If you’re looking for a healthier treat, Botanicals NOLA is just the place for you! Owner Zoe’s goal is to heal the community mainly through organic juices and smoothies. Zoe wanted to share the healing power of fresh fruits and veggies to those in the New Orleans community after switching to a plant-based diet himself. The shop even features smoothies and gels made with authentic wildcrafted sea moss from the Eastern Caribbean Island of St. Lucia!