Mariah Carey

New Orleans ready to 'party with a purpose' at Essence Fest

Music has always been at the heart of the annual Essence Festival, now in its 22nd year, and this year will be no different.

Fans will get to hear from first-timers Mariah Carey, Puff Daddy and Jeremih as well as from festival veterans Charlie Wilson, Maxwell, New Edition, Tyrese and Lalah Hathaway — all of whom are scheduled to perform inside the Superdome from Friday through Sunday.

"We've wanted her to perform at the festival for years," said Essence Communications Inc. President Michelle Ebanks of Carey. "She is such an extraordinary talent."

At a news conference Thursday, Ebanks said she was thrilled to return to New Orleans. When she...