Essence, Baldwin & Co., Kellie brooks, publish, authors, 1500, 36 months

Essence Settles Legal Dispute With New Orleans Bookstore Over ‘Clean Zone’ Ordinance

Before the Essence Festival in New Orleans during the Fourth of July weekend, the organizers issued a cease-and-desist letter to a Black-owned bookstore claiming trademark infringement in misleading consumers attending the festival. The organization recently settled the dispute with the bookstore.

According to USA Today, attorneys for the Essence Festival dropped the lawsuit against Lit Diaries that initially advertised an event that was taking place at Black-owned Baldwin & Co. They stated a resolution was reached with the event organizers.

Essence Festival organizers dismissed the suit against Baldwin & Co. because of the bookstore’s “apology and swift action in this matter.” But, they also said that Essence “… is dedicated to protecting festival attendees, the public and our consumers and will take all necessary action to ensure the integrity of the Essence Festival of Culture.”

Both parties (Essence and Lit Diaries) issued a joint statement about the resolution.

“We recognize that mistakes were made on both sides and are actively collaborating with the parties involved to rectify the situation at hand,” the statement read. “We have worked diligently to untangle the multiple issues that have played out the past few days. After engaging in a deeper conversation with Essence, Lit Diaries has gained a clearer understanding of the factors that led them to pursue a Temporary Restraining Order. Through this dialogue, we have come to appreciate the complexities and considerations involved in our decision-making processes.”

The dispute was centered around New Orleans’ “Clean Zone” ordinance. This specifically bans events and vendors from specific areas around festival events unless granted permission through the city. The ordinance started on June 26, 2023, and expired earlier this week, on July 3, 2023. Other outdoor events and festivals were prohibited from operating in the area during the slated times.

City Council member Freddie King stated the ordinance wasn’t meant to hurt local businesses in the area and that he and other council members would look into it in the future.