It’s October and with Halloween fast approaching my mind begins to wander to New Orleans. Blame it, perhaps, on Anne Rice and her vampire tales. Couple that with multiple pokes around a voodoo museum and, always, three knocks on the grave of Marie Laveau in St. Louis Cemetary #1. Three knocks, spin around, leave some tobacco, candy and a bright, shiny new copper penny….make your plea somewhere in between. Regardless, the damp murkiness of being below sea level makes the city dark, moody, and inherently gothic.

Brangelina and the fam were recently sited in NOLA causing the expected hubbub. Of course, the real stars are the locals who continually find and create new ways to reuse, rebuild and recycle. Sweet Tea is shouting a few out today:

The Green Project is dedicated to creative recycling and reuse in New Orleans. It operates a warehouse store, supports others who salvage or deconstruct damaged or collapsed buildings by hand, serves as a local recycled paint resource and recycling center, offers gardening workshops, has merged with Recycle For The Arts to provide art materials to various entities and offer monthly recycled art workshops. GP also has an event space called The Green Room that displays local art and is available for workshops and community event, and finally, The Green Project is involved in green building and special p roject like solar panels, biodiesel and community outreach.

Brooklyn invitation designer MacKenzie Sala recently added a “New Orleans” design to her Kenzie Kate Invitations line. Ten percent of proceeds from the New Orleans go to the Green Project!

On a smaller scale, a bunch of Etsy shops are also using salvaged materials to create a variety of projects to preserve New Orleans’ architectural details and to raise money to help with the city’s ongoing rebuild and rebirth:

Rebirth Frames are constructed mainly from the siding and door and door frames of homes in and around the New Orleans area that have been leveled, destroyed or are being rebuilt. Ten percent of all proceeds will be sent to Habitat For Humanity.

Second Line Frames are built from authentic wood siding salvaged from homes destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. It’s their way of preserving a little part of the beloved memory of old New Orleans while helping to rebuild it toward a better tomorrow. A portion of each sale goes to assist in the rehabilitation of affected neighborhoods. The Second Line is a timeless New Orleans tradition – the colorful parade that follows a funeral procession to turn tragedy into a celebration of rebirth.

Bayou Salvage says: Never underestimate the power of debris to change your life. Kerry is an artist/educator who has at times has been a filmmaker, art director, costumer, prop stylist, and picker for antique shops in the New Orleans area. She has been reworking vintage and thrifting for 25 years. As of Friday, August 22, Kerry’s customers have raised $205.00 for the Make It Right foundation and rebuilding homes in the lower 9th Ward, New Orleans by purchasing her tree ornaments made from torn down homes in the 9th ward & shotgun houses.

The woman behind Nola Salvage is a full-time carpenter, helping to rebuild New Orleans, one house at a time. On her days off she enjoys making art, and small sculptures out of salvaged materials. “Part of loving New Orleans is loving its architecture and signature shotgun houses. Another part of my lifestyle is the abundance of debris, I keep finding interesting bits of metal and beautiful old wood that I don’t want to throw away. These wall sculptures are a result of my love for art and junk!”

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