Louisiana has been experiencing devastating flooding from an inland tropical depression, dropping 600% more than normal levels of rain since August 12. This is a .1 percent chance in happening, also known as a 1000 year rain. Southern Louisiana has received over 6.9 trillion gallons of rain and the rain still hasn't stopped. Some locations are still flooded and some are expected to re-flood.
We are part of a group of 12 New Orleans businesses that are using their shop & restaurant spaces as drop off spots for donations. Yesterday, we brought 3 carloads of flood relief supplies to a small donation & flood rescue center in New Iberia. 4 additional car/van loads were brought to Baton Rouge. We estimate that these donations helped 400 families. (see more below)
This does not end our collection and delivery. The following businesses are continuing to collect and deliver donations to remote locations in Acadiana. This will be to small towns, folks in rice and sugarcane fields, and crawfish workers as well. These people are in need and aren't receiving donations from the larger donation centers. It will take a long time for our neighbors to be back on their feet, thank you for your help.
Cafe Reconcile, help prepare meals and they are also requesting: Chicken, Beef, Fish, Mac & Cheese, Mashed Potatoes, Rice, Gumbo, Green Beans, Mixed Veggies, Corn, Red Beans, Black Eyed Peas, Bread and Cookie
Hugs & smiles from the wonderful folks at this church/flood rescue/donation center in New Iberia brought me some tears, as well as the generosity & quick reply from the New Orleans community to help our neighbors in need. One woman at the shelter has to boat from her home to town, her now watery front yard currently filled with swimming alligators & snakes. It's going to take a while ya'll, we'll need to bring them more soon. But, they are thrilled with everything that we brought them & asked them to keep us posted as to what they are needing. We will update this blog post with needs for the area. This is one church in one town, we know there are others that are still needing donations and that haven't received help yet. Thank you for making this happen!
We drove through some pretty bad storms, blaringly loud flash flood warnings, and when we saw helicopters above at one point, I had a moment of wondering if we would get stuck. But, we made it A-OK, all was fine, and we are happy to do it again and thrilled to have been able to bring so much.
I also learned a new term, one woman volunteering at the shelter said she had lived in New Orleans and had relocated to New Iberia after Katrina. She said, thanks for having our six, then explained that also meant got your back. But, the phrase was originally - got your six, we googled it later - It originated in WWI with fighter pilots, the back of your plane is known as the 6-o-clock position, thus people would say I got your 6.
Through our partnerships with local businesses, by Sunday we will have gotten 19 car loads of donations deep into impacted areas. It's hard to quantify how many people we have impacted or will be impacted by this effort. At the Church we went to yesterday, they said that in 3 hours they were able to service 80 families. So 3 car loads in 3 hours and 80 families. They were nowhere near done with the items we brought. I think it's safe to say these 3 cars will have helped at least 200 families. Drivers into Baton Rouge also had 3 carloads, that's another 200 families. 400 hundred families with about half of the items we collected in 4 days is a safe estimate.
Big thanks to all that are bringing donations and to the following businesses that participated in our initial partnership. Big love to you all & biggest thanks to Renée Blanchard for starting this collaboration with one post on facebook!!
We just got back from an awesome trip to Colorado, for our first time at the Firefly Market in Boulder. Firefly wrote the nicest feature about us on their blog too btw, thank you Firefly! My mom traveled from Virginia and helped me at the market, we also spent some time before and after the market on a mother/daughter vacay!
We had the best time meeting folks and spending time in Denver, Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Fort Collins. I also visited with a dear friend of mine Lori Lou who I hadn't seen in 15 years and met her two teenage sons! We also happened upon Robbie and Tricia Vitrano who are working in Boulder for several months - what a treat!
My mom & I are both beer fans and we found lots of delicious beer made in Colorado, we visited a few breweries in Denver: we loved Renegade, Breckenridge, and Prost.
When we went to Fort Collins, we also popped into rain in FC's pretty downtown. It was wonderful to see Kristin again, she has carried our BirdSoaps since 2011! We also met several people at the Firefly Market who had purchased our Birdies from rain over the years which was so cool. Her shop is beautiful, don't miss it if in Fort Collins.
And, I can't forget to mention two wonderful Museums in Denver! Both are absolutely beautiful, the Denver Art Museum, whose new building is designed by Daniel Liebeskind and the Clyfford Still Museum, whose architect is Brad Cloepfil.
Go to both, they are right next door to one another, you will be inspired. My mom & I especially loved the Women in Abstract Expressionist exhibit at the Denver museum and we loved everything about the Clyfford Still Museum, a wonderfully peaceful spot.
I couldn't be more delighted to be 1 of 3 featured makers across the country in West Elm LOCAL's new city guides! Check out our Bike Tour of New Orleans, featuring some of our favorite: friends and makers, inspiration, and spots in the city!
My BFF Tonto also gets a cameo pretty early on, which makes my heart happy : )
Check out some of the featured spots & let me know what you think!
I also give my biggest thanks to the team at West Elm, they are always such a pleasure to work with. I was a little nervous about being featured in a video since I can make some pretty wacky faces & am not the most fond of being photographed. Their video team made me feel totally comfortable and it was really fun - Thank You!
See their blogpost here, it was a magical weekend spent touring the city together.
They also just recently introduced our BirdProject Soaps in their Summer Catalog & on their online store in addition to being included in their LOCAL collection on Magazine Street. Exciting!
This also led to this Fast Company Design article (one of my favorite publications) on West Elm's unexpected role as an Incubator for small design businesses. I'm so thrilled to be a part of. Check out the whole article discussing why we decided to work with West Elm although we had decided against working with large companies in the past.