Repurposing NOLA: An Entire Store Full of Stuff Made From Scrap and Waste

CC BY 2.0. Lloyd Alter

Being in New Orleans for the big Greenbuild conference, we didn't get a whole lot of time to look in stores. However it was hard for a TreeHugger to pass a store called REpurposing NOLA, billed by founder Traci L. Claussen as " female-owned triple bottom line company utilizing excess fabrics of our community to create sustainable designer goods."

bags made from carpet

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

In 2009 Traci started making bags from burlap coffee sacks and old carpet.

She began designing bags for her own travels: an eco-duffel for a trip to the Jurassic Coast of England; a burlap HoBo handbag for running around town; a RE-weekender Bag for trips to the coast. She made adjustments to the prototype after each trip, to add or edit options that would make it more useful for the next trip.
Traci in store photo

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

She has also filled her store with an eclectic mix of furniture, accessories and knick-knacks, all repurposed from what normally would go to the dump. It's all a great eccentric experience, and Traci seems a bit eccentric too. This seems to be a New Orleans specialty.

furniture in Repurposing Nola

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0

I design for the wanderlust in my heart," says Traci, "because people with innate wanderlust share a compassion, a thirst for local people + the planet. That chronic thirst to grow + learn, help others, bring people together, celebrate appreciation for the individual--it inspires communities.

It is what we Charles Jencks and Nathan Silver called Adhocism, taking junk and putting it to new uses with ingenuity and style. Clever and fun stuff at REpurposingNOLA.

blackboard in store

Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0