(Photograph by Kris Davidson)

(Photograph by Kris Davidson)

This is a snippet from this article on the National Geographic Intelligent Traveler Blog by Andrew Nelson.


In similar fashion, following Katrina, imaginative innovators washed off the muck and began to craft and sell goods imbued with a distinct New Orleans flavor.

“In the simplest sense these makers wanted to be part of rebuilding, to be connected to something larger than themselves,” says publisher-blogger Justin Shiels, whose InvadeNOLA media company covers the city’s rising creative class.

Shiels cites Tabitha and Micaiah Bethune, who fashion beautiful clothing for men and women at downtown retail collective The Wild Life Reserve, as a case in point.

Tippy Tippens creates black glycerin soaps that dissolve to reveal a white ceramic bird inside. Sold in Uptown’s Hattie Sparks, 50 percent of proceeds fund ongoing environmental clean-up from 2010’s devastating BP oil spill.In the Lower Garden District, the design-minded covet the bags and backpacks at Tchoup Industries, made using regionally sourced repurposed materials, and the bold metal jewelry at Gogo Borgerding.

Shiels marvels at the success of Kathleen Currie’s artisanal Smoke perfume oils. “Smoke is blowing up,” he says, adding, for purposes of clarification, that Currie’s scents aren’t combustible, simply causing a sensation.

And Louisiana native Alex Geriner’s furniture, built from the wrought iron and cypress ruins of century-old Katrina houses, wows at Doorman Designs.

“This wood is New Orleans history,” says Geriner. “Each piece, each board is a story. I feel like my work allows this beautifully ancient city to keep speaking.”