Jillian Carruth started the Front Porch Project NOLA in the beginning stages of the COVID pandemic on Wednesday, March 23rd. She travels from neighborhood to neighborhood taking photos of people on their front porches (from a safe distance) capturing a photo to remember this crazy time in history. In turn, those who are photographed are asked to pay it forward to businesses by buying directly from a local favorite business. There’s become quite a high demand to be photographed that she has a waiting list filling up and the local economy is reaping the benefits!
What inspired you to start this initiative?
I was inspired to make a full circle of giving back to the community and igniting others to take action in this trade.
How many families have you photographed and local businesses have been supported by your initiative so far?
I’ve done 115 myself so far and there have been an additional 45 between two other photographers that are helping me.
What’s been the largest challenge you have faced pulling this off so far?
Coordination of the whole process. From the submission to the spreadsheets to making contact with people via text and navigating those homes into an optimized route followed by editing as well as posting highlights into the group and finishing it off with sending out galleries. Phew! Thankful for my team to make this all come together! ALL while also having 2 children at home ages 3 and 5!
What’s the one thing someone has said to you throughout this that’s made it all worth it?
“Thank you for giving us something to look forward to”
“Thank you” even front lines medical workers have shared gratitude for the project and for “chronicling the times for their children.” – That is big to me.
What advice do you have for others who want to help their communities during this time?
Be safe! We do everything we can to be safe while photographing and communicate that with the people we reach.
What local New Orleans businesses do you miss the most right now?
Fit4Mom NOLA this is my village for working out! We miss our children’s schools and The Backyard a eatery and playground in Lakeview New Orleans.
Is there anything people in New Orleans can do to support your initiative other than sign up for photos?
Spread joy and shop local when possible. We are all in this. Do what you can to be positive and make someone smile.
What’s your go-to during Quarantine for staying sane (besides the awesome work you are doing)?
Being in our backyard and having outdoor activities for the kids. At the beginning of February we began taking care of monarch caterpillars and that has been such a great source of positivity for this house, not to mention a learning experience for my little ones.
Tell us about what you do outside of The Front Porch Project Nola.
Outside of the project I am a full time photographer capturing for families and businesses around NOLA. Running is my regular side project. Enjoying my children keeps me busy!