Louisiana – the home to jazz, gumbo, Mardi Gras, creole architecture and cotton. Grown in Louisiana for hundreds of years, cotton remains an integral part of the state’s economy. According to data from the National Cotton Council, there are currently 170,000 acres of farmland dedicated to cotton production, in Louisiana, which will contribute more than 400,000 bales of cotton to the U.S. total.
The history of cotton and cotton byproducts in Louisiana can be seen throughout numerous museums, preserved homes and daily life in cities like New Orleans. In New Orleans’ famed French Quarter, for example, local retailers such as the Cotton Market on Dumaine Street and Natural Discoveries on North Peters sell clothing and other textiles rich in cotton fiber.
Café du Monde, the coffee stand and café, popular with tourists and locals alike, still cooks their world famous beignets in cottonseed oil. The oil’s neutral flavor and high smoke point make it ideal for preparing delicate and delicious pastry. The deeply woven connection between the people of Louisiana and cotton can also be seen in a unique program that aids citizens still affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
In May, Cotton Incorporated’s Blue Jeans Go Green™ program joined forces with the New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity to build 10 homes in 10 days in commemoration of the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.
Grammy award-winning, singer-songwriter, Sheryl Crow and American actress, AnnaSophia Robb joined the organizations and more than 600 AmeriCorps volunteers in constructing homes on America Street in New Orleans for the Habitat for Humanity Build-a-thon. In April, Sheryl Crow asked her fans to donate the 10,000 pieces of denim needed to insulate the homes with the UltraTouch™ Denim Insulation, provided by the Blue Jeans Go Green™ program.
The Blue Jeans Go Green™ program is just one example of the many environmental efforts and commitments from the cotton industry. To date, the program has helped to divert more than 600 tons of post-consumer textile waste away from landfills and collected more than 1 million pieces of denim for insulation.