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The RECYCLE CHALLENGE has several artists who design and create products as volunteers (with the assistance of youth and university volunteers from Virage and CORE New Orleans). These products are made solely from recycled materials. Meet each artist and their area of expertise.


The gift shop carries a wide array of our paper jewelry & products, plastic purses, and clothing. And from Nigeria, paper hats and crowns from milliners.

The Recycle Challenge will feature products from recycled artists utilizing them as "throws" or "gives" in its festivals and events. We are developing a training program that will target at-risk children and youth,  and include special needs youth. We currently have VIRAGE volunteers of five to seven youths and young adults who assist in building costumes to assembling special gifts. 


For 2022- 2023, VIRAGE volunteers, along with CORE NEW ORLEANS manager, Latoya Jefferson (pictured in black sweatshirt) and interns from Xavier University are the core of our building and assemble a team for costumes and throws.  

1 Artist Madera Rogers- Henry Head shoot IMG_0751 (2).jpg
1 Artist Madera Rogers- Henry Head shoot IMG_0751 (2)_edited.jpg


BORN: El Paso, Texas



Madera is the main recycle artist for The Recycle Challenge s in artist and trainer for all preparation of costumes. Her preferred medium is recycled paper.

la'taijah jefferson 

15 year old

Current Home: New Orleans

Sophmore at Livingston Collegiate

Started crocheting eight months ago. Utilize repurposed yarn, plastic grocery bags and other recycled materials. 


Belgica Coignet 

Born: Panama

Current Home: 45 years New Orleans


Has been creating crochet outfits since she was a child. Last year she was given the opportunity to create outfits utilizing plastic grocery bags and other recycled materials. 


mary semela


Current Home: New Orleans

Growing up in her dad’s art studio. It seemed like he could make anything. She moved to New Orleans, where her friendship and marriage to Selby Semela united her involved in the anti-apartheid and anti-racism movements. After a four-decade career writing for human rights advocates and educators in New Orleans, New York, Baltimore, and DC,

Mary is making paper (home recycled/ handmade) and safety-pin bracelets in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, just blocks from the levee. Widowed with two grown sons, Naledi and Mohapi, Mary is looking forward to making paper for the folks she calls the “real artists.”ed materials. 


Rueben craddock

Born: New Orleans


Since joining the Recycle Challemge in 2017, Rueben is the main body fabricator for more detailsed costumes. He has expanded his crafting to include plastic suits. materials. 

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