Evacuating from school in August during Hurricane Ida took a toll on everyone who knows how amazing of a city New Orleans truly is. Tulane sophomore Abby Katz turned her devastation into innovation, as she created a stylish way to help out. “I love the city of New Orleans,” Katz says, “and I was devastated with what the community and other communities in Louisiana were going through. I decided to start Truckers for Nola as a fundraiser to raise money for Hurricane Ida relief.”
Truckers for Nola began as a fundraiser that sold tucker hats in order to raise money for New Orleans as it faced destruction from Hurricane Ida. Katz states that finding the best way to raise money came fairly easy to her when she considered her passion for fashion that seemed to be shared among many students on Tulane’s campus. “I love fashion and design, so I wanted to create something I knew people would want to wear in order to raise the most money possible,” Katz explains. “Trucker hats were very popular at the start of the semester, and I always see Tulane students wearing them around campus, so it was an easy decision.”
Each hat features a “Nola Strong” patch, a saying Katz had her heart set on from the start. “New Orleans is such an incredible city and such an empowering place to be. In times of hurt, like after Hurricane Ida, the community always comes together and makes everyone stronger. We wanted the patch to represent New Orleans and make whoever is wearing the hat feel not only proud to live there, but stronger than the devastation.” In addition to the patch, the hats come in several different color combinations of yellow, green, purple, and white.
While the decision to sell trucker hats that say Nola Strong was easy, the actual process of designing, creating, and selling the product proved to be quite difficult. With the help of her mom, the two spent months working on this rewarding project. “I am lucky enough to have a mom who is really talented in graphic design. She was a huge help in designing and ordering the patches.” Katz details the process that followed, stating, “The first thing I did after figuring out the design was set up an Instagram account (@TruckersforNola) and give instructions on how to order through the direct message feature. I imagined it would be a very small fundraiser, so I figured it wouldn’t be difficult to communicate with every customer and make a Google Doc with all of their information. I also didn’t think it would be hard to sit with my mom in our basement and iron on each patch one by one. I was very wrong.”
The Katz team’s hard work clearly paid off, as Truckers for Nola has sold around 200 hats and raised almost $4,000 for the Greater New Orleans Foundation. Katz was shocked as she watched the hats grow in popularity. “When I first started, I had no idea how many orders I would get. It was so rewarding to see how many people loved the hats and wanted to help after Hurricane Ida, and I could not be more thankful and happy with the success of this fundraiser.” The gratitude Katz felt spread even further as she returned to New Orleans. “I was lucky enough to be invited to the Greater New Orleans Foundation’s offices and meet with the Vice President of Philanthropy. It was an amazing experience and so rewarding knowing that my fundraiser made a difference.”
Katz is happy to announce that due to the popularity of the “Nola Strong Hurricane Ida Relief Trucker,” the Truckers for Nola fundraiser has transformed into a company. Katz says, “I saw this as a great opportunity to do more to continue giving back to the city and community of New Orleans. Every trucker hat made in the future will say “Nola Strong” somewhere, and each limited-edition design released will be connected to a different charity in New Orleans.”
To stay updated on Truckers for Nola and Abby Katz’s journey, check out @TruckersforNola’s Instagram page. Katz is hoping to release her second design in the next few months, so keep your eyes out!
Cover Photo: Abby Katz