#TheFrontPorchProjectBR is the kind of magic only love can create.

June 24, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

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So as I am finalizing and uploading the last of my porch sessions, releasing the impact numbers to the media and returning to my regular scheduled beach sessions for the summer, I sit here with Little Bob reflecting on the beauty that rose from the such a monumental uncertain time in our lives. 

What we did collectively in my community creating a massive impact that not only affected our local businesses but helped the morale too. I know for me The Front Porch Project BR gave me a sense of purpose and joy in this time of uncertainty! I have been calling these past few months ...

The CRAPtastic time of my life. 

I literally went from doing what I always do around this time; 

  • a bit of traveling
  • getting ready for the summer beach portraits
  • hanging with friends
  • and planning to attend my seasonal festivals 

... to holy CRAP! Do I have to stay at home? I can’t travel! I can’t hang with my friends!! I can’t work! I can’t fest! This shit was real! And it was hitting me hard. 

 

I started to take nose dive! 

While we all had to literally distance ourselves from our friends and family with the only physical interaction was with the people you already lived with, which meant for some of us it became a life of solitude. 

I was one of those people. I was falling deep into the WTF! WTF! WFT! WFT! The tension was thick in the office and I was swimming around all up in my head without my heart to ground me! My mental health was crumbling. 

The trinity of fear, doubt, and worry with their sidekick anger was quickly becoming my BFFs! I almost got on a plane to be with my brother in Chicago to ride this uncertainty out. It would have been best for my mental health or so I thought … 

 

Then I got THE TEXT that rocked my quarantine world.

It was a $1.28M rumble of love to be exact! And it all came from a simple suggestion with a slight twist of demand ... 

“Hey Jenn you need to start this in Baton Rouge NOW” came from Aimee Supp, friend and  Moxey Vice President of sales, on Saturday, March 21, 2020. She was referring to a project that was started in Massachusetts just three days earlier called The Front Steps Project started by photographer, Cara Soulia.   

"That morning change the course of my nose dive and grateful crashed the stay at home pity party I was about to begain." 

As I read the text and took it all in, I quickly realized I was born to do a project like this. It was going to be a lot of moving parts and I knew we (my JOP team) would figure it out! I didn’t know how I was going to pay my them but I knew we need to get to work. I had no idea how big this would become that day but my sanity depended on me saying YES and figuring it out later! 

 

I had just received one of the biggest CALLS TO ACTION in my life and #TheFrontPorchProjectBR was born. 

I was no longer paralyzed. Nor I was acting out of fear. I was responding to a call that aligned with every bit of my being and I was going to run with it no matter where it was going to take me. 

"At that moment I simultaneously felt joy and fear at the same time."

And instantly I knew the way I was going to maneuver through this pandemic even though I still did not know how long this was going to go on, how I was going to pay my employees, or if my business could survive a complete world shut down for nonessential businesses. It is was interesting how this project ended up being essential but in a different light. The very magical kind that only love can create during this uncertain time we were entering. 

This project was not only essential for me and the other photographers who joined The Front Porch Project’s mission but it gave light to the community and encouragement to local businesses to keep going. 

"We decided to dance in this CRAPtastic time we were all in together - all while staying at least 6 feet apart."

Throughout the past three months, I have learned so much moving from day to day porch to porch. I love hearing your stories, reading your post, feeling your love this project was creating. It kept me from worrying about the future and gave my focus and joy in the present moment. There is a book here somewhere in all that I have learned and I plan on writing it. 

Some BIG THANK YOUS! 

I want to finalize this post by thanking some very special people who were intricate parts of all the moving parts of this project and call I took back in March. This project was such a valuable and unmatchable team effort to pull off! 

First off Aimee Supp for not only texting me the infamous TEXT that started this whole project. But for trusting in me, and going way above and beyond to support me and the other photographers. You are an inspiration to us all! THANK YOU. 

Super thanks to my team! 

  • Jessica, my office manager for organizing and scheduling over 900 porches for me to photograph. 
  • For Taylor Watson for enhancing most all my porch photos so that I could keep pushing that shutter and reach so many porches! 
  • To Devon Bardin McKnight for taking the time to route all my neighborhoods so that I could get to everyone efficiently. 
  • For my drivers, Aimee, (again) Nancy, Robert, and Kimberely! Y’all made the adventures so much fun! 
  • For Sarah for postin hundreds of porch photos for me on Facebook! 

Thanks so much to all the porch families and friends who met us outside your homes to get your picture taken. You went above the simple pay-it-forward ask to make this amazing impact in our community. And along with it, your patience and appreciation and smiles were all received with much gratitude. And thank you for the countless gifts, notes, and tokens of appreciation I received along the way. I felt the love! And I had a blast with all of you. I hope to see you again soon but under different circumstances. 

Super thanks and Hi5 to the community in #TheFrontPorchProjectBR Facebook group for coming together not only going above and beyond our simple, but you also created so much love for others in the group with your words of encouragement and comments, you showed us respect and appreciation for all our efforts and helped us and each other to connect with photographers so over 4,000 porches portraits could be taken and the $1.28M dollars was received. 

I am so grateful to all who checked in on me, fed me, and made sure I was taking care of myself. - Thank you. It was heartfelt to know so many want to make sure I was ok.

Thanks to all reporters, show host, and podcasters that covered our project’s mission and shared the good news to our community! 

And thanks to all the businesses that shared our post and let us know how the project was impacting them! Your stories were amazing and kept us going!  

You all gave me the inspiration and motivation to run with this project and keep going over 900 porches later! 

My Front Porch Photos

I close this post showcasing my porch photos taken by the one and only Jayme Firnberg of Rockit Surgery - Photographer and Video! He is such a gem in our community and thought he wasn’t a full-on porch photographer he did take a few and I am grateful I was apart of his collection. You might have seen him taking portraits at some of the hippest events in our city! 

And, of course, here are my contributions to the pay-it-forward initiative that was the heart and soul of this project! 

 

Mary Claire Artist - For the AMAZING painting of my pup, Little Bob’s Painting during the stay at the home ordinance

Taylor Watson Photography - Portraits of Aimee and I on a front porch.

ElloArtist - Ellen Ogden - for new JOP sign

Red Stick Spice Company- for my fly new ice tea pitcher and focus tea

Cleggs Nursery - for my planets and front porch decor

Mestizos - my pandemic grub hub

Cannatella Grocery - My quick stop shop while on route photographing porches

Tony Cobb - Local musician and good friend

The Hope Stop - Hands producing Hope - Just good people supporting a good cause with a beautiful new storefront 

Jordan Hefler - Presets and LR Actions that I am dying to play with! 

And many many more I just can’t remember at this time. 

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Front Porch Project BR Pay-It-Forward Investment in South Louisiana Businesses

Louisiana Combined Total for Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and Northshore

Total estimated pay-it-forward investment in businesses: $1,277,309 (See area breakout below.)

Greater Baton Rouge:

2,714 total porches tracked

Estimated pay-it-forward amount to businesses: $1,020,464

New Orleans:

1,180 total porches tracked

Estimated pay-it-forward amount to businesses: $182,900

North Shore Area: Covington, Madisonville, and Mandeville

150 porches tracked

Estimated pay-it-forward investment in businesses: $48,945

 

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Special Thanks to our Lousiana Front Porch Project Photographers

Greater Baton Rouge

Sonya Goss

Jay Lamm

Melissa M Thornton

Rodrigo Rubiano

Kymber N Janes

Rachel Mayo

Amy Konieczka

Tony Parker

Natalie Wilson

Amee Bordelon

Beth Curry LeBlanc

Mandy Thibodeaux Samson

Davis C. Hotard

Whitney Williston

Cindy Abney

Addie Laughery

Nyla Deliphose

Erin Oswalt

Tobi Gomez

Felicia Gathe

New Orleans Photographers

Jillian Marie Carruth

Brittany Develle

Greer Gattuso

Victoria Zangara

Madisonville, Mandeville, Covington, and Hammond Photographers

Rebecca Atkins

Erika Kelly

 


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