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Historical Framework 

One crafty local gives salvaged doors a second chance.

We all know the type: the kindly couple with a house full of stray dogs; the big-hearted woman who just can't bear to see a single kitten go homeless. But for attorney Jennifer Egan, it was a soft spot for hard pine and cypress doors that helped her piece together a new calling. Clerking for a judge downtown in the months after Hurricane Katrina, Egan became haunted by the mounting piles of discarded architectural elements she passed on her daily drive through Central City.

"People were throwing away doors and molding, and I knew a lot of them had to be cypress and old pine. I just couldn't let them do it," says Egan who began loading up her Passat station wagon day after day until she had collected close to 100 doors.

What inspired her to start making them into frames?

"My husband was threatening to commit me if I didn't do something with the doors that were all over our yard," she says, adding that she knew she would have to take them apart, as most of the doors would never swing again due to water damage.

"I've always been handy with tools and saws," says Egan. "My brother is a carpenter, and he showed me how to make the corners."

She sold her first few frames at the Mid City Art Market in September 2006 and now has her own custom-framing shop. Egan recently added another historical element to her craft when she began framing colorful notarial archive drawings of properties that went up for tax sales in the mid-1800s (see inset photos).

"My intent was always to promote using recycled materials," says Egan, who uses wood from the doors to make the backs of her frames and often uses recycled glass on the front.

"After the storm, the feeling was just to throw it all away," says Egan. "I couldn't stand to see people do that. I knew they would regret it, so I wanted to have something to offer them back."

Door Frames, 5300 Freret St., 261-2554; doorframes@gmail.com

click to enlarge Standing among stacks of future frames (salvaged doors), - Jennifer Egan holds one of her creations.
  • Standing among stacks of future frames (salvaged doors), Jennifer Egan holds one of her creations.
click to enlarge q-ind-15451.jpeg
click to enlarge q-ind-15451.jpeg
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