At the Junior League Welcome Party on February 24, 1957, Provisionals enjoyed a fashion show with clothes from the Thrift Store modeled by Active members. Photo provided by: Louisiana State Museum Historical Center. Gift of the Junior League of New Orleans. The Junior League of New Orleans Collection, record group JLSB25, 2014.011.01 – 2014.016.039.
The Junior League Thrift Shop has seen many changes and moves since it was established in 1927. Originally located in the French Quarter at 111 Royal Street, the League quickly outgrew the space. In 1931, it was moved to 819 Bourbon Street, “an enormous old 18-room house.”
An article found in the JLNO archives offered a more informative description. “The building is a large two-story mansion which in its day was a pretentious home. The sweeping galleries on both floors, the wrought iron gate and driveway, and the ornately decorated interior all beat witness to its one-time elegance.” How very different this is from the modern store we know today at 4645 Freret Street!
The Bourbon Street location also housed the Junior League’s Thrift Store, Nutrition Center, the children’s play theater and child welfare clinic. The Thrift Store could not be contained to its designated rooms at this location though, and as the business grew over the years, the need to find a larger location to house just the store became necessary.
“The thrift store we know today began in the early 1990s when it moved from the next door annex into its current 8,000 square feet of retail space and renamed to Bloomin’ Deals” (jlno.org). Regardless of location and size, the mission of the Thrift Shop started long ago and has not changed. Every purchase made at the store is one that helps the New Orleans community.