Meet Our Instructors

Educators with Passion


Michelle Lacayo


In 2016, Michelle took a sewing class at ricRACK, made a tiny tote, and promptly became obsessed with the craft of sewing. She researched techniques, watched YouTube videos to grow her skills, then started a small business, J. Michelle. She began creating, designing and stitching small practical items, like clutches, wallets and purses, and then moved into quilting. In early 2020, she started making masks for family, friends and frontline workers. Michelle has a keen eye for color and pattern and assembles unexpected fabrics and prints, exploring ways to embellish her works with sequins, hardware and embroidery. The rewards for her are seeing a creation spring to life and making something unique from endless possibilities.

Sylvester West


Sylvester is the perfect example of the American Dream, and he lives it everyday.  He started sewing with ricRACK as a junior in International High school, where he produced TWO fashion shows for Black History Month. He’s gone on to show his amazing designs at New Orleans Fashion Week and Essence Fest.  He is inspired by Kerby Jean Raymond, a Haitian-American Fashion Designer.
One of my favorite mottos is “ there’s a world out there that’s going to doubt you, and try to knock you down.  I fight it by working day and night, because I know I will succeed.”


Sarah Manhy


Sarah came to ricRACK a few years back as a teacher at our Repurposed Fashion Camps at the Ogden Museum.  Synthetic disposable fashion inspired me to design and make my own clothing and accessories. Completely self taught, I incorporate my love for the environment into every piece's journey by sourcing ethical and sustainable fabrics and re-using and up-cycling materials such as packing paper to make patterns. Now, if i can make it on my machine I will. I truly enjoy the creation process and encourage all who are interested to come and discover their love for sewing.

Carolina Gallop


Carolina was born in La Ceiba, Honduras and was raised in Boston, MA. She moved to New Orleans from Los Angeles in 1999 where she trained as a Fashion Designer. Carolina enjoys hosting Fashion Show events and had done so since arriving in New Orleans. 


Carolina has been teaching adult and children sewing since 2010 and enjoys the “Art of Sewing”. She enjoys the look on her student’s faces when they finally “get it”. 


Carolina enjoys working with the Community and likes to meet new people. She is trained in Medical Administration and is also a trained Paramedic. Carolina enjoys teaching and sewing new projects and is currently creating and making hats for an upcoming show in Massachusetts. She enjoys being a Millinery artist and looks forward to putting on more fashion and hat shows in the very near future.

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Monique Motil


Monique Motil has been sewing since she was old enough to sit at the machine. She was a founder of Dark Garden Corsets and the shop manager for Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest running cabaret show in San Francisco. New Orleans creativity and love of costumes brought her here to share her skills and knowledge. One of her passions is inspiring other people to sew.

Marietta Johnson


Marietta learned to sew when she was seven (7) years old.  Her older sister taught her how to make doll clothes. As the years advanced, so did her sewing skills.  In 1987, after years of sewing her own clothes she realized she had accumulated a lot of leftover fabric.  One day she was watching a PBS show with Georgia Bonesteel and knew that she could use her leftover fabric in a quilt.  It was then that she started to quilt.


Marietta is the Project Linus Coordinator for Pascagoula/Jackson County Chapter.  She belongs to numerous quilt groups in both Mississippi and Louisiana.  Her Mississippi groups:  Vancleave Quilting Bees where she has another home, Vancleave; Sand Stitchers, Ocean Springs; Scrappy Quilters, Gautier; Magnolia Quilters, Big Point and a very dedicated group of quilters with River City Quilters, Moss Point which she was very instrumental in starting.  In New Orleans she belongs to Crescent City Quilters in which she is the Treasurer and Beecher Memorial Quilters.  She is past president of the Mississippi Quilt Association and currently with Gulf State Quilt Association as the Membership Director.


Her quilts have been entered in many shows and have won numerous awards. Her career has been diverse over the years, but her love of quilting has never changed.