Women join to better the community

Woman of the Year

Anne Dale – Woman of the Year

One week is set aside every October to recognize women in our community who use their time and talent for the greater good of mankind (Woman of the Year). I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but you might be surprised of the impact women have, for instance, in our local economy.

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Donations to New Orleans Catholic Charities support the community centers
which enable them to continue their mission to respect the dignity and potential of each human person by offering life-giving programs, avocation for the voiceless and empowering the poor, vulnerable and hurricane recovery efforts.

New Orleans Catholic Charities

If you would like to donate to Catholic Charities, contact James Kelly
1000 Howard Avenue
New Orleans, LA 39576
(504) 523-3755

Jeweler for a Cause® – Saint Scholastica Academy 

Saint Scholastica Academy

Saint Scholastica Academy (SSA), a catholic college preparatory high school in Covington, LA drawing upon its 100-year history of sisterhood, perpetuates the Benedictine tradition of prayer, work, study and community. Students will be assisting in a work project at Our Lady of Lourdes School which was devastated by Katrina in New Orleans. If you would like to donate to their mission, please contact:

Elaine Simmons at

www.ssacad.com. OR
122 South Massachusetts Street,
Covington, LA 70433

St. Scholastica Academy is owned by the Archdiocese of New Orleans and is governed by the Archbishop of New Orleans. As a Catholic school, SSA is part of the educational ministry of the Church and, as such, does not have a separate legal identity. The Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Schools, headed by the Superintendent of Catholic Schools, monitors the religious and academic programs of the school to ensure that they comply with Archdiocesan and State policies.

Jeweler for a Cause

Gemologists live for the fire, the sparkle, the brilliance of stones. Measured in degrees of reflection, refraction and dispersion, the effect of light on a diamond is a defining characteristic of brilliance.

Oliver North

Louisiana jeweler Anne Dale with Oliver North after she presented him with a Star of Hope pin. Anne designed the pin as a means of raising funds for military men, women and their families.

But the brilliance of one Louisiana gemologist shines brighter than any stone in her case. Anne Dale, GIA Graduate Gemologist, Professional Gemologist-Columbia School of Gemology, Fellow of the Gemological Association of Great Britain, and owner of Anne Dale Jewelry in Mandeville, LA combined her love for gemology and compassion for others to create Jeweler for a Cause – an original collection of jewelry created to raise money, awareness and the spirits of people in need. This philanthropic line not only highlights Anne’s design talents, but it also incorporates her love for the community. Add that to her Italian heritage and you’ve got a formula for brilliance beyond compare.

Jeweler for a Cause began when Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the Gulf Coast in 2005. Anne and her husband Mike Dale watched their community fall to its knees as the flood waters destroyed everything in their path. Living through the aftermath of the 6th most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded took its toll on Anne, as she watched family, friends and community put their lives back together. Anne saw the bad, but she also found the good. Katrina survivors walked away with a greater sense of community. Anne walked away forever changed.

The emotional impact motivated her to draw from the two things she knew best – jewelry and her compassionate heart. In 2006 she established Jeweler for a Cause to focus on the many philanthropic causes she endorsed.

“Jeweler for a Cause exists for three reasons,” she said. “We seek to provide heightened awareness of the cause, funding for the cause and caring for others in need.”

For eight years Jeweler for a Cause has come alongside large and small organizations such as Catholic Charities, House of Blues, Disney Epcot, TABASCO and the Easter Seals Foundation to shine the light on those in need. And each custom designed piece comes with its own unique story that will inevitably touch your heart.

“My first collection was born out of a need for cultural healing of my hometown in the aftermath of Katrina,” says Anne. “I created the Katrina Relief Badge in sterling silver with the theme, ‘I know what it means to love New Orleans.’ I think it was inspired by God. Within 3 days we had 700 hits on our website and Dan Akroyd was asking to purchase 500 of the pins. The proceeds went to the victims of that killer hurricane.”

Autism pendant

The Facing Autism pendant, part of Anne Dale’s Jeweler for a Cause line.

Anne expanded the collection to include other New Orleans pieces like ‘Return to New Orleans’ and ‘Pray for the Gulf Coast.’ These pieces went on to raise more than $175,000 in hurricane relief.

Riding on the heels of the hurricane relief line, Anne pulled from her personal experience for the 2nd Jeweler for a Cause line. Called the ‘Self-esteem’ pendant, Anne poured her heart into creating a visual representation of the emotional pain associated with vascular birthmarks. Watching her own son, Stephen, deal with the pressure of looking different touched her heart as he struggled to find his significance outside of his external appearance.

“I believe the pressure placed on our youth today to be perfect has never been higher,” she says. “This pendant sends the message, ‘you are beautiful just the way you are.’”

It didn’t take long for Anne to realize that young girls from junior high to college struggle in this area too. The back of the sterling silver pendant is engraved with ‘Beauty Comes From Within,’ and it wasn’t long before young girls became her target audience. Like the first Jeweler for a Cause piece, a portion of the proceeds from the self-esteem piece go to charity.

Anne has since created many other custom lines for Jeweler for a Cause. The Perseverance Pin, is closely tied to the battle with cancer. The Facing Autism pendant, which moves from puzzle piece to the profile of a child, highlights the knowledge and goodness within all children. And the Star of Hope, which combines the Silver Star (3rd highest award given for valor) and the Yellow Ribbon, benefits groups helping military men, women and their families throughout the world.

“One of the most memorable moments from my Jeweler with a Cause line is when I pinned the Star of Hope on Oliver North at the New Orleans D-Day Museum event,” Anne recalls. “I created that piece after Matt Cole, a Mandeville native who was struck by a mortar round launched by insurgents, inspired me. Cole’s spinal cord and lungs were injured and, today, he works with other veterans ensuring they receive all benefits afforded them for their service to their country, and he does it from his wheelchair.”


LaPearlite pendant designed by Anne Dale. Anne mines the stones out of Louisiana oysters and in 2011 Governor Bobby Jindal named it the official Louisiana State Gemstone.

But perhaps her most significant contribution to date has been her creation of LaPearlite, the state gem of Louisiana. Born out of the Gulf oil spill, Anne’s commitment to her local seafood industry triggered those creative juices. While shucking oysters in her back yard the beautiful pearl-coated shells caught her eye. That led her to try and mine the stone out of this very specific type of oyster (Crassostrea Virginica) that is native to the Gulf Coast. The result was a beautiful organic gemstone from the oyster shell that has luster and differing shades of white and mother of pearl look that swirl throughout each gemstone. In 2011 the LaPearlite became the official Louisiana State Gemstone when it was signed into law by Governor Bobby Jindal.

Like the brilliant stones that surround her, Anne Dale reflects the love and generosity she has toward her neighbors and her community. The many facets of her philanthropic line highlight not only her caring nature, but also her gemological and design talents. If we measured brilliance in the lives of those around us, Anne Dale’s would be classified as a Super Ideal Make.

Be sure to check out Anne’s many contributions at Annedale.com, Jewelerforacause.com, Lapearlite.com and at Southern Jewelry News.

Actor Dan Ackroyd with New Orleans jeweler Anne Dale honor responders

NEW ORLEANS — It took three days of awards luncheons for the House of Blues to honor all the first responders who helped during Hurricane Katrina.

Actor Dan Aykroyd and Chief Peter Dale of the Harahan Police Department on Thursday helped applaud the various police, fire and emergency management personnel froDan Ackroyd with Jeweler Anne Dalem multiple Louisiana parishes in The Parish Room.

“I was most impressed by the commitment and the unequivocal duty that you, the first responders and your families, gave to your communities. So this is our way of saying thank you,” said Aykroyd, an investor in House of Blues Entertainment Inc. “There is no place like New Orleans in all of America, so there is a great affection in my heart for it, and I was most concerned, as was the rest of the world, during the whole catastrophe and then afterwards. We’re so glad you are all here.”

“Every one of you here today are the ones who saved the city, who got it back,” said Dale. “I realized during and after Katrina that when the chips are really down in this metropolitan area, there are no parish lines, no city lines, everybody just went where they had to go and did what they needed to do. I’m very proud to have served with all of you, much less command some of you, and there are plenty of people alive today because of the people at these three luncheons.”

Commemorative “I Love New Orleans Badge” pins and pendants designed by Dale’s cousin, Anne Dale of Anne-Dale Jeweller in Mandeville, were given to the first responders and their families. Then Aykroyd launched into a rendition of “I Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans.”

“… The place where I left my heart or something like that,” sang Aykroyd, eliciting one of several big laughs from the audience.

Aykroyd and Dale grew to be closer friends post-Katrina, which the former “Saturday Night Live” star mentioned in his trademark deadpan.

“We’ll be seeing ‘Brokeback Mountain’ together after this,” Aykroyd said to laughs.

Dale also recognized Aykroyd’s efforts to lend a hand to the city.

“After the storm, Dan called us and asked us what we needed, and brought us down a tractor trailer full of boats, motors, generators, lights, sleeping bags, dry clothes and food that he bought himself,” said Dale. “We brought him here to give him an award to thank him for his efforts and he turned around and dug into his own pocket again to put these luncheons on. You ever want to know somebody in the movie industry that really loves and cares for first responders, this is him.”

Aykroyd bought needed supplies and drove the entire lot to New Orleans.

“I wanted to make sure it got delivered and in the spirit of what we were doing I wanted to deliver it,” Aykroyd said, noting his friend Gary Kent was with him. “You should have seen me buying pallets of feminine hygiene supplies at Wal-Mart at the request of the National Guard for the guardswomen,” laughed Aykroyd.

Aykroyd has a longtime reverence for first responders.

“Police, firefighters, soldiers, moms — they’re the real heroes,” said Aykroyd. ‘My grandfather was a Mountie in Canada and I saw what a great common-sense cop he was. He was in from 1919 to 1946, and said he never drew his pistol. He said it was all just common sense policing and dealing with human behavior. I admire these people so much. And we just needed to throw a luncheon, have a drink and just party and kind of get back to the spirit of what this city should be, which is about celebration and fun and good times and the future.”

Aykroyd will serve as co-grand marshal of the Krewe of Endymion parade Saturday with actor Jim Belushi, brother of the late John Belushi, his SNL co-star. The parade will roll along the Uptown route instead of the historic Mid-City route — detoured by Hurricane Katrina. Aykroyd will then join Belushi and his band, The Sacred Hearts, on stage at the Endymion Extravaganza as part of a Blues Brothers review.

“Mardi Gras 2006 is going to be a hit,” said Aykroyd. “It’s essential that people come back and know this. The world needs New Orleans because it’s the soul center of the United States. Nowhere in this country is the confluence of the culinary arts, the architecture, the music, the heart, the spirit. It all comes together here. People who weren’t even born here feel like they were once they know the joy of this city and in fact this state.”

House of Blues Entertainment Inc. plans to play a major role in the economic future of New Orleans, said Laura Tennyson, marketing manager for House of Blues New Orleans, which reopened in December. “We are fortunate to be on Decatur Street in the French Quarter and we realized after the storm we really are an economic anchor here, and that we had to open in order for our block to flourish,” says Tennyson. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised that shows have been selling out, the business lunch crowd is back and the Foundation Room members have come back en masse. We’ll continue to demonstrate our long-term commitment to the city.”

Source – CityBusiness