Louisiana Jeweler Shows Love
(MANDEVILLE, La.) – A noted motivational speaker and author once observed that “most crisis situations are opportunities to either advance or stay the same.” With her beloved Louisiana homeland brought to its knees by Hurricane Katrina, native daughter Anne Dale showed her true character.
While it would have been perfectly acceptable and certainly understandable to wallow in her own woes – a house without electricity, water or phone with downed pine trees everywhere and a houseful of people – she “felt compelled to do something rather than nothing… a flop or a hit.” And that “something” turned out to be a hit. In fact, she hit a home run.
Reacting on instinct and as a labor of love, Anne has designed a commemorative jewelry pin, with the proceeds going to benefit the victims of the killer hurricane. Called the Katrina Relief Badge, the classic, sterling silver design, about the size of a nickel, features a theme of “I know what it means to love New Orleans.” “I think God inspired me,” said the New Orleans-born retail jeweler, who owns Anne-Dale Jeweller located in Mandeville, 35 miles north of New Orleans on the Northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain. “The idea just came to me. Sometimes you get a gut feeling. This is a ‘meant-to-be’ project. Within three days, we had 700 hits on our website. We’ve been overwhelmed.
Anne said besides her divine intervention, another source of inspiration has been the police and their commitment to duty. “I saw their badges and when you think of a badge, you think of courage. A badge tells a lot about a person.
“The first week after Katrina was tremendously stressful. It’s been a hardship to so many people,” she said. “The saddest thing is the middle class, the elderly and the sick. But no matter what income level or status, it’s affected everyone.” To help promote the sale of the badges, Anne’s been on a media circuit that would be the envy of rock stars and politicians. She’s been interviewed by most local news outlets and with all the publicity, she’s managed a 500-pin order from movie and TV star Dan Ackroyd. Louisiana-born musicians Marc Broussard and Charmaine Neville also have badges.
Through Anne’s political involvement, a badge has also made its way to the White House.
The compelling design is topped by a crest, symbolic of the great Mississippi River which has brought Louisianans centuries of joy as well as tragedy. In the center is a heart containing the familiar symbol “fleur-de-lis,” long associated with Louisiana’s rich French culture and strong religious heritage. On the bottom of the badge are the words “New Orleans” with “Katrina 2005 Anne-Dale” on the back.
After producing her own badges for the initial run of 24 pieces, Anne took a giant step toward the big time. She contracted a large U.S. jewelry manufacturer to produce the badges.
Within a matter of a few days the idea from “art to part,” with the badges scheduled to be shipped the week of Oct. 10. Although the initial pieces were in sterling there will also be a gold version.
“Anne is a very highly-respected gemologist and in that capacity she’s on our faculty when we have our annual workshop,” said a spokesman for the manufacturer. “When the hurricane crisis came, her part of the world was very much affected. She was born and raised there, and that’s why she was moved to do what she did.
Anne is also executive director of Gem-A USA, the American branch of the Gemological Association of Great Britain. Gem-A USA promotes gemological education, teaches gemology at trade shows and schools, and implements courses in colleges, universities, public and private schools.
She is the daughter of New Orleans famed jazz drummer Paul Ferrara, who performed with the likes of the Dukes of Dixieland, as well as New Orleans legends Al Hirt, Pete Fountain, Louie Prima and Harry Connick, Sr.