New Orleans Jeweler Anne Dale
A Louisiana jeweler has created a piece of jewelry as a Hurricane Katrina fundraiser that’s quickly gaining national attention, from Hollywood to the White House.
Anne Dale, a respected gemologist who directs Gem-A (the U.S. arm of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain) and is the daughter of a well-known New Orleans jazz musician, was shocked by the devastation of “my New Orleans [which] a great force of nature has broken,” and by the “losses suffered by so many.” She was just as “impressed by the heroes who stayed in harm’s way to save so many lives.”
She and her husband, who live in Mandeville, 35 miles north of New Orleans, were hit, too, by the hurricane. It toppled 20 trees around their home, and left them and their neighbors without electricity, water or phone service for weeks. Still, she felt herself “blessed compared to so many others” and wanted to help the recovery, in addition to assisting her neighbors and cooking for them on her barbeque.
So, within days she designed the “Katrina Relief Badge”—wearable as a lapel pin, a pendant or on a chain. Its purpose, Dale says, is “to assist victims of Katrina; to support New Orleans, its people and the surrounding areas as they rebuild; and to remind everyone here, in the coastal region and beyond, that our bloodline flows from New Orleans. It belongs to everyone.”
The design features a crest on top, representing “the mighty Mississippi River as it embraces New Orleans,” says Dale. Beneath it is a heart, “the spirit of love that Louisianans emanate,” with New Orleans written below it. In the heart is a fleur-de-Lis, a symbol of Louisiana’s French culture and religious tradition. On back is inscribed “Katrina 2005 Anne-Dale.”
Dale’s husband cast the first medallions, which quickly gained a following. Dale’s Web site (www.annedale.com) was quickly overloaded by hundreds of “hits” from people wanting to know more or to buy one. Actor Dan Aykroyd ordered 500. Dale, a state Republican committeewoman, sent a badge to President Bush, which the White House accepted and acknowledged. So did the governor of Louisiana, the mayor of New Orleans and visiting Congressmen who came to see the devastation.