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Eileen McClelland

Mignon Faget Celebrates New Orleans’ Rebirth

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As a resident of New Orleans for the past two years, I’m very much a newcomer. But I’ve lived here long enough to understand the magnetic attraction of the place, and how its lively, musical culture somehow seeps into your soul.

I’ve learned that it’s tough to grow up in New Orleans, leave and not look back. So it’s not that surprising to me that after Hurricane Katrina flooded their homes and devastated their beloved city, hundreds of thousands of people returned, and simply started over. Many never seriously considered doing anything else.

This month marks the 10th anniversary of Katrina, the infamous hurricane that led to the levy breach that flooded New Orleans and surrounding parishes.

The storm hit the city on Aug. 29, 2005. By Aug. 31, 80 percent of the city was under water.

In the past 10 years, the city, against impressive odds, has made a remarkable recovery. In 2014, New Orleans hosted 9.52 million visitors, who spent $6.81 billion in the city, the highest rate of spending in the city’s history, according to the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau.

To celebrate her city’s rebirth and its residents’ hard work and loyalty, jewelry designer and New Orleans native Mignon Faget has designed the “In Gratitude” jewelry collection inspired by a Tibetan symbol that represents gratitude. Engraved on the back of the sterling silver pendant, charm and pin are the words, “In Gratitude,” and the Latin phrase “X annos,” meaning 10 years.

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A percentage of sales will be donated to Tulane University’s Newcomb Art Gallery and the Tulane-Xavier Center for Bioenvironmental Research.

During New Orleans’ toughest times, Faget used her designs to express her sorrow as well as her hope. She designed her Fleur de Lis Rebirth Pin in early September 2005, even before she was able to return to the city. The simple pin on a grosgrain ribbon was sold at a low cost to help raise money for recovery. It became a thank-you gift and a symbol of support for the city, its friends and its returning residents. A portion of sales — eventually totaling more than $239,000 – funded the establishment of the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, which helped stabilize numerous New Orleans arts organizations.

A year later, in August 2006, Faget released the Anniversary Amulet, a symbol of strength and the need for unity during a challenging time.

Mignon Faget jewelry is designed in New Orleans, made in America and inspired, as always, by Louisiana.

“Our commitment to New Orleans was tested after Hurricane Katrina,” Faget says, “but we chose to expand our retail footprint, bring back displaced employees, and remind people that a symbol as simple as a fleur de lis can be more powerful than words.”

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Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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