Eight years ago, during the unforgettable summer of 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravished through the Gulf Coast. We, along with many other New Orleans residents, were forced to relocate to nearby Houston, Texas. After Katrina we saw many new businesses in New Orleans face inevitable failure.
During the two years that we spent in Houston, we came together to develop a lifestyle brand that reflected the cultural influences of New Orleans and our love of high end fashion and couture. What we produced was a rare and eclectic collection we call "Jerk and Jon."
We returned to New Orleans in 2007 with "Jerk and Jon," a business plan and even more tenacity. Our unique design style and custom made pieces began to create a buzz through the music, sports and entertainment industry. We had the fortune of working with the likes of Jackie Jackson, Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson, Kerri Hilson and Elise Neal.
However, we wanted to find a way to share our fashion experiences with the city of New Orleans. It was important that we paid homage to the city of New Orleans, so we could show the world how richly built upon the community of New Orleans was. A city most recently known for the travesties of Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, New Orleans is by no means considered a metropolis or fashion mecca. Plagued by natural disasters and political corruption, the embattled state remains the 46th largest in the nation, and holds an unemployment rate of 6.7%.
We found a way to blend contemporary art and fashion with New Orleans history in our flagship store that we opened in July 2012. It was a proud milestone for "Jerk and Jon" when we opened Style Gallery + ER in New Orleans' historic French Quarters district. The gallery is decorated with actual artifacts from the Hurricane, recreated as functional pieces of art.
Today, New Orleans has successfully reinvented itself yet again! More racially diverse than ever, the younger generation has now become the more successful leading the charge to growth, and with the push of private and government fueled investments New Orleans is notably being compared to other "boutique like cities" such as San Francisco.
We love being a part of this resurgence. We are here to deliver Lights! Camera! Fashion! and help the people of this city make a statement. The vibrant city of New Orleans is undoubtedly what keeps us motivated in our business and helped us succeed. New Orleans remains a most unique city. Her past is never far from her future and her people are devoted to keeping her a one of a kind city, which we hope to continue through our work at Style Gallery + ER.
This blog post is part of a series produced by Square as part of Let's Talk, an event series bringing local business owners together to collaborate and connect within their communities. For more information about Square, click here.