In 2005, two months before Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, my husband and I moved to the New Orleans area. We were extraordinarily lucky; our house, studio and their contents survived for the most part intact.
I heard about a specialty printer in New Orleans who had been flooded by the storms, he was forced to close. The plant took five feet of water but a collection of hand engraved dies remained dry.
Events have always moved slowly here, after the storms progress seemed to almost stop. It was not until November 2006 that I was able to recover the half-inch thick steel dies, some of which are over a hundred years old. The beautiful (or crude) hand engraved monogram dies, the quirky club and company seals, will become part of the Special Collections Division, Hill Memorial Library, Louisiana State University.
Since 1977 when I first became engaged in commercial engraving I have watched the rich polish of polite society decline to a harsh commercial glare. To me, each idiosyncratic letter, each imperfectly cut line on those preciously wrapped, odd, sugar-cube sized blocks scream of a special language, a specific time and a now familiar place called New Orleans.