Savoir Faire

Defend New Orleans: Assignment 1

25, نوفمبر 2010

Part 1:

Defend New Orleans

“Defend New Orleans continues to evolve and maintain relevance. As things continue to decline or remain unimproved, we feel that it is as important as ever to fight for our city at home and to show people around the world what is really going on in New Orleans today. We see no end to the need for Defend New Orleans and no limit to what we can accomplish.”
-Jac Currie

The Organization

Defend New Orleans started in 2003 as a T-shirt design company created by Jac Currie in 2003. Originally, DNO was created by and for friends as a celebration of local pride.  After Katrina, there was a need to guard the city from aggressive homogenizing forces who wished to exploit the city without a care for its intricate history.  It was at this time that Defend New Orleans stepped up as a subversive protest movement. Since then, the purpose of the brand has evolved into preserving the city.

The slogan was never meant to be taken literally, but rather was a general statement regarding the city. The brand has an appeal, especially to the youth of New Orleans, that has united the community by creating a new ‘I Heart NY’ shirt.  The simple desire to make a difference and maintain the culture of New Orleans sparked a passion that caught like fire.  Soon hundreds of bathroom mirrors, walls, and cop cars all bore the now-iconic graphic. Two stores, Turncoats, in the bohemian Lower Garden District, and Rocks Off, a record store on Magazine Street, began carrying the merchandise to an ever-growing base of like-minded locals who were ready to fight back to save their city.

There was a movie created about the maker of DNO called “No Place Like Home”. It is about his first trip back to New Orleans after the hurricane hit.


Defend New Orleans makes money by selling merchandise and then gives all the proceeds to various charities.

Main People Involved

Jac Currie (founder)

Paul Cianciulli (co-founder)

Promoted by Ellen DeGeneres

Drew Stubbs


Defend New Orleans donates to a wide variety of local organizations including: New Orleans Musicians Clinic, Save Our Coast, Renew Our Music, and Sweet Home New Orleans, Habitat for Humanity, the New Orleans Restoration Fund and the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).



Part 2:


Cultural Design

The t-shirts that DNO sells are very culturally aware. As we mentioned in our first post, t-shirts are a huge current fad amongst this generation. DNO also books performers that our generation will appreciate and respond well to.

Social Networking

The purpose of DNO is to make connections amongst the people of New Orleans in order to solve social, economic and cultural issues. DNO makes social connections with vendors, artists, performers and other charities in order to spread their ideas.


Reviving Culture vs. Providing Need

One of the important negotiations of Defend New Orleans is the idea of  reviving the culture and customs of New Orleans versus providing help to residents of New Orleans who are in need.  How should an organization such as Defend New Orleans go about finding a balance between the two arguments?  DNO started as more a statement of cultural support than an actual call to action, but now has grown and developed into an organization that works to promote everything they love about the city of New Orleans.  The Defend New Orleans Blog, is particularly interesting because it is a source of information about events happening in the city, as well as cultural stories about food and traditions.

Awareness vs. Action

Defend New Orleans looks to raise awareness about fading culture in the city, as well as take action to revive the unique culture of New Orleans.  There lies a negotiation in how much money, time, and effort is to be spent raising awareness versus actually taking action.  DNO has combated this issue through selling a variety of  “Defend New Orleans” shirts and other products.  The shirts not only raise awareness when people wear them, but also bring in money so that action can be taken.  A majority of the proceeds from these sales go to sponsoring events to take action and help the people of New Orleans.  Money from the sale of Defend merchandise has aided Bridge House, Tipitinas Foundation, NORF, New Orleans Musicians Fund, Sweet Home New Orleans, and The Gulf Restoration Network among others.  The DNO organization has grown from a small statement of cultural support rather than an actual call to arms, to a community focused lifestyle brand. DNO works to promote the things they love in their favorite

Defend New Orleans

10, نوفمبر 2010

Defend New Orleans

Defend New Orleans is a group which promotes the social, economic, and cultural improvement of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in general. It began in 2003 as simply a t-shirt, which would support those affected by the devastating hurricane. It has grown into a “community focused lifestyle brand”, and recently came out with a new line of shirts, called “Support the Coast”, which was created to support gulf coast communities in the aftermath of the BP oil spill. The idea behind Defend New Orleans is that they will sell t-shirts, stickers, mugs, etc., give 100% of the proceeds to organizations which are actually providing labor support to those in need, and raise awareness to the situation and the culture which it is threatening. Their main media is their blog located on their website,, where they post anything from animal threats, to flyers for volunteers needed, to invites to social events. They also use videos, which portray the rich culture on the Gulf Coast, by displaying different bands, activities, and people who serve to enrich the culture. It is very clear how much they are striving to preserve the way of life in New Orleans, and the idea that a simple t-shirt design could inspire such a massive movement is inspiring.

Initial Interpretation:

We were really drawn to this project, because of its small scale roots, and its simple but wide spread cause.  Defend New Orleans is not a group whose main objective is to proactively attack problems but rather to raise awareness to the problems and support other organizations that have the resources to physically make a difference with things like rebuilding New Orleans and cleaning up the oil spill in the gulf. We also liked this idea because our generation in general is obsessed with t-shirts. We all have t-shirts from every event we ever participated in throughout our childhood and still love getting new ones. The fact that a small group of friends designing a t-shirt (which most of can relate to from previous experiences) to simple say, “We support you New Orleans”, could spark this much larger network of people committed to the same cause is remarkable and interesting.


Raising awareness & providing physical support

Small Cost & More affordability (resulting in more money raised)

Reviving Culture & Helping those in need

Popular Product & Inspiration to join a cause

Video Link: