New Orleans Artist and Merchant Sings, ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas!’

Triumphant return to flooded home/studio met with hope for brighter future

When Hurricane Katrina’s flooding in the Lakeview neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana claimed Rob Clemenz’s home and business in August 2005, he had to put his money where his mouth is…so to speak.

The founder of, a uniquely offbeat New Orleans Web site that offers his designs of wearable art, called upon the very subjects of his art to summon the strength to persevere. His Web-based business, specializing in selling saints medals imported from Italy and hand-painted in New Orleans, will return to its original Lakeview home-office location in December, following lengthy renovations.

“My saints medal designs have been called ‘tokens of hope’ and I like that analogy since people of any — or no — religious denomination can glean a message of hope from the saints’ life stories. They were ordinary people forced to survive through extraordinary challenges,” Clemenz says. “After Katrina and the flood, we needed every token of hope we could find.”

Clemenz and his partner were adamantly committed to returning, rebuilding, and being a part of the rebirth of their beloved city. After months, they found a temporary residence in a dry area of town and worked tirelessly to recover what they could from their home, which doubled as Clemenz’s studio and office, and start anew.

“The saint medals bear so many parallels to their New Orleans home,” Clemenz notes. “Slightly irreverent, very unique, artistically original. I simply cannot think of ever taking my business elsewhere.”

During the long road home, Clemenz’s wearable art caught the eye of notable celebrities (including Bruce Springsteen) and national media outlets; he also expanded his retail visibility, adding New Orleans’ rebounding boutiques, such as the Little Miss Muffin franchise of stores in the Old Metairie and Lakeview suburbs.

Clemenz takes care to always hand write a note to folks who order medals via and he sends a “flood medal” with every package as a tiny piece of history.

For information or scheduling interviews with founder and New Orleans artist Rob Clemenz, contact Kara Schonberg at, or visit

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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