By: Ciera Mckissick



In 2003, people watched as Hurricane Katrina destroyed one of the most cultural and historical places in the United States. Floods swept away not only that culture and history, but the homes, belongings and loved ones of the states’ residents. Since then, New Orleans has been struggling and working hard to rebuild the city, and reclaim the title of the “big easy.”

Prior to Hurricane Katrina, Defend New Orleans was just a popular clothing brand, but after the devastation, the name took on a different meaning. Having seen success pre-Katrina, with its message of having local pride, the widely known t-shirt brand began gaining more momentum post-Katrina as a message to viewers—defend New Orleans.tshir

Defend New Orleans founder, Jac Currie (and cousin of Ellen DeGeneres), saw the involuntary show of support from the people, and decided to take their idea and run with it. Currie began selling the t-shirts and merchandise to directly benefit programs to help rebuild New Orleans. The sales have been used to aid Bridge House, Emergency Communities, Tipitinas Foundation, NORF, New Orleans Musicians Fund, Renew Our Music and Acorn. tshirt

Since Hurricane Katrina, the company has “sold 10-20,000 t-shirts, and raised over $20,000 for nonprofits,” according a profile on the company. To keep hopes high, Defend New Orleans hopes to foster more support for New Orleans and continue the current message, although Hurricane Katrina is a memory of the past.  They continue to throw parties with local musicians and artists to show why we all fell in love with New Orleans in the first place.


Check out the Defend New Orleans Web site, if you would like to be a part of rebuilding this magical city. 



California is composed of mostly immigrants, most of them coming from the Sunshine State's neighbor Mexico. California, the home of many industries, is described as the 'manufacturing hub' of the nation. Businesses have exploited immigrant workers to operate shady under the table workplaces for illegal immigrants. They do the work, yet the companies get paid. Some undocumented workers are working two or more jobs and barely getting by, even though they're working 60 to 70 hour weeks.  

There are over one million undocumented workers in the Los Angeles area alone. The problem isn't that they are undocumented, the problem is that our country doesn't address the fact that immigrants help our economy flourish, yet some don't think we owe them recognition and legitimization.  
American Apparel
and founder Dov Charney, has become the voice for Los Angeles' stance on immigration reform, and is spreading that message to the rest of the nation with their line of t-shirts 'Legalize LA.' The proceeds from the t-shirts are donated to Los Angeles immigration rights groups. This cause has become a core part of the company at large, because it is an issue they face every day--they employ over 10,000 people worldwide according to their web site.tshirt 

American Apparel prides itself in the fact that its products are made in downtown LA, rather than in a sweatshop somewhere overseas, and that they do not exploit their immigrant workers. The message is all in equality. A person that works in the US, helps the US prosper, and pays taxes should definitely be granted citizenship in that country. legalize gay

Another set of shirts also vouching for equality, are the 'Legalize Gay' t-shirts, which are a play on the Legalize LA shirts. American Apparel began passing out the shirts to protestors in response to the passing of Proposition 8 which banned same sex marriages in California. They began selling the shirts in store and despite vandalism and threats, the shirts have become another worthy cause American Apparel is standing behind.  

To show your stance, and help be a voice for American Apparel's 'Legalize' campaign, check out their immigration reform page, and their gay rights page.



photo credits:,, and