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Kenner company wins 2015 Louisiana Lantern Award

For over 28 years, D & D Creations has played a vital role in the Mardi Gras industry. Distinctly Louisianan, the manufacturer specializes in ornate, hand-crafted costumes. During Carnival season, parade-goers can spot D & D’s handiwork on Mardi Gras royalty and entire krewes. The company’s unique role within an industry deeply rooted in Louisiana tradition helped D & D Creations earn a special award for Louisiana manufacturers: a 2015 Louisiana Lantern Award.

Louisiana Economic Development (LED) presented D & D Creations with the highly prestigious award at a special reception at Governor Bobby Jindal’s home Tuesday evening. The Louisiana Lantern Awards provide an opportunity for the State to celebrate manufacturers from across Louisiana. The winning companies for each district showcase a contribution to the Louisiana economy and to their local communities through employee growth, increase in revenue, facility expansion, and community engagement.

The Jefferson Parish Economic Development Commission (JEDCO) nominated D & D Creations for the District 1 award this year. The costuming company was selected from the Greater New Orleans region to receive the highly-coveted State award.

Pioneered by Diane Brown, the Kenner-based company oversees the creations of approximately 15,000 costumes a year, which can be glimpsed throughout such famous Mardi Gras krewes as Endymion, Zeus, Thoth, Mid-City, Napoleon, Argus, and Excaliber. In fact, D & D Creations designs customized outfits for more than 40 different carnival krewes across five states. The company also makes the elaborate wire collars worn by the Royal Court at Mardi Gras balls.  Three years ago, D & D expanded its offerings to include bridal work.

The company’s expanding product line and increasing demand prompted D & D Creations to relocate to a larger space in June 2014. Still based out of Kenner, the larger facility provides ample room to design and store the large Mardi Gras collars, 3D float props, and colorful costumes created by the company’s 11 full-time employees. JEDCO played a role in helping D & D Creations finance their move to the larger facility. JEDCO originally approved an SBA loan in partnership with D & D’s bank. Though D & D ultimately chose to utilize another SBA program, JEDCO’s finance team served as the catalyst to help the costume manufacturer achieve a loan that allowed them to purchase the facility.

Not only does this unique manufacturer provide a long-term boost to the Jefferson Parish economy, but the founders of the company are community champions. Employees with D & D Creations find opportunities to work with the Sunshine Kids and Make-a-Wish Foundations. Over the last several years, D & D Creations has arranged for children with life-threatening medical conditions to ride in Mardi Gras parades. The company also supplied all of the costumes for the children.

“D & D Creations is highly deserving of the 2015 Lantern Award,” says JEDCO Executive Director Jerry Bologna. “The company exemplifies all of the qualities of a successful manufacturer. With growth in sales, offerings, and a need for additional space, this innovative business is on track to outperform itself every year. We look forward to watching the company grow and continue to find success in Jefferson Parish.”

“D & D Creations has not only proven itself as a true success story in Kenner, but this home-grown company embodies the spirit of Jefferson Parish and the City of Kenner,” says Kenner Mayor Michael S. Yenni. “The company’s employees improve the economy through hard work and community engagement.  The founders of the company demonstrate the power of the entrepreneurial mindset by continuing to expand its offerings. D & D Creations is highly deserving of this prestigious award. I am thrilled to offer my congratulations to the entire D & D Creations team.”

Founder Diane Brown accepted the award on behalf of the company. She was presented with a custom-built, hand-crafted copper Lantern donated by Bevolo Gas & Electric Lights of New Orleans. The lanterns have become an internationally recognized trademark of New Orleans, and Bevolo is the oldest and largest copper gas lantern manufacturer in the U.S. and the second-oldest in the world. For more information about the Louisiana Lantern Award, click here.