Jewelry that preserves the history of New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS(WGNO)--"I'm so proud to call New Orleans home and share the culture of New Orleans through my designs with the rest of the world."

Tulane graduate Ashley Porter launched her brand, Porter Lyons, in 2012, and in four short years has made it in to the closets of Hollywood's A-list.

"My first sale from a celebrity was Jessica Alba, and I remember I was all alone in my apartment in the Marigny, and I literally got up off my couch and went running through my entire apartment screaming and yelling. It's a moment I'll never forget," said Porter reminiscing.

Now her designs, inspired by New Orleans, frequent the red carpet on models and actresses such as Gigi Hadid, Lauren Conrad, and Taylor Swift, to name a few. But to Porter, her success is a happy accident.

Porter Lyons launched in November 2012 with one collection, inspired by the alligator backbone, and since then they've had seven different collections, most recently the "Creole Wild West" inspired by the Mardi Gras Indians.

With family roots dating back centuries in New Orleans, Porter's mission is to preserve its culture and lifestyle.

"Porter Lyons is hodgepodge of my name, Porter is my last name and Lyons is my middle name, and Lyons is a family name. It was my great-great grandfather who moved to New Orleans in the 1860s to start I.L Pharmacy on Camp Street," said Porter.

Her creations focus on artistic, natural and spiritual aspects of the city. She even learned the beading technique from the big chief of the Creole Wild West and has incorporated that into some of the designs as well as the dream catchers.

"We give part of our profits to different charities, including the Coalition to Restore Louisiana for Wetland Preservation, George Rodrigue Foundation for Children in the arts, and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanity, so when you buy a piece of our jewelry it's really about the wearable art aspect and the history of New Orleans that it preserves," said Porter.

What's next after making it big? Porter is opening up shop in the Vieux Carre at 631 Toulouse St. The grand opening is Oct. 1, and the brick and mortar store will include their first fine jewelry line, a juice bar, and live music.