New Orleans Saints Coach Teams Up With Local Jeweler for Benefit

Football season is in full swing, but New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton is already taking a quick timeout. The celebrated coach will, for the fourth consecutive year, partner with Metairie, La.-based jewelry store, Aucoin Hart Jewelers, on a benefit event that raises money for needy families and children.

The coach’s nonprofit organization, Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation, is sponsoring the event with the Aucoin Hart Foundation, which shares a similar mission of mitigating homelessness and domestic violence as well as facilitating education, health care, and other social welfare needs. Both entities were launched following Hurricane Katrina, and focus on families in the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.

The ladies Rolex Datejust that’s up for auction. (Photos courtesy of Aucoin Hart Jewelers)

The annual event, this year scheduled for Sept. 21 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., is a lure for jewelry lovers and football followers, alike; Payton gamely signs autographs and poses for pictures before raffling off a big-ticket jewelry item.

This year’s item is particularly swanky. Rolex has donated a ladies stainless steel Rolex Datejust boasting a mother-of-pearl-and-diamond dial, an 18k white gold diamond bezel, and an oyster bracelet. The timepiece is valued at $18,350.

But the watch isn’t the only thing up for raffle. A Saints helmet autographed by Lance Moore and a framed lithograph by Rick Rush (signed by Coach Payton) also will be raffled off. And the future owner of the Rolex will receive two tickets to Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation’s marquee event, the Black & Gold Gala, which will be held at the Superdome on Sept. 28.

Sean Payton signs autographs at 2011’s benefit.

“We met Coach Payton in 2006 when he accepted the head coaching job for the New Orleans Saints and became friends,” Tommy Aucoin Jr., president of the Aucoin Hart Foundation and co-owner of the jewelry store, told JCK. “We decided that combining our foundations for an event could help raise money for our community. The combination of Coach’s celebrity status and our reputation in the community for creating beautiful pieces of jewelry has attracted lots of attention—and helped us raise over $140,000 for Coach’s foundation.”

This year’s event will also debut the store’s newly expanded showroom, which has been in various phases of construction for three years. “Our store has doubled in size and we can hold more people,” notes Aucoin, adding that the new space features “a beautiful new Rolex corner.”

JCK Magazine Editor