Francis Lestingi, proprietor of Signs of Gold (Williamsville, NY), traveled more than 1,000 miles to demonstrate his gilding skills. However, the trip wasn’t for a high-dollar project, or even a conclave of signmakers whom he could wow with his prowess. Rather, he joined his compatriots in the Society of Gilders to work pro bono to help restore a New Orleans church that still sat neglected from the 2005 ravages of Hurricane Katrina and subsequent population drain that leaves the Crescent City struggling to regain its identity.
Lestingi and his fellow gilders converged at St. Mary’s Assumption Church in uptown New Orleans to bedeck its altar, communion railing and other church artifacts that required a gilder’s touch. The included photos show Lestingi meticulous work to help restore the church to its former glory.