And Her Jewelry From Honduras
Peggy Mendoza is proud of her Honduran heritage, which is evident in the jewelry she has collected over the years from Carlos Humberto Callejas Canterio and Melissa, his sister, two of the most noted jewelry makers in Honduras.
“When I was growing up, I spent my summers in Honduras with my mother’s parents, Rosa and Mardogue Lagos, enjoying the language, culture and my heritage,” she says. “My mother, Mirna Mendoza, always collected the original jewelry from the dedicated Honduran jewelry makers who are like Mignon Faget, the most famous jewelry maker in New Orleans. The brother-sister duo in Honduras also issues named collections that relate to their country and culture. Their company is called Casa de Oro.”
She quickly recalls her first piece of jewelry from the famous Honduran team.
“More than 20 years ago, my mother brought me a bracelet from one of her trips to her native country. It’s from the Mayan Collection and I am wearing it in the photograph for this article. I love that it depicts the heritage of Honduras.” She says she especially likes the jewelry with gemstones and the pieces that tell stories. “For example,” she continues, “the Mayan Collection is about the country’s indigenous people and the mi tierra, the land, as well as historic places.”
Peggy came to New Orleans when her father, Dr. Roberto Clement Mendoza, brought the family here to practice pediatrics. “Although I was just a young child when I moved to New Orleans, I still am very in tune with my family’s connections to Honduras,” she says.
A graduate of Tulane University with a degree in political science and international relations, Peggy now works for City Year New Orleans as executive director and vice president. “It is an interesting education-based non-profit focused on helping students in our public schools stay on track and graduate,” she says. “It has been a fulfilling and worthwhile challenge to use my skills to help transform and strengthen our public school system. My work allows me to use my abilities to focus on education, which my parents taught me was the only path to success. This job enables me to serve my community and the city I love in a meaningful manner.”
Peggy describes her style as fashion forward but classy. “You will usually find me in a sleeveless dress, wearing four-inch, ‘pointy toe’ heels and bright red lipstick.” She doesn’t offer a list of local places to shop. “I tend to shop on line.”
She loves to say that she is sure she lived past lives in New Orleans when she is queried about why she lives in the city. “This city has history, great culture and a life of its own,” she answers. “I love the uniqueness of New Orleans and its Old World feeling. It feels like the life of the party to the world.”
Peggy tells of her ladies poker group to illustrate what she feels is an example of the uniqueness of New Orleans. “We have a ladies poker group made up of terrible poker players,” she says. “We play every six to eight weeks, pick a theme and dress in costume to celebrate the theme. We even bring food and play music to fit the theme. It’s tons of fun, but then it perfectly fits the New Orleans lifestyle.