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MINNEAPOLIS -- To help reinvigorate the New Orleans baking community, General Mills based here baked and sold 500 King Cakes for a fundraising event at The Bagel Factory in New Orleans yesterday.
The Bagel Factory, which recently reopened its doors after being damaged by Hurricane Katrina, is stepping up to help other local bakeries recover.
King Cakes are a New Orleans bakery tradition during Mardi Gras. The festive cakes are braided and decorated in the Mardi Gras colors -- purple, green and gold -- and contain a special surprise, such as a bean, pea or coin to signify good luck.
Proceeds from the bake sale will be donated to the New Orleans Retail Bakers Association (RBA) to help rebuild local bakeries damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
General Mills and The Bagel Factory donated the ingredients, supplies and bakers to prepare the 500 King Cakes. In addition to the funds raised during the event, General Mills will donate up to $25,000 more in March through a bakery mix promotion in which the company is donating $5 for every bag of Danish mix sold to bakeries across the country through March 10.
The Bagel Factory, located on the corner of Oleander and Carrolton in New Orleans, was dealt a devastating blow by Hurricane Katrina, but owner Rusty Mazik enlisted New Orleans community members to help rebuild his bakery.
"With the help of three crews from Trinity Church, we were able to get our bakery back on its feet again," said Mazik. "With everyone's hard work and dedication, we hope to re-establish ourselves as one of New Orleans' premier bakeries."
Another local business, http://www.KingCakeShop.com, contributed to the event and hosted artist Ray Cole, who signed copies of his commemorative "Mardi Gras Everlasting" limited-edition posters.
On Wednesday, employees at General Mills world headquarters in Minneapolis held their own King Cake fundraiser and raised more than $1,000 for the New Orleans Retail Bakers Association. General Mills also donated $2 million last fall to the Red Cross in response to hurricane relief efforts.