Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Postcard from South Louisiana: Arnaudville's new Town Market / story & photo, Rebecca Hudsmith

Postcards from South Louisiana are gifts from Rebecca Hudsmith, a rambling attorney and ever-curious arts broker who owns Bistineau Gallery, Shreveport. In three photos from a recent visit she celebrates
the advent of a Cajun arts center in Arnaudville, near Opelousas.

To amplify her story here's some copy from Erin Zaunbrecher, writer for the Independent Weekly of Lafayette:

"It's Friday night in Arnaudville, and artist George Marks’ Town Market is hopping. Painters, sculptors, town leaders and families mingle among crafts, handmade jewelry and sculpture, and New Orleans guitarist Marc Stone’s music fills the air along Bayou Teche. Mama Marks’ old dining room table in the market’s kitchen area is covered with crab stew, potato salad, sausage, fried chicken and jambalaya. Miss Betty, president of the Chamber of Commerce, hands out her stuffed bread from a basket. Out in front, five musicians jam on handcrafted furniture for sale.

The market is the new gathering spot in town and also the site for Tuesday lunch meetings, where townspeople discuss local issues. These meetings have sparked the development of a monthly farmer’s market at Arnaudville Feed & Seed and zydeco concerts in a grassy lot next to Russell’s Food Center. In the past year, more than 10 artists have either relocated their studios or moved to Arnaudville permanently, and it’s only a taste of what’s to come if Marks is successful in giving the town new life as an artists community." See more at theind.com.

Editor's note: The Independent Weekly is a product of Steve and Cherry May, once publishers of UpState Newsweekly, where I was a long-time writer. Here's their About Us from theind.com:
"Publishing partners Steve and Cherry Fisher May are veterans of the industry, having published The Times of Acadiana for eighteen years as well as ventures in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Lake Charles, Louisiana, and San Antonio, Texas. (Under their leadership, The Times was named Newspaper of the Year by the National Newspaper Association.) Associate publisher Odie Terry, also a partner in The Ind, had oversight of special projects for The Times Publishing Group, which was sold in 1998."

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