This past month all eyes were on New Orleans; a beautiful, one-of-a-kind city; a jewel linked with The Father of Waters; the proud location of possibly the oldest multi-cultural trading grounds and open-air urban markets, in the country.
The New Orleans French Market was born more than two centuries ago on the relative high ground where the Mississippi River bends on its way to the Delta. Native Americans began trading here, French colonists and assorted settlers followed suit. The Spanish were the first to build structures.
In 1813, the first market building was erected (to provide sanitary conditions for selling meat). Over the years various tents and shacks were covered. In the 1930s the market that grew there was remodeled.
Our Market has a similar, albeit shorter, history; but the major differing fact is our Market has been in continuous operation since that fateful August day, in 1917. The French Market has been virtually abandoned on a couple occasions: folk have moved on uptown or outta town. The market recovered. Right now the French Market looks like a wily pile of rubble.
Being on high ground, the market isn't flooded, but everything is in disarray. Stalls are smashed and broken; tents are collapsed and blown down and festering in piles. Their farmer's market arcade (countless rows of hot sauce bottles, beads and 'Gater Sausage) down to the Flea Market, ruined.
The French Market had the open space quality and was a definite destination. In olde NOLA you had to begin your morning with chicory coffee and beignet at Café du Monde. (Then, a Crawfish etoufee crepe in the afternoon ...and off to the daiquiri races...)
My brother lived about 10 minutes away from the market and I went there often. It is a transcendent place and a vital link to the history of New Orleans. In a Market-to-Market link it makes a lot of sense why people here are getting so involved. Market-to-Market caring.
In the Down Under, Eugene and Ellen Kim, or Pike Place Bags, next to Sunshine Jewelry, were the angles that got the ball rolling by going around and collecting money - stall-to-stall and door-to-door - from nearly 50 Market Merchants (and one customer, Lisa Skvarla, saw what was happening and wanted to contribute too). The endeavor raised $2,375 that was immediately sent to New Orleans, via our US Bank.
The Pink Door paid homage in a signature NOLA-style with their drink and donations.
The Buskers dedicated their fourth annual Busker's Festival to the Hurricane victims and collected about $600 specifically for hurricane recovery.
Native Louisianans Christy Coco and Chuck Smith, relatively new owners of Sestos, on Western, closed their shop and went down to help.
Saturday, September 24, Local Color hosted an auction benefiting hurricane victims, donated items came from all over the craft line, the fish markets, assorted merchants and everywhere: everything from handmade kaleidoscopes to a chance to throw fish at Pike Place Fish Co. Sharon Shaw who helped organize the event was pleased and amazed with how generous the Market community was. All proceeds collected from the auction went to Habitat For Humanity.
Hurricane victims are still in need, anyone able to give, contact the Market Branch of US BANK or the Red Cross.
Still life (though never still life) in our urban village went on and, again, in September, it was the variety of people that kept things oh so interesting!
The two Argentinean guys who are riding motorcycles from the North Pole to the South Pole cycled through (and even found parking spots). The already weary looking and heavily laden bikes were an interesting sight. For more info (en Espanol) check out transamerica.4t.com.
The entirety of the Air Force Academy football team strolled through the Market in bright blue tracksuits. The river of blue flew from their stop at Pike Place Fish Co. (where, rumor has it, the receiver dropped the fish he was thrown, but they still beat the Huskies) and paraded down the bricks of Pike Place, checking it all out.
PDA security, fish boys and shoppers were abuzz Tuesday morning, Sept. 6, when a History Channel camera crew filmed around the Market. Word is that the footage is for some sort of History Channel Miniseries, to begin this fall. Watch this column for more info. PBS, too, was spotted traversing the Market with a large video camera.
The Fourth Annual Buskers Festival was definitely the highlight of the month. Everyone was abuzz! Everyone from "the Jims," to Snake Suspenderz, to library favorite Brothers from Different Mothers, to Slim Pickens, to the Dog Mafia, to Professor Humbug's Flea Circus. All the faces were out. Besides the three stages folk were performing on the street, dancing in the alleys and enjoying the waning days of summer.
In the three-hour debriefing the Pike Place Performers Guild deemed the event a transcendent success, each year better and better. Artis the Spoonman estimated that 60 percent of the crowd gathered in Post Alley was there specifically for the event. Regardless of numbers, the Market was packed and everyone was pleasantly pleased and prancing. Planning has begun for next year...
Beside Buskers, Miss Patty Summers was making music. Summers, notorious Market business owner and Seaettle Jazz fixture since the 1960s, is saying good-bye, for real. In the process of her parting she recorded one last live CD, September 15, live in her subterranean cabaret venue. What a remarkable place and woman. Whoa!
Also on the 15th, the Montecristo Platinum Girl made an appearance at the Market Tobacco Patch. Steve Martin was also on hand, talking about the tasty cigars, tennis and humidors.
National Pirates Day (also Thanksgiving in Korea), September 18, was celebrated with a bottle of brass monkey... though no sign of the sword slinging Seattle Favorites aboard Moby Duck.
Good olde Billy B. is back at the races, and the horse races that is. The Market fixture and racing aficionado - with a racing form in one hand and the other one explaining everything - found a bit of luck. He placed a bet for Celeste, Shy Giant, and the two were winners. (The winning horse was actually named Celeste and that got the ball rolling.)
Market artist Leone Ardo decorated the corridors of the Stewart House with her unique paintings. Albert, the new manager, is happy with the development, just as long as everyone puts the recycling in the correct receptacles.
The sometime imitated but never duplicated Mr. Jon Strongbow, the tall artist in the hat with day-glo accents, has been garnering attention with his massages. (This sounds a wee bit Inspector Clouseau - is it messages or massages or ??) Check out his pen-and-ink interpretations of the city on display on the craftline.
The tall man in sunglasses, none other than author Mr. Tom Robbins, was spotted slinking around the Market.... maybe fetching funky fodder for his short stories.
The Mariner Moose, Ashlee Spears, Mark Arm, Charlie Chong and many other famous faces were others spotted circumventing them Market. Uli's famous (sausage) truck made it onto TV - when the car was on fire on Highway 99 he said he flipped on the TV and there was his truck, he had to wipe it off the next day. Magic lady Sheila Lyon has been spotted around town doing her increasing famous CHOCOLATE READINGS (pop by her Down Under shop for more tasty info!!)
A belated birthday beso is also in order for the lovely Miss Janis, of Dish D'lish. The sparkly-eyed party girl turned fifty, last month and Kathy Casey threw her a culinary party to remember, in her studio. Mmmm... The Scallion heard Janis' favorite 'Nana puddin' with 'Nilla wafers was to die for.
One notable Market personality is back. After being voted out of her spot on the PDA Council in the recent constituency election, Ann Mangano is back on the PDA Council, reappointed to the Council by Mayor Greg Nickels. For more information about how the intricate factions of the Market's governing body the PDA check out their Web site or schedule a Market Heritage Tour through Michele at the Market Foundation.
The Market says goodbye to Bill Drummond, PDA Residential Manager did his four years but he says happy trails.
So much happens here - holy Halloween homies - dish your shizzle. What did you see fizzle? What got stuck in your pizzle? Do tell. Stop your information by the Merchant's Association Office or email to firstname.lastname@example.org . We're waiting.