Shopping locally during the holidays is easy when you live in New Orleans. From the Mississippi River to Lake Pontchartain, chances are, on any given weekend, there is a local marketplace near you.

One of my favorite places to shop is Le Marché des Fêtes, the annual holiday event that takes place at the historic Pitot House. For the fifth consecutive year, the former home of New Orleans’ first mayor, James Pitot, is transformed into an open-air marketplace to showcase dozens of local artists for a one-stop unique shopping experience.

As shoppers strolled through the house and grounds along the banks of Bayou St. John, live music filled the air thanks to The Courtyard Kings, the 101 Runners and guitarist John Rankin. Local authors such as Bonnie Warren, Ryan Adam, Poppy Tooker and Kid Chef Eilana were all on hand to showcase their latest books.

There was pottery by Michele Benson Huck, ethical fashions by Passion Lillie, jewelry by Mignon Faget, cityscapes by painter Adam Hall, hats by designer Tracy Thomson and just about everything local you would want to share with family and friends as gifts.

The Pitot House holiday market is timed perfectly to coincide with the property’s abundant citrus harvest. The aroma of crêpes made to order on-site beckoned and sustained holiday shoppers, myself included.

“As an artist, I’ve noticed an increased demand from both locals and visitors for handcrafted local art,” explained Huck, the potter. For most artists I chatted with at the Pitot House this past weekend, sales have been steady and brisk since the big Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend.

More than 500 shoppers passed through the gates of the Pitot House to enjoy Le Marché des Fêtes this past weekend. Proceeds from the celebration help to enhance the mission of the Louisiana Landmarks Society and to support the historic home and gardens. To learn more about other events held at the Pitot House, visit www.louisiana

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