The current salmonella outbreak traced back to raw tomatoes will have little effect on this weekend's Creole Tomato Festival at the French Market, according to Kenneth Ferdinand, executive director of the French Market Corporation.

"We may do some signage that we're salmonella-free," Ferdinand said this morning. "I need to get with the [state] Department of Health on that for the exact wording."

No Louisiana tomatoes have been included in the current health warnings, and the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration yesterday included Louisiana on its list of states where it's safe to buy and eat locally grown tomatoes.

"It was a curve ball," Ferdinand said. "For us, the Creole tomato is not only an important food product, but a symbol and icon for Louisiana farm products in general. When we celebrate the Creole tomato, we also celebrate eggplant, squash, bell pepper, and all the other hand-picked products that make up a considerable part of our local cuisine."

The Creole Tomato Festival takes place all day Saturday and Sunday at the French Market, with music, chef demonstrations, tasting sessions, and 20 food booths selling dishes made from the seasonal delicacy.