The Ponchatoula Country Market recently turned 40. The market is a symbol and attraction for the town.
The market debuted in 1973 at 10 E. Pine Street in downtown Ponchatoula. Jimmie Fitzmorris, former Louisiana lieutenant governor, said he remembers opening day like it was yesterday. Saturday, he rang the iron bell outside just as he did 40 years ago to kick off the business.
At the the celebration, Julian Dufreche, former mayor and current parish clerk of court, was in attendance to declare Oct. 12, 2013 to be official Ponchatoula Country Market Day.
An old historic train building that dates back to 1920 is the site of the Country Market. With the help of Patricia Richardson and company, it was transformed into a place for local artists and crafting gurus to show off and sell their pieces.
A volunteer board runs the nonprofit organization. Vendors rent out the interior space, however, profits go to the upkeep and restoration of the building.
Boudreaux’s Cajun Kitchen offered a full meal inside the market, and visitors could enjoy a live band out back on the porch.
“I think 40 years really means that this place was meant to be. We have a lot of people who have worked diligently to keep this place going and when we have a function, everyone turns up,” said board member Texie Young.
For 20 years, Young has been a part of the market family, and she said it came to her rescue at a hard time in her life.
“This whole day has been great,” said co-manager Margie Marcomb. “We’re so glad this building has been here for 40 years, and we hope it stays here for another 40.”