NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the French Market Corporation announced the selection of Jon Smith as the agency’s new executive director. Smith, a New Orleans native, will lead all planning and program development efforts for the French Market Corporation, which oversees the French Market properties, including the Flea Market and Farmer’s Market.
Smith previously served as a commercial Realtor for Talbot Realty Group of New Orleans and as Director of Commercial Property for HRI Properties of New Orleans, one of the nation’s leading urban historical rehabilitation and redevelopment companies. Smith was the owner and operator of Cork & Bottle Fine Wines in Mid-City New Orleans for 10 years. During this time Smith brought the farmer’s market concept back to Mid-City for the first time since Hurricane Katrina by founding the Mid-City Green Market, which he managed for two years before handing the market over to the Crescent City Farmer’s Market.
“Jon’s work experience, professional accomplishments and energy make him a natural choice to lead the French Market Corporation and oversee some of the City’s greatest gems,” Mayor Mitch Landrieu said. “I’m excited about this opportunity to enhance the Market as a premier international destination.
“We’re excited to welcome Jon to the French Market Corporation and know that he will employ his significant talents and experience to support our mission and goals,” said Demetric Mercadel, president of the French Market Corporation Board of Directors.
As executive director, Smith will serve in a leadership capacity for all French Market properties, including the Upper Pontalba Building, Washington Artillery Park, Dutch Alley, Latrobe Park, Farmer’s Market, Flea Market, French Market Parking Lot, Farmer’s Market Parking Lot and Annex Parking Lot.
With a history dating back over 200 years, the French Market is the nation’s oldest public market and an enduring symbol of New Orleans. The vibrant, open-air pavilions of the Market include a farmer’s market with full-service eateries, fresh produce, seafood, baked goods and a flea market where merchants from around the world sell clothing, antiques, art, jewelry and other goods.
The French Market attracts an estimated 6.4 million visitors each year and has tenant-generated sales of approximately $30 million.
As executive director, Smith will be responsible for an operation and capital budget of approximately $12 million and a staff of 44 civil service employees.
“It is exciting to be taking the helm of one of New Orleans most important real estate assets, particularly considering its cultural and historical value to the city,” Smith said. “I look forward to working towards the reinvigoration of the French Market as a place that offers goods and services to both the community of New Orleans and our visitors alike.”
Earlier in his career, Smith worked for Robert Mondavi Winery, managing a four-state region that included Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky.
Smith holds a degree from the University of New Orleans