Oct. 5, 2001 - In his home on a quiet road near the Peace Corps School, Etienne Querrard took in "problem" North Side boys and provided them with shelter and discipline. After the conflicts with family cooled off in a month or so, he sent them home. He also ran a little shop for the neighbors. This was in the 1940s and '50s.
Querrard's granddaughter Annette Etienne and her husband, Aaron, have just taken over ownership of the Mandahl Market, started in that same building in 1992 by Annette's parents, Eleanore and George Querrard.
When Eleanore Querrard retired from the Health Department in the early 1990s, she found that the volunteer work she was doing just wasn't enough to use up her energy. "I had always wanted to be a business owner," she recalled. One day her daughter Annette sat her down and said, "I think you and George can open a convenience grocery on that land in Mandahl."
So they picked up the idea and ran with it, and all of their family members have worked alongside them from the time the neighborhood store opened.
Now Eleanore Querrard is retiring again, and the Etiennes have taken over the running of the market. Following in the tradition of her grandfather, Annette Etienne wants to provide "a community gathering place." So, they have begun holding Saturday flea markets in the parking lot.
The first, on Sept. 29, was a great success, even with parking-lot confusion during the benefit carwash. The second is this weekend, from 7 a..m. to 6:30 p.m. If there's interest, they plan to expand the operation to Sundays, too.
A sign-up fee of $20 entitles vendors to tents and tables -- and a crowd, Annette Etienne indicated. For schools and community organizations, the fee is waived, and there has been a special request for sellers of Girl Scout cookies.
The first week's vendors offered new and used items, arts and crafts, barbecue and Cajun food, plants and more. For this week, a masseuse has signed on, and the Etiennes hope more personal services providers -- offering haircuts or manicures, for example -- will set up.
Annette Etienne expressed particularly the hope that "parents will encourage children to come set up a small table, sell, and earn a little change of their own, in a safe and friendly environment." In her own way, she would be carrying on her grandfather's tradition of caring for youngsters and preparing them to make their way in the world.