Launched just two months ago, over 40 artists have already signed-up to participate in the Gulf Coast Marketplace. This virtual festival and craft fair helps sell their hand-crafted products to a global market while promoting and celebrating Louisiana’s rich culture and heritage. Most importantly, it provides opportunity for economic growth and financial independence for households that have been faced with multiple challenges.
Please scroll through BayouResilience.com for background on some of the talented artists now featured on the site. Our goal is to have 100 participating by September 2012.
Louisiana-based Options for Independence, a 501 (c) 3 non-profit social service agency, continues to fund the initial start-up of this project as one of its six community recovery initiatives. The business model for future development of the Gulf Coast Marketplace relies on support from sponsors and partners that share our in our mission.
A $1,500 Individual Artist Sponsorship provides for initial inventory purchase as well as
equipment, supplies and tech support for the artist. Most importantly, it brings immediate income into the artist’s household and funding for their start-up and business development. Options is also seeking Major and Supporting sponsors from organizations that want to contribute to the long-term mission, development and marketing of this e-commerce solution for community recovery.
If you would like to participate as a sponsor and/or if you should know of a individuals or organizations that may be willing to assist us in the development of the Gulf Coast Marketplace, please contact me at, 504-875-3932 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to hear from you. – Jim Pittman
The mission of the Gulf Coast Marketplace is to contribute to community recovery by providing opportunities for economic growth and financial independence, especially for those impacted by disaster.
“While the BP spill might have been the catalyst to get the Gulf Coast Marketplace started, I think it’s an idea we’re going to see a lot more of in the coming years. As the world continues to become more globally focused, I believe that consumers are becoming increasingly ‘village conscious’, trying to make decisions that will benefit the areas closest to where they live. The Gulf Coast Marketplace allows consumers to make specific, locally-beneficial decisions that will in-turn help them to preserve much of what they love about the region in which they live. Additionally, the Gulf Coast Marketplace gives local artisans the opportunity to do something that big, mega corporations can’t do. They can give their products a face. And the face is their own. When you buy a product from the Gulf Coast Marketplace, you know you are making a one-to-one deal that directly benefits the person from whom you are buying it,” — Fred Peer, CEO, N.O. Brew
“I was rejuvenated by moving back to Louisiana; I love it here so much. It’s my home. My family is here. My life is here. I think the music on the record reflects that,” says Josh Garrett on his website, www.joshgarrettmusic.com.“I feel like I’m at the beginning of my career. There’s a lot more for me to do, a lot more places to go, a lot more shows to play, and a lot more albums to record.”
“I appreciate that the Gulf Coast Marketplace is providing a platform for Louisiana artists to introduce their stories and products to a larger audience,” said Josh Garrett in a recent interview. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a wonderful project”.
Chris Billiot’s self-published inspiration, “And Heaven Stood Silent…”, now available on the Gulf Coast MarketplacePosted: September 28, 2011 | |
- Illustrations by Hans Geist -
by Jim Pittman, @gulfcoastmarket
A Native American, Christopher Billiot grew up hunting and fishing in the swamps and bayous of Dulac and Bourg, Louisiana. He is a captain on inshore and offshore vessels servicing the Gulf oil industry.
The concept of Chris’ book, “And Heaven Stood Silent…”, came to him 10 years ago at around two-in-the-morning while navigating through South Louisiana’s inland waterways. He had a feeling his story was compelling but figured that moments of such divine inspiration were common to many. So, he scribbled notes on a piece of paper and stored the story in the back of his mind. A year later, a man that Chris calls “Rev” entered his life.
Rev is a truck driver, a church pastor and a radio host in the Baton Rouge area. He and his radio show minister to a dozen or so parishes in Louisiana. Upon learning about Rev’s broadcast, Chris thought it would be an excellent platform to present his story. So, Chris told Rev about the concept and his inspiration. While listening to Chris tell “And Heaven Stood Silent…”, a stunned Rev hardly blinked an eye and stared directly through him. It was then that Chris realized the impact of his powerful story and, with Rev’s encouragement, decided to share it with the world.
“It was a bitter cold December night. The wind howled through the trees as the Artic air blew with the fierceness of a hurricane. Storm clouds gathered on the horizon as the forces of good and evil were about to collide. I could hear the howling of a lone wolf and the hooting of a wise owl as they warned both man and beast alike about the creatures that were on the move this bitter cold evening. While mortal man slept, totally oblivious to the warnings and movements of the creatures not of the realm of man, one person was called upon to witness and to intercede in the drama about to unfold; a drama unknown to mortal man, but one forever logged in the annuals of the highest courts of the heavenly realms…. The inevitable was about to take place…. All of Heaven Stood Silent… The fate of mankind was about to be sealed as the left side of the scale started to reach its lowest extreme. In who’s favor would the scales of justice tip?”
Like many of the businesses in South Louisiana, Chris’s company was directly impacted by the Gulf oil spill. As a result, he became more actively involved with community ministry work through Grand Caillou Baptist Church. The challenges presented by the Gulf oil spill disaster gave Chris an opportunity to help others while he worked on writing, promoting and attempting to publish his new book.
For several years Chris has shopped “And Heaven Stood Silent…”, hoping a publishing company would show interest — but no such luck. Chris pooled his limited resources and publish the book himself, hoping to grab the interest of a publisher at a later date. The Gulf Coast Marketplace, “the e-commerce solution for community recovery” now provides an opportunity for a self-published author, like Chris Billiot, to share his inspiration with the world.
Purchase a copy of “And Heaven Stood Silent…” by visiting Chris’ page on the Gulf Coast Marketplace.
About the illustrator:
Hans Geist is a South Louisiana artist who graduated from high school in 1994, enrolled at Nicholls State University, and received a Bachelor of Art degree in 2000. Although his studies were in graphic design, his real passion is for painting and illustration. Starting his own business as a free lance artist, Hans states “After only three years, God blessed me with Imagine This, a large studio-gallery located in the heart of downtown Houma, Louisiana. God has finally brought me to a place that I am free to express my artwork at age 27 in awesome ways. I thank the Lord daily for the abilities, gifts, and visions the He entrusts in me, for rescuing me, and for giving me a new life.” Geist considers his work as a south Louisiana artist both a blessing and an adventure, is honored to work with Author Chris Billiot on this book, and looks forward to working on more Billiot books in the future.
The mission of the Gulf Coast Marketplace is to contribute to community recovery by providing opportunities for economic growth and financial independence to individuals and families, especially those impacted by disaster.