‘American Pickers’: Louisiana Antique Collector Opens Up About ‘Terrific’ Visit From Mike Wolfe

by Craig Garrett

The American Pickers crew visited a Lousiana antiquarian this past February, and the collector is sharing details of the eventful film shoot. Mary Stander is a resident of Lafayette, Louisiana. She has been accumulating antiques for decades. On a recent episode of the popular reality series, some of her valuables were shown to fans of the long-running show.

In February, Stander’s house in West Saint Mary Boulevard was invaded by a crew from the reality TV show for a grueling day of filming. About a dozen crew members and co-host Mike Wolfe arrived around 8 in the morning. They weren’t out of the house until around midnight.

The American Pickers crew has a prolific record of hunting for collectibles. You would think they’ve seen it all. However, Stander recently told The Advocate Acadiana that Mike Wolfe and the crew were still impressed with her collection. “It was really nice to see them gasp when they’d walk into a room and be as thrilled as they were with the things that they were seeing…From the moment they turned into my driveway until they left and said bye-bye, was my favorite time of the day,” Stander said.

The American Pickers crew barely scraped the service of the huge collection

Stander’s love of antiques was sparked by frequent flea market trips with her mother. Stander, who has been collecting since she was 13 years old, said her mother first exposed her to Depression glass when she was a youngster. Stander’s mother loved the uniqueness of the pieces and their tales, and that affection grew in her daughter as well. “[I love] the history behind each and every piece, the things that those things could tell us about the people that they knew. When something is 200 years old or 150 years old, it’s a treasure,” she recalled.

Her substantial collection, which is almost entirely focused on pre-1900 American-made and Americana goods, contains everything from antique guns to American art to handcrafted furniture. Stander said she got the bulk of her items from across New England, especially in Maine.

Stander said the American Pickers crew only glanced at a fraction of her collection. The things displayed on the show were not pre-determined. The team walked about her house and focused on items that interested them. They ended up purchasing around 20 or so. It was a thrill for the antiquarian to meet other antique enthusiasts.“It was terrific. I needed that boost — not money, but enthusiasm,” Stander said.

In the 90s, she ran an antique store, but subsequently closed it and relocated her possessions into her house. It’s been largely hidden from view since then. Her friends have been urging Stander to appear with her collection on television for years now. “When I’d open my garage people would say, ‘Oh my God! You need to call American Pickers,’ for years,” the 70-year-old said. Now that the episode recently aired, Strander is anticipating how fans of the show will react. “I hope their eyes sparkle a little bit when they see my treasures,” she said.