Out of an abundance of caution over Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) concerns, City of Covington leaders together with event organizers have announced the cancellation of weekend events. These events include the Covington Celtic Club’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Block party (Saturday, March 14, 2020), the YSB Chef Soiree (Sunday, March 15, 2020) and the St. Joseph Abbey Monk Run (Saturday, March 14). The Covington Farmer’s Market will remain open this Saturday.
“Covington Celtic Club’s St. Patrick’s Parade set for Saturday, March 14th at 12 pm has unfortunately been cancelled. However, the block party portion of the event will be postponed for a later date. We are grateful for all of our vendors, sponsors and participants and look forward to celebrating in a even larger capacity at Covington’s Celtic Celebration at the corner of Rutland and New Hampshire at t nearby date! We are as disappointed as you are, and ask for your understanding in the matter as many months of hard work and money have been put into these events and these are not decisions we make lightly. We hope to have you attend our parade and celebration next your on Saturday, March 13, 2021,” Cody Ludwig, Covington Celtic Club.
Important* Many of the local businesses in downtown Covington will continue to need your support during this time, so please remember to Shop, Eat, and Enjoy Local.
Parish Government Advice on COVID-19
With regard to COVID-19, St. Tammany Parish Government encourages people to follow the advice put forth by health experts: Cover your cough. Stay home if you are sick. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, or with a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. Disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Avoid close contact (within six feet) with those who are sick. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. CDC believes at this time that symptoms of COVID-19 may appear in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Visit stpgov.org for additional information. – Thank you Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President
Mayor Mark recently launched a constant contact email blast to update the citizens of Covington with city news and events. Covington Weekly is printing ‘Covington: On The Serious Side’ to help facilitate this information reaching the public. Mayor Mark: “In October, I was bothered to learn that the Covington Police Department has been short staffed for at least the past ten years. Our officers are the lowest paid in St. Tammany Parish. We hire, pay for the Academy and field train them only to have them move to other law enforcement agencies. In the past ten years, over 35 officers have left to work for other agencies. 75% of our officers have been with us for 5 years or less.
Three Divisions (chart above): 1) Far left is traffic. The three “orange” are reserves. They don’t count. The three purple were actually in the Academy at this time. Since I have been Mayor, we have had zero traffic enforcement officers in the traffic division. 2) Center is Admin and investigations. “Yellow in investigations means two vacancies. Red ‘X’ at top of Admin left for personal reasons. He will have to be replaced with someone from Patrol, causing Patrol to have one less officer. 3) Patrol should consist of 4 shifts, 12 hours each, every other week – five officers per shift. In reality, we have 3 or 4 officers patrolling our streets. During that time they will typically have an arrest, an accident with injury and/ or a domestic violence situation. Each requires two officers on site, leaving us with one or two responding to all other calls for service. Net result is little time for non-emergency matters such as speeding or stop signs. Since this October chart, another patrol officer has left and three have given notice. They will be replaced by five new hires.
Public Works Short Staffed More recently, I learned that of our labor workforce in Public Works, we have a shortage of 20%. It is difficult to hire and retain employees with a pay scale that ranges from $10.50 an hour for straight labor to $16.00 an hour for skilled operators. Per Human Resources, ‘candidates for the Labor I spots have had a multitude of issues – no driver’s license, failed drug tests, non-returned calls, background issues and poor quality candidates.’ I now understand what a strain this shortage puts on those employees that remain. I am grateful to them for the work they do to keep our infrastructure cleaned and draining. Fire Department Our primary pumper response truck is a 1993 model. It should have been decommissioned in 2008. Of note, the new truck we just received is a ladder-truck. It was paid for by a grant. We have applied for grants for a new pumper truck, but unsuccessfully.
Waste Water Treatment Plant Receives, treats and discharges 1,000,000 gallons of effluent into Tchefuncte River 24/7/365. Does so in compliance. Receives 9,000,000 gallons on a rainy day due to ‘I n I’ i.e. inflow and infiltration. We are aggressively attacking this problem. Lacks redundancy of key components. Utility Fund Transfer In our budget we have a line called “Utility Fund Transfer.” Basically, what the City of Covington charges to provide sewer and water does not cover the cost to provide sewer and water. Tax dollars (sales and property) are taken from the General Fund to make up the difference. This year, of an $18,000,000 operating budget, we will be taking over $2,000,000 to cover this cost. Much of this expense is related to improving or replacing failing terracotta sewer pipes throughout the community. In an effort to rebuild the Police force, fully staff Public Works, replace aging fire trucks, insure we properly maintain the treatment plant… then tackle Collins Blvd., Tyler and 21st and other deferred priorities, I have suggested raising utility rates an average of $20 per month. The rates have not been raised in over ten years. Under this scenario, we would still be subsidizing our utility rages by over $1.2 million. None of us like to pay more, whether in utilities or in taxes. However, I believe we have an expectation of the City to provide the basic services described above… and to do so in a professional manner.”
50 Broken Sewer Lines Downtown
On March 16, 2020, contractors begin repairs of over 50 broken sewer lines in downtown Covington. The work will include repairing sewer mains, replacing damaged sewer laterals, lining the old pipes with a synthetic lining and stalling sewer clean-outs at the property line.
Residents should expect short term traffic detours on most streets while this work is being done. Roadway patches will be installed to minimize traffic disruptions. The streets affected will be Rutland, Boston, Gibson, Lockwood, Florida, Lee and Courthouse Alley. To minimize traffic delays, work on LA HWY 21 (Boston Street) will be performed at night. The street will be reopened during the day.
This work will take several months to complete. It is another big step to improve our sewer infrastructure, help care for our environment and prevent large potholes or cave-ins on our streets. Thank you for your cooperation and patience. – Mayor Mark
The City of Covington’s Gallery at City Hall will open the art exhibition – “Painting Provence through rose colored glasses,” with a reception. Mayor Mark invites the public to attend on Tuesday, March 10, from 5 – 7 p.m. This exhibition features the work of South Louisiana artists Carol Hallock, Cecelia Hoyt, Claire Pasqua, Diane St. Germain, and Gwen Voorhies as the group explored Vincent van Gogh’s footsteps in the summer of 2019 in Provence, France.
Work for the show is curated by Ben Bensen III and hangs through May 1, 2020. The exhibition opening reception is at The Gallery at City Hall located at Covington City Hall, 317 North Jefferson Avenue, Covington, Louisiana 70433. For more information please contact Covington City Hall at 985.898.4715 or visit online at covla.com
Coastal Environmental Services will pick up bare Christmas trees for RECYCLING on Monday, January 13, 2020. Trees for recycling MUST be green with no artificial decorations/adornments/stands attached. Christmas trees that are unable to be recycled, which include trees that are flocked, have tinsel, lights, or any other attachments unnatural to the tree, can be put out and collected with the regular trash pickup. A parish-wide program is also available. The parish-wide recycling program was designed to aid in coastal rebuilding projects. Residents living in Covington can drop off bare trees stripped of all decorations daily (M-F) during January at the St. Tammany Parish Fairgrounds (1515 N. Florida St.). For additional information, contact Bridget Watson, Executive Assistant to the Mayor at 985-898-4715.
A recent LADOTD bridge inspection of the W. 11th Avenue Bridge at Mile Branch in Covington found critical deficiencies in the substructure.
In 2018, the City of Covington began the engineering design for the replacement of the Bridge at Mile Branch. The project includes the removal of the existing bridge and replacement with a concrete bridge. The contractor closed the bridge Monday, December 16, 2019.
“We ask that folks plan for alternate routes when travelling in this area and appreciate your patience until the project is complete,” Mayor Mark.
For additional information, contact Bob Moeinian, PE, City Engineer at 985-892-1811 ext. 721 or contact by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. City Hall: 317 N. Jefferson Ave.
Covington announces Holiday Waste Schedule: Holiday Trash and Recycling: For Christmas and for New Year’s Day, your pick-up will be the day immediately following your normal pick up. Hence, our Thursday recycle day will be on the Friday after each holiday. Regarding bulk waste, Public Works is making another master list to submit to Coastal for pick-up. Raked leaves “too small” for the boom truck should be bagged or placed in your garbage receptacle. Visit covla.com
Rockin’ the Rails free concert series continues this Thursday with the Cheeseburger Ranchers. Rockin’ the Rails takes place at the Covington Trailhead (419 N. New Hampshire St.) from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. every Thursday in October and April. Rockin’ the Rails is brought to you by the City of Covington and Champagne Beverage. Drinks and food available for purchase at the event. You are welcome to bring your own chairs or blanket, as seating is limited at the trailhead. Covla.com
Sunset at the Landing takes place this Friday evening at the Columbia Street Landing. This free concert series is brought to you by the City of Covington, the Covington Farmer’s Market, and Heritage Bank of St. Tammany. The concerts take place every third Friday of the month, March through October.
This month features Lulu and the Broadsides with opening performer Phil de Gruy. Lulu and the Broadsides bring sultry blues and New Orleans r&b. Featuring Dana Kurtz on vocals, James Singleton on bass, Robert Mache on guitar, Carl Nuccio on drums and Glenn Hartman on keys. Find out more about Lulu and the Broadsides at danakurtz.com.
Biketoberfest is this Saturday, and Brooks’ Bike Shop is having a Super Bike Sale Sunday through Saturday till October 19, 2019 (Sunday). From Brooks’ Bike Shop:
“Its Back. Our most popular event of the Year. BIKETOBERFEST! We will be Starting at Old Rail This year for lunch At Noon and ending at The Covington Trailhead where the Oxtoberfest beer fest will be going on. While Biketoberfest is free to attend you will have to purchase your own lunch and beer. Oxtoberfest is $25 i believe with all proceeds going to the boys and girls club. Its sure to be a fun filled day of bikes and beer.”
The itinerary is as Follows: 12 noon: meet for lunch At Old Rail Brewing co. for lubch 12:45: leave for Chufunkta 1:15: Arrive at Chafunkta 2 pm: Leave for Abita Brewery 2:30 : Arrive at Abita 3:15 : Leave for Oxtoberfest beer fest
Mayor Mark R. Johnson invites the public to attend Music in the Park on Thursday, September 26 from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm at the Reverend Peter S. Atkins Park, 701 N. Tyler Street, Covington, LA. Bring a lawn chair or blanket to enjoy music by the Mighty Supremes. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. No pets will be allowed.
Beginning at 6:00 pm, the City of Covington will host an unveiling and dedication of the new park sign honoring Reverend Peter S. Atkins.
“Reverend Atkins was such an important part of our city on so many levels. I look forward to sharing just a wee bit of his message with the community as well as kicking back with the Mighty Supremes,” said Mayor Mark.
The Mighty Supremes are a Covington, Louisiana based Gospel band who have performed locally at the Abita Springs Opry and the Trailhead in Abita Springs. Food and beverages will be available for purchase at this event. Bring your own chairs and blankets, No Pets Allowed.
The City of Covington introduced a new mantra for drivers, “Slow Your Roll”, at a recent CBA meeting. Mayor Johnson reminded drivers that they will be gently asked to drive slower, then firmly reminded throughout October. In November, there will be consequences for driving fast, so “slow your roll”!
Pictured from Left to Right: Executive Assistant to the Mayor Bridget Watson, Office of Cultural Arts and Events Coordinator Zac Cuny, Covington City Councilperson Cody Driskell Ludwig and Covington City Councilperson Mark Verret.
Recently, Covington Councilmen Mark Verret and Patrick McMath joined Mayor Mark Johnson, Councilman Clay Madden of Mandeville and environmental enthusiast Ross Richardson on a “field trip” to the facility in Sumrall, MS that hand-sorts our recyclables from our garbage (Yes, hand sorts). Some very good news: Since our Recycle Awareness Push and Thursdays Only collection, Covington’s contamination rate has dropped from 50% to an industry norm of 30%.
The big question: Why can other parts of the country / world recycle X, Y or Z and we can’t? It’s a function of population density. Single stream recycling works with concentrated populations. Why are plastic bags so bad? To recycle paper-cardboard, it must first be pulverized by a machine. Plastic bags will not / do not pulverize, thus rendering the paper-cardboard useless. Also, any food is bad. Flies are bad. Rats are bad. Any food in your recyclables is bad. Our next step: Reduce plastic bags and food contamination in our recyclables. Not there yet, but we’re doing better. Much better!
CW: Thank you Mayor Johnson and Covington City Officials for your proactive efforts in addressing city garbage concerns.
Covington, LA, August 2019 – The Alliance for Good Government hosted its Legislator of the Year Mixer this month at Southport Hall in New Orleans. The non-partisan political organization awarded Larry Rolling, Council-At-Large for the City of Covington, the St. Tammany chapter’s Legislator of the Year Award.
“I feel blessed, humbled, and lucky to work in a community I love so much. It is a great privilege to serve my community and to be recognized with this award for the work I’ve done. It motivates me as a public servant to do more for the City of Covington and St. Tammany Parish,” said Rolling.
Before winning the Council-At-Large seat, Rolling was the District D Councilman for eight years. Rolling served on many committees during his council tenure, including; Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, Public Works/Public Safety Committee, Community Development/Housing Committee, and most recently was appointed as Vice President of the Council. In 2012, Rolling created the Covington Business Workshop series focused on bringing and keeping businesses in the city. Rolling also currently serves on the COAST Board as Vice President, Carnival in Covington Committee Chairman, Kelly Kicking Cancer Board Member, and is a Leadership St. Tammany Graduate. He resides in Covington and is a 40-year Saints season ticket holder and is known locally as the “Sign Man.”
Larry Rolling, who has served as the City of Covington’s District D Councilman for eight years and is currently serving as the City of Covington’s Council-At-Large wins the coveted 2019 Legislator of the Year Award from The Alliance for Good Government.
Sunset the the Landing takes place this Friday, August 16, 2019 from 6 – 9 p.m. At the Columbia Street Landing (Columbia St. at the river). This is a free concert brought to you by the City of Covington, the Covington Farmer’s Market, and Heritage Bank of St. Tammany. This month features Redwine & Dirty Rice plus Deep ‘n Blue beginning at 6.
In an effort to maintain recycling services to all residents and to maintain current rates, Coastal Environmental Services is changing the City of Covington’s recycling schedule. All recycling will now be picked up on Thursdays citywide. Glass will no longer be included in the recycling plan.
Residents should be aware that only true recycling materials will be picked up on Thursdays. If any regular household waste is included in the recycle cart, it will not be picked up. To verify what is and is not included in the recycle plan, residents can view detailed information on Coastal Environmental Services’ website at https://www.ces-la.com/recycling/recycling-covington. Additionally, informational brochures will be included in the next water bill.
These changes will become effective on Independence Day, next Thursday, July 4, 2019. Garbage collection days will remain the same. Thursday collection is only for recycling. The City of Covington and Coastal Environmental Services are hopeful that these changes will enable those who recycle to continue to do so while maintaining the same rates for all residents throughout the city.
Mayor Mike Cooper invites you to join the City of Covington along with Digital Engineering, Gill’s Crane & Dozer Service, and other partners on Thursday, May 23 @ 10:00am for a dedication event to celebrate the completion of The Bogue Falaya Park Shoreline Protection & Paddler’s Launch. Bogue Falaya Park is located at 213 Park Drive in Downtown Covington.
The completion of this exciting phase of the award winning Bogue Falaya Park Master Plan was aided by a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund administered by the National Park Service. Thank you for supporting the City of Covington!
Lucy’s Artisan Apothecary Since 2008 Lucy has offered her own skin care, mineral makeup, soaps, lotions, and her much acclaimed No Offense Deodorant, through Etsy and local markets. Now Lucy’s Artisan Apothecary is located in historic downtown Covington at 503 North Columbia Street. Lucy’s is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday (closed Sundays).
Lucy’s now offers liquid soaps on tap, as well as bath salts. Refillable containers available. Lucy’s Artisan Apothecary is now home of NOLAS and Fleur de Light candles, as well as Lucy’s own handmade candles.
The Covington Police Department would like to remind the Covington area families that the Covington Police Department will be hosting its free annual kids summer camp for children ages 6 – 13. The camp will be held on June 3, 2019 through June 7, 2019, from 8 a.m. – 12 noon.
To register your child for this camp, please come to the Covington Police Department, located at 609 N. Columbia Street in Covington. The registration deadline is Friday, May 17, 2019.
The Covington Police Department is excited to announce the recent hiring of Officer William Seals. Officer Seals is a veteran law enforcement officer with four years of law enforcement experience. Please join the Covington Police Department in welcoming Officer Seals to the family.
Congratulations to Officer Taylor Putfark on his recent graduation from the Slidell Regional Police Academy. The A special thanks from the Covington Police Department to the entire Slidell Police Department for providing quality training to their recruits!
Taylor will now begin his 16 week Field Training Program where he will build upon the skills learned in the academy. Please join us in congratulating Taylor on his amazing accomplishment!
In genuine appreciation of the dedication and service of our veterans, the Covington Heritage Foundation and the City of Covington are inviting all veterans and their families to attend a free reception following the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center’s Memorial Day services. On Monday, May 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., in Bogue Falaya Hall at the Greater Covington Center (located at 317 N. Jefferson Avenue).
Veterans and family members will be the honored guests, enjoying refreshments and music. Free and open to the public.
Sunset at the Landing is Friday, May 17, 2019 from 6 – 9 p.m. This is a free concert and all are encouraged to bring chairs and refreshments. This month features James Killeen followed by Yilver Oliva and Quartetto Obrigado. This concert series is brought to you by the City of Covington, Heritage Bank of St. Tammany and the Covington Farmer’s Market.
Due to weather forecast of continued rain and rising river, the City of Covington’s 21st annual Swing in the Pines in beautiful Bogue Falaya Park on Saturday, May 11, and rain date Sunday, May 12, 2019 has been cancelled.
St. Tammany Art Association, in partnership with the City of Covington, presents the Covington Art Market, a juried market of visual arts and crafts held the first Saturday of the month at the Trailhead in Covington. The event features a variety of work from local and regional artists, including jewelry, photography, paintings, woodworking, fiber art, pottery and more.
The St. Tammany Art Association announces a call for entries to its 54th National Juried Artists Exhibition. For this popular juried exhibition, the STAA will award some $3,000 in prizes, including the coveted $1,000 Best of Show award. The juror this year is LouAnne Greenwald, the Executive Director of the Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Since taking on the tenure position in July of 2014, she has enriched and engaged the arts community throughout the Acadiana region. Greenwald uses her position at the museum to bridge the local culture of the University and community to a broader, national and international discourse. Greenwald’s experience in museums and galleries is prolific. She has assumed roles as a curator and educator for the National History Museum of Los Angeles County, MOCA Los Angeles, and the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles. Prior to her position at the Hilliard University Art Museum she worked as a consultant in Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles raising funds for educational institutions. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the LSU Museum of Art, Baton Rouge and is the Louisiana representative for the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries. Greenwald received her MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and received her CFRE certification in 2013. One of the most diverse exhibitions of contemporary art in the Southeast, the juried competition of contemporary art invites artists ages 18 and up across the United States to submit up to three pieces for consideration. Accepted artwork is original visual art completed within the past two years and not previously exhibited at STAA. Space limitations do not allow STAA to accommodate film, video or large installations, and reproductions of original artwork are not admitted. To enter, artists must submit images of work to the St. Tammany Art Assoc. 54th Juried Artists Exhibition at www.sttammany.art/summershow. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 p.m. on May 17, 2019. Accepted artists will be announced on or about May 31. Members may contact the St. Tammany Art Association for specific instructions regarding submissions. The 54th juried competition opens July 13, 2019, with a reception from 6 pm to 9 pm and the presentation of awards at 7 pm. The show will be on view until August 17, 2019, when STAA will also host a closing reception from 6 pm to 9 pm in conjunction with Covington’s arts festival, White Linen for Public Art. A gallery talk lead by the juror will also take place during the exhibition on Saturday, July 27 from 1-3p.m. The reception is free and open to the public.The St. Tammany Art Association is located at 320 N. Columbia Street. Our gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 am – 4 pm and Saturday 11 am – 4 pm. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.