Covington Weekly » September 2017

Monthly Archives: September 2017

Quote & Word of the Week

Quote and Word of the Week

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“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
– Frederick Douglass, Selected Speeches and Writings

Word of the Week:
scrupulous – 1 : having moral integrity : acting in strict regard for what is considered right or proper 2 : punctiliously exact : painstaking

The Full Moon is Wednesday, October 5, 2017. This month’s Full Moon is also known as a Harvest Moon & Hunter’s Moon.

General Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

Covington’s Inaugural Oxtoberfest

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Covington’s inaugural Oxtoberfest takes place on Saturday, October 21st from 3 – 6 p.m. At the Covington Trailhead (419 N. New Hampshire Street). Tickets are available online at for $30, and will be available at the gate for $35 if event does not sell out. Your ticket includes a sampling cup, local and national brewery samples, live music and other traditional beer fest activities! All proceeds from this event will benefit the Boys & Girls Club – Covington Unit.
According to Event Coordinator Cody Ludwig, a group of friends wanted to help out the local Boys & Girls Club after going to their annual gala and falling in love with the organization.
“We always knew it was good for the community, but the children that they mentor and give a place to go after school and during the summer really does make a huge difference in these kids’ lives. It gives them a future that they may not otherwise have. This is an important cause that needs more funding and attention.”
Oxtoberfest Beer Fest is a play on Covington’s infamous “Ox-Lot” parking areas and the city’s unofficial mascot, the Ox, combined with Oktoberfest-type activities. Food will be available for purchase and there will be plenty of beer to sample. Patrons are welcome to dress in traditional German garb or simply step out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

Follow event details and updates at Must have valid ID and be 21 years of age to consume beer.

Featured Posts Healthy Living Shop Local

Introducing Massage by Mary

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Mary Bertsch is a Licensed Massage Therapist (LA #7931) since 2013. She specializes in Swedish, deep tissue, and hot stone massage. Conveniently located in Covington and available by appointment: Call 985-277-1437
Facebook at Massage by Mary.

Local Events Non Profit Spotlight

Business Resource Workshop Re-Cap

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The seventh installment of the award-winning Covington Business Resource Workshop series was held Thursday, September 21, 2017 at the Bogue Falaya Hall of the Greater Covington Center (Covington City Hall Complex).
The workshop was hosted by the Covington City Council Economic Development and the City of Covington. The speakers included Councilman District D Larry Rolling, City of Covington Mayor Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister, and Director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center at Southeastern William Joubert, City of Covington Human Resources Director Cheryl Andrus, Labor Law Attorney Michael Bush with Chaffe McCall, L.L.P, and Covington Business Association President Brad Schroeder.

Pictured L-R: Councilman Larry Rolling, Sandy Summers, Michael Bush, Mayor Mike Cooper, Cheryl Andrus, Pat Brister, and Brad Schroeder.

Local Events Local News Shop Local

This Week in Downtown Covington

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The September Block Party takes place this Friday evening in historic downtown Covington. It’s an evening of classic and contemporary cars, music, food & drinks.

September Block Party is time for the 2nd Annual Covington High School ‘unofficial’ alumni night. All CHS alumni are welcome to Columbia Street Rock N Blues Cafe to catch up with old friends. Tons of drink specials, plus Djs and a Photo Booth courtesy of Rock It Productions.

Wharton’s Green Room block party entertainment includes Dem Guyz (N.O. R&B) at 5 p.m., followed by Crispin Schroeder Band at 8:30, PLUS DJ Killahouse at midnight! No Cover Charge before 9 p.m.! See flyers on back for music events and other listings.

Marsolan’s Old Feed Store Music Series begins this Saturday, September 30. The Driskell Mountain Boys kick off the fall series, performing from 12 – 1 p.m., with an open jam session after the show.

The Old Feed Store Music Series announces that they will raffle off a gently used Epiphone MM-50/VS (Serial Number DWO7020111) mandolin and four, 45-minute private music lessons for $5 per chance. Tickets will be available for purchase at Marsolan’s Feed starting Sept. 30. All proceeds of the raffle will be used to pay musicians performing in the series. Follow them on Facebook.

Featured Posts Local News Shop Local

CBA Statement on proposed Bikeshare Program

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Some have followed the bizarre story (here, here, and here and also here plus here as well) of the Northshore Community Foundation’s proposed BikeShare Program in the Covington Weekly. The CBA issued a statement with regard to the matter and it is printed here in its entirety, along with the results of the poll referenced:

September 28, 2017
“The Covington Business Association must adhere to the mission by which our organization was founded – to represent and advance the interests of local business. To that end, we conducted an anonymous poll of our member businesses at a recent meeting to gage their opinions on the bike share issue. An overwhelming majority of our members who responded were not in favor of the bike share program, and particularly not one that is funded by the taxpayer. Furthermore, after conducting additional research on bike share programs around the country, our board of directors does not believe that this program, as currently proposed, will be successful nor enhance our quality of life on a local level. Therefore, the Covington Business Association does not support this project, nor its funding by the St Tammany Parish government or our local municipality.
The CBA is willing to work with the Tammany Trace, local organizations and private businesses to devise and implement a strategy for expanding bicycle availability along and near the Trace. We believe that a more appropriate alternative can be identified – one that supports local business and does not require government investment.”
Brad Schroeder
Board President
Covington Business Association

Covington Business Association Member Votes Regarding the Proposed Bike Share Program for St. Tammany Parish

The board of directors of the Covington Business Association polled the organization’s members at the general monthly meeting on September 6, 2017. The questions and responses were as follows:

1) Do you think that a bike sharing program should be implemented? 40 No 8 Yes
2) Do you feel that the City of Covington should dedicate $25,000 of public money to the proposed study and implementation plan? 46 No 3 Yes
3) If a bike sharing program is implemented, do you think it should be managed by an outside vendor or a local vendor? 48 Local 0 Outside
4) Would you support a bike sharing program that was funded by the St. Tammany Parish government for costs of > $1 million? 49 No 1 Yes
5) Is it safe to say that a bike share program would NOT compete with local bike rental businesses? No 44 Yes 5

General Local News Opinion

Public Opinion Poll Regarding Cannabis Possession

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Louisiana introduced Medical Marijuana Legislation and the New Orleans City Council voted on measures to decriminalize cannabis possession over the last year. This allows law enforcement to focus on crimes that actually involve a victim (such as violence, assault, robbery).

Should the Covington City Council decriminalize cannabis possession?



This poll is strictly with regard to decriminalization within Covington specifically. In the process, a petition was also created to be administered through Covington Weekly with regard to decriminalization parish wide.

Updated 9-29-17

Quote & Word of the Week

Quote and Word of the Week

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Quote of the Week
“I hope that we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
– Thomas Jefferson

Word of the Week:
Corporate Personhood –
the legal notion that a corporation,separately from its associated human beings (owners, managers, employees), has at least some of the legal rights and responsibilities enjoyed by natural persons (physical humans). For example, corporations have the right to enter into contracts with other parties and to sue or be sued in court in the same way as natural persons or unincorporated associations of persons.
In a United States Historical context, the phrase ‘corporate personhood’ refers to the ongoing legal debate over the extent to which rights traditionally associated with natural persons should also be afforded to corporations. Abolish Corporate Personhood.

The First Quarter Moon Is Thursday, September 28, 2017

Farmers Market Recipes Featured Posts Shop Local

Mama Lea’s Basic Meat Sauce

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One Onion
2-3 Toes of Garlic
One Bell pepper
2tb of Tomato paste
1lb of Ground Meat
½ cup of Red Wine
1 Large can of Whole Chef Tomatoes
1 Can of tomato sauce
1tb Of fresh Basil
1tb of fresh Parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1tb of EVOO
Sauté onion, garlic and bell pepper. Add ground meat and cook down until meat is brown. Next, add the tomato paste. Reduce the paste for 2-3 minutes (this takes out some of the acidity). Add the wine and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add tomatoes and crush them with your hands in the pot. Finally, add tomato sauce, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Serve over your favorite pasta.
Sourcing ( Covington Farmer’s Market)
Butter me up la-Celeste Sharp
Seasonal compound butter and hand made pasta
Grow Farm- Nicholas and Vincent Usner
Organic year around heirloom vegetables
Jubilee Farms- Paul and Liz Emenes
Grass fed Beef, Lamb and farmed raised Pork
Nature Beauty- Sandra and Alton Sanchez
Herbs and seasonal vegetable plants
Spicy Lady- Cheryl Gross
Spices, seasonings and spiced Oils
Mama Leá’s Kitchen
Mama Leá Kitchen
At your local Farmers Market
Organically sourced prepared meals.
There are no bad vegetables, just misunderstood ones.

Featured Posts General Non Profit Spotlight

STHS Pet of the Week

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Pretty Mama is a three-year-old girl who would make a great companion to any family! She is a playful, loving pup. Judging by her excitement with tricks and treats, we think she has potential to be a real superstar! If you are interested in Pretty Mama, please visit or email today!

Local Events Local News

First Annual Falaya Fest in November

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(COVINGTON) On Saturday, November 4 from 3-8pm the first annual Falaya Fest will be taking place in the Bogue Falaya Wayside Park in historic downtown Covington. This music festival is the first of its kind for the city of Covington and celebrates an array of diverse musical talents rooted in our community. Falaya Fest will feature music by Dash Rip Rock, The Ardent Spirits, Amedee Frederick V, Julie Odell, Grace Billie and The Cheeseburger Ranchers.

Louisiana Music Hall of Fame inductees Dash Rip Rock will be the headliners of the Falaya Fest line up. As stated in the The New York Times, Dash Rip Rock combines “fluency in American roots music with a robust dose of punk-rock spirit.” Their performance features musicians Bill Davis, Wade Hymel and Covington native, Chance Casteel. The Ardent Spirits, a gypsy jazz band from Oklahoma will be joined by local guitarist, Jacob Fitzmorris. Amedee Frederick 5, a trio of father and sons, hails locally with renowned blues and jazz ensembles. Solo artists Grace Billie and Julie Odell will perform individually, each with their own unique styles and folky songbird vocals.

The musical talents of Jon-Marc Kilpatrick, John Garcia, Parker Freeman, Cam Hartill and Albert Lachin make up the The CheeseBurger Ranchers, a self-proclaimed outlaw country band playing original and classic tunes.
Falaya Fest plans to deliver a grassroots community foray for all ages to enjoy. Bring your lawn chairs and blankets but leave the picnic baskets at home. Food will be available for purchase from participating restaurants, Boca Bar, Isabella’s Pizza and Baba Ganoush.
The headlining sponsor, Kombucha Girl Living Beverage, will be offering Kombucha on tap. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase.

Tickets are on sale now via Paypal on our facebook page, Falaya Fest, and at participating businesses, Columbia Street Rock and Blues Cafe and Columbia Street Natural Foods. $12 Prepaid, Tickets are also available at the gate for $14, with free admission for children 10 and under. Find Falaya Fest on Facebook.

CPD Updates Local News

Meet the Covington Police Department

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In an effort to introduce our local police officers to the community and provide an opportunity for the CPD to highlight their outstanding officers, Covington Weekly profiles are provided by Chief Tim Lentz of the Covington Police Department.

Officer Turgeau started with the Covington Police Department a little over a year ago. Before beginning his law enforcement career, George worked as a trainer at 9 Round Fitness Center. Prior to becoming a trainer, George served our country for six years in the Army. He is a Covington native and graduated from St Paul’s High School. In his short time on the force, George has made a tremendous impact. It is not uncommon for him to stop by an elementary school and read books to the kids, or more recently bringing a little old lady to her doctors appointment on his day off. George embraces the community policing philosophy and is an example of what police officers across the country should be. George lives in Covington and enjoys spending time with his young son when he isn’t bring little old ladies to their doctors appointments.

The Covington Police Department is open 24/7. Emergencies call 911, non- emergencies, call 892-8500.

General Local Events Local News

This Week in Downtown Covington

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The 7th Covington Business Resource Workshop takes place this Thursday, September 21 at the Bogue Falaya Hall in the City Hall Building. The workshop focuses on Social Media in the Workplace. Presented by the City of Covington and Councilman Larry Rolling, with light refreshments courtesy of the Covington Business Association. For more information, email Larry Rolling at or visit

Be A Buddy, Not A Bully Marlise Eschete, Community Outreach Coordinator for The Parenting Center at St. Tammany Parish Hospital, will discuss the topic of bullying. Parents and children are invited to come learn about the different types of bullying, how to prevent it and what to do if you’re experiencing it. This discussion takes place Thursday, September 21 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Covington Branch of the St. Tammany Parish Library.

Troubadours Songwriter Night takes place on Thursday, September 21 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Covington Brewhouse. Hosted by Tommy Ike Hailey of the Northshore Songwriters Circle, this event features songwriter rounds with an open mic at the end. Held every third Thursday of the month at the Covington Brewhouse, this month features the following regional artists: John West, Matthew Chauvin, Jim Nelson, Buzz Jackson, Tony Cobb and Timothy Achan Gates.

Covington Brewhouse will be doing a special cask tapping this Thursday night at The Tasting Room to celebrate Louisiana Craft Beer Week and the Covington Brewhouse team has a very special announcement to make at this event. Special entertainment will be provided by the Covington Troubadours Songwriter group. Celebrate Louisiana Craft Beer Week in Covington Brewhouse style.

The Covington Farmer’s Market takes place every week on Wednesdays at the Covington Trailhead and Saturdays at the Covington Police Department. Wednesday market is from 10 a.m. Until 2 p.m. And features prepared foods for lunchtime; Saturday market is from 8 a.m. Until 12 noon and features fresh produce, prepared foods, plants, live music and a food demo. This Saturday, enjoy the music of Crispin Schroeder with a food demo by Bear Creek Road.

Join Peg Usner, Artist at St. Tammany Art Association as she presents a talk and walk through her exhibition, “The Intimacy of Plein Air Painting.” Peg will explain the meaning behind the artwork titles, give brief narration of her creative process and describe the challenges of each piece. Doors open at 5 p.m., talk begins at 5:30. Free admission. STAA is located 320 N. Columbia St.

DOTD Open House Public Meeting on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at the Covington City Council Chambers, located at 222 East Kirkland Street, 4 – 6 p.m. (LADOTD) is conducting an open house public meeting for the proposed US 190B and Jefferson Ave. Roundabout project. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information about the project and to obtain input from interested parties with a multi-media presentation.


21st Century Carpetbaggers in the New Reconstruction

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Note: This essay was published April 24, 2015 on Catastrophe of Infinite Regression Blog

21st Century Carpetbaggers In The New Reconstruction:

Let The Good Times Roll, But Don’t Let Them Tread On Me


Timothy Achan Gates

The Greater New Orleans area is home to a variety of establishments that cater to anonymity, dark caves offering nearly any kind of vice imaginable, but the English Tea Room is not one of those. Located north of New Orleans in Covington, the Tea Room is a brightly lit, high profile, mid 20th century cottage with an authentic, red London Telephone Box on the front patio. A life-size cardboard cut out of Queen Elizabeth II, always available for picture opportunities, greets visitors to the “Queen’s Parlor.”

The idea of an English tea room in historically confederate territory may seem odd, but Covington was actually a refuge for British Loyalists after the Revolutionary War, and the St. Tammany delegation voted not to secede from the Union during the War Between The States. The genteel air of the place is not conducive to the gritty realities of piecing together the more sinister aspects of local political motivation, but it does generate a sense of stillness in time that allows thoughts to gather. Sitting in the Churchill Room, enjoying exotic teas from around the globe and surrounded by obscure memorabilia of the British Bulldog, the situational reality of one of his more infamous statements hit home:

“Never let a good crisis go to waste…”

South Louisiana has been in crisis mode for the last decade. The five year anniversary of the BP Disaster recently passed, and the ten year anniversary of Katrina is approaching. The consequences of those events are still realized on a near daily basis; it was recently announced that all that oil… yeah, it’s still on the floor of the Gulf, and there’s a lot more than was initially reported. Which, for those paying attention, was already well known.

Standing in the kitchen of the tea room, looking off the back porch on a dark, misty Louisiana winter night, I spoke briefly with Bo, the head dishwasher, before closing. It was Mardi Gras time, and Covington was sleepy; everyone seemed to be somewhere else. Addressing the quiet of the street, Bo offered with a slight lament,

“Just think. This is how it was before Katrina.”

I exited silently as Bo finished his closing duties.

Jesus, I thought, he was only ten during Katrina.

Nostalgia is a prevailing sentiment among those that lived here before that fateful storm. The area is considered a refuge from the city and a place of healing. The Northshore is home to the affluent, and it is also largely rural, to the disdain of well-connected developers and crony public officials. While the Parish Governments work to grow the tax base and Governor Jindal dreams of the Presidency, Louisiana is far behind in education, it has the highest incarceration rate, per capita, in the World, and it is very polluted, with one of the highest cancer mortality rates in the nation.

Welcome To The New Reconstruction

The prevailing post-disaster economic directive appears to be a consolidation of corporate control in a part of the country that continues to struggle for a more cultural identity, separate of its pop culture persona. Not to undermine the daunting task of recovery in a city with loosely defined economic goals (it’s not called the Big Easy for nothing), the consequences of those decisions have changed the landscape: The New Orleans Superdome is now the “Mercedez-Benz” Superdome, and the New Orleans Arena is now the “Smoothie King” Arena.

The standard operating procedure is based on what Hunter Thompson identified as the “Death of the American Dream.” Privatize everything. The free market was never really free, and like fame, even black mold has its price.

Local media outlets have picked up on the nuances of the larger picture with features like “Louisiana Purchased” and “Selling Louisiana,” but wholesale dissemination of information is still challenged by the annoyance of reading and comprehension. Besides, if you are a Louisiana native, the inherent corruption is expected and most would rather not be bothered by it.

In early 2014, former Chocolate City and Vagina-Friendly Mayor Ray Nagin was convicted on twenty of twenty-one charges of wire fraud, bribery and money laundering in relation to pre and post Katrina activities, just the latest in Louisiana’s rich history of public corruption trials. Detailed in his 2011 book, “Katrina’s Secrets: Storms After the Storm,” Nagin recounts some bizarre fears he developed during the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane experience:

“I started wondering if during the night I would be visited by specially trained CIA agents. Could they secretly shoot me with a miniature, slow-acting poison dart?”

It is unlikely that Nagin is the first mayor of a fairly well known city to worry about being offed by the CIA, but he is the first in recent memory to voice it in such a hauntingly specific fashion. Thanks to the writers of the Sony release “The Interview,” it is now widely known that the CIA prefers adhesive strips with ricin on one side; if only Nagin had that knowledge, he could have simply avoided shaking hands, rather than obsess about arcane, low-tech assassins.

Very recently, the CIA has undergone major restructuring, with a speculated “lock down” incident. Greg Miller of the Washington Post reported CIA Director John Brennan describing a reorganization of the intelligence agency, with the aim of placing it in the position to “cover the entire universe, regionally and functionally, and so something that’s going on in the world falls into one of those buckets.” Frequent checks will ensure the buckets do not have holes in them. Perhaps someone at CIA HQ spiked the punch again.

As New Orleans prepares for another Royal Dutch Shell sponsored Jazz & Heritage Festival, it is fitting to see The Who and Sir Elton John in the line-up, an entertaining reiteration that the Imperial Structure persists in the Land of Napoleonic Code. Follow the Yellow Brick Road, and pay no attention to the Man Behind The Curtain.

When Abby Hoffman ran onstage during a break in The Who’s performance at Woodstock to rant at the crowd about the jailed John Sinclair, The Who (allegedly Townsend) knocked him into the audience, with the reasoning that they didn’t care about his politics, he was hogging their stage and they were there to play music. Today, the political landscape of the marijuana issue is still highly relevant and rapidly transforming, with the emerging sentiment that nobody should spend any time in prison for simple possession of a medicinal plant, much less a decade, in 1969, now or ever.

A posthumous nod to John Lennon, who was assassinated on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1980 by Mark David Chapman, a religious fanatic who admittedly fantasized as a child about exerting king-like power over little people living in the walls of his bedroom. Lennon, along with a small group of performers that included Stevie Wonder and Bob Seger, organized a Crisler Arena concert at the University of Michigan, ultimately resulting in Sinclair’s freedom.

The Who chose to behave like cheap thugs, using musical instruments to assault unsuspecting, well-intentioned freaks attempting to express, at least by Hoffman’s tripped out estimation, a very important statement at the time. The implications of this narrow world view are supported by its jaded practicality, and that is why The Who are a logical choice to play a major, global oil conglomerate-sponsored festival showcasing Louisiana music, while the Northshore of the Greater New Orleans Metro Area is working overtime to stop the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing in the wilds of St. Tammany Parish.

I Can See For Miles And Miles…

St. Tammany sits just north of Lake Pontchartrain and New Orleans, and it was named by William Claiborne in 1810 after Delaware Chief Tamanend, who is not technically a Saint. Tamanend is a notable historic figure; he was integral to relations between the natives and settlers in the North East during the late 17th century. With a strong reputation for peaceful negotiation, “Tammany” societies and festivals in his honor became commonplace across the country. Covington is the Parish Seat of St. Tammany, its City Logo a rendition of Tamanend sitting on top of the Parish, holding a staff that penetrates the lake, emanating slight ripples in the water.

St. Tammany is historically known as the “Sanitarium of the South,” and before the role of ozone was understood properly, the north shore was promoted for its ozone belt. For many visitors, simply having the variation of trees as opposed to concrete environments makes a great difference. The nearby town of Abita Springs is named for the pure artesian well water that is available, and it continues to provide a destination point for healing. During the Yellow Fever epidemic in New Orleans in the mid -1800’s, people flocked to the north shore to recuperate, and to avoid the disease altogether. These days, the Parish Government is quick to promote the natural, scenic beauty of St. Tammany, while privately discussing plans to capitalize on the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation that lies beneath our sole-source aquifer, extending for miles and miles.

The Industry was talking about the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale in 2011, and although local media reported on the speculation, the fact that there was a plan was not understood. The groundwork was being laid to introduce hydraulic fracturing in St. Tammany for at least three years, but the general public was not aware of any proposal until April of 2014. As soon as the operations were disclosed, a flurry of activity ensued. Events were organized, stances were taken, meetings were attended and lawsuits were filed.

After frustration from a lack of progress with the St. Tammany Parish Council, a small group of “fractivists” decided the best course of action would be to fire them all. Recall petitions were filed with the Office of the Secretary of State for every council member, including the Parish President. With a press conference in downtown Covington, the event became even more controversial when it was discovered that the petitions were not filed properly, by the fault of the state office.

To correctly file a recall petition for a parish council member, the filer must be a resident of the council district represented. The clerk allowed two citizens of the same district to file petitions for every council member from every district in the parish. Those petitions became null and void, but the petition to recall St. Tammany Parish President Patricia Brister was still valid.

“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…”

“Let them recall Brister, we’ll just put someone else in there who will do what we want.” This statement was overheard at a popular Covington restaurant shortly after the recall petition debacle. Not only does it demonstrate clearly the influence existing outside of the Parish Government, it reveals an underlying contempt for basic principles outlined in documents like the State and Federal
Constitutions. Who are the elitist controllers of the Parish President, wielding their confidence with such hubris, and within earshot of the profane? After initiating a series about economic development suggestive of a hidden control structure in St. Tammany, the Chamber of Commerce was first to respond.

The St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce called, on behalf of Larry Rase, Executive Director of the Northshore Business Council, and DonahueFavret Contractors. The main criticism was that the writing inferred a “hierarchy of organizations,” exemplified by the use of the word “above.” The St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce is, of course, open to the business community as a paid membership group. On the other hand, the Northshore Business Council is a private, invitation only group of “CEOs, Presidents and Market Managers” which oversees the three parishes of Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Washington. Therefore, St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce is a public business organization, representing the western half of St. Tammany Parish, while the Northshore Business Council is an invitation only group representing three entire parishes, but they are lateral organizations.

It was agreed that a formal response to the economic development series would be offered, which ultimately came from Don Shea, former Economic Development Director of St. Tammany Parish. Shea also sat on the board of the St. Tammany Economic Development Foundation, a non-profit corporation that receives public money and acts as the management arm of the District, a political subdivision of the state, within the boundaries of St. Tammany Parish. If that’s not confusing enough, the Parish Government also creates new Economic Development Districts within the Development District, literally a subdivision of the state upon a subdivision of the state.

Shea is now the first casualty of the fracking fracas within the Parish Government, although not admittedly. The official story is that he was asked to submit his two weeks’ notice; when he asked for more time, he was refused, then he asked for termination. This action came on the heels of an email communication made public in which Shea referred to the fracking opposition as “loonies”.

The legislative process is indeed similar to a form of magic, whereby control of one’s immediate environment can literally be created from nothing, simply by declaring it so. After the formal responses and heated conversations, what no one has been able to explain is the absent public oversight of the process in which quasi-public agencies work with private organizations to divide up public money among certain members of the business community.

“tip my hat to the new constitution…”

In the summer of 2014, this writer sent a list of questions to GNO, Inc., an economic development and retention organization that works with ten different parishes regionally:

1) What specifically is GNO, Inc. doing to explore and implement emerging renewables such as solar and industrial hemp?

2) Does GNO, Inc. pay an excise tax?

3) Is there a mechanism in place to prevent the cross pollination of board members from other organizations?

4) How would you describe the working relationship with the Bureau of Governmental Research and the Northshore Business Council?

5) The NBC has formal research indicating that St. Tammany Parish is best suited for heavy industry and defense industry contracting, which seems contradictory to the message that the Northshore is a destination point for scenic beauty and healthy lifestyles. What is GNO, Inc.’s position on heavy industrial operations in St. Tammany?

There was no reply. Incidentally, the same day the questions were sent, Louisiana State Attorney General Buddy Caldwell advised Governor Jindal to reject a bill that would kill a lawsuit between the Jefferson Parish Levee Board and ninety-seven different oil companies, including BP, Helis Oil Co. and Manti Resources. Rejecting the AG’s advice instead, Jindal signed the bill and killed the lawsuit.

The Pinball Wizard Is A Real Good Looking Boy

In the Fall of 2014, GNO, Inc. held a gala launch party to re-introduce Biz New Orleans, originally founded in 2003, but defunct since Katrina. The October Premiere Issue featured a playful color cover with “Mr. Business” standing before the twilight backdrop of downtown New Orleans, like a statue, part of the machine. Michael Hecht is “Mr. Business,” the young and established Ivy League CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., and the new Pinball Wizard of the southern-fried economic development game.

“How do you think he does – it? I don’t know…”

Hecht worked for Mayor Michael Bloomberg running a post-9/11 small business initiative when he was first contacted by former Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Mike Olivier. Louisiana was looking for a “similar program,” and Hecht worked with Olivier until his installation at GNO, Inc. in 2008. In the Biz piece “Selling New Orleans,” Hecht explains that whether it’s bringing 47 different entities to the table to persuade GE Capital to move to New Orleans, or coordinating 250 entities across the country to fix flood insurance, GNO, Inc. found that being a trusted coordinator, intermediary and project manager is a role that people want filled.

Now that New Orleans is packaged and sold, perhaps the next series will be, “Frying New Orleans And Eating It,” in which the city is cooked to golden perfection and chomped on like a hush puppy. Only time will tell just how supple Hecht’s wrists are.

Get On The Magic Bus For A Quick One While He’s Away

Have you seen the Bus, the Magic Bus? The Louisiana Legislative Express runs non-stop to Baton Rouge and D.C., at all hours. Heck, it might even be invisible. It is Magic. One thing in Louisiana that is not magic is The Army Corps of Engineers; they tend to get thrown under the Magic Bus. For years, politicians have been blaming the Army Corps for levee failures and incomplete projects. The Corps of Engineers responds that the funds allocated for said projects have a tendency to disappear before the projects are completed. Interesting Louisiana storm trivia: Hurricane Katrina traveled straight up the controversial “Mr. Go” canal, one of the last Corps projects completed at the time.

“I want it, I want it, I want it…”

Despite the protestations of swollen bureaucrats, there is evidence to support the idea that the Army Corps of Engineers plays a more active role in attempting to curb rampant industrial development, particularly in wetlands areas, of which St. Tammany Parish is about 45%. In 2008, the Army Corps of Engineers introduced the Modified Charleston Method to Louisiana as a means of mitigation for
wetlands development, requiring 3-4 mitigated acres to 1 developed acre. A campaign to dismantle the Modified Charleston Method was launched by Greater New Orleans Inc. and the UNO’s Institute for Economic Development & Real Estate Research before the public was even aware of its existence.

Congressman Steve Scalise was quick to respond. “The Modified Charleston Method is a radical environmental regulation that stunts economic development in Louisiana,” Scalise states on his official website. The main argument is that the MCM has a negative effect on the real estate market, driving developers away. While Congressman Scalise describes the MCM as crippling and unrealistic to business, exempting Louisiana from it paves the way for industries like hydraulic fracturing, which are crippling and unrealistic to the public, the sector that Scalise supposedly represents.

“I’m so nervous, I just sit and smile… too much, magic bus”

In November 2014, the second issue of GNO Inc.’s regional new/old business publication, Biz New Orleans, featured a black and white cover of Congressman Scalise resting in an armchair, appearing in charge and slightly strung-out on the political high, facilitating an inviting, wide open crotch-shot. The photo is reminiscent of the scene in Scarface where Tony Montana is slumped in his chair in front of a mountain of cocaine, right before he introduces everyone to his little friend. Unlike Montana, Scalise is presented as a negotiator, offering the conviction that in any relationship, differences should be confronted and gotten out of the way.

Presented next is quoted material about Congressman and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, from the Biz New Orleans article, “How To Play The Game” By Jeremy Alford. Note that the passage is taken directly from the article, but appears out of order and context.

“By 1972, when his twin engine Cessna disappeared over Alaska, somewhere between Anchorage and Juneau, Hale Boggs (the last Louisianian who served as whip) had climbed up to majority leader, as many whips do. It’s not unimaginable that Scalise could accomplish the same… That evening it was as if the street were curving downward in a slight bend, stretched by the weight of Scalise in the middle as he was coming into his own…. The smell of seafood in the air mixed with anticipation as Scalise addressed his team inside a private room in Acadiana, a fish house in Washington, D.C. with a New Orleans chef and menu… He had also taken up with a group of conservative lawmakers who refer to themselves as “The Jedi Council,” one of Washington’s best kept secrets…. Acadiana is located on K Street, one of Washington’s major thoroughfares of power and home to the offices of the nation’s most influential lobbyists and special interests…. Scalise handed out red Marucci baseball bats to his whip campaign team… Inscribed on the bats: “Bring the Wood”” – Jeremy Alford, “How To Play The Game,” Biz New Orleans

While this paragraph is a journalistic mess of quoted material taken out of context, albeit from one single article (my apologies to Jeremy Alford and Biz New Orleans), some undeniable truths prevail: 1) Scalise has the possibility of disappearing somewhere between Anchorage and Juneau in a Cessna twin engine plane after reaching majority whip status 2) Scalise creates his own gravity 3) Scalise enjoys the ambiance of a southern style fish house 4) Scalise is a “Jedi” 5) K Street is the source of most, if not all, problems in this country and 6) Scalise is fond of red baseball bats inscribed with the phrase, “Bring The Wood”.

The Biz article was released prior to reports of Scalise’s controversial speaking engagement to a white supremacist group. David Duke even popped into that media storm from out of the shadows, threatening everyone to lay off Scalise, or he would name associates on both sides of the aisle. Congressman Scalise works hard at fostering an image of leadership that illustrates the ability to compromise across the aisles, or within his own party, for that matter. In fact, the entire focus of the Biz article is to point out the differences between Hollywood and reality with regard to Scalise and the character depicted in the fictional “House of Cards” Netflix series.

“You’re house is only another mile… too much, Magic Bus”

Observing Scalise personally, one can attest to the fact that the same degree of difference exists between Scalise, The Article and Scalise in Real Life. His appearance at a WRNO Town Hall Meeting (as a panel member) at the Covington Trailhead, held shortly after Covington Mayor Mike Cooper announced his disagreement with the “proliferation of hydraulic fracturing operations,” was a stumping session for the November elections, where he (Scalise) relentlessly blamed ethanol, the EPA and common core issues on the lacking Democratic leadership.

As the meeting degraded into a shouting match between the panel and those opposed to fracking, Moderator John Osterlin made the statement that “they should frack in the poorest neighborhoods of New Orleans, to give them jobs.” Although Osterlin is no longer with WRNO (and not expressly due to his sociopathic statements), in that one shining moment he and the WRNO Town Hall panel got a good, rollicking belly laugh.

Too Much, Magic Bus.

#End Part One

Quote & Word of the Week

Quote and Word of the Week

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Quote of the Week
“I have no doubt that the nation has suffered more from undue secrecy than from undue disclosure. The government takes good care of itself.” ― Daniel Schorr

Word of the Week:
Keystone (capstone) – wedge-shaped stone piece at the apex of a masonry arch

The New Moon Is Wednesday, September 20, 2017.

General Local News Non Profit Spotlight

STHS Pet of the Week

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Johnny Walker is a three-year-old large breed mix with a heart that matches his size! His bold personality and gentle temperament makes him a great dog for any family. He loves everyone he meets, enjoys walks on the Lakefront and a big comfy couch at the end of the day! If you are interested in Johnny Walker, please visit or email today!

Local Events Local News

Upcoming Covington Events

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7th Covington Business Resource Workshop

It’s not too late to pre-register as seating is limited for the seventh installment of the award winning Covington Business Resource Workshop series which will be held Thursday, September 21, 2017 at 8:30 am til Noon taking place in the Bogue Falaya Hall of the Greater Covington Center located at 317 N. Jefferson Avenue.
The City of Covington and the City Council Economic Development Committee will host the workshop, The Changing Workplace…Labor Law, Employee Management & HR Fundamentals for Business. This workshop will provide local business owners with awareness and understanding of best practices in development of policies in managing employee’s use of social media in today’s changing workplace.

“Our businesses are what makes our City and community strong. These workshops are dedicated to making our businesses stronger,” Councilman Larry Rolling, District D, Chairman of the Covington City Council Economic Development Committee.
This event is free and open to the public. You can pre-register at Refreshments will be provided by the Covington Business Association. For additional information, contact: please contact Councilman Larry Rolling, or visit

Film Screening at the Covington Trailhead

The Pontchartrain Film Festival Fall Film Tour 2017 presents a Free outdoor screening of “Deeply Rooted: John Coykendall’s Journey to Save Our Seeds & Stories” on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at the Covington Trailhead. The Trailhead is located at 419 N. New Hampshire Street, showtime is at 7 p.m.

For nearly four decades, John Coykendall’s passion has been preserving the farm heritage – the seeds and stories – of southeastern Louisiana. The film is followed by a Question and Answer session with film director Christina Melton. Hosted by the City of Covington and the Covington Farmer’s Market. See flyer on color insert.

OnStage Presents Ventriloquist Lynn Trefzger

Have you ever had a childhood hobby that got out of hand? That explains Lynn Trefzger’s start as a ventriloquist/ comedienne. For over 30 years, Lynn has given life to a trunk full of comical characters. She has performed for audiences worldwide in corporations, colleges, theatres, and cruise ships.

Audiences are treated to Lynn’s vocal illusion talents, when they may meet a drunken and lovable camel, a grumpy old man, a feisty little girl, and may even see some other audience members who are brought up for the action! Lynn’s off-the-wall audience interplay is riotously funny, no two shows are alike! Her performances are tailored for both family and adult audiences.
This performance takes place on Wednesday, October 4, 2017 at 7 p.m. In the Fuhrmann Auditorium, located at 317 N. Jefferson Avenue. For more information, call 985-892-1873. Tickets on sale now at

October 2017 Rockin’ the Rails Line Up

The City of Covington is excited to announce its Rockin’ the Rails FREE concert series at the Covington Trailhead, 419 N. New Hampshire Street. The concerts will take place every Thursday in October from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The series is sponsored by Champagne Beverage and is presented by the City of Covington Office of Cultural Arts and Events. This October’s lineup has some fantastic acts and promises to be another great success!
October 5 Louis Prima Jr. and The Witnesses
October 12 The Yat Pak
October 19 Rockin’ Dopsie
October 26 Four Unplugged

“We encourage those who work in Covington to stop off at the Trailhead at the end of the day to enjoy a free concert and wind down with refreshments available through local non-profits. We ask attendees to support our sponsor, Champagne Beverage, so that these events may continue to be free and open to the public” says Aimee Faucheux, Cultural Arts and Events Director for the City of Covington. We also encourage attendees to end the evening with dinner at one of our wonderful restaurants downtown.” Concert goers may wish to bring their own chair or a picnic blanket as there is limited seating provided at the Trailhead. Beer and wine will be available for purchase during the concert. See flyer on color insert.

Local News

The Resiliency Games Update: St. Tammany Parish

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National Disaster Resiliency Competition (NDRC) – Phases I & II – Multiple Cients: State of Louisiana; State of California, Shelby County, TN; Birmingham, AL; State of Florida; State of New York; St. Tammany Parish, LA; Jefferson Parish, LA; Springfield, MA
“In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development made available $1B in CDBG-DR funding via a competitive application process to states and units of local government that sustained natural disasters in 2011 – 2013 for the purpose of promoting innovative resilience projects to better prepare communities for future disasters and other events.
GCR supported multiple clients during both phases of the NDRC in the full span of application development ranging from detailed project coordination, stakeholder engagement, rigorous analytics and project design. Our clients’ projects ranged from resettlement of a community off of a disappearing island along Louisiana’s coast to the reconfiguring of river banks and marshlands to protect vulnerable communities from future flood events. GCR’s responsibilities included identifying and compiling data related to the most significant current and future risks and vulnerabilities, all applicable resilience-oriented planning initiatives and identifying unmet recovery needs in the areas of infrastructure, housing, environmental degradation, and economic development. GCR also collaborated with regional partners to develop multi-jurisdictional approaches and engaged public, private, and philanthropic partners to propose innovative strategies to create more resilient communities.” More information at

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