Covington Weekly » September 3, 2020

Daily Archives: September 3, 2020

Local History

Covington History: The Money Hill Tung Oil Plantation Story

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Covington History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View his blog Tammany Family here.

Tung Oil was an extremely important product in the early 20th century, available only from China and used in a variety of applications, from sealing and waterproofing Naval vessels to a key ingredient in varnish and paint. When the United States government decided it was important for the nation to grow its own tung trees (to reduce imports from China’s tung oil industry), a few precious seeds were smuggled out of China and the search began for a suitable place to grow them.

After serious research into the climate and soils needed to grow tung oil trees, it was found that St. Tammany Parish was one of the few places that would accommodate them. So the Goodyear family, which was so instrumental in developing the lumber industry in Bogalusa and whose “Great Southern Lumber Company” owned acreage in St. Tammany Parish suitable for the project, established the Money Hill Tung Oil Plantation.

To read more about this adventure, CLICK ON THIS LINK for a PDF file detailing the history of the Money Hill operation.

After the need for tung tree oils diminished (due to suitable synthetics), the Money Hill area served as a popular family campground for many years and now serves as home to residential subdivisions. It is located northeast of Abita Springs. La Hwy. 21 bisects the area on its way to Bush.

click on photo to enlarge

In the 1946 phone book, the “Ozone Tung Oil Producers Cooperative Association” was located on 28th Avenue in Covington and the phone number was 423-J.

Check out Ron Barthet’s blog Tammany Family for more great local history!

General Local News

St. Tammany Health System Earns A+ from Fitch Ratings

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COVINGTON – Fitch Ratings has affirmed the ‘A+’ Issuer Default Rating (IDR) for St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 1, (St. Tammany Health System) with positive outlook.

According to Fitch, “the affirmation of the ‘A+’ rating reflects strong operating performance that has helped support solid liquidity and leverage metrics even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Fitch further noted St. Tammany’s solid market share in a growing service area as well as its joint operating agreement with Ochsner Heath, which coordinates clinical services and operating income, supporting consistent volume and revenue growth.

The coronavirus pandemic figured into Fitch’s rating, as they note of STHS, “Fitch expects that the health system will continue to maintain a strong balance sheet despite pandemic-related pressures and ongoing capital projects, with leverage metrics that will remain consistent with the ‘aa’ category assessment throughout Fitch’s baseline scenario.”

STPH Board Chairman John Evans said, “STHS has worked hard to maintain our strong rating despite the pandemic and current economic outlook. Our board has been dedicated to position STHS for continued success into the future. This A+ Positive Outlook rating is one more step toward that goal.”

STHS President and CEO Joan Coffman added, “We are grateful to each and every colleague, physician, associate and partner that made this rating possible. Additionally, we thank Fitch for taking the time to understand our unique organization and our resolve to be good stewards of our resources in service of our mission caring for our community.”

Fitch has published a detailed explanation of the rating at https://www.fitchratings.com/research/us-public-finance/fitch-affirms-st-tammany-parish-hospital-service-dist-no-1-la-revs-at-a-outlook-positive-01-09-2020.

Local News

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper Self-Quarantines After Experiencing Flu-like Symptoms

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From St. Tammany Parish Government:

St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper is leading by example as he has self-quarantined — out of an abundance of caution — after experiencing mild flu-like symptoms and a fever last weekend. He is following St. Tammany Parish Government COVID-19 protocols, as well as the advice of medical professionals.

He has had a rapid COVID-19 test, which was negative, and is currently awaiting the results of a conventional test, expected in the next five to seven days.

He is currently working from home where he is in constant contact with staff, attending meetings via zoom and over the phone, and isolating so as not to come in contact with others. He is expected to return to work on the Koop Drive campus when he is cleared to do so by a physician.

We wish you a quick recovery Parish President Mike Cooper!

Check for updates at www.stpgov.org