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History of Covington, LA

Local History

Covington History: Old Landing

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Old Landing

In the early days of Covington, before the roads were in good shape and before the train tracks were built, river traffic on the Bogue Falaya River was paramount. Boats coming up the Tchefuncte River from Madisonville needed a dock to discharge passengers from New Orleans and take on cargo from areas north of Covington (to bring back to New Orleans). So a major landing was developed on the point of land south of Covington at the confluence of the Bogue Falaya and Tchefuncte Rivers.

A postcard showing the New Camelia at Old Landing.

This was the landing where your grandparents and great grandparents would disembark from the lake schooners and steamboats, hop aboard a horse and buggy and head up Old Landing Road to Covington.

Land records show that Old Landing was owned by the Badon Family based on an early settlement land grant to Henry Badon. It was this landing that played a pivotal role in the development of early Covington, and it was quite popular, especially since it was also a ferry crossing, according to one time parish archivist, the late Bertha Neff. This was in the early to mid 1800’s.

Mrs. Amos Neff’s Notes on the Ferry Crossing

Text from the above notes:

Henry Badon in 1806 acquired the land opposite his mother’s estate between the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya Rivers, and here was located one of the first ferries, long referred to as “Old Landing,” Jahncke Avenue, which brought the east and west banks of these two rivers together.

An early land grant map

The dotted line seen at the middle bottom may have indicated a horse trail or footpath, and where the dotted line crossed the Tchefuncte River would have been a good place for a ferry. On an adjacent map, the dotted line continues southward, crossing the Charles Parent land grant, and goes down to Madisonville.

Meanwhile, over on the Bogue Falaya River, the river was wide enough and deep enough to accommodate the larger vessels turning around and docking. When the Bogue Falaya River passed the Abita River, it became shallower and with sharper turns, so Badon Landing south of the Abita River was well situated to accommodate the larger vessels, sailing schooners and the steamboats when they came up the river.

Once the Bogue Falaya River passed the Abita River, it really got narrower and with sharp turns and sandbars

Old Landing was three miles from the center of Covington, so there were taxi (hack) services that provided transfer of passengers and cargo up Old Landing Road all the way up to Covington and points beyond.

John Wharton Collins and Badon Landing

According to Collins family historian Thomas Wharton Collens, who gave a speech to the St. Tammany Historical Society in 1988, the first of the Collins family to come to Louisiana was William Wharton Collins, who was an experienced sea captain. Jack Terry, who helped research this article, said, “Badon Landing may have been where William Collins docked when he delivered mail to North Shore.” William Collins had a post office contract to bring mail back and forth across Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans, stopping at Madisonville and probably further upriver at Old Landing.

Thomas Wharton Collins also told the historical society that William’s brother John Wharton Collins came to New Orleans in 1800 at the age of 18, and in 1811, John Wharton Collins was working as a grocer on Levee Street in New Orleans. Two years later he purchased the Jacques Drieux property and this is what became what we now know as Covington, according to the 1988 speech by his great great grandson.

So Old Landing played a key part in Collins family history.

As Covington grew in size and commercial activity, the landing became more important. Covington developed as the southern end of major trade routes from Columbia and Holmesville, Mississippi, and when river dredging became available, the channel all the way up to Covington was deepened so that more boats could make it up to Columbia Landing. This was preferred since it was only a block from downtown Covington where all the major hotels, boarding houses and restaurants were located.

A dredge boat working on the Bogue Falaya

At some point Badon Landing became the Old Landing, and is referred to as such over the years. Several other river landings were along the river, with Columbia Landing being the northernmost.

In this 1939 USGS topographical map, the “head of navigation” on the Bogue Falaya River was shown at approximately where the Chimes Restaurant is today. That was with regular dredging, however. As the dredging came to a stop, the river silted up and getting deep draft vessels to Columbia Landing became next to impossible.

A picture of the New Camelia at Old Landing

The New Camelia was one of the boats that was too large to make it all the way upriver to Columbia Landing, so it had to use Old Landing.

According to Jack Terry, “From 1878 through about 1906 it appears that the New Camelia was docking at Old Landing. But after that it appears to be docking at Madisonville and Mandeville, and people used the train to get from Covington to Mandeville to connect to the New Camelia.” In 1909 and afterwards Covington folks could have easily hopped on the motor car trolley and rode down to Mandeville lakefront to board any one of several New Orleans bound steamboats.

Another picture of the New Camelia at Old Landing

Some interesting newspaper clippings:

1879

Text from the above newspaper item:

 The Steamer Heroine came sailing up to the Old Landing last Monday evening, just as if she had been accustomed to coming there "all her life." She experienced no difficulty whatever in ascending the river, but glided gracefully around the bends with perfect ease. Doubtless much praise is due to Capt. Miller, who possesses a thorough knowledge of the river. He has the entire confidence of our citizens, and we frequently hear the expression: "what Capt. Miller don't know about our river ain't worth knowin'."

Text from the above newspaper item:

 The steamer New Camelia has been purchased by Mr. W. G. Coyle of New Orleans, owner of the fleet and handsome steamer Heroine. The New Camelia will hereafter leave Old Landing at five o'clock in the morning instead of six.

On Saturday evenings she will come through direct to Madisonville and Old Landing.

 The Heroine will run to Madisonville on non-mail days. We learn that it is the intention of Mr. Coyle to have the trips of both vessels extend as far up as Old Landing, which will necessitate a slight change in the rudder of the Heroine, to enable her to make the short bends in the river.

 With these two fine vessels in the Lake trade, we will have greatly increased facilities for business with the city, and the people of New Orleans may now prepare to "exode" into the piney woods at any time and in any number, being sure of a pleasant passage and a quick trip. 

(Note: the word “exode” means to make an exodus out of one place into another place)

1880

Text from the above newspaper item:

Mardi Gras Excursion To The City – The large and handsome Lake Steamer New Camelia will make an excursion trip to the city, for the benefit of those who desire to attend Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans. The excursionists will start from the Old Landing on Monday morning, February 9, at 7 o’clock. Fare for the round trip, one dollar. The tickets will be good for one week, and excursionists can return either on Thursday or Saturday night.

1881
1919

The dredging of the Bogue Falaya River up to Columbia Landing became more and more of a challenge, as silting of the river bottom caused more boats to run aground over the years. When the trains came, the shipping of cargo from Covington to New Orleans starting using the railroad more, and Columbia Landing lost some of its business.

The periodic dredging of the Bogue Falaya River from Columbia Landing (shown above) down the river to the Tchefuncte River became more costly and less justifiable.

Over the years, the name “Old Landing” began to refer to the residential community in the area between the two rivers, served by Old Landing Road.

1920
Old Landing Road Postcard

As to the location of Old Landing, several people recall seeing a number of pilings in the river at the end of Lucie Drive, off Old Landing Road, prompting them to think that being the likely location of Old Landing. Longtime residents of Covington sometimes differ on what location they remember labelled as “old landing.” Since there were several landings along the river, it may be hard to pinpoint which old landing was THE Old Landing.

The map below points out a river bend location that would match up with previous photographs of “Old Landing,” and that point is where relatively high ground starts right next to the river. It would have been a good spot for a dock, a wharf, and a road going up to Covington.

Thanks goes to Pat Clanton, Jack Terry, Mark Johnson and Dorothy Frederick for their information regarding the location of Old Landing.

Local History

Local History: St. Tammany Ice & Manufacturing Company

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

Back in the days when everyone had “ice boxes” instead of refrigerators, it meant you had to have a steady supply of ice delivered to your door. Since ice doesn’t keep well in the summer, it meant there had to be an ice house in every town, and to make ice, it helped to have electricity. So in the early days of electricity, the ice houses generally became the electric generating stations that eventually supplied the entire town not only with cool ice but also with hot electric current.

At least that was the case in Covington, and here are two photographs from the early 20th century to illustrate the point.

Here is the Covington Ice House and Electric plant building. The company had the first generator in Covington, and was awarded the contract to provide the town of Covington with electricity in 1910.

click to view larger

According to a close community source, St. Tammany Ice & Manufacturing Co., Ltd, was a powerful aggressive service business serving the Covington area. This business manufactured and  delivered ice to the businesses and residences in and about Covington and it also shipped ice in box cars to other communities in this area. 

The company also installed a waterworks system in the streets of Covington serving the businesses and residences with good water from deep wells.  Next came the  need for electricity in this area so the company  came forward and installed the equipment to generate electrical current and built  the lines and other service outlets to deliver electrical current to the businesses and residences in the Covington area. 

This service expanded to  cover Abita and Mandeville as well. According to Lawrence Frederick when the motor car trolley was liquidated in 1918 the St Tammany Ice and Manufacturing Company purchased the right of way and electric lines. He wrote “This line was maintained to supply electric current to Mandeville and Abita from the Covington plant.” 

But in addition to these services the company was instrumental in  establishing many other businesses in St. Tammany  Parish. The company was headed and managed and  mostly owned by Edward A. Frederick and Maurice P. Planche, both of Covington. These two men were active in the economic, social and political growth of Covington and the area of west St. Tammany Parish.

Here is an article about the company published in 1919.

click to view larger

Inside the building were a crew of men tending to the big electric generator, which had a big flywheel to keep it running smoothly. 

Above is an advertisement from a 1911 St. Tammany Farmer Newspaper

St. Tammany Ice and Manufacturing Company Ltd., Covington, La., began on Rutland Street between Florida street and North Lee Road. It outgrew this facility and built a new plant.

It housed the ice manufacturing machinery and tanks, and cold storage facility. The plant added the Production of Electric D.C. Current with steam driven generators. Current generated from these projects was transmitted over the lines to homes and to businesses in and about Covington. 

This facility was later expanded to include Abita Springs and Mandeville, as the industry progressed this plant was compelled to convert to alternating current and purchased diesel engines and alternating generators and installed them. This change also demanded the use of different transmission lines and the installation of transformers along the lines. 

Their personnel had to be trained in the use of this new machinery and material. The company had to secure a franchise with the several towns which it supplied electric current to. This company also served the Covington area with water supply and had to install and maintain the pipe lines and the pumps needed to pump the water and to maintain sufficient pressure for normal use and for fire protection. 

This was a stock company but was primarily owned and operated by E. J. Frederick and M.P. Planche. They furnished the inspiration and often the financial backing and promotional activity for many other businesses in the Covington area.

St. Tammany Ice & Manufacturing Company also had the largest flowing water well in the State of Louisiana.   The building was located at 500 N. Theard Street, where “The Market” now stands across the street from the southern end of the new parish courthouse.

The Deep Water Well Supplying Covington

This new well was the largest flowing water well in the state of Louisiana. It was drilled in excess of 2000 feet and flowed 400 gallons per minute. The water was used for the plant and to supply the town of Covington with water for its water system. The St. Tammany Ice and Manufacturing Co. installed the water mains, the property connections, water meters and operated the entire waterworks system. 

Also fire hydrants were placed along the mains. The pumping plant had special fire pumps to increase the water pressure into the mains at time of a fire. On two corners in the center of town large reservoirs were dug underground and stored thousands of gallons of water to support the fire pumps in these area.

1917

It was located on Theard between 25th Ave. and 26th Ave. (Ruby on the map)

Dr. John R. Vercellotti of Covington recalls that “Jules Vergez had a better feel for the technologically advanced components (of installing electric wiring). The Vergez family lived right across the street from the St. Tammany Ice and Manufacturing Co., which became the first electricity-producer in the area. The company needed the electricty to make ice, and nobody else in the area was making electricity, so Jules talked them into letting him run a wire from the plant over to their house where it powered a single light bulb hanging down from the ceiling of his mother’s kitchen.”  As a result, Mrs. Vergez had the first residential electric light in Covington. “That was really something, and they always laughed about that,” Vercellotti said. 

Read more local history: tammanyfamily.blogspot.com

Local History

Local History: Covington Street Photos – 1970’s

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

Here’s a collection of photos of streets in downtown Covington in the 1970’s, as well as a couple of Claiborne Hill photos.

Boston Street Southern Hotel

Above, Fair Parade October 5, 1979

Boston Street in Front of Old Courthouse

Boston Street across from Old Courthouse

Columbia Street, looking north from Rutland. Heritage Bank is where White’s Store was.

Columbia Street, looking northward towards Boston Street

Hebert Drugs, where del Porto Restaurant is today.

New Hampshire St., looking northward from Boston St.

New Hampshire St., looking northward from Gibson Street, showing Burns Furniture Company and Ben Franklin Variety Store. The Youth Service Bureau is where the Ben Franklin store was located. 

New Hampshire St., looking northward from Rutland St.

Corner Boston and New Hampshire Streets

Southern Hotel building

Claiborne Hill, looking east from the overpass

Southern Hotel Building

Boston Looking Eastward From New Hampshire

Badeaux’s Drive In, 21st Avenue at Tyler Street

Columbia St., looking north from Rutland St.

Columbia Street Washateria, where the St. Tammany Art Association is now.

Covington Motors Staff, across from train depot on N. New Hampshire

Boston St., Looking East from Columbia Street

Boston Street, looking towards bridge from overpass. Holden’s Gulf Service Station is at left

Holden’s Texaco

A & P Supermarket

Lee Lane at Boston, Chamber building

Two photos of Southern Hotel under renovation

Covington High (CJ Shoen) 1974

The Werhli House on New Hampshire Street, located in area now a parking lot for Citizens Bank

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Local History

Local History: Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 4

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Covington History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View Ron’s blog Tammany Family here.
This article has been broken up into 4 parts for ease of reading.

Historical Markers

According to the Historical Marker Project website, there are 45 historical markers in St. Tammany Parish. They share a variety of historical highlights across the area, giving us an idea of the people and places that contributed to early St. Tammany. Here is their list.

Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 1
Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 2
Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 3

Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 4

Courthouse Square and Historic Oaks Historical

Courthouse Square and Historic Oaks These graceful oaks were planted hundreds of years ago, predating the street plan of 1813. The WWI monument seen in the image on the right is all that remains at this site following the demolition of the old courthouse in 1958.As the parish (county) seat since 1819, Covington was the center of commerce, industry and government on the north shore for many years. The first courthouse was built on the east side of the Bogue Falava River at what is now called Claiborne Hill. The location was later moved to this site where a more permanent brick courthouse was built in 1885. It served until it was replaced by the “modernized structure” which ws completed in 1960. The St. Tammany Parish Justice Center was constructed just up the street in 2003.

The Covington Bank and Trust Building Historical

Probably the most significant economic development, not only for Covington but for the parish as a whole, was the establishment of the bank. The Covington Bank & Trust was established in these original quarters. It is the oldest commercial building in Covington.Two fires destroyed most buildings built before 1880. Rebuilt shortly after the Great Fire of 1898, the downtown buildings provide a beautiful example of turn-of-the-century commercial architecture. In 1909, there was a fireman’s parade, which included several fire companies. These organizations united to form the Covington Fire Department.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Bridge Historical

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Marker (Photo credit: Historical Marker Database

The original 23.86 mile-long structure, which now carries the Southbound traffic, was designed by the firm of Palmer & Baker. When opened in 1956, the structure was the longest bridge in the world by more than 15 miles. In building the bridge, which took just fourteen months, assembly-line, mass-production methods were utilized for the first time in the construction of a bridge. It was designed to employ hundreds of identical, hollow concrete pilings, concrete caps, and pre-stressed deck sections manufactured at an on-shore facility and barged into place. Engineering News-Record acclaimed the project to be “a bold venture requiring unusual foresight, ingenuity and resourcefulness.”
Opened: August 30, 1956
Dedicated: October 18, 2003

War of 1812 Memorial, a War Memorial

These six men of the 2nd Division 13th Regiment Louisiana Militia fought at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and are buried in unmarked graves Auguste Badeaux, Samuel Ott, William Cooper , Charles Parent, Jr. James Johnson and Lawrence Sticker

Civil War Earthworks Historical

One of two lines of fortifications excavated from January to March 1864 by Union forces “on fatigue duty” soon after their capture of Madisonville. Intended to defend the town from Confederate attacks coming from the surrounding countryside. The earthworks originally consisted of a trench protected by an “abatis” or barrier of felled trees with sharpened ends laid pointing out along its edge. The line meandered from approximately Rene and Covington Streets in a westerly direction to about this point on Johnson Street. Property records for the lot adjacent to this site mention “breastworks” on the land from the 1870s forward. Madisonville was occupied to obtain war supplies in the form of timber, lumber, logs, turpentine, tar and bricks for the federal Department of the Gulf.

Christ Episcopal Church Historical

Built 1846 by Jonathan Arthur of London for descendants of English settlers in British West Florida. Consecrated by Bishop Leonidas Polk, April 11, 1847. Christ Church is the oldest public building being used in Covington.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Historical

At 23.87 miles long, the Causeway is the world’s longest bridge over water. The first span was completed in August 1956. Due to increased traffic, a second span opened in May 1969. The Causeway piloted major construction of prefabricated, prestressed concrete bridges in the United States. It is supported by more than 9,000 pilings. Construction of the Causeway expanded the Greater New Orleans area to include the northshore of Lake Pontchartrain.

Columbia Street Landing Historical

An active harbor where schooners and steamers once docked. Established in the early 1800’s, providing a vital link to other river cities transporting cotton, lumber, bricks, whiskey and mail. Oyster luggers brought fresh oysters regularly through the late 1930’s. Many early settlers of the community arrived at this destination.

West Florida Republic and St. Tammany Parish Historical

St. Tammany Parish was among the Spanish-governed West Florida parishes and not included in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Residents revolted against Spanish rule September 1810, creating the Republic of West Florida. The republic lasted 74 days, raising a new flag and electing a president, before being forcibly annexed by the U.S. in December 1810.

Madisonville Historical

Originally called “Cokie” (from Coquille) because of the abundance of shells in the area. Renamed for Pres. James Madison, c. 1811. Site of Navy Yard in early 1800’s. According to legend, Gen. Andrew Jackson, enroute to New Orleans in Nov. 1814, stopped here at the home of Gen. David B. Morgan.

Saint Peter Church Historical

L’Abbé Jouanneault built the predecessor of St. Peter Church on the Bouge Falaya in 1843. The first resident pastor was Fr. J.M. Giraud, appointed in 1863 to serve Covington, Madisonville, Bedico, and Abita Springs. In 1892 Fr. Joseph Koegerl, pastor, who was also Canon of St. Louis Cathedral, built a new church and rectory on Massachusetts St. The Jefferson Ave. church was erected in 1940 during the pastorate of Fr. Aemillian Egler, O.S.R. Two Benedictines have served the parish continuously since 1922.

Battle of Lake Pontchartrain Historical

On October 16, 1779, the British living between “Bayou La Combe and the River Tanchipaho,” surrendered to Captain William Pickles who had won a naval battle off this shore on September 10, 1779, and thereby ended the Revolutionary War in Louisiana.

Public “Ox Lot” Parking Historical

Unique to Covington’s downtown business district and a credit to our forefathers, our original town grid layout allowed for public squares in the middle of each block for the purpose of trade and commerce. Farmers would bring their oxen-laden carts to town loaded with wares and conduct business in these designated center block locations. Traditionally called “ox lots” and largely responsible for Covington’s designation as a national historic district, today’s use provides free public off-street parking for downtown visitors and employees.

Abita Springs Historical

Old Choctaw village which derived name from nearby medicinal springs. Last Choctaw burial and execution grounds, used until about 1880, located nearby.

Our Lady Of The Lake Church Historical

Early in the eighteenth century, Catholic missionaries evangelized Choctaw, Chinchuba and other Indian tribes and sub-tribes on the northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain, among pioneer priests was Fr. Michael Baudouin, S.J., superior of the Jesuit Mission in Louisiana and Vicar General to the Bishop of Quebec, Canada. Fr. J. Outendrick was the first resident pastor when the Mandeville Congregation was organized in 1850. Fr. Adrien E. Rouquette, “Chahta-Ima,” also labored here and elsewhere in St. Tammany Civil Parish. The present church was dedicated in 1953 during the pastorate of Fr. Canisius Bluemel, O.S.B., one of several Benedictines serving here since 1890.

Walker Percy Historical

Covington resident, where he wrote, among others, Lancelot, The Second Coming, Love in the Ruins, The Thanatos Syndrome, The Last Gentleman, and The Moviegoer, which won the National Book Award for fiction, co-founder Fellowship of Southern Writers, graduate of the University of North Carolina, buried at St. Joseph Abbey, 3 miles north. Google Maps

This historical marker was placed in Bogue Falaya Park in Covington in August of 2018 to commemorate a new statue of Walker Percy .Also, several historical plaques were placed in front of the Madisonville library to spotlight Walker Percy’s many literary contribuitons. CLICK HERE to see those plaques, which accompany another statue of the famed Covington resident.  

CLICK HERE to go to webpage containing the above list. 

A new historical marker in Fontainebleau State Park

A new historical marker in Bogue Falaya Park, Covington

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Local History

Local History: The First Theaters In West St. Tammany

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

Plays and performances have always been a part of the west St. Tammany scene, with productions put on at the park pavilion and even in tents on vacant lots. According to a historical plaque in downtown Covington, a “five cent show or electric theater was well patronized” as early as July of 1907, and later, in May of 1908, there were two moving picture theaters downtown, The Covington Electric Theater and the New Rink Electric Theater, which billed itself as the largest moving picture theater outside New Orleans.

Victor Frederick soon opened the Air Dome, a 500 seat theater on Boston Street across from the Southern Hotel, and in September, 1912, a Mr. Ulmer opened the New Covington Theater on New Hampshire Street in the Warren Building opposite the train depot, the historical plaque goes on to report.

In the September 20, 1913, edition of the St. Tammany Farmer it was announced that a new theater was to be built on the corner of New Hampshire and Boston Streets on the Wehrli lot, opposite the St. Tammany Bank building and across from the old parish courthouse. It was going to be first class in every respect, according to the article.

Mr. C.E. Schonberg and Robt. L. Aubert constructed the new theater building from “modern plans” up-to-date in its furnishings and state-of-the-art equipment with “every convenience for the patrons.” The theater was to be fitted with regular opera chairs, with the regulation incline that “will give every one an unobstructed view of the pictures and stage,” the article stated.

The first week’s entertainment had already been scheduled with the film company. According to the news article, the theater was leased to Charles Sidney August Fuhrmann and Ed Barrenger who had purchased the latest improved Edison picture machine to show silent movies. 

click to view larger

A contest was held for the naming of the new picture show, with the winner getting a season pass and a $5 gold piece. Suggestions were mailed to Fuhrmann, with the suggested names judged by a panel of three persons. The name of the successful contestant was   Mrs. Edmund B. Stern who had submitted the winning name “Parkview,” and the judges included Judge Joseph B. Lancaster, D. J. Sanders, and D.H. Mason.

On opening night at the Parkview, the house was packed. Fuhrmann was given a round of applause after he presented to the gathered dignitaries the following remarks: 

“Ladies and gentlemen, as manager of this theater, I wish to thank you one and all, for your attendance to-night to witness our initial performance, which I trust you have appreciated. It is needless for me to say that we have spared no efforts to give you one of the most up-to-date and modern moving picture theaters that will be found in the parish of St Tammany. 

“We shall at all times endeavor to maintain perfect order and absolute cleanliness. We also wish to assure the public that smoking in the audience and spitting on the floors will positively be prohibited, that is, to the best of our ability. Only licensed films will be shown on our canvas and these will be of a strictly high class and moral nature. We will present a complete change in program each night and will operate regardless of weather conditions.

“Any organization or club desiring the use of our theater for a benefit entertainment,  we will be more than glad to quote such parties special prices on application.”

Fuhrmann’s plans included making the facility more of a “theater of the performing arts,” spotlighting not only professional entertainers who had been brought in from New Orleans, but also local talent. It was also used for lectures and educational presentations.

Performers who took the stage at the Parkview included poetry readers, pianists,  violinists, singers, and magicians. In addition to being a multi-talented showman, Fuhrmann also wrote skits and plays that were staged there.

He was considered a one-man chamber of commerce for St. Tammany Parish, with noted success in theater, baseball and art. In addition to being a theater operator, he managed a tri-state baseball team called the Majestics. He believed that every good town needed a good baseball team.

He welcomed local civic groups to use the Parkview to promote special causes and fund-raising events. In December of 1916, the Fire Department helped sell tickets to shows at the Parkview Theater for the benefit of raising funds for new equipment.  The fire department agreed to the purchase of 1000 adult tickets at five cents each and 500 children’s tickets at 2 and a half cents each. The Covington Fire Association would then sell the tickets for five and ten cents each.

In 1917, the looming threat of war chilled the local economy and there was some thought the theater would have to close. But the editor of the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper fought for the continued operation of the Parkview, giving his reasons in an editorial on May 26 .(Click on image below)

Meanwhile, over in Abita Springs, the Airdome of Abita Springs was offering dances and moving pictures to that community. An April 7, 1917, article in the Farmer stated that the Abita Airdome would be a place of amusement that will prove attractive to a large number of people. “The film service will be excellent and every effort will be made to please the patrons,” the article said. The theater had been remodeled and improved, and an Easter dance was being planned, along with a five-reel moving picture called “The Golden Claw.”

A two-reel Keystone comedy was also on the agenda. Included in the night’s entertainment would be a band from New Orleans providing music.

Admission to the Abita theater show was ten cents for children and 15 cents for adults. Attending the dance cost extra.

From August of 1920

Meanwhile, down in Mandeville, the Hip Theater was gaining the attention of the community. 

By 1926, the Parkview had become inadequate to handle the crowds at many of the entertainments, so something had to be done. A group of businessmen in Covington decided they needed a bigger, newer motion picture theater, and that led to the building of the Majestic Theater, located on New Hampshire Street, half a block south of Boston Street. Fuhrmann painted murals on all the interior walls of the Majestic, scenes from St. Tammany Parish, trees draped with moss, moonlight on the waterways, etc. Theater patrons marvelled at his artistic ability.

The opening of the new theater was a grand event, attended by hundreds of people, surrounded by 300 automobiles.

The entrance to the Majestic Theater in 1940. Photo submitted by Mike Pittman, Remember Covington The Way It Was Facebook Page.

The Majestic Theater

And today…

The building which once housed The Majestic Theater

The building which once housed The Majestic Theater
The Majestic was home to not only the latest motion picture releases, but it continued the Parkview tradition of vaudeville, talent nights, and dance revues by local dance schools. 

Fuhrmann believed that the local theater should be used as a “springboard” for local talent, which should be encouraged and given a stage upon which to perform.

To keep interest up and let people know of coming events at the Majestic, he and his daughter would ride around town in a sound truck, broadcasting the latest about what was coming to the theater. 

Longtime Covington resident Norma Core recalled the days of the Parkview Theater and the Majestics grand opening in this late 1970’s interview with Bryan Ireland:

 In the late 1930’s another theater was opened by Fuhrmann, this being the “Deluxe,” located on New Hampshire Street, just north of Gibson Street. 

The Deluxe was plush, elegant and well-appointed, showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters and MGM musicals as well as new Technicolor films. One of the biggest showings was that of “Gone With The Wind.” 

The building that housed the Deluxe Theater

Pat Clanton, Fuhrmann’s daughter, remembers as a young girl she and her friends dressing up in Antebellum costumes and serving as ushers for the showings. “People were excited about going out to see Gone With The Wind,” she said. “They talked about it for weeks before it came. It was really special.”

Movies usually only played for two or three nights, but “Gone With The Wind” played for an entire week, with tickets being sold with assigned seat numbers printed on each one. 

In addition to his Covington shows, Fuhrmann also operated theaters south of Covington, the Madison in Madisonville, and the Lake Theater on the Mandeville lakefront at Girod Street. They continued to run for years through World War II. 

Charles Sidney August Fuhrmann

Pictured on an outing in September of 1912 are from left to right, H. K. “Nat” Goodwyn, former editor of the Farmer, Sidney Fuhrmann, Margaret Howell, Alton (Buck) Smith, Maizie Howell, Burton White and Clara Faulk. 

Furhmann died in 1963, and years later he was honored by the City of Covington with the main auditorium at the Greater Covington Center being named after him. That facility on Jefferson Avenue is also a center for the performing arts, as well as the city’s administrative offices.

See also: The Park Drive In Theater

Local History

Local History: Bogue Falaya Shopping Plaza

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

Back in the 1970’s Covington had its own shopping mall, the Bogue Falaya Plaza. It was a medium-sized all indoor shopping center with a number of shops, among them a Beall’s clothing store, a National Supermarket, a Merle Norman, Photo-Sonics, Eileen’s Expressions (a gift and greeting card store), The Toggery Shop, Commercial Bank (later known as First National Bank) and travel agent service with Don Phillips, and Murphy’s Restaurant (inside the Morgan and Lindsey variety store). 

Other businesses located in the mall were Little Villa, Bruhn Jewelry, Montgomery Ward, Mall Mart, Video Showplace, Red Carpet, a Numismatics store, Tillie’s Shirt Shop, Sound Trak, Covington Sportsman, Ken Nolan, Northlake Vision Center, Mall Mart, Both of You Hair, Bogue Falaya Hairdressers, Video Showplace, Fox Photo, Shoe Town, S&H Greenstamps store, and two attorneys offices. 

Some of the stores in the mall area included Sherwin Williams, Otasco’s, Gibsons, Pasquale’s Pizza, and Fox Photo. 

The east side entrance, Morgan & Lindsey at left.

The mall featured a center courtyard and reflecting pool, a landscaped exterior, big parking lot and a busy schedule of community-based events. Something entertaining for the shoppers was always going on. The mall featured a variety of community events, from fashion shows to milk drinking contests. 

There was so much going on that WARB radio station even had a permanent remote broadcasting booth set up in the mall, with live broadcasts from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every afternoon so people could stop by and visit while at the mall. It was called “The MusicCube,” and it is pictured above. For more information about WARB, click here and click here.

What was where in 1983. Click on above map to enlarge.

A Google Maps Image with outline of the former shopping center.

Here are a few photographs of the inside of the Mall taken during a fashion photo shoot by Art Lemane in 1972 for Pathways Magazine. 

A number of dances and proms were held inside the mall. 

Pat Clanton served as Promotions Coordinator for the shopping center, putting on Boat Shows, Car Shows, Fashion Shows, Art Shows, and Dance Shows and bringing in Santa at Christmas time.   “We had different contests as well, band concerts and battle of the bands. There was a whole week dedicated to senior citizens, and we brought in plays, singing groups, and music presentation, accompanied by cakes and punch,” she said.

1972 Article from Pathways Magazine about Bruhn’s Jewelry

Staff of Photo-Sonics

Earl and Helen Wilson

The Bealls Clothing Store was a very popular business in the mall. 

Morgan & Lindsey Store

The Morgan & Lindsey Store had 18,000 square feet of shopping area. When Morgan & Lindsey began business in Covington, it had seven employees. It quickly outgrew its building and became one of the first stores to open in the Bogue Falaya Plaza in the summer of 1970. At that time, the staff had grown to 30 store employees and ten restaurant employees. Richard P. Dyes was manager for more than 15 years. Here are some photos. 

In the picture on the right, the people are identified from left to right as N. F. Van-Tilburg, J. C. Wynn, D.M. Allen, R. P. Dyess, and J. H. Shannon. 

Unfortunately, the mall caught fire on March 11, 1984, and the stores suffered extensive fire, smoke and water damage.

 Here are some photographs I took of the inside of the shopping mall after the fire when the various stores were being cleaned out. 

See also:
Photos of Street Scenes around Covington in the 1970’s
More Photos of the Bogue Falaya Plaza Shopping Mall

Local History

Local History: African Americans in Covington by Dr. Eva Baham

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“African Americans in Covington” is a collection of stories, memories and photographs covering the history, lives and triumphs of Covington’s African American community. Written by by Dr. Eva Semien Baham with forward by Rev. Mallery Callahan, it was published in 2015 as part of the “Images of America” historical series by Arcadia Publishing. It is available to view and purchase straight from Arcadia Publishing, on Kindle and Amazon, and at local CVS and Walgreens.

excerpt from the book

Book Bio

Covington is the seat of St. Tammany Parish government and sits north of Lake Pontchartrain in the New Orleans metropolitan area. Records from 1727 show 11 Africans on the north shore. One person of African descent was present at the founding of Covington on July 4, 1813. Most African Americans in antebellum Covington were slaves, with a modest number of free people, all of whom covered nearly every occupation needed for the development and sustenance of a heavily forested region. For more than 200 years in Covington, African Americans transformed their second-class status by grounding themselves in shared religious and social values. They organized churches, schools, civic organizations, benevolent societies, athletic associations, and businesses to address their needs and to celebrate their joys.

excerpt from the book

About the Author

Looking back in time, author Eva Semien Baham traces the core of Covington’s African American community members to their faiths’ emphases on timeless endurance, perseverance, and active work for change. Residents have a rich history and a contemporary experience rooted in both spiritual and civic involvement on behalf of the social, cultural, and economic advancement of their community, town, and country.

Dr. Eva Baham is the Assistant Professor of History at Dillard University in New Orleans. Prior to coming to Dillard, she taught for twenty-one years at Southern University, Baton Rouge. Her specialties include American, African-American and Intellectual history. She received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Southern University in Baton Rouge and her Masters of Arts and her Ph.D. in American Studies/History from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. She is the founder of the research organization, université sans murs, l.l.c., translated as University Without Walls, under which she conducts genealogical research projects. At present, those projects involves the Baham, Robert, Kelly, Simien and White families of south Louisiana. Currently, her work involves genealogy, biographical studies and the history of African Americans in Louisiana. – blogtalkradio.com

Local History

Local History: Mardi Gras in St. Tammany – 1966

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

 Here’s a smattering of news articles about Mardi Gras in St. Tammany Parish some 55 years ago in 1966. Click on the images to make them larger and more readable.

Krewe of Olympia 1st Parade in 1966

 The Carnival season in Covington got even more exciting when the brand new Krewe of Olympia launched its parade on February 20, 1966, joining two other parades already scheduled for the Mardi Gras season. 

Here are some articles and photographs that chronicled the coming of the Krewe of Olympia, its King, Court, and festivities. Click on the images to make them larger.

Here is the text from the newspaper article describing the inaugural ball 

Inaugural Ball Is Held Sunday
Article Written By Margaret Sloan

The Mystic Krewe of Olympia presented its first annual carnival ball Sunday night at the St. Paul’s high school student union building after a glittering torch-lit parade through downtown Covington.

“The Land of Oz”, theme of the parade, was carried out in an impressive tableaux enacted before a gold and red velvet throne backed by purple, gold and green swags gracefully draped from tall white columns.

Beginning festivities of the evening, Krewe Captain Earl Wilson, in glittering attire, made a spectacular entrance. His garb consisted of a gold and sequined satin coat with matching gold metallic trousers and rows of rhinestones extending the length of the pants legs. His cape was of white velvet, heavily-outlined in borders of gold and silver sequins, with rows of rhinestones within the outer border. Swirls of gold beautifully decorated the center of the cape, which was outlined with rhinestones and silver sequins.

His headpiece was heavily ornamented gold sequins, outlined in rows of brilliant rhinestones topped with white and blush pink plumes. Completing this magnificent attire were his boots of gold, trimmed with rhinestones. He carried a gold and silver jeweled scepter.

The krewe, dressed in costumes reminiscent of the lovable people of Oz, turned out en masse to join in the festivities and welcome the royal guests who had come to celebrate the occasion.

With fanfare and roll of drums, the captain presented George C. Darr, King Zeus 1, ruler of Olympia. attired in white satin Edwardian coat heavily ornamented in sequins and rhinestones. His trousers were of matching white satin and he wore white leather boots. The floor length mantle of white velvet trimmed in white mink and featured swirls of green, gold, yellow, pink, rose and orange velvet beautifully outlined in matching sequins.

Wearing a high arched silver crown of rhinestones highlighted with a jeweled Maltese cross in its center and carrying a jeweled scepter, he presented a magnificent figure.

First of the maids to enter was The Wise Witch of the South, Miss Maureen Helen Illing, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Warren J. Illing, escorted by The Guardian of the Emerald City Gates. Her blush pink gown featured a collar of carnival purple highlighted with an emerald green midrift. She wore an elaborate purple headpiece outlined in green sequins with a matching flowing train sprinkled with rhinestones.

The Wicked Witch of the East, Miss Sheridan Marie Stewart, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lomis E. Stewart, was escorted by the Royal High Sheriff of Oz. Her bouffant gown of burgandy net over black peau de soie had a purple bodice and long sleeves.

A cowl neckline and high collar of forest green illusion highlighted her costume. Her headpiece was of lavender satin sprinkled with rhinestones.

Third maid to enter was The Green Maiden of Oz. Miss Elizabeth W. Baldwin, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence Baldwin, escorted by The Wizard’s Court Jester. She was beautifully attired in a gown of forest green net over white satin featuring a bodice of satin and matching green net puffed sleeves sprinkled with rhinestones. Her soceress headpiece was of green satin and chiffon.

Miss Freida Fusilier, daughter of Mrs 0. Fusilier, portraying The Beautiful Sorceress, Gavelette, was escorted by Prince Quelala. She was costumed in a gown of green satin featuring white mink trim about the coat and outlining her full floor-length skirt.

Her headpiece, in keeping with the character she portrayed, was of green and white sequins and had a floor length veil of olivette chiffon cascading from the center of the crown.

The fifth maid to enter was Glinda, The Good Witch. Miss Theresa Deano, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guy L. Deano, was escorted by The High Priest of Oz. Her gown was of daffodil yellow chiiffon and silk brocade emphasized by a full puffed skirt and elbow length sleeves beautifully trimmed in gold sequins. She wore a yellow tulle and gold sequined bakers hat.

Dorothy, portrayed by Miss Karen Louise Foil, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Foil, escorted by The Wizard of Oz, was the sixth and final maid to enter. Her white peau de soie and cranberry velvet bodiced gown featured a round neckline and elbow puffed sleeves. The white skirt was circled by eyelet entwined with cranberry ribbon and velvet bows scalloped about the hemline. Her headpiece was of white satin topped with a rich red plume.

Escorting the maids werel Messrs. Siegfried B Christensen, Lomis E. Stewart, Max J. Derbes, Jr., Guy L. Deano, Ray Foil and Dr. Lloyd M .Magruder.

As the much anticipated moment arrived, his majesty rose to welcome his daughter, Queen Carabel Darr, who was radiantly attired in a magnificent gown of white brocade fashioned along empire lines featuring panels of white satin over her floor length sheath skirt and wrist length sleeves, ending in a point over the hands.

Her elaborate mantle of rose pink velvet bordered in white mink, was centered with swirls of silver embroidery, outlined in brilliants and sequins.

Her circular crown was of silver and rhinestones and was beautifully tipped by teardrop crystals falling from its many spires. She carried a scepter of silver and rhinestones. Miss Darr’s mother is the former Miss Ama Norfleet of Shreveport, whose grandmother. Mrs. Ama Ford Vance, ruled as the first queen of carnival in Shreveport The queen’s aunt, Mrs. John H. Hearne, was the first Queen of Cotillion of Holiday in Dixie in Shreveport.

Pages to her royal highness were her sister, Miss Margaret Marion Darr and Miss Debra Ann Wilson, daughter of Col and Mrs. Earl Wilson. They wore identical ankle length white satin and peau de sole dresses and rhinestone tiaras.

Pages to his royal highness were Master Warren John Illing II, son of Mr. and Mrs. Warren J. Illing. and Master James Patrick Wilson, son of Col. and Mrs. Earl Wilson. Their costumes were of white satin bordered with rows of silver and gold sequins and matching canes lined with purple satin. Their hats were of white satin topped with white plumes.

Entertainment was furnished the court by Mrs. William Greer, who sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” the June Greer Dancing School performed “The Dancing Munchkins,” and the Stevie Romano Dancers dancing “Stormy Weather.”

Bouquets of red roses were presented to his majesty’s wife, Mrs. George C. Darr and Mrs. Earl Wilson, wife of the krewe Captain.

Tableaux music was furnished by Jay Zainey, and his orchestra who also furnished the music for the revelry at Covington Community Center following the Grand March and several call outs.

Article published on Friday, February 25, 1966, in the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper. 

Over on the Krewe of Olympia website, this account is given of the group’s history:

The History of the Mystic Krewe of Olympia

In 1965, a group of friends were having lunch at The Galley Restaurant across from the Covington Courthouse. Among them were Lieutenant Colonel Earl Wilson, Warren Illing, Sr. pharmaceutical sales manager, H. M. “Ollie” Olson, a Delta Airline Pilot, and James Heinritz, a local insurance agent. It was shortly after Mardi Gras, and the conversation turned to the Lions Club parade on Mardi Gras morning in Covington.

Colonel Wilson commented that many St. Tammany residents in rural areas probably had never seen a “New Orleans style” parade, adding “wouldn’t it be great to bring one to the community?” By the end of the meeting, plans were under way to form a carnival organization in Covington. Each participant in the project was given the task of signing up 25 members for the organization. By the end of the week, approximately 100 enthusiastic members had formed the Mystic Krewe of Olympia.

Read more local Mardi Gras history on the Tammany Family site:

Krewe of Kaa Cee Ball 1966 

Covington Mardi Gras 1966 Video 

Olympia Mardi Gras History 

Mardi Gras Parade Preparations  

Local History Local News

Covington Weekly Introduces New Historic Walking Tour

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Covington Weekly is excited to introduce the new Historic Walking Tour, a map and guide of historic locations in downtown Covington! Find the map in the latest edition of our Quarterly publication, out now at these fine locations: covingtonweekly.com/distribution-locations

Click here to find a complete walk-thru article, starting at the Columbia Street Landing and wrapping around Covington’s Historic St. John District – designated by the National Register of Historic Places.

Local History

Local History: 1st Avenue Park, Now Known As “Nose”

Published by:

Covington History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View Ron’s blog Tammany Family here. View more photos for this post here: tammanyfamily.blogspot.com

Down at the end of Jahncke Avenue in Covington, just before it turns into Old Landing Road, is a roadside park with some extra special features.

Click on the images to make them larger. 

It has a circular paved walking trail, a variety of playground equipment, picnic tables both in open sun and tree-shaded, plus a great covered pavilion overlooking the tranquil Tchefuncte River. Oh, and a giant nose.

It’s official name is “First Avenue Park,” and it was a project promoted by Covington City Councilman, Matt Faust in the mid-1990’s. After four years of site clean up and landscaping efforts, it opened officially with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 17, 1996, although it had already been open for public use and enjoyment for months before.

That five-acre park has become known as “Nose Park,”  because of the big nose that sticks out of the ground near the front of the park. It even has its own Google Maps label, and positive reviews as well. 

The Nose by Al Ormsby

The Riverside Covered Pavilion  

A river observation deck

A boardwalk goes down to the level of the river for a closer look.

The riverside pavilion was built by Randy Aultman

According to former Mayor Keith Villere the plans for the park included more docks and the clearing of the lower brush to make some nature trails. “We were designing a whole playground full of art components, swings, climbing things, etc.,” he said. 

The covered pavilion at the river is wheelchair accessible, giving everyone a chance to look at the water and enjoy the peaceful bend in the river. Birds and butterflies frequent the site.

Benches to sit and enjoy the outdoors

The park occupies the land which was once the city’s sewage processing plant. That meant it had large circular tanks filled with sewage. “It’s not everyday you turn a sewer plant into a park and greenery,” said Councilman Faust at the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The sewage treatment plant was no longer used after a new sewerage system was put in, and the city first tried to demolish the old facility with their own work crews. When that wasn’t going fast enough, officials were able to get some grant money to hire a contractor to take on the job. It was not an easy task, given its solid reinforced concrete construction.

Some people used the site as a garbage dump for a while, and that caused a problem, not only for the nearby river, but because of all the broken glass mixed in with the garbage. Turning the area into a park required a great deal of effort to remove the layer upon layer of broken glass. 

City officials and workers prevailed, however, and after spending an initial $60,000 (half of which was paid by a federal Land & Conservation grant), the area was successfully cleaned up, transformed into a park, and is now regularly visited by children and parents for their recreational needs. “Making the old sewer plant into a park also helped property values in the area,” Faust said.

The Tchefuncte River at 1st Avenue Park (Nose Park)

The Nose at Nose Park

The sculpture was done by Al Ormsby. A nearby resident built a small garden next to the sculpture, and it was called “The Nose Garden.” 

More photos for this post at tammanyfamily.blogspot.com

See also: Sunset at Nose Park

Local History

Local History: Old Covington Street Scenes – 1900’s – 1930’s

Published by:

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

Here are some photos of the streets in Covington from the 1900’s to 1930’s. 

For links to full-sized images, visit tammanyfamily.blogspot.com/2016/06/old-covington-street-scenes_13

Gibson Street between N. New Hampshire and N. Columbia, looking east

Probably Columbia St. looking northward from Rutland St. 

The building at left is D.M. Wadsworth & Bro., General Merchandise.  At far right is Babington & Co.

Columbia Street looking northward towards Boston St. 

Old Haik Store

From Boston Street looking southward

Louisiana Avenue

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Corner Gibson and Columbia Streets, with Little Napoleon House in background

The Napoleon House, one of the oldest structures in Covington, at the southwest corner of the Gibson Street, Columbia Street intersection. 

Columbia Street, mid-block between Boston and Gibson Streets, view towards the south where the Art Association building is today.

Gibson Street, looking eastward from N. New Hampshire. The two story Patrick Hotel (Hebert’s Cleaners) building in center of frame with tree in front.

Snow on Gibson Street, looking eastward

Gibson Street, looking eastward from N. New Hampshire. At left “Covington Restaurant” is approximately where Mattina Bella restaurant is today. (Formerly Nathan’s Sandwich Shop)

Gibson Street looking east

Claiborne Hill Road 

Looking southward on Columbia Street from Boston Street

The old Parkview Theater location, southeast corner of Boston and N. New Hampshire. Over the years home to a Ford dealership, Hebert’s Drugs, Dunning’s Flower Shop, del Porto’s Restaurant

Old Covington Motors Ford Dealership, corner Boston and N. New Hampshire

Gibson Street train depot

View Down North New Hampshire Street towards Boston Street

Gibson St. Looking towards Columbia

Southeast corner of Boston and Columbia Streets

Theobald Brothers Blacksmith Shop

To view additional scenes of Covington streets in the early 1900’s, CLICK HERE

Local History

Local History: Theard Street & the Division of Morgan

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

Where did Theard Street in Covington get its name, especially considering almost every other street is either a number or the name of a President? Information from records researched by Jack Terry offered this possibility.

Arthur Theard
Tract called Morgan Commerce and Virtue

Thomas Collins acquired a parcel of land in the town of Wharton designated as a square called Morgan Commerce and Virtue (C-1 415 21 Jan 1832) along with a number of other lots in the Division of St John as a result of a court judgement against the Gibson’s.   

This specific tract was not specifically spelled out in the partition documents.  It is most likely part of the 13 squares between Adams and Madison streets.  Thomas Collins sold the parcel called Morgan Commerce and Virtue to Alexander Buchannon and John Lewis Theiling (F-1 15 10 Mar 1837).   

One of the maps of downtown Covington by Ron Barthet.
Click the image to view more maps by Mr. Barthet.

This property was then acquired by Sarah Delano at a State of Louisiana tax sale from an unknown owner on 20 March 1875 who in turn sold the property to Arthur Theard on 11 June 1877 (I 258).  The tract called Morgan Commerce and Virtue divides it from the Division of Winter and separates it from the Division of St John according to the property description in I  258.  

Arthur Theard sold his interest in the Division of Morgan Commerce and Virtue.  To insure clear title Theard obtained from the decedents of John Theilan a conveyance of their ½ interest in Morgan Commerce and Virtue.  In addition Theard obtained a release of any claims to the property from John Buchannon in exchange for square 2 in the Division of Morgan Commerce and Virtue (I 351 27 Oct 1879)

Theard St., which at one time was on the edge of town, is now flanked by key government offices.

Visit tammanyfamily.blogspot.com to see more great local history!

Local History

Local History: Bogue Falaya Wayside Park

Published by:

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

Bogue Falaya Park in Covington was a happening place in the beginning of the 20th Century. There were all kinds of dances, plays and general get-togethers in the park. Hundreds of people passed through the entrance gates of the community park on summer weekends to sit by the river, enjoy the shade of the large pavilion and listen to music or see a show of some sort. Click on the images to see a larger version.

It was first opened in July, 1909, as indicated by the following newspaper article from the St. Tammany Farmer. Click on the image to enlarge the type.

Here are some pictures of the entrance to Bogue Falaya Park. The first one is in the 1910’s.

A previous entrance to Bogue Falaya Park, according to the postcard caption.

A March 27, 1920, Editorial About the Park
Heading for the Park Pavilion
The large park pavilion that was repeatedly damaged by floods
A July 4, 1939, gathering at the park
The park pavilion in 2016

According to Pat Clanton, the original large pavilion in the park was destroyed around 1915 and replaced with the current day pavilion, which is much smaller.

The large brick entrance posts are also interesting.

The entrance gate built in 1920 served pedestrians, but was modified a few years later to accommodate cars. The two pillars on either side of that gate were retained. They were restored in 2007 along with the historical marker that was placed on them originally.

On January 24, 1920, W. L. Stevenson wrote a letter to the St. Tammany Farmer proposing that the above brick entrance pillars be built.

The sign above is a replica of an earlier sign that adorned the entrance to the park. The new sign was built in 1993 using funds generated by the sale of a song-filled cassette about St. Tammany Rivers. CLICK HERE for more information.

The Documentation for Placement on the National Registry of Historic Places

On August 17, 2017, Bogue Falaya Park was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The narrative description of the park listed on the NRHP application went as follows (with some editing):

The Bogue Falaya River was pivotal in the development of Covington. Covington was at one point one of the major ports for cotton coming from Mississippi and Florida. In addition to cotton shipments were brick, lumber, beef, and poultry. In the early and mid-19th century, Covington was a central axis for trading and the Bogue Falaya served to link the town with Lake Pontchartrain and finally New Orleans.

Not only were goods and people moving from Covington to New Orleans, the residents of New Orleans were flocking to the Bogue Falaya riverbanks. Covington and the other towns were designated to be the 2nd healthiest place in the United States after the Civil War due to the significantly lower levels of disease related deaths. People would come to the Bogue Falaya to swim and to enjoy the clean air. Covington and the Bogue Falaya became such a prominent tourist attraction that early versions of bed and breakfasts were developed along the river and in the town to accommodate for these visitors.

Bogue Falaya Park is located on the eastern side of the city of Covington, Louisiana on the banks of the Falaya River. A thirteen-acre park located at the end of N. New Hampshire Street with a natural boundary of the river to the east and the suburban neighborhood to the west.

Within the park are two significant structures, the main being the pavilion situated at the end of the turning circle/ parking lot area within the park. The dominant feature of the park, the current pavilion was constructed in 1915 and has acted continuously as an important community gathering center for the city of Covington.

The second are the gates to the park, donated in 1920 by a Dr. Lawrence Stevenson. The remaining features of the gate include brick and mortar posts with marble plaques and three cast iron cannon balls a top each post. Originally larger, they have been receded to allow for vehicle access to the park.

In addition to these primary features, there is also an original lifeguard chair dating to approximately the 1950s. A dilapidated concession stand and newer construction wooden playground are also on the site and are non-contributing elements to the park.

The park offers a variety of vegetation featuring several live oak and long leaf yellow pine trees throughout.

Bogue Falaya Park, located within the city limits of Covington, Louisiana, was opened on July 1, 1909, along the banks of the Bogue Falaya River. Already a popular recreation site because of the river, the park developed into a central gathering space for community members of Covington.

The area is mostly sand with the only paved areas being the driveway into the park and turnaround area directly in front of the pavilion. The turnaround area features a small sculpture, stone benches, and is the most manicured/planned area in terms of vegetation.

The park has many trees most of which are cypress, oak, or long leaf yellow pine, which are common to the area. The ground is primarily sand, with some small growth of grasses. As it was always meant to be a recreational space and not a designed landscape, the park still retains its integrity as a contributing site and is the only resource of the park itself that dates to the original opening in 1909.

The lifeguard chair is a contributing object. The wooden portions of the chair (seat and back) have rotted away, but one can still easily tell that this was a lifeguard chair. It stands on the banks of the Bogue Falaya River and helps to illustrate the recreational aspect that the park and river played. It is constructed of pipe metal and fits the typical design of a lifeguard chair, being taller so that that lifeguard could see over crowds and well into the water. It dates to the 1950s and is thus, within the period of significance for the park.

The Bogue Falaya Park is significant for recreation and entertainment as the park has provided a recreational space that was not only used by locals, but residents of New Orleans as well, for over 100 years. The historic resources within the park have been continually used by residents and visitors and retain a high degree of integrity.

The park itself provides a rural oasis within the city of Covington away from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area. The park continues to this day to be a significant recreational resource for the community

Due to the relative health of the city of Covington and the access to the river, recreation became a large part of the Bogue Falaya and its banks. The land for the park was bought from G.R Tolson in 1908 by the City of Covington to establish a 13-acre park. The park was officially opened on July 1st, 1909. The city maintained the park from that time until 1938 when it was gifted to the State of Louisiana who managed it until 1978 when it was given back to Covington.

The original pavilion was constructed in 1907 and was destroyed in a storm in 1915, which necessitated the building of the existing structure. Even prior to the formal designation of the park, this original pavilion and riverbank area was a popular destination and a source of pride for residents and a featured tourism spot.

Multiple post cards were developed in this time with renderings and photographs of the pavilion. One shows visitors walking to the pavilion with their buggies parked in the grass.

Up until the 1960s, the park was a popular swimming spot for the residents of Covington, and on the weekends, residents of New Orleans. The pavilion was used as a gathering space for visitors to the park. The pavilion offers an open space for people to gather under and, when the park was still open for swimming, it offered a counter where you could purchase a basket of swimming essentials.

Behind the counter were showers and changing areas for swimmers. In the front, to the left-hand side was a concession stand where visitors could buy an assortment of refreshments. A jukebox was also in the pavilion. During the period of significance, the pavilion and park were open all night and became a place for teenagers to dance.

Current residents of the town of Covington recall that on the weekends there was barely a section of beach left to lay your blanket and fondly spoke of their youth – swimming during the day and dancing with friends into the evening.

The river, as told above, was the heart and soul of both commerce and leisure in Covington for a significant amount of time and a main reason Covington became a destination spot. The river was the center of life in Covington – where people would relax, wash their clothes, and even baptize their young. This continued up to and past the development of Bogue Falaya Park.

The park was built to accommodate the recreation of the river. The evolution of this area into a park is a natural progression of the use of the space, as represented by the fact that the original pavilion predates the land being bought for the park by one year.

Clearly, the need was there for a structure to provide shade, the needed facilities for such a popular swimming spot, and a place to gather as a community. The vitality and popularity of the park and pavilion continued up until the late 1960s when the river became polluted and the park went into a state of disrepair. In the early 1980s, the park was reopened and in 1984, it underwent a renovation. New sand was brought in, debris was cleared away, and the pavilion was cleaned and repainted.

The Bogue Falaya Park is significant because of the popularity of the park among residents of Covington and the pivotal role the pavilion played in providing services, entertainment, and a break from the heat during a time when tourism and recreation on the Northshore was at an unsurpassed rate. This park provided the main recreational access to the river and was a true center of the community during the hot months. The park and pavilion were also used for private family parties and gatherings as well as public town events throughout the year.

The Pavilion

The original pavilion was built in 1907 and was destroyed in a storm in 1915. The existing pavilion was constructed that same year to replace the damaged original. The pavilion is a free-standing wood construction building located at the end of the parking lot turning circle and serves as the focal point in the park.

The pavilion is a one-story structure and is dominated by a large open air room. A set of five wooden stairs with a railing on both sides brings visitors up to a small inset doorway with wood trim painted the color tan. The interior space from the front entrance opens into a large square area with low wooden benches along the perimeter.

The back wall contains two sets of double doors, behind which is now storage/prepping area. This space was originally where visitors would rent swimming equipment and housed the changing areas for each sex. To the right and left of these doors are the current restrooms. A later addition, on the back-left section of the pavilion facing the back wall is a handicapped accessible restroom. To the left of the main structure is a low side addition, which used to serve as the concession area. The building retains a high degree of historic integrity for location, setting, design, materials, workmanship, feel and association. It has been continually used by the community for over 100 years and its historic features have been retained while also updating certain aspects of the building for modern uses. The pavilion is over 50 years old and retains much of its integrity from its construction in 1915, with some modifications and upgrades as stated above.

The gates are the next significant structure in the park and lie at the only vehicle access entrance to the park at the end of N. New Hampshire Street. Constructed in 1920 the gates were a gift to the park by Dr. Stevenson and were dedicated to his parents and the Rebel Ram Manassas, which was a submarine that served in the civil war to defend Louisiana.

Each of the two sides of the gate sit on a concrete footer. The focal points of the gate are two redbrick and mortar structures with a square concrete footer and a marble base. On the capstone are three cast iron cannon balls.

On the southern elevation of the eastern gate the plaque reads “Original Park Gates erected 1920, Restored 2007” and features a carving of the gates on the top of the plaque. The east and west elevations include a cement placeholder for the plaque.

The north elevation has a marble plaque with a carving of the Rebel Ram Manassas and reads “My Parents, Projectors of the Rebel Ram Manassas, Defender of Louisiana in The Civil War, Dr. Stevenson, 1920”. Dr. Stevenson donated the gates in 1920 in honor of his parents and the CSS Ram Manassas.

The CSS Ram Manassas was active during the Civil War as a part of the Confederate fleet. The Manassas has a unique history and was originally designed in Massachusetts as a towboat and used as a steam icebreaker. The ship was captured and purchased by Captain John Stevenson, who was the father of Dr. Stevenson. Captain Stevenson turned the icebreaker he had purchased into a ram – which is an entirely ironclad ship run by steam meant to (literally) ram other ships and to be impermeable to cannonballs.

The Ram Manassas was one of the first ironclad ships built for the Confederacy. Eventually, the ship was defeated, but its story offers a unique perspective into naval warfare during the Civil War. This history is especially relevant to the significance of this property due to its connection to the rivers.

Originally the gates had iron gates to enclose the park. These were removed with the increase in vehicle traffic to the park. Over the years, the gates were vandalized and fell into disrepair. The cannonballs were stolen and the plaques damaged. In 2007, the gates and plaques underwent restoration. The cannonballs were replaced with ones to match. The gates are contributing objects as, although they have been restored with the cannonballs replaced, they are over 50 years old and retain their historic integrity. The town appreciates and is aware of this history as was shown by the hard work that was put in to carefully restoring the gates in 2007.

Today, the park is used daily by locals and visitors alike. The pavilion is still available for private rental for celebrations and gatherings and is often booked. Town-organized events are also held in the structure, such as the philharmonic music event series and the Halloween Monster Mash.

The park is a source of joy and pride for all the residents of Covington and remains an important asset to the community. The gates to the park are also significant in and of themselves and offer a piece of history about some of the residents of the town.

The Bogue Falaya Park has served as a key recreational facility in Covington since it was first created in 1907-08.

See also:
Sign Dedication at the Park Entrance
Bogue Falaya Park Pavilion

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Local History

Local History: the Covington Heart Pine Knot House

Published by:

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

Over the years, it has been the subject of many an artistic photograph, painting, and even postcards. Bridal photography has used it as a background. Motorists along U.S. 190 in Covington marvel at its roadside mystery every day.

It is the 100-year-old pine knot sanctuary-haven that sits just off the highway on the old Warner home property in west Covington. The shed, about 16 feet by 16 feet, features walls of intertwined heart pine knots, a tin roof, and a dirt floor, with gates leading out of the front and back. It is surrounded by vegetation, at times obscured from view, and backed by beautiful trees.

Click on the images to make them larger

According to Warner family members, the shed was made with fat pine knots from the Mackie Pine Products company sometime in the early 1920’s. Richard Warner explained that it was a walk in gate and was used by his dad’s wife to raise ferns. 

“This was back when 21st Avenue was a dirt road and a lot of people walked where they were going,” said Richard Warner on Facebook. “It used to have a wood shingle roof, but it finally rotted away and was replaced with tin.” 

Over the years people passing by have speculated why it was built, and there were a lot of false rumors regarding its original purpose, Warner noted. 

Many older Covington residents today have it indelibly etched in their memories because of their daily trips as students on their way to Covington High past the structure. 

Richard Warner went on to say that his father, J.H. Warner, Sr., used to say he graduated from the school of hard knocks. He learned bookkeeping/accounting while he was a representative of the American Paint Works and met Harry Mackie in the early 1900’s during which time they became friends. 

“Mr. Mackie was a chemist and had a small plant in Mississippi but decided to move it to our area early in the 1900’s because of all the longleaf pine stumpage in the area,” Richard explained. “My father bought some stock in the new Mackie Pine Products and was elected Secretary/Treasurer by the board of directors of the corporation. J. Harry Warner, Jr.(Harry), who was my half brother, worked in the plant and became plant superintendent.”

When the plant burned in 1945, Mr. Mackie decided to retire and Harry, Jr. bought him out and the plant was rebuilt and renamed Delta Pine Products. “My father continued on as Secretary/Treasurer of the company until his death at the age of 89 years and 10 months of age in 1958,” Richard went on to say. 

When the company found it hard to acquire enough stumps to process, it was decided to scrap the plant. Buddy Perreand was with Southern Scrap joined with Harry, and it became P&W Industries which, according to its webpage, was established in 1967.

The Pine Knot House Becomes Legendary 

Anne Sarphie of Re/Max Alliance real estate even has a description of it on her business webpage. “The Knot House: A well-known landmark in Covington is called “The Knot House” or “The Twig House”. It is located on private property, but it sits so close to the road that you see it as you drive by. Built nearly 100 years ago… it has withstood many hurricanes, high winds and falling tree limbs. It is constructed from the heart pine knots, the hardest and heartiest part of the pine tree. It makes me smile every time I pass it.”

Artists and photographers have found it enchanting, especially when the sun and shadows are just right. Being made of knots of heart pine, it’s a unique bit of Covington’s timber and pine oil history and has a special place in many people’s hearts.

Behind the pine knot house was the Warner family property. Here is a photo of the classic family home as found on a real estate website when it was for sale a few years ago.

This is the house where the people who built the heart pine knot haven lived
More photos in the link below

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Local History

Local History: Annadele Plantation

Published by:

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

The site upon which the Annadele Plantation Restaurant sits has quite an interesting history. It is located on the banks of the Bogue Falaya River in one of the area’s oldest communities, Claiborne. Here is an article about the property and the restaurant that was published in 1988. Click to enlarge image.

The Annadele Plantation Restaurant website also has a history narrative. That history is reprinted below. To visit the original webpage, CLICK HERE.

“Annadele’s history begins in 1819 when seven men, police jurors of the town of Claiborne, formed the Claiborne Company. These men were looking for a site to locate the St. Tammany Courthouse and jail. The men acquired 1,765.5 acres of land through a sheriff’s sale. The town of Claiborne, however, didn’t flourish and eventually the courthouse was abandoned. A new town, Covington (originally called Wharton), became the parish seat. The 1,765.5 acres were divided into parcels and sold. Colonel Thomas Sully, of New Orleans, immediately recognized the potential of one particular 24-acre parcel and purchased it.   

“Wasting little time, Colonel Sully launched construction on an estate. Although the Colonel never intended to use the estate as a plantation, he adopted the West Indian plantation style and named the estate Monrepos. When the one-story home was built in 1834, it featured four bedrooms separated by a wide 54-foot hall with a room containing bathing tubs and laundry pots with a separate kitchen. This kitchen is still on site and was used as a valet station for the original Annadele’s. To aid in cooling and heating, 15-foot ceilings also were incorporated into the design.   

“In 1889, the property became the summer home to New Orleans Mayor Walter C. Flower, his wife, Adele, and their children. One of his daughters, Corinne Dunbar, became synonymous with the distinct Creole restaurant of the same name in New Orleans.   

“Following Flowers’ tenure, the estate passed into the hands of New Orleans cotton broker Leon Gibert. Gibert elevated the cottage, closed in the first floor as living space, and added the large wings. He also added a boiler for steam heating the house. After Gibert’s death, the estate passed to his son and grandchildren.   

“Gibert’s grandchildren sold the property in 1970 to the McEnery trust, and in 1976 Linder Schroeder and her parents, Florence and Joseph Pacaccios, took possession. For the Pacaccios, it became a true labor of love, and through concerted efforts, four years were spent remodeling the house as they awaited the return of their daughter. They furnished the house with a mixture of antiques of English, French and Southern styles. The original solid cypress floor is still in the upstairs hallway. An artesian well that was dug in 1827 offers water that is from a vein in Minnesota and still serves as the main water well.”   

“Annadele’s was then purchased by a private investment group and restored to its historic beauty. The new owners created four distinct bed and breakfast suites that sit atop the restaurant.”

Read more great history at tammanyfamily.blogspot.com!

Local History

Local History: a Tribute to Postcards

Published by:

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

Many of the historical photographs from 100 or so years ago we have today only because they were printed on postcards. Through the wonder of that new-fangled gadget, the camera (and the fascination that came with it) people suddenly felt in love with photographs of just about anything and everything in day-to-day life. 

Many of those photographs became postcards, showing street scenes, buildings, landmarks, people standing around, people doing stuff. And those postcards were a quick way to dash a note off to a friend and actually show them an image of where you were. Easier than taking a photograph yourself, postcards were appreciated for their convenience and used extensively.

Then came the postcard collectors and postcard albums. Almost every family had one, an album filled with postcards from friends, relatives, and those purchased by the family itself while travelling. I remember Louis Wagner having an excellent postcard album, and Elmer E. Lyon had one that was quite interesting. John Preble and Annette Couch also have great collections of postcards.

In 1976 Polly Morris wrote an article about the importance of family postcard albums, not only for the memories they invoked while looking through them, but for the historical record they provided. Here is the article. Click on the image below to enlarge the view of it. 

So here’s a tribute to picture postcards: records of past family travels and keepers of community historical views. Technology may make them obsolete, but for a time they were part of every vacation and tourist souvenir shop. You knew you were on vacation when you started revolving those picture postcard racks in Stucky’s.

Today, with Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and the like, technology has obliterated the need for postcards. It’s not easy to even find a postcard rack in stores these days. But, no worry, historians of the future will have millions of digitized images to look through to find that picture of Boston Street in 2017.


Polly Morris joined the writing team at the Mandeville Banner in February of 1974.

Check out more great local history at Tammany Family.

Local History

Local History: Covington in the 1940s and 1950s by Phil Pfeffer

Published by:

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

The memories of day-to-day life in Covington in the 1940’s and 1950’s were written down by Phil Pfeffer, a graduate of Covington High School in 1958. Here is what he shared about those times from 70 years ago. 

Covington in the 1940s and 1950s
By Phil Pfeffer

Everyone talks about the “Good Ole Days.” Let’s take a look.

About 70 years ago, Covington was a sleepy country town of about 5,000 people. It was two hours away from New Orleans to the south of Lake Pontchartrain and two hours east of Baton Rouge. The only industry was a turpentine factory of Delta Pine Products, known earlier as Mackie’s Pine Products. Pine oil as the name suggests was made from pine knots and the logs of pine trees, and the plant was subject to frequent fires.

In those days, the crime rate in Covington was at a minimum. People would get out of their car, without locking it, and leave the keys in the ignition, on a seat or on the dashboard. On a warm, dry day, they would leave the windows rolled down (very few cars had air conditioning). 

The houses were not locked a night or even when the resident was away during the day. On a warm night, the doors and windows were left open for circulation (very few houses had air conditioning). A woman or young girl could walk home after a movie at night without fear of being assaulted. In the 1940s a call to the police may take a while for a response because the police had to call a taxi before they could go to the site.

The Fire Department

The fire department was a completely volunteer unit except for the fire chief. The fire chief and his family lived above the fire station. When a fire broke out, a siren on the city’s water tower alerted the volunteers as to the location of the fire for the volunteers to assemble. For example, if the fire was on 19th avenue, the siren would sound one long blast, followed by nine short ones.

The telephone exchange was located on the northeast corner of New Hampshire street and Independence street. When you picked up your telephone a female voice asked, “Number, Please.” Note that all of the telephone operators were women. You would give the operator the number that you wanted to call, and she would connect you. If you did not know the number of your party, you would ask for “Information.” 

The phone numbers were two, three or four digits. Some numbers had a letter suffix. These were party lines. You might remember that Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies wanted a party line installed in the mansion so that she could eavesdrop on other conversations. Phones with rotary dial systems did not come to Covington until around 1951.

The Coming of Television

Television was in its embryo stage. Not many families had a television and if they did it consisted of a small, round cathode ray tube. The picture was in black and white and tended to roll, skew vertically or was often comprise of “snow.” Replacing the picture tube periodically cost about $90. 

There was only one television station, Channel 6 (WDSU), and it came out of New Orleans. WDSU was later joined by WWL and if you had a high enough antenna and aimed it correctly, you could pick up WBRZ from Baton Rouge. None of these stations operated 24 hours a day. Shows consisted of such classics as “Howdy Doody” and “Morgus the Magnificent.”

Sports on television was minimal. Sometimes there was a professional baseball game shown on Saturday afternoon or a football game on Thanksgiving Day, but the teams were whatever the network wanted to show. Baseball was often on the radio (Mutual Broadcasting System). College games were not on the tube. L.S.U. and Tulane could usually be heard on the radio.

The Local Movie Show

Entertainment was primarily the movie house. The Star Theatre had movies every night. On Sunday and Monday was the main feature for the week. On Saturday night was the weekly cowboy show. Boys would bring their cap pistols and sit on the front row and shoot the bad guys. The cost of admission was nine cents if you were below 12 years old. Otherwise the price was 36 cents. Children would try to lie about their age for the first year after turning twelve. 

The Majestic Theatre was also in Covington, but it was only open on the weekends. The Majestic also had branches in Madisonville and in Mandeville.

On the Mandeville highway were the drive-in theatre and the bowling alley. The drive in was open on the week ends and the teenager would do whatever they had to do to avoid the price of admission. If a girl had a long, full skirt, someone would lie on the floor under the skirt. Boys would get in the trunk of the car and get out once they were inside the fence. Some boys would climb the fence and meet the car and driver inside the fence. Typically, when a couple went to the drive in, they didn’t watch the movie.

The Music Scene

Teenagers were introduced to Rock and Roll. Beginning with “Rock around the Clock,” the airwaves were suddenly filled with Fats Domino, Little Richard, the Platters and soon to be with Elvis. It all drove the parents crazy.

The local hangouts were primarily on Claiborne Hill. The younger crowd would congregate at the Dairy King where a milk shake costs twenty cents and a hamburger cost twenty-five cents. As the crowd grew a little older, Claiborne Inn became the preferred location. There, there were car hops for service. Cokes cost a dime and a beer was twenty-five or thirty cents, depending on the brand. 

 A special was “Chicken in the Basket” consisting of three pieces of chicken, French fries and toast. The cost of the basket was eighty-five cents. Also, on “the Hill” was Village Inn which had a band on Saturday nights, Jim’s which was a more upper-class establishment and the Circle Tavern, better known as “The Bloody Bucket.”

Another popular hangout for the younger set was Harvey’s House. Here there was an ice cream and soda fountain, comic books, pinball machines and on weekends, roller skating in the back at night.

The two Boy Scout troops were Troop 116 and Troop 325. Troop 116 met at St. Peters school. Troop 325 met at the Presbyterian Church on Friday nights and would occasionally go camping. One favorite spot was a boy scout facility, just east of Mandeville near the lake. There were several cub scouts packs around town and one girl scout troop.

With the arrival of summer, it was time to go swimming. The most popular spot was Bogue Falaya State Park at the end of New Hampshire street. Other popular spots were Red Bluff up toward Folsom and Fontainebleau State Park just east of Mandeville. The lake at Fontainebleau was shallow near shore and you had to go out quite a way before the water was waist deep. It was also the location of the annual barbeque held by the Covington Lions Club.

The Covington Country Club opened in 1954. The main activities were the swimming pool and the nine-hole golf course. The back nine was added a few years later. There was food and a bar and people where often seen sun bathing by the pool or playing cards inside. One had to own a share of stock in the country club as prerequisite for membership. A share of stock cost $200.

To travel to New Orleans, you had to go around the lake via Slidell. Besides being a longer journey, you had towns of Mandeville, Lacombe and Slidell with their traffic lights. If you got behind a slow car, you had to wait for your chance to pass because it was only a two-lane highway. Travel time was about two hours. The causeway wasn’t opened until the late 1950s. Students at Covington High made temporary and permanent friends with students whose dads came over to work on the causeway construction. It was also about two hours to Baton Rouge with even more town and traffic lights. Here again, Interstate-12 was still on the drawing board.

The Greyhound Bus Connection

One way to go to New Orleans was by the Greyhound bus. The bus originated in Abita Springs, then to the parking lot of the Southern Hotel and made stops in Mandeville, Lacombe and Slidell (remember the White Kitchen) before arriving at the terminal on Canal street. It would also stop along the way if someone on the roadside flagged them down. Once in the City, you would shop primarily at Holmes or Maison Blanche. New Orleans had a good transportation system. The bus or streetcar cost seven cents to ride and you could get free transfers to change from streetcar to bus or change buses at intersections to continue your journey.

The newspapers that were published in New Orleans were sent to Covington via the bus. The paper cost a nickel. Boys would distribute the afternoon paper to the subscribed customers while riding on their bikes (rain or shine). They often had trouble collecting the monthly subscription fee from their customers. The Baton Rouge newspaper was seldom available.

Doctors Made House Calls

Home delivery was not uncommon. The milk man brought fresh milk and/or cream to your back door. The daily morning newspaper would be thrown to your front steps. Laundry could be picked up at your back door and taken to St. Joseph’s Abbey where the nuns would wash and iron it and return it in a few days. Even soft drinks and watermelon would be sold door to door. Occasionally, men would be standing on the side of the road selling strawberries or soft-shell crabs. If you were very sick, the doctors made house calls.

There were several automobiles in Covington that no longer exist today. Packard was a luxury car to compete with Cadillac and Lincoln. Studebaker had a car that looked very similar from its front or back. Then there was the Kaiser and the Henry-J. The Edsel made a brief appearance. The price of a Cadillac back then was about five thousand dollars.

Gasoline costs about twenty cents a gallon, sometimes as low as 18-cents or as high as 24-cents. Cigarettes were about 25 to 30-cents a pack. If the price in a vending machine was 27 or 28-cents, the package would have two or three pennies included in the cellophane wrapper as change for your quarter and nickel. Coke and other soft drinks cost only a nickel. Coke later introduced a 10-ounce bottle in addition to their six-ounce size and it cost six-cents.

Passenger trains had not run in Covington for several years, but a daily train still came through. It traveled from Bogalusa through Abita Springs, then through Covington in route to collect logs for the paper mill. It returned in the afternoon fully loaded. Occasionally a freight car would be dropped off on a spur south of Lockwood street. When the train was abolished, the track and land was sold, and it became Tammany Trace.

There were three primary high schools, CHS, St. Paul’s and St. Scholastica’s. It was in the 1950s that St. Paul’s built their “new” basketball gym. Non-students of St. Paul’s would sneak into the school grounds because they had a swimming pool and a couple of pool tables. CHS, located on Jefferson Avenue had several “out buildings.” Agriculture classes were held in a building near the football field. The band hall was a separate building across from the gym. Boys kept their bicycles in the band hall yard (and did not have to lock their bikes). St. Paul’s and CHS had a natural cross-town rivalry in football and basketball. Covington High has since been burned down; fire origin unknown.

The CHS band uniforms provided by the school consisted of a jacket and a hat. Band members had to supply their own white pants and sew a blue strip down each side plus provide their own blue tie. The band performed at half-time of the high school football games, had an annual concert and marched in several New Orleans Mardi Gras parades.

The gym served several purposes. Besides being home court for the school basketball team, Covington hosted an invitation tournament of sixteen local area high school basketball teams each February. The home team won this tourney several years in a row in the 1950s. It was the venue of the high school dances following home football games. After the CHS-St. Paul’s game was the Sadie Hawkins dance. The name taken from Dogpatch and Lil’ Abner whereby the girls asked the boys for a date. It was also used for school assemblies, a site for talent and magic shows, the annual senior class play, and it even served as the location for the performance of the New Orleans symphony.

Across from the high school was the softball field (now the location of the gym). It was a lighted field with bleachers, and in the evenings, softball was played, with the two dominate teams, Shell Oil and WASS (Western Auto Supply Store). In later years, this area was designated for high school boys to smoke, if they had written parental permission.

Driving to Madisonville

To drive to Madisonville, you would go down 19th avenue to Tyler street then to 16th avenue to Filmore (Tyler street was not open between 21st avenue and 19th avenue). At the end of Filmore was a “rickety” old bridge across the Tchefuncte River. The bridge at the south east end of Tyler street was not built until the mid-50s.

To go to Hammond, one would go northwest on 21st avenue to the end and then turn west toward Goodbee. There was no easy way. Traveling from Texas to Florida, the truckers used U.S. Highway 190. That main route came right through Covington down Boston street. It made the double 90-degree turn at Jefferson avenue before going down 21st avenue toward Hammond.

In the Spring of 1957, Covington undertook to renumber every house and building in a more organized way. The intersection of Jefferson avenue and 21st avenue was ground zero. From there, buildings were numbered on the streets every 50 feet. If there was no house or building in a certain span, a gap occurred in the numbers so that there was room for a future building to be numbered. 

The street names were changed or modified to reflect north, south, east and west of ground zero. The numbers were assigned using a simple system first originated by Napoleon in France with odd numbers on the left and even numbers on the right as you left ground zero. For instance, a house that was originally 1104 21st avenue, became 406 West 21st avenue.

Parish Courthouse

The parish courthouse was on Boston street. It was torn down in the late 1950s to make room for a new, more modern facility. The gymnasium of the grammar school was the temporary courthouse. It was during this construction period that Governor Earl Long was transported from the mental hospital near Mandeville to the Covington Grammar school gym for a sanity hearing. Rumor was that he told the state trooper that drove the car, that as soon as he let him out at the school, to find another job because he was fired!

Read more local history at tammanyfamily.blogspot.com!

Local History

Local History: Covington Downtown Flashbacks – 1980’s & 1990’s

Published by:

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

Here are some pictures of downtown Covington and its stores from 30 or so years ago, in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Click on the images to make them appear larger.  

The A&P Supermarket, located in the northwest corner of the Gibson St. – Florida St. intersection. 

The old Post Office across from the A&P

North side of Boston near the old Courthouse:
Collins Music and Prudential Insurance

The same as above, but at that time with murals…  

Southwest corner of Boston and Columbia:
Charler’s Jewelers where St. John’s Coffee House is today.
Norman Haik’s Dept. Store seen across the street.

Citizens Finance on Boston, across from the Old Courthouse

Tip-top Shoe Repair on Boston across from the old Courthouse. Currently where Heidi Bowers Photography is located.

Acme Oyster on south side of Boston St. near Boston Pub

Same scene as above, but with Blue Bayou Waterbeds
and Commercial Discount Loans occupying the storefronts.
Now home to Buster’s Place Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Rue de la Course Coffee House prior to St. John Coffee House

Same location as above, but with Teens N Queens at corner and W.Riggs Real Estate next to the barber shop

 Corner Columbia and Boston Sts., with Joe’s Family Shoe
Store and Smith Hardware

Dunning’s Florist, southeast corner of Boston and New Hampshire.
Current location of Del Porto’s Restaurant

Tyler Downtown Drugs, southeast corner of Florida and Gibson Sts. Now the location of Renaissance Antiques and Gifts. 

Razzle Dazzle Hair Salon, northwest corner of Rutland and New Hampshire.
Current location of Jewel’s Cigar & Briar Shoppe. 

Old Majestic Theater building, then First National Bank, then Hibernia National Bank, then Land Records office (shown), and now Christ Community Church

Do The Dishes, southeast corner of New Hampshire and Kirkland Sts.
Now the location of Beck N Call Cafe

The old train depot and Covington Depot Restaurant, Alexius
Brothers Hardware to the left

The building that housed Burns Furniture Store, now a vacant lot

Hiller’s Bar, northeast of New Hampshire and Gibson St. intersection,
in the curve of the train tracks (now known as Tammany Trace). The building is now home to the Back Porch (Club), something to do with the 4th Dimension.

Across New Hampshire St. from Hiller’s Bar, the car sales lot office. Current location of the Covington Trailhead Concert Stage and Museum
Click here for Facebook Page for the Covington Trailhead Museum

The P&W Industries Scrap Metal Plant. The new St. TammanyParish Courthouse is now in that location.

The Gibson Street Bar and Lounge

Same building, this time housing Dixie Cafe next door to Nathan’s Sandwich Shop  

Same building, this time housing the Little Bohemian Restaurant.
Currently occupied by a vacant lot.

Nathan’s Sandwich Shop on Gibson, behind old courthouse.
Currently occupied by the Mattina Bella Restaurant

Hebert’s Cleaners, prior to the 1997 tornado

Alexius Brothers Hardware building, Lockwood near Theard St. 

Putt Putt Golf Course on Gibson, just west of Vermont St.

 St. Tammany Homestead Association office on Rutland St.

Majestic Club on Columbia near Rutland St. Current location
of Heritage Bank building

Champagne Jewelers on Columbia across from H.J. Smith’s Son General Merchandise. Current location of Mo’s Art Supply, at left, and Roy K. Burns Jr., Law Office

The ever-popular Maison Nez, northwest corner of Columbia and Gibson Sts.
Current location of Gulf Coast Lanterns.

Robert’s Beauty College, northeast corner of Columbia and Lockwood Sts.
Originally a funeral home, the building currently houses an art school and gallery and a hair salon for men.

The Columbia Street washateria, the building that became the home of the
St. Tammany Art Association

The Western Auto Store, southeast corner of Vermont and Gibson Sts.
Currently the home of the new Downtown Drugs.

The Frederick Building entrance on Boston St., flanked by Bill’s Barber shop and the Team Works. Doorway at right currently leads to Northshore Vineyard Church.

Boston St., south side, looking west from Columbia St. 

Thanks to the Covington Trailhead Museum for sharing many of these images from the 1980’s and 1990’s. 

See more great local history at Ron’s blog Tammany Family!

Local History

Local History: Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 3

Published by:

Local History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. This article has been broken up into 4 parts for ease of reading.
View his blog Tammany Family here.

Historical Markers

According to the Historical Marker Project website, there are 45 historical markers in St. Tammany Parish. They share a variety of historical highlights across the area, giving us an idea of the people and places that contributed to early St. Tammany. Here is their list.

Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 1
Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 2

Local History: Historical Markers of St. Tammany –
Part 3:

The Southern Hotel

At the turn of the 20th century, Covington was famous for its healthful, healing environment. Excursionists came by schooner and by rail to breathe the pine-scented air and drink the pure waters. To accommodate the many guests, Covington, like other towns on the north shore, offered a selection of hotels and home-like resorts. The Southern Hotel opened its doors on June 1, 1907. The hotel, designed in the shape of the letter “H,” was constructed at a cost of $100,000. The chef and his assistants were formally in the employ of first class hotels and restaurants in New Orleans. There were 200 feet of galleries overlooking New Hampshire Street, a formal garden and a tennis court. Tame and exotic animals resided in cages in the central lobby surrounding an artesian fountain. The building houses government offices from the 1980’s until a few years before its restoration began in 2012.

John Slidell

John Slidell was an American politician and diplomat. Born in New York City in 1793, he later moved to New Orleans, where he practiced law from 1819 to 1835. He married Mathilde Deslonde, a member of a respected family. A member of the state House of Representatives, John Slidell unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 1828, but held the office of U.S. District Attorney from 1829-1833.

He was then elected as States Rights Democrat to the 28th and 29th U.S> Congress and served from March 4, 1843 until his resignation on November 10, 1845. In 1850, Slidell was elected to the U.S. Senate. He was reelected in 1853 and became a major influence in the administration of President James Buchanan.

At one point, he was known as “the most powerful man in the United States”Upon Louisiana’s secession from the Union, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed Slidell as a special envoy to France with a mission of seeking diplomatic assistance and procuring war resources. While on his mission, Slidell was taken from the RMS Trent, which was seized by the U.S. After his release, he arrived in Paris in January 1862.

Through the banking house of Baron Emile Erlanger, Slidell arranged a major bond issue for the Confederacy. He remained in Europe after the Civil WAr. He died on July 29, 1871, in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.

In the course of Slidell’s diplomatic and banking transactions, his daughter Mathilde met and married Baron Emile Erlanger’s son, Frederick. Frederick Erlanger succeeded his father as Baron and participated in building the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. He named the first settlement in honor of his father-in-law, John Slidell.

Slidell: An Overview

Slidell, Louisiana was founded in 1883 during construction of a major new railroad from New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi. The New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad established a building camp at first high ground north of Lake Pontchartrain which eventually grew into the city. Slidell was chartered as a town in 1888 by the Louisiana Legislature.

The town was named after John Slidell, a prominent state, U.S. and Confederate political figure. Sometime prior to Slidell’s formal incorporation in 1888, its first streets were laid out in a grid pattern. The north-south streets were Bayou (now Front), First, Second, Third and Fourth. The east-west streets were Fremaux, Erlanger, Bouscaren and Cousin.Erlanger, slightly wider than the others and designated as an avenue, was named after Baron Frederick Erlanger, John Slidell’s son-in-law and head of the banking syndicate which financed the railway.

Col. Leon J. Fremaux, a prominent Louisiana engineer and planter, drew the original plans for Slidell and named Fremaux Avenue for himself. Bouscaren Street was named for G. Bouscaren, the chief engineering officer of the railroad. Cousin Street took its name from the locally prominent Cousin family.

In the thirty or so years after its founding, Slidell developed a creosote plant, one of the country’s largest brick manufacturing facilities, a large lumber mill, and a shipyard. The Slidell Shipyard contributed significantly to the nation’s effort in both World Wars. Slidell residents worked in a local ship, tank and airplane construction during World War II.

In the 1960’s Slidell began to assume its modern profile as one of the major sites for NASA’s lunar landing program. In the 1980’s and 1990’s Slidell became a regional retail center.Slidell is located at the southeastern tip of St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana’s famous “Ozone Belt.” It is about three miles from the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain and is surrounded by rivers and bayous.

The largest municipality in the Parish, Slidell has grown from a population of 364 in 1890 to 24,142 in 1990. Slidell’s 1999 population is estimated to be 32,000. Today, Slidell continues to deal with urban growth while preserving a sense of its history.

Flags Over Slidell. The United States of America 1810-1860:1865-PresentII. The State of Louisiana 1812 – PresentIII. The City of Slidell 1888-Present1. The Kingdom of France 1682-17632. The United Kingdom (Great Britain) 1763-17833. The Kingdom of Spain 1783-18104. The Republic of West Florida 18105. The The Republic of Louisiana 18616. The Confederate States of America 1861-1865.

1st United Methodist Church

Oldest Methodist Assembly in Slidell. Founded in a brush arbor on Sept. 26, 1887, as Methodist Episcopal Church South. Joined the Louisiana Conference in 1894. Present site dedicated July 16, 1961.

John Slidell

In 1883, Baron Erlanger named our city in honor of his father-in-law, John Slidell. Slidell had been a confidant of two American Presidents and a powerful member of the U.S. Senate from which he resigned in 1861, when Louisiana seceded from the Union. Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him commissioner to France. Slidell nearly succeeded in bringing France and England to the assistance of the Confederate States of America. Had he been successful, the war between the States would have taken a different course. After the collapse of the C.S.A., Slidell never returned to Louisiana. He and his family are buried in Villijuif, France.

City of Slidell Centennial

Named for diplomat and U.S. Senator John Slidell of Louisiana by son-in-law Baron Frederic Erlanger, one of the financiers of New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad. Incorporated Nov. 13, 1888.

Slidell Town Hall and Jail

Built in 1907, this building replaced the original wooden Jail and Mayor’s Office. It was Town Hall until 1954 and the Jail until 1963. The town’s fire engine was located in the addition from 1928 until 1954.

Fontainebleau Plantation Sugar Mill

These ruins are all that remain of Fountainebleau Plantation, once the summer home and plantation of Bernard de Marigny. Born in 1785 to a family closely tied to the earliest colonial efforts in Louisiana, Marigny accumulated and lost a fortune in his lifetime. The grounds that make up Fountainebleau State Park are just a part of the vast land holdings he acquired on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. He operated Fountainebleau Plantation, brick kilns and a sugar mill between 1828 and 1852.

Although his major residence was in New Orleans, he chose to spend much of his time at his summer residence, cooled by the breezes of the lake and free to enjoy the simple pleasures of life. During his ownership of the plantation he participated in the early development of sugar cane and the refinement of sugar. The nearby town of Mandeville was owned and developed by Marigny as part of his extensive real estate interests. An unsuccessful candidate for governor three times, he remained active in politics until his death in 1868.

Read more great local history articles at TammanyFamily.com!

Local History

Local History: The Talley Family Story as Told by Mayor Mark Johnson

Published by:

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

On Tuesday, December 5, 2017, Mayor Mark Johnson, then president of the Covington Heritage Foundation (CHF), presented a detailed account of the history of the Talley’s Feed & Seed Store, complete with family history and photographs.

Johnson’s speech entertained more than 100 members of the group in attendance, including three members of the Talley family who were surprised and appreciative when they found out that their parents were the subject of the 30 minute presentation. 

Here is the text and photos from Johnson’s presentation at the recent CHF Membership Gala held at the Southern Hotel, reprinted with his permission. Ted Talley Jr. has made some additional remarks in the text. Click on the images to make them larger.

The title of the talk was “Good People: A Family Tale of the 20th Century”

The following picture shows the Covington Coca Cola bottling company about 1918. Notice the low-pitched roof. The two-story building was located on North Columbia Street.

This current day photograph shows the O’Keefe Feed and Seed in Covington.
It’s the same building.

That building plays an important part in this story. 

Our story actually begins in 1918 in war-torn France, the war to end all wars. It brought death and injury to thousands of American soldiers. One of the injured was Claudis Simpson of New Orleans, who suffered severe leg injuries. He was brought to the U.S. Army Hospital in Fort McPherson, GA, where, over time, he gradually recovered.  

He can be seen in the photograph above, lying down in the background with the sling around his leg. In the next photograph he is seen on the hospital grounds. 

After he recovered, he went back to New Orleans and started a service station. At that time, operating a service station was a big deal and since it was located near a large hospital, it was very successful.

The service station featured classic gas pumps, displayed a Standard Motor Oil sign, and, as we can see by the fire hydrant in front, had running water, indoor plumbing, and electricity.

He got married and in 1924 had a daughter named Evelyn.
Doctors eventually told him that if he stayed in New Orleans, the pollution would kill him. So he traded the service station for 60 acres in Bush. He and his wife and his daughter moved to Bush and lived in a house where there was no electricity and no indoor plumbing.

The photograph here shows his daughter Evelyn in her Mardi Gras costume. She would tell about going to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, leaving Bush early in the morning, going to Slidell and then to New Orleans, seeing the parades, then coming back through Slidell to Bush, all to return home in time to milk the cows.

She also recalled the story of when a new highway came through Bush, and since her father wanted the house to face the highway, he got together some of his friends, jacked up the house, put some logs under it and rotated it 90 degrees. Since there wasn’t any plumbing or electricity, it was a pretty easy thing to do.

 As she grew up in Bush, Evelyn studied by kerosene lantern, learned to play piano, went to high school in Covington, and joined the marching band.

 The Lyon High School Marching Band in 1940

Evelyn Simpson played trumpet, and she was so good at it the instructor Phillip Pfeffer would often leave her in charge of the group when he had to leave the room. She even helped conduct the band.  Pfeffer, a future Covington attorney, was the husband of Rosemary Pfeffer (long-time teacher of English and Latin at Covington High) and father of Elizabeth Pfeffer Williams and Susan Pfeffer Latham.

Evelyn Simpson Talley is far right, seated on the end with trumpet. On the far left front row is Clare Cooper Drinkard (elder Mayor Cooper’s sister, current Mayor Cooper’s aunt) and to her left is future husband Everett Drinkard.  In center left, in front of the cymbals, is junior high student  Ralph Menetre.

Menetre would walk from the junior high down Jefferson Avenue, past the St. Peter’s Catholic Church under construction to the high school to take part in rehearsals. After high school he went to LSU, and became a running back for the LSU football team.

Evelyn’s teachers all knew that she was a smart student and encouraged her to go to college. She graduated in 1940, but instead of going to college, she married Theodore Broughton “Red” Talley. Here’s a photo of the young couple. 

Shortly after they married, Red joined the army and went through basic training in Durham, NC. While he was away, Evelyn earned $10 a week as secretary and lived in a rooming house for $10 a week. Times were difficult, but as she recalled, she had a roof overhead, food, indoor plumbing and electricity. “Life was good,” she said, recalling the hardships of her childhood home.

Theodore “Red” Talley in Europe

Red Talley was soon deployed to Europe, and Evelyn got the news that she was pregnant.

Red Talley became a member of Patton’s 4th Armored Division, and was a part of Operation Bodyguard. He went on to France where he took a number of pictures.

Thirty-three months in Europe’s mud and snow

He served on a howitzer team.

The photograph above shows him on his way home after the war.

Here is Red and Evelyn Talley on November 4, 1945, with him seeing his daughter Carolyn Talley for the first time.
Red Talley then went to work for the Great Southern Paper Mill in Bogalusa.

He hated working there. Evelyn stayed on the farm in Bush. She hated farming. But then Red bought a truck and modified it to deliver seeds to farmers to plant in their fields. He also delivered chicken feed. The name of the business was Talley’s Feed in Bush, which operated between 1949 and 1951.

In 1951 Talley’s Feed moved into an old building at the corner of Gibson and Vermont Sts. in Covington. It was there for three years. Today that location is occupied by a parking lot west of Marsolan’s Feed and Seed which is pictured below.

“Retail was much better than farm life,” Evelyn said.

In 1953 the business moved to old Coca Cola bottling plant on North Columbia Street.

The caption to the above photograph included the following: The old Coca Cola Bottling Co. building is still standing, but has been converted into Talley’s Feed & Seed Co. on North Columbia Street. The two old trucks shown are Model T Fords. Standing in the door, left to right, are Bennie Aouielle and his father J. M. Aouielle. Standing by the trucks are Willie Bickham and Sonny Brown. The elder Aouielle owned the building and the son managed the plant.

The grand opening picture below shows the newly-repainted Talley’s Feed and Seed building, complete with loading dock and people attending the opening ceremonies.

In the 1954 photo above, the tall man in front of “Dairy Supplies” lettering was Red’s father, Theodore Talley of Bush.  The two ladies to the far right, making their way to the side of the building are probably Red’s mother Rosa Corkern Talley (Theodore’ wife) being led by her daughter Lydia Talley Mitchell.

Shown below in this interior grand opening picture are the Grand Ole Opry singers providing the music for the festive occasion. Notice the milk cans lining the wall on the right, a sign of the active dairy industry in the area. 

St. Tammany Parish was still quite rural in nature at this time with many poultry operations, cattle ranches and dairy farms. In fact, the area now occupied by River Forest Subdivision in Covington was at one time the location of two dairies.

Claire Cooper Drinkard wound up working at Talley’s Feed and Seed, and her husband Everett Drinkard is shown above with his Zetz-7up truck, with Troy Jackson and his son Troy Jr., at left, who grew up to become a principal of a Covington area elementary school.
In 1955 Talley’s started mixing their own feed after constructing a two ton feed mixer and elevated storage tank. 

The man to the far left is Oscar Franklin, long-time Talley’s employee.  To the right is Sydney Thompson of Bush, Red’s nephew. 

In 1955 a feed mill was added to the business, with the equipment to include two 2 ton feed mixers, a hammer mill for grinding and a molasses mixer.

The elevator storage tanks. 
In 1959 the Talley mill was expanded to include a 250 ton capacity grain storage elevator and a 100,000 pound capacity truck scale.

In the photograph below, from left to right, is Branker Talley (Red’s brother from Bush who was then a partner in Talley Bros.),  Red Talley, his son Ted Talley and Evelyn Talley. 

The large nail and fence staple lazy-Susan bin in the foreground was one of the first non-feed purchases made by the feed store.  It was at the old store location on Gibson Street and stayed on Columbia Street until the feed store was sold and became Spencer’s.

The picture above shows Oscar Franklin and the young Ted Talley, at left. Franklin was an important part of their operation for many years.

The picture below shows the Talley Brothers truck parked on the scales in front of the store, heading out to fill chicken feed tanks at poultry farms. 

 The truck could pump feed from the storage area on the truck directly to a hatch in the chicken house feed storage area.

In 1960, Talley’s became the authorized dealer for Ralston-Purina livestock and specialty feeds and animal health care products, switching from Ful-o-Pep Feeds.

In 1965 Mr. and Mrs. T. B. Talley were recognized by the Ralston-Purina Chairman’s Honor Council. It was one of four times that Talley’s was recognized as an outstanding Purina dealer.

Not long after, another building addition made room for a clothing section and western wear store. 

When the courts ordered the de-segregation of area schools, Red Talley, as a member of the school board, worked for the peaceful integration of the two separate school systems. As a result, those who vehemently disagreed with his efforts repeatedly smashed the windows of his store, roofing tacks were spread over the gravel of his parking lot, and his phone would ring all hours of the night, with no one on the line when it was answered. 

The photo above was taken in December of 1974, the year that the Farnam Horse Care Center was added to the many expanding areas of the Talley retail business department.
The picture below shows the Talleys celebrating the store’s 25th anniversary.

Theodore “Red” Talley died on February 1, 2012.
Mark Johnson ended his presentation by reading a newspaper column written by Ted Talley Jr. detailing his final Father’s Day visit with his dad Red Talley.
“They were our parents, the greatest generation, they were good people,” Johnson concluded.

Following the Covington Heritage Foundation presentation, Carolyn Talley Pearce thanked Johnson for doing the research and telling the story of her parents. She went on to tell the audience: “This has been really special for our family. My mother and dad, they were not in the old Covington family group, but we were part of St. Tammany Parish for eight generations. That’s pretty incredible.  We enjoyed being a really big part of this community, and I think our parents taught us to contribute and to be a part of everything that was going on around us. I’m so glad Ted and Susan are here tonight. The presentation surprised us. He (Mark Johnson) and mother had some great visits, and mother was so happy when she got to go ring the bell at the Bell Tower dedication ceremony. I took her out to Covington High, and they looked at her and asked can she ring this bell? CHS was such an important part of her life. Thank you all for being here and sharing all these memories with all of us tonight.”

Ted Talley Jr. said, “There’s been a lot of new things going on in Covington in the last couple of decades. You see art galleries and music events going on Boston and Columbia Streets and at the Trailhead. The photo showed this couple standing in front of feed sacks on a dusty floor in the old feed and seed store, but in 1955 (when the store was just three or four years old), they became part of a community effort to bring cultural arts to Covington.  The year 1955 was a significant year in the birth of the Arts in Covington.  The little theater Playmakers began that year, the St. Tammany Art Association was getting underway, and my dad helped support the Covington Symphony Society in its attempts to hold concerts for the students and adults of the area.

Talley’s Feed and Seed was one of the first guarantors of the efforts to fund the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra when it came to Covington for annual concerts. He and other businesses made sure that the orchestra would have the money to make the trip in the event ticket sales were not quite enough. Mother and father were both a part of symphony arts appreciation and development.”

Three Lyon High classmates and pillars of Covington community. All celebrating 90 years of age in 2014. From left to right are Clare Drinkard, Evelyn Talley, and Audrey Oalmann.

Evelyn Talley showed off her Class Ring from Lyon High’s Class of 1940

In October of 2013 Covington High School celebrated its Centennial, 100 years of serving the community. Special guest was Evelyn Talley, and she was given the opportunity to “ring the bell” that had been saved from the 1984 fire that burned down the school building on Jefferson Ave.

She passed away on July 19, 2017, at the age of 93.

See more great photos from this article here.

Read about the original presentation here: