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Local History

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

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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.

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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:

Local Events

Covington Antiques & Uniques Festival THIS WEEKEND!

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The 6th Annual Covington Antiques & Uniques Festival is this Saturday and Sunday at the Covington Trailhead.

This two-day juried free event will showcase more than 50 vendors displaying an eclectic mix of antique furnishings, period collectibles, architectural salvage, and vintage-inspired fine arts and crafts as well as food and live music throughout the weekend.

An added feature to the festival will be the St. Tammany Art Association’s Art Market. Fine art, jewelry, photography, paintings, woodworking, fiber art, pottery and more will be displayed.

The 6th Annual Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival is presented by the Covington Heritage Foundation. The Covington Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve the city’s culture, character and community. The festival is coordinated with the support of the City’s Department of Cultural Arts and Events. Department Director Aimee Faucheux said as the festival grows and evolves each year, the goal remains the same – to offer a first-class juried event that reflects the unique charm and history of Covington.

“We are thrilled we are able to have the festival this year,” said Faucheux. “We invite everyone to come out and enjoy a good time.”

The festival will be following the 6 ft physical distancing and face mask mandate as required by our Governor at the time of the event.

Festival hours are 10 am to 5 pm September 5 & 6, 2020 at the Covington Trailhead at 419 N. New Hampshire Street in Covington.

For more information, call (985) 892-1873 or log onto www.covingtonheritagefoundation.com

Local Events Local News

Save the Date: Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival – September 5 and 6, 2020

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Save the Date! The Covington Heritage Foundation will host the 6th Annual Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival next weekend, September 5 and 6, at the Covington Trailhead at 419 N. New Hampshire Street in Covington.

The two-day juried free event will showcase more than 50 vendors displaying an eclectic mix of antique furnishings, period collectibles, architectural salvage, and vintage-inspired fine arts and crafts as well as food and live music throughout the weekend.

An added feature to the festival will be the St. Tammany Art Association’s Art Market. Fine art, jewelry, photography, paintings, woodworking, fiber art, pottery and more will be displayed.

The Covington Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve the city’s culture, character and community. The festival is coordinated with the support of the City’s Department of Cultural Arts and Events. Department Director Aimee Faucheux said as the festival grows and evolves each year, the goal remains the same – to offer a first-class juried event that reflects the unique charm and history of Covington.

“We are thrilled we are able to have the festival this year,” said Faucheux. “We invite everyone to come out and enjoy a good time.”

The festival will be following the 6 ft physical distancing and face mask mandate as required by our Governor at the time of the event.

Festival hours are 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (985) 892-1873 or log onto www.covingtonheritagefoundation.com

Local Events

6th Annual Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival – September 5 and 6, 2020

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The Covington Heritage Foundation will host the 6th Annual Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival, September 5 and 6, at the Covington Trailhead at 419 N. New Hampshire Street in Covington.

The two-day juried free event will showcase more than 50 vendors displaying an eclectic mix of antique furnishings, period collectibles, architectural salvage, and vintage-inspired fine arts and crafts as well as food and live music throughout the weekend.

An added feature to the festival will be the St. Tammany Art Association’s Art Market. Fine art, jewelry, photography, paintings, woodworking, fiber art, pottery and more will be displayed.

The Covington Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve the city’s culture, character and community. The festival is coordinated with the support of the City’s Department of Cultural Arts and Events. Department Director Aimee Faucheux said as the festival grows and evolves each year, the goal remains the same – to offer a first-class juried event that reflects the unique charm and history of Covington.

“We are thrilled we are able to have the festival this year,” said Faucheux. “We invite everyone to come out and enjoy a good time.”

The festival will be following the 6 ft physical distancing and face mask mandate as required by our Governor at the time of the event.

Festival hours are 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (985) 892-1873 or log onto www.covingtonheritagefoundation.com

CALL TO ARTISTS:
Are you an artist or maker and interested in selling your thing to the public? Spaces are available and extremely limited. Time is running out, click the link below and sign up today!
https://www.sttammany.art/antiquesanduniques

Local Events

Covington Announces Antiques and Uniques Festival Sept 5 & 6, 2020

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See event update here:

The City of Covington and the Covington Heritage Foundation invites you to join them for the Covington Antiques & Uniques Festival September 5th & 6th, 2020. The annual festival usually held in spring is a wonderful time for locals and visitors alike.

The two-day free festival is on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm at the Covington Trailhead. Featuring shops and vendors with antiques, vintage collectibles and crafts, architectural salvage, live auction, an appraisal fair, food, live music and more. This year will also incorporate the St. Tammany Art Association’s Covington Art Market!

A schedule of events will be announced on the website www.covingtonheritagefoundation.com as the event nears. For more information, contact the Covington Heritage Foundation at info@covingtonheritagefoundation.com.

The Festival will be following the 6 ft physical distancing and face mask mandate as required by our Governor at the time of the event.

Local History Local News

New Animated History of Covington at the Trailhead Museum

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Mayor Mark Johnson announces a new animated history video now playing daily at the Covington Trailhead Museum.

Oxlot’s Whimsical History of Covington, by Wally Faucheux and the Covington Heritage Foundation, is a journey through Covington’s history in a fun and lively animation. Entertaining for all ages, but a special treat for kids. Parents can check out Covington: Our Little Town, a historical film also featured at the museum.

from Mayor Mark’s email, sign up www.covla.com

The Covington Trailhead Museum, 419 N New Hampshire St., is open Monday through Saturday 10am to 2pm and Sundays noon to 4pm. Located on the St. Tammany Trace – make a bike trip of it! Brooks’ Bike Shop is just up the block. Mayor Mark reminds us that the mini water tower at the Trailhead has hidden fun – a spigot on the back left column releases water on (sometimes unaware) persons below. A great way to cool off with the kids or surprise unsuspecting friends!

Local Events

History and Holly, Wreaths Across America

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The City of Covington announces that the Wharton Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution joined with Wreaths Across America to raise funds to honor the military service members buried in Covington Cemetery #1.  
On Saturday, December 14, the Wharton Chapter, guests, and members of the community will gather to honor those men and women who have so honorably served our country. Wreaths made from fresh Maine balsam will be placed on the final resting places of every veteran buried within the cemetery so that their names and their service is never forgotten.

Please join the Covington Heritage Foundation for its annual History and Holly Home Tour, which this year – for the first time – will include two historic churches! This annual event has quickly become a northshore holiday tradition that you won’t want to miss. Featured will be four beautiful homes in the W. 19th, W. 20th and Jefferson avenues area, Covington Presbyterian Church, and St. Peter Catholic Church, which will feature music from 1:30-3:30 p.m.

This is a perfect outing to enjoy with friends and family as you walk the pedestrian-friendly route (trams will also be available), touring the festively adorned homes and churches, sipping wine (provided) and enjoying the sounds of the season from a harpist and strolling carolers. In addition, there will be new Christmas cards and ornaments (by local artists Suzanne King and Jax Frey, respectively) available for purchase.

Tickets are limited, and can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/history-and-holly-home-tour-2019-tickets-76841636403. On event day, exchange your online ticket for a required wristband at Covington Presbyterian Church, our tour headquarters, before starting the tour. Tickets are also available at the following retail outlets: Southern Hotel, Jefferson House, and Braswell Drugs.

Local Events

Veterans Appreciation Reception Monday, May 27

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In genuine appreciation of the dedication and service of our veterans, the Covington Heritage Foundation and the City of Covington are inviting all veterans and their families to attend a free reception following the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center’s Memorial Day services. On Monday, May 27, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., in Bogue Falaya Hall at the Greater Covington Center (located at 317 N. Jefferson Avenue).  

Veterans and family members will be the honored guests, enjoying refreshments and music.  Free and open to the public.  

Local Events

History & Mystery of New Hampshire Street Sunday

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History & Mystery of New Hampshire Street takes place Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 6 p.m. At the 300 Block of N. New Hampshire St. (between Boston and Gibson Streets). This event is an informative and fun-filled celebration of N. New Hampshire lore, including the Southern Hotel, The Star Theater, EOC Building (Old Courthouse) and the St. Tammany Farmer. This is a free event sponsored by the Covington Heritage Foundation and the City of Covington.

Local Events

5th Annual Antiques & Uniques Fest This Weekend

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The Covington Heritage Foundation will host the 5th Annual Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival, April 27 and 28, at the Covington Trailhead at 419 N. New Hampshire Street in Covington.
The two-day juried event will showcase more than 60 vendors displaying an eclectic mix of antique furnishings, period collectibles, architectural salvage, and vintage-inspired fine arts and crafts as well as great food and live music throughout the weekend.
The Covington Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve the city’s culture, character and community. The festival is coordinated with the support of the City’s Department of Cultural Arts and Events. Department Director Aimee Faucheaux said “As the festival grows and evolves each year, the goal remains the same – to offer a first class juried event that reflects the unique charm and history of Covington.”
Festival ours are 10 a.m. To 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call 985-892-1873 or visit CHF online at covingtonheritagefoundation.com.
The Oxen Attic Silent Auction will be held during the 2019 Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival April 27 & 28 at the Covington Trailhead in downtown Covington.
Proceeds from the Oxen Attic will help support the planned enhancements of Bogue Falaya Park. Rare items that are deemed of historical significance to Covington will be considered for placement in the Covington Trailhead Museum.

Local Events

Covington Antiques & Uniques Festival 2019

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The City of Covington is proud to host the Covington Antiques and Unique Festival for April 27th & 28th, 2019 from 10am till 5pm. Enjoy Antiques, Vintage Collectibles and Crafts, Architectural Salvage, Silent Auction, Appraisals, Historic Walking Tours, Demonstrations. Visit: www.covingtonheritagefoundation.com or email: antiques@covingtonheritagefoundation.com. Hosted by: City of Covington – Office of Cultural Arts & Events and the Covington Heritage Foundation. Covington Heritage Foundation: The mission of the Foundation is to preserve the city’s culture, character and community.

CHF Seeks Collectibles, Memorabilia

The Covington Heritage Foundation is seeking antique and vintage furnishings, collectibles and cultural memorabilia for the Oxen Attic, a silent auction held during the Festival April 27 & 28. Proceeds from the Oxen Attic will help support the planned enhancements of Bogue Falaya Park. Rare items that are deemed of historical significance to Covington will be considered for placement in the Covington Trailhead Museum.
For consideration in the silent auction, each artifact must be pre-approved by submitting a photo and a brief description to cpfulton1@gmail.com by Tuesday, April 23. All items contributed will be tax deductible.
Acceptable silent auction items include antique or vintage collectibles and furnishings that are in usable condition; and memorabilia celebrating the history, geography, folklore and cultural heritage of Covington and surrounding communities in St. Tammany.
Located in the 400 block of New Hampshire Street, the 2019 Covington Antiques and Uniques Festival will feature 60 juried booths brimming with antiques, vintage furnishing, collectibles, fine arts and crafts, along with specialty foods and live music throughout the day. The public is invited to mark their calendars for this fun-filled weekend and lend their support, whether shopping for something special or volunteering their time. The festival is sponsored by the Covington Heritage Foundation. Public admission is free. For more information call (985) 892-1873 or email afaucheux@covla.com.

Local Events Local History Local News

CHF History and Holly Home Tour 2018

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Make plans now to attend the Covington Heritage Foundation’s (CHF) annual History and Holly Home Tour, which will be presented on Sunday, Dec. 9, from 2:30-5:30 p.m. The owners of seven beautiful homes in the E. 15th Avenue neighborhood will open their doors to visitors for this event, which has become a north shore holiday tradition.
History and Holly is being presented in cooperation with the City of Covington Office of Cultural Arts and Events.
This year’s tour will focus on newer homes that exude historic Covington charm. Enjoy this perfect holiday outing with friends and family while walking the pedestrian-friendly route, touring the festively adorned homes, enjoying the sounds of the season from strolling carolers, and sipping wine provided at refreshment stations. Trams will also be available.

The tour will include the following stops: the Eustis home, 831 S. New Hampshire St.; the Pucheu and Lynch home, 319 E. 15th Ave.; the Barousse home, 828 S. Vermont St.; the Brown home, 213 E. 15th Ave.; the Cooper home, 111 E. 15th Ave.; the James home, 109 E. 15th Ave.; and the Carter home, 722 S. Jefferson Ave.
Tickets are $20 each and are limited. They may be purchased at Braswell Drugs, Jefferson House, the Southern Hotel and the Covington Trailhead office. Purchases at these retailers will include the required wristbands for tour home entry. Tickets are also available online at eventbrite.com. Online tickets must be exchanged for wristbands at Jefferson House, 619 S. Jefferson Ave., on event day before visiting the homes. Programs, which include a tour map, will be available at Jefferson House and at each home.

The mission of the Covington Heritage Foundation is to preserve the city’s culture, character and community. Find out more at covingtongeritagefoundation.com.
Become a member today! Call 985-788-4598 and find the Covington Heritage Foundation on Facebook.

Featured Posts General Local Events Local History

The Ross Family in Early Covington

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Around 1915, the Ross family moved from New Orleans to Covington. Thy arrived by train, and their furniture was to arrive by schooner. Each morning the three children would venture down to the Columbia Street Landing to check the boats for the furniture. After three or four days, it finally arrived.
They scooted into town and told their father…who then borrowed a wagon from the Wallace Poole Livery Stable (corner of Rutland and Columbia) and delivered their furniture to their new home: 627 W. 23rd Ave. The oldest son, Louis, lived there until he married Helen Schopp. They moved across the back alley and he lived there until his death in 1996.

The younger brother, Alvin, being more adventuresome (he raced speed boats and airplanes) married Helen’s sister, Althea Schopp and moved a full block away (23rd Ave. and Harrison St.). The sister, Elma, never married – so she continued to live in the home from 1915 until after 2002. Her sight failing, she moved in with Alvin a block away, where both resided until they passed.

The Ross family was and continues to be an important part of Covington. As such, a petition was put before the City Council to name the unnamed alley “Ross Alley.” Thanks to Councilman Larry Rolling for presenting and thanks to Mayor Mike Cooper/ Public Works for the sing post and sign. – Mark Johnson, President, Covington Heritage Foundation

CHF History and Holly Tour

Please join the Covington Heritage Foundation for its 2018 History and Holly Home Tour! This annual event has quickly become a northshore holiday tradition that you won’t want to miss.
Featured this year will be seven beautiful homes in the E. 15th Avenue neighborhood, with a focus on newer homes that exude historic Covington charm! This is a perfect outing to enjoy with friends and family as you walk the pedestrian-friendly route, touring the festively adorned homes, sipping wine (provided) and enjoying the sounds of the season from strolling carolers. Trams available.

Tickets are limited, so purchase yours today! On event day, exchange your online ticket for a required wristband at Jefferson House in Covington, our tour headquarters.

General Local News

Mark Johnson Announces Candidacy For Mayor

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Covington, LA –  Longtime Covington resident and community advocate Mark Johnson officially announced his candidacy for mayor of Covington at a campaign kickoff event June 3, 2018 at the Covington Trailhead. Johnson, who is seeking his first-ever elected position, plans to balance preservation and improvement as Covington’s next mayor.
“I love my hometown. I love the quiet side streets, the tree canopy, the live oaks, the old homes and the family histories,” Johnson said. “We need to work together to protect our wonderful heritage. However, we also need to more aggressively address drainage upriver, certain street conditions and the historic West 30s.”
Johnson has an unparalleled and lengthy record as a leader in the nonprofit service and private sectors, and has been recognized with numerous awards through the years acknowledging this effort. This dedication to service has given him a firm and broad knowledge of the strengths, weaknesses and most pressing needs of his community.
Of particular note is his involvement with Leadership St. Tammany, which he helped create in 1993. Johnson continues to this day as its program director and guides more than 30 current and emerging community leaders annually through an interactive curriculum that broadens their understanding of the various government, business, civic and cultural organizations that impact St. Tammany Parish and its municipalities and equips them to better participate in community advancement. Through the program, Johnson has helped infuse the community with more than 600 multi-generational leaders who represent a wide variety of backgrounds.
Johnson also currently serves as the president of the Covington Heritage Foundation. As the “unofficial storyteller of Covington,” his presentations on area family histories and tours of Covington help protect and preserve what is important to his neighbors. He is also currently active with the Covington Rotary Club, the Covington Business Association, and Keep Covington Beautiful, and is the director of the annual Veterans Appreciation Reception on Memorial Day. He participates in the Covington Police Department’s
children’s summer camp, Carnival in Covington and the Children’s Advocacy Center/Hope House Men Who Cook annual fundraiser, among other community events.
Over the years, Johnson has also served the area through a variety of other organizations, including Northlake Mandeville Rotary Club, St. Tammany Parish Drainage District #3, Tammany Tigers, and the St. Tammany Parish Library Board of Control. He also coached Little League baseball for 20 years. For his service to community, Johnson received the St. Tammany Chamber West Community Leadership Award in 1994.

Johnson also has the professional background necessary to take over the city’s top administrative post, having proven himself as an astute businessman with particular strengths including growth, customer service, negotiations and coalition building.
Johnson did his pre-pharmacy studies at LSU, then graduated from Xavier University of New Orleans in 1982 with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy. He passed the Louisiana Board of Pharmacy Examination in 1982 to become a registered pharmacist.
At that point, however, he went directly into residential construction and development and, with his brother-in-law, Kevin Kramer, grew their company, Four Star Homes, into one of the 400 largest residential builders in the United States. They won several national accolades, including the prestigious Homebuyer’s Warranty Diamond Builder Award for customer service, and Johnson was named the St. Tammany Parish West Chamber Business Person of the Year in 1992.
Johnson and Kramer retired from the building industry in 2000. Johnson then practiced pharmacy in Louisiana and in Alabama, and was recognized as a Rite-Aid Pharmacist of the Year three times.
Subsequently, Johnson co-founded a second company with Kramer, Excel Home Health. They grew the home health services business throughout the Florida Parishes and New Orleans, and sold the business in 2012. While operating Excel, Mark re-zoned 77 acres at I-12 and Hwy. 190 that he co-owned from Suburban Agriculture to a Planned Unit Development and acquired a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 404 Wetlands Permit, laying the groundwork for what is today Versailles Business Park.
Johnson, who attended Covington Elementary and River Forest Academy and is a graduate of St. Paul’s School, looks forward to serving the community that he and his wife, Karen, have called home most of their lives. The Johnsons will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary next year, and are the proud parents of four sons and proud grandparents of three granddaughters.
“Covington is not simply a place. Living in Covington is a privilege and a special experience,” Johnson said. “Working together with the community, I pledge to keep it that way.”
Visit markjohnsonmayor.com

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Veterans Recognized at Memorial Day Reception

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U.S. military veterans and their families were the honored guests at the May 28, 2018 Veterans Appreciation Reception, where patriotism was on full display.
Hosted by the city of Covington and the Covington Heritage Foundation (CHF), the reception was staged at Bogue Falaya Hall immediately following a Memorial Day service at the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center. The fourth annual event was free and open to the public, and many stopped by simply to acknowledge the veterans’ service to their country.
Guests enjoyed lunch served by CHF and Covington Kiwanis Club members. The veterans and their family members also enjoyed entertainment provided by members of Covington High School’s talented music program. Pastor Rodney Barnes blessed the meal, and Covington City Councilman John Callahan led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Ralph Menetre (forefront) and Betty Ross were among the Veterans Appreciation Reception attendees on May 28. The event also happened to coincide with Menetre’s 90th birthday, and the crowd all helped him celebrate by singing “Happy Birthday” to him.

The event was made possible through the support of Waste Connections, CJ’s Florist, Braswell Drugs, Gallagher’s Grill, Zoë’s Bakery and Champagne Beverage.
“We are thankful for American Legion Post 16 for the Memorial Day Ceremony they execute prior to the reception, and we are honored to offer this reception as a small token of the community’s appreciation for our veterans,” said Covington Heritage Foundation President Mark Johnson. “We can never thank them enough.”

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Memorial Day Veterans Appreciation Ceremony

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In genuine appreciation of the dedication and service of our veterans, the Covington Heritage Foundation and the City of Covington are inviting all veterans and their families to attend a free reception following the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center’s Memorial Day services. On Monday, May 28, 11:00 am to 1:00 pm, in Bogue Falaya Hall at the Greater Covington Center, 317 N. Jefferson Avenue, veterans and family members will be the honored guests, enjoying refreshments and music. This event is free and open to the public.

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History Lecture at the Fuhrmann Auditorium Tuesday, March 20

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The War of 1812, the Battle of New Orleans, and The Great

Power Politics: A Long-Term International Perspective, a

lecture by Dr. Bill Robison, will be held on Tuesday, March

20, at 7 p.m. at Fuhrmann Auditorium.

This free event, which is presented by the Covington

Heritage Foundation and the city of Covington, is open to

the public and promises to be fun and informative. Doors

open at 6:40 p.m., presentation begins at 7 p.m.

Robison is a history professor and the head of the History

and Political Science Department at Southeastern Louisiana

University. He is also an author, editor and director.

Registration for the lecture is requested, and can be

secured at eventbrite.com. Fuhrmann Auditorium is located

at the Greater Covington Center, 128 W. 23rd Ave. For more

information, call Mark Johnson at 985-788-4598.

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CHF Membership Gala 2017

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Covington, LA – Two award presentations and a talk on the Red and Evelyn Talley family highlighted the Covington Heritage Foundation’s (CHF) annual Membership Gala, which was held December 5, 2017 at the Southern Hotel in downtown Covington.

CHF President Mark Johnson and Covington Mayor Mike Cooper welcomed more than 100 members to the festive event beginning with entertainment by Covington High School talented music students, small bites and wine.

The first of the awards was presented posthumously to former Covington City Councilman Lee Alexius, whose wife, Kathy, accepted the award. Lee Alexius served as CHF treasurer after playing an integral role in the formation of the organization in conjunction with the city of Covington’s bicentennial celebration in 2013.

Sharon Nunez was also presented with an award and named president emeritus of the group. Like Alexius, Nunez was instrumental in forming the foundation and was recognized for her many contributions to the CHF.

Johnson, who is often referred to as “Covington’s unofficial storyteller,” then entertained the crowd with “Good People: A Family Tale of the 20th Century.” He told the story of longtime Covington couple Red and Evelyn Talley, with highlights including details about Red’s military service, their store, Talley’s Feed & Seed, Red’s time on the local school board and more, much to the

delight of all , including the Talley’s three children — Carolyn Talley Pearce, Ted Talley, Jr., and Susan Talley — all of whom were present. The talk also included a slideshow with Talley family photos and recollections of discussions with Evelyn Talley in her later years.

To sit with Ms. Evelyn, flip through over 100 years of family photos and to hear the stories that went with the pictures was truly an honor,” Johnson said after the event. “She and Mr. Red embody ‘the greatest generation.'”

For more information on the CHF or to become a member, visit: covingtonheritagefoundation.com

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This Week In Downtown Covington

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Deck The Rails at the Covington Trailhead The City of Covington hosts its annual Deck The Rails this Saturday, December 9, 2017 from 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Covington Trailhead. This event features holiday entertainment, a christmas craft activity, the arrival of Santa and two Disney films: “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and “The Small One”. Free and open to the public.

History and Holly 2017 Tour of Covington Homes The Covington Heritage Foundation invites you to History and Holly, a tour of Covington Homes on Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available online at eventbrite.com, as well as locally at Braswell Drugs, Hebert’s Cleaners, Jefferson House & the Southern Hotel. Presented by CHF and the City of Covington.