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Sign Up for Zumba with the Mayor December 27th

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Registration is open for Zumba with the Mayor, an up-beat and interactive multi-generational exercise dance class. This free class is open to all levels of experience and abilities – it’s about moving and having fun. Join Mayor Mark Johnson and burn off those extra holiday calories!

The City of Covington Mayor’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles teams up with Oschner and St. Tammany Health Systems to bring together five local instructors from the YMCA, Star Fitness, Bogue Falaya Fitness, Mandeville Sports Complex, Pelican Athletic Club and Francos. Five instructors, 90 minutes of cardio, core, and fun!

This event is free and open to the public. Due to COVID, attendance is limited. Click here to register for this event.

Learn more about the Mayor’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles on their Facebook page here.

Local News Parish News

First Vaccines Administered at St. Tammany Health System

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From St. Tammany Health System:

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The COVID-19 vaccine has arrived on the Northshore. As part of federal deployment of the groundbreaking Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, St. Tammany Health System began administering vaccine this morning.

STHS infectious disease specialist Dr. Mike Hill became the health system’s first staff member to receive the vaccine at 10 a.m.

A string of Hill’s frontline colleagues followed, including Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Torcson and about 50 other doctors, nurses and environmental services workers. Another 70 or so were scheduled to receive the first of the two-shot vaccine Thursday, with the second dose to follow in 19 to 21 days. Vaccinations will continue daily as STHS receives vaccine from Louisiana Department of Health.

“This is a big day at St. Tammany Health System,” Hill said moments after receiving his vaccine, delivered via injection to his left arm. “It’s been a long time coming and represents a lot of hard work by everybody involved. We’re very excited to have our employees – the people who are taking care of our patients – getting the first vaccines on the way to being protected against COVID-19.”

He added: “This is the beginning of the end of the pandemic.”

Drs. Hill and Torcson both said it was important for them to be among the first in line to roll up their sleeves as a demonstration of their confidence in the vaccine, which was developed with unprecedented speed as part of the federal government’s Operation Warp Speed program. That speed has prompted some in the public to question the safety of the vaccine, but experts insist the science behind its development is sound and that concerns to the contrary are entirely unfounded.

“This is a perfectly safe vaccine,” Torcson said after receiving his shot. “It really is going to make a significant contribution to ending this pandemic that has really been so devastating worldwide, and certainly in our community here in western St. Tammany Parish. The scientific input and clinical collaboration that went into the development of this vaccine is really unquestionable. This is a safe intervention that’s going to bring this pandemic to an end.”

As production of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine ramps up, and as other COVID vaccines hit the market, healthcare workers, residents of retirement homes, first responders and others deemed high-risk will be among those first in line to receive it. Widespread availability to the public is expected this spring, perhaps as early as February.

Even with the deployment of the vaccine, however, Dr. Hill stressed the continued need for social distancing, mask wearing and good hand hygiene, even for those who have been vaccinated. That’s primarily because it’s unclear how long it will protect those who receive it. Also unclear is whether those who have been vaccinated, even if they show no symptoms, are still able to transmit the virus to others.

Wednesday’s historic vaccine delivery comes almost nine months to the day of the arrival of St. Tammany’s first confirmed COVID-19 patient in mid-March. It also comes two days after the first U.S. patients received the vaccine as part of the ongoing federal rollout.

The heartbeat of its community, St. Tammany Health System cares for patients and families with excellence, compassion and teamwork. It is recognized for quality, safety and service excellence by CareChex, Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Hospital Compare, Women’s Choice and US News & World Report. St. Tammany Parish Hospital Service District No. 1 and Ochsner Health work together in partnership to improve the community’s health and quality of life. Together, west St. Tammany’s top two independent health leaders represent the most complete system of care, aligning behind the common goals of improving access, expanding specialty care and making care affordable. Under their agreement, each retains its autonomy; neither manages nor owns the other. Self-supporting, not-for-profit STHS is A+ rated by Fitch and receives no tax funding. More at stph.org.

Local Events Local News

Covington Cemetery No. 1 Participates in National Wreaths Across America Day

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Join the National Wreaths Across America on Saturday, December 19th at 11 am to participate in a nation-wide ceremony commemorating American veterans. The ceremony will be held at Covington Cemetery No. 1, at the Kirkland Street entrance. Sponsored by the Wharton Chapter of the Daughters of the Revolution.

From the National Wreaths Across America:

Each December on National Wreaths Across America Day, our mission to Remember, Honor and Teach is carried out by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as at more than 2,100 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea and abroad.

Who We Remember

From the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts, our veterans are devoted sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers. They come from all backgrounds in life to place those lives on the line for our freedoms. There are millions of individual stories to tell. Get to know them by viewing the 4,760 recent posts made by our supporters or sponsor a wreath in honor of or in memory of an American hero.

Why We Do It

We understand we have Veterans Day in the fall and Memorial Day in the spring, but our service members sacrifice their time and safety every single day of the year to preserve our freedoms.

In many homes, there is an empty seat for one who is serving or one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There is no better time to express our appreciation than during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. We hope you will join us at any of our more than 2,100 participating locations to show our veterans and their families that we will not forget. We will never forget.

Learn more at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org

Art Event Local Events

Holiday Art Market on Lee Lane Saturday

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The Covington Art Market returns to Lee Lane this Saturday December 5th from 10 am – 2 pm. Stroll through and find a variety of hand-made arts including pottery, jewelry, metal sculpture, stained glass, mixed media, hand-made garments, wood carvings, photography, and more.

lee lane art market
click to view larger

While you’re out, you are encouraged to visit other downtown locations, including exhibitions at the Art House, the nostalgic array of goods and the historic museum at H.J. Smith & Sons General Store and the many fine shopping establishments around downtown Covington. The Farmers’ Market takes place from 8 a.m. to noon at 609 N. Columbia Street, just a few blocks from Lee Lane. Then enjoy a bite at one of our many restaurants. It’s a great way to spend your Saturday!

The December Art Market, traditionally a holiday art market, will be coinciding with Lee Lane’s Christmas in the Country shopping event, happening every Saturday until Christmas. Enjoy live festive music as you peruse the many eclectic shops on Lee Lane and throughout downtown Covington!

The Art Market provides entrepreneurial opportunities to local artists while fostering creative community relationships by allowing artists to sell directly to the public. Presented by the St. Tammany Art Association in partnership with the City of Covington. Learn more at www.sttammany.art/arts-market

Opening Reception Saturday Evening at STAA Art House:

Christmas in the Country:

Local News

St. Tammany Parish Library Modifies Hours Due To Return To Phase Two

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From St. Tammany Parish Library:

ST. TAMMANY- The St. Tammany Parish Library’s Causeway, Covington, Madisonville, Mandeville, Slidell and South Slidell Branches will open with adjusted hours while continuing to offer curbside service from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday beginning Wednesday, December 2, due to Louisiana’s new phase two restrictions. The Abita Springs, Bush, Folsom, Lacombe, Lee Road and Pearl River Branches will offer curbside service and computer use by appointment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning Wednesday, December 2.

Library users who wish to use curbside service can place holds via the library website, www.sttammanylibrary.org/; the library iOS app, STPL Mobile; or by calling the branch of their choice to request curbside pick-up service. These requests can include books, audiobooks and DVDs. The Abita Springs Branch, 71683 Leveson St., can be reached at (985) 893-6285. The Bush Branch, 81597 L.A. 41, can be reached at (985) 886-3588. The Causeway Branch, 3457 U.S. 190, Mandeville, can be reached at (985) 626-9779. The Covington Branch, 310 W. 21st Ave., can be reached at (985) 893-6280. The Folsom Branch, 82393 Railroad Ave., can be reached at (985) 796-9728. The Lacombe Branch, 28027 U.S. 190, can be reached at (985) 882-7858. The Lee Road Branch, 79213 U.S. 40, can be reached at (985) 893-6284. The Madisonville Branch, 1123 Main St., can be reached at (985) 845-4819. The Mandeville Branch, 844 Girod St., can be reached at (985) 626-4293. The Pearl River Branch, 64580 L.A. 41, can be reached at (985) 863-5518. The Slidell Branch, 555 Robert Blvd., can be reached at (985) 646-6470. The South Slidell Branch, 3901 Pontchartrain Dr., can be reached at (985) 781-0099.

Downloadable eBooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows and magazines are available anytime. For more information, visit www.sttammanylibrary.org/library-apps/.

Checked out library materials may be returned during this time. No overdue fines are currently being charged.

ABOUT STPL: The St. Tammany Parish Library has been serving the citizens of St. Tammany Parish for seventy years. Our twelve branches offer over 542,000 loanable items including books, CDs, DVDs, audiobooks and magazines. The library’s website offers 24/7 access to downloadable audio and eBooks, music downloads, research tools, magazines and newspapers. Our programs and services are designed to meet resident’s cultural, informational, educational and recreational needs.

Parish News

‘Holiday of Lights’ Drive-Thru at Koop Drive Starts Dec 4

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from Louisiana Northshore:

from Louisiana Northshore

The annual Holiday of Lights in Mandeville returns for its 21st year on weekends beginning December 4, 2020. Typically featuring entertainment from local schools and area performance groups, a modified version of the 21st Annual Holiday of Lights will go forward this Christmas season as a drive-thru only event.

“We are all ready for something positive,” said St Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “What could be more positive than keeping this tradition alive even through COVID-19? While we know the experience will be slightly different, we will still have the experience, and that is the most important thing for us — to give our citizens the Holiday of Lights event in 2020.”

from stpgov.org

The Holiday of Lights display will be open on Koop Drive in Mandeville, as a drive-thru only sightseeing event, Fridays through Sundays from 5 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in December, as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas night. Dates and drive-thru procedures will be announced closer to the kick-off of the event.

For more information, call the Tammany Trace Trailhead at (985) 867-9490.

www.stpgov.org

Art Event

St. Tammany Art Association Announces Degas Pastel Society National Exhibition Opening Dec 5th

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St. Tammany Art Association presents a new exhibition on display
December 5, 2020 – January 30, 2021:
Degas Pastel Society 18th Biennial National Exhibition

Covington, LA – St. Tammany Art Association (STAA) presents a new exhibition, “Degas Pastel Society 18th Biennial National Exhibition,” on display December 5 through January 30, 2021 in the Miriam Barranger Gallery of the Arthouse. The exhibit will kick off with an opening reception on Saturday, December 5, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, guests to the reception are required to register in advance for timed tickets to ensure limited attendance and adequate space for social distancing. These free tickets can be obtained by visiting www.sttammany.art

From its inception in 1984, the Degas Pastel Society has played an important role in the Renaissance of pastel painting worldwide. Their exhibitions showcase some of the best pastels that are being painted throughout the United States and abroad.

The Degas Pastel Society remains dedicated to the promotion of pastel painting by presenting exhibitions of outstanding work. The hope is that all who view this exhibition will gain a greater appreciation of the beauty and brilliance of pastel painting.

History of The Degas Pastel Society

During the summer of 1983, seven artists gathered to plan the first pastel-only exhibition to be held in New Orleans. The purpose of the exhibit was to present to the public, a show of artistic excellence utilizing the pastel medium which until recently has suffered from public misunderstanding and neglect.

Encouraged by the enthusiastic response to the Premier Pastel Show held at the International Trade Mart (now the World Trade Center) in November 1983, they decided to organize formally and did so on April 23, 1984.

The Society is aptly named in honor of Edgar Degas (1834-1917), the artist most widely recognized for transforming pastel from a sketching tool into a major artistic medium. Pastel painting blossomed with his touch and his works have inspired countless artists.

A juried exhibit
The exhibition was juried by Lyn Asselta, who has exhibited her landscape paintings throughout the U.S. and has been included in invitational exhibitions in France and China. She taught workshops in Canada, Curacao and across the U.S. Lyn recently achieved Eminent Pastelist status with the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). She is a Signature member of the Pastel Society of America, a member of the Salmagundi Club, a Member of Excellence in the Southeastern Pastel Society, a member of the Eastern League of Professional Artists, and is the founder and past president of the First Coast Pastel Society based in northeast Florida. In 2009, Lyn was selected as an Artist in Residence at Acadia National Park in Maine. Her work has been featured in several magazines including Pastel Journal, Pratique des Arts, and Plein Air Magazine. In 2018, she published her first book, Seeing the Landscape, a compilation of her prose and paintings.

The exhibit will be judged by Don Marshall, a native of New Orleans who began his professional career in the arts as the first Director of the Contemporary Arts Center in 1977. Under his leadership the center grew into one of the largest multi-disciplinary Alternative Arts Centers in the country, curating over 30 exhibitions. As Director of Le Petite Theatre, Marshall founded the Tennessee Williams Festival in conjunction with a group that was organizing a New Orleans Literary Festival. As an educator, he has served as the Director of the Cultural Resource Management Program at Southeastern Louisiana University and Director of the Arts Administration Program at the University of New Orleans.

In 2004 Marshall became the Executive Director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation. Since then, he has worked to expand programming that fulfills the mission of the organization to promote, perpetuate and support the music, arts and culture of Louisiana. 

Free demo
In conjunction with the exhibit, a pastel demo will be led by Degas Pastel Society Board member, Alan Flattmann, on Saturday, December 12 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. The demo is free, but advance registration is required at www.sttammany.art. More demos are from Degas Pastel Society members are scheduled for January. Visit our website for more information.

The St. Tammany Art Association is located at 320 N. Columbia Street in downtown Covington. Current gallery hours are Fridays and Saturdays, 11am – 4pm. All exhibitions are free and open to the public unless otherwise indicated.

St. Tammany Art Association is supported by the generosity of members, volunteers, sponsors and by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council, and as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs, St. Tammany Parish Government. Funding has also been provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works.

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Holiday Art Market at the Covington Trailhead Saturday Presented by the STAA

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STAA's Holiday Art MarketPresented by the St. Tammany Art Association in partnership with the City of Covington, the December Covington Art Market takes place this Saturday at the Covington Trailhead in downtown Covington. The market has been extended an extra hour for December, now from 9 am to 2 pm. Local and regional artists with new work will be on hand, including original, local fine-art paintings, photography, hand-made purses, jewelry, ceramics, wood-working, novelties, metal work, plus live music by Timothy Gates, great food from Beck-N-Call, art demos and so much more! Remember, original art is tax-free in the Cultural Arts District! Come shop for Christmas!

Local Events Non Profit Spotlight Shop Local

Go Holiday Shopping At The Covington Art Market

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Holiday Covington Art MarketPresented by the St. Tammany Art Association in partnership with the City of Covington, the December Covington Art Market takes place this Saturday at the Covington Trailhead in downtown Covington. The Art Association is expecting a full house for this market, with over thirty participating artists.  The market has been extended an extra hour for December, now from 9 am to 2 pm. Local and regional artists with new work will be on hand, including original, local fine-art paintings, photography, hand-made purses, jewelry, ceramics, wood-working, novelties, metal work, plus live music, great food, art demos and so much more! Remember, original art is tax-free in the Cultural Arts District! Come shop for Christmas!