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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, film analysis essay examples samples of apa outline for research paper how much does 20mg of cialis cost panera bread company case study byron wien essay essay india's progress hidradenitis suppurativa and accutane get link go cite a thesis paper go to site source site cats homework helper george washington compare lavitra cialis essay my favourite personality prophet muhammad can you retake biology coursework source link cheap mba essays examples climate change in bangladesh essay viagra chastity cialis problemi psicologici cialis 5 mg prostata politics in religion essay source link follow link essays on scientific attitude 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. –

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:

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

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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

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


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 to see more great local history!

Local History

Local History: Annadele Plantation

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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!

Local History

Local History: Major Fires in Covington 1898-1920

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

The aftermath of one of the downtown Covington fires

In the early years of the 20th century, the city scape of Covington underwent significant changes because of fires raging through the downtown area. Four fires between 1898 and 1911 changed the character of Covington’s central business district. 

During his research projects with the Covington Heritage Foundation, Jack Terry has come across a great deal of information about these fires, using early Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, newspaper accounts of the time, and census records to document the damage these fires did to specific buildings and downtown Covington as a whole.   

The first fire to destroy a significant portion of downtown Covington was on November 11,1898.  This fire which started in the Town Hall which was in the middle of the block bounded by Columbia, Boston, Rutland and Florida.  The New Orleans Daily States of Nov 11, 1898, provides details of the buildings that were destroyed on Columbia, Boston, Rutland and Florida streets as a result of the fire. 

Click on the images and newspaper articles to see them in a larger size. 

 According to the St Tammany Farmer all of the buildings burned with the exception of a brick building owned by Hardy Smith were frame structures and represented little value.  

Frame construction was the norm in Covington.  It wasn’t until mid-1905 that the city passed an ordinance that required the approval of detailed plans for any building or repair that cost more than $50.00.  

Nevertheless by 1909 the Sanborn Fire Insurance Company map of Columbia street between Boston and Rutland showed frame construction was still the norm.  Only four of the buildings damaged in the 1898 fire were reconstructed with bricks by 1909.  

The second serious fire that devastated portions of downtown Covington occurred August 23, 1906.  According to newspaper accounts the fire started in the store of Mr. W. N. Patrick on Columbia street.  The fire spread across the street and destroyed Preston Burns store, home and cottage located at the NW corner of Lockwood and Columbia as well as a number of other buildings on Columbia between Gibson and Kirkland. 

Map of Buildings Damaged Along Columbia Street in 1906

According to the newspaper account of this fire, the City of Covington had no fire engine and citizens fought the fire with buckets and by dynamiting a number of smaller buildings to prevent the fire from spreading.  Merchants resorted to a technique of having the citizens remove stock from their building to limit fire damage. The buildings on Columbia street at this time were still of wooden frame construction and the value of these commercial building were in many cases less than the merchandise held in the store for sale.  For example, Bernard Barrere leased the two-story wooden frame building on Columbia Street in June, 1904 for $30 per month.

In October 1908, the citizens created the Covington Benevolent and Fire Protective Association for the protection of their properties from fire losses.  Emile Beaucoudray was elected Chief of the fire department and J. L. Smith elected assistant chief.  In early 1909 the fire company decided to procure a fire engine for the Bucket Brigade at a cost of $750.   Covington’s new fire engine was guaranteed to force water through 1500 feet of hose a distance of 160 feet. 

Nevertheless, the new fire department had serious problems fighting the third significant fire to strike Covington in less than 12 years.  The Covington House hotel located on Rutland caught fire and spread rapidly because strong winds.  The fire also consumed the Masonic hall, several cottages, and the warehouse of the Jones and Pickett Company.  

According to an October 30th article in the St Tammany Farmer the fire department was hampered by an insufficient supply of water caused by the incompatibility of the two and one eight couplings on the fire plugs with the two-inch fire hoses and obstructions in  a second line.  Only a wind shift and the dedicated work of the volunteer fire fighters kept this fire from spreading to the entire business district.

The fourth and most disastrous fire to devastate Covington occurred on June 12, 1911.  The photograph above shows Columbia street prior to start of the fire.  According to newspaper accounts the fire started in the barn of Joseph Brocato’s by children playing with matches.  The fire department attempted to contain the fire near Brocato’s store however it soon spread to the adjoining two story Frederick building.  The combination of a brisk breeze, an inadequate supply of water, intense heat and fears that the Frederick building would collapse on the firefighters resulted in the fire spreading across Columbia street and destroying all the buildings on both sides Columbia between Boston and Rutland. In addition, the fire jumped Rutland street and destroyed the Masonic Temple recently rebuilt after the 1909 fire and a cottage owned by Frederick and Singletary.  

The fire also jumped Boston street to the Wherli building directly across from the Frederick building.  Firefighters however prevented this building from burning and spreading to the wood frame buildings on that side of Columbia by using water from a tank H J Smith constructed for protection of his store. 

Local newspapers articles shown below provide more detail about of this devastating fire and the businesses impacted by the fire.  

The map below shows the location of businesses and homes destroyed in the fire on the 1909 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map.

By 1915 the Frederick building, the Covington Bank and Trust bank, and a one-story H H Smith building were restored and are major attractions in present day historic Covington.   From the records, it is unclear if the restoration used the burned-out shell of these buildings in their reconstruction.

Then, again in 1920, there was another major fire in downtown Covington, this one close to the Southern Hotel building. Read about it in the newspaper article below. Click on the image to enlarge the view. 

As a result of fires, natural disasters and demolition very few late 19th century buildings remain in downtown Covington’s Historic District.

Some of the early fire hydrants can still be seen around Covington. (Photos by Jack Terry)
Local News

City of Covington Has New, Easier-to-Use Website

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The City of Covington announces their recently updated website,, is fully operational and user-friendly. The website has information on City Council, departments, things to do, Covington history, and as always a link to pay your water bill online. You can also sign up for Mayor Mark’s email updates – full of useful info and fun historical tidbits.

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Not only is the new website easy to navigate, it has tons of beautiful photos of our Covington area. Great job guys!

Local History

Covington History: Highlights of History by H.A. Mackie

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

H. A. Mackie of Covington wrote an interesting overview of the Historical Highlights of St. Tammany Parish, and it was published in the June 26, 1953, edition of the St. Tammany Farmer. It was also reprinted on a handout for the Covington Sesquicentennial.

Here is the text as written by H.A. Mackie.

Highlights of History of Covington and St, Tammany Parish, La.

The SETTLEMENT that was to be called Covington was originally named Wharton, located on the east bank of the Bogue Falaya river, where Claiborne now stands. The old courthouse is still there, re-modeled, as a residence. It was used only a short time as a courthouse.

The development of the settlement was rapid, especially after it was moved to the west bank of the river and the name changed from Wharton to Covington, by an act of the State Legislature, passed March 16, 1816. On April 2, 1832, a charter was granted by the State Legislature to the City of Covington.

Covington was named after a prominent citizen of the time, General Leonard Covington. One story goes that a large amount of whiskey was shipped to New Orleans from Covington, Ky., through Wharton which suggested the name. That is probably, only a fable.

High Land

Columbia Street Landing postcard

St. Tammany parish was the nearest high land to New Orleans and became the gateway to the north and a source of much needed material for building New Orleans, and other products for the city’s development.

New Orleans, being surrounded by water and marshland, the only contact with the rest of the country was by transportation on the Mississippi river and Lake Pontchartrain.

The navigable rivers in St. Tammany parish, offered a desirable means of trading merchandise for raw materials. The Little Tchefuncta, Bogue Falaya and Abita rivers, formed the Big Tchefuncta river about 20 miles from Lake Pontchartrain. The route was directly across the lake to the mouth of the Tchefuncta. Deep water at Covington, made the highland country, with its resources, accessible to New Orleans as far north as the Great Lakes.

The route into New Orleans from the lake was by the new and old canals. Both reached into the heart of the city where the produce, cotton, cattle, hides, wool, timber, charcoal, fuel, wood, naval stores, sand, brick and gravel, supplied the needs of the coming great city, New Orleans.

Tammany Materials Built New Orleans

All of the buildings in New Orleans were made from St. Tammany parish materials. To get some idea of how old Covington is, in 1803 the Louisiana Purchase took place in the Cabildo at Jackson Square. The Cabildo buildings, the St. Louis Cathedral and all surrounding structures had been built of material from St. Tammany parish, years before. The trade and traffic of which, had been handled in and around this location.

Before the saw mills were operated here, the logs from the hills of St. Tammany parish were rolled or dragged to the nearest water courses leading to the rivers, made into huge rafts and floated to the mills on the new and old canals in New Orleans, where they were cut into lumber.

The writer remembers well, the rafts of logs that filled the new canal born Claiborne to Broad street and Martin’s large saw mill at Galvez street. Sand, gravel, wood, charcoal and gravel were hauled in schooners and barges.

At first, mule teams towed the boats to the head of the canals, but later this chore was done by steam tugs. Much cotton found its way to New Orleans from St. Tammany parish.

Brickyards and Charcoal

Old-timers will remember the charcoal schooners at the head of the canals. St. Tammany charcoal and pine wood was the fuel used most in New Orleans in those days. Brick and sand made up much of the tonnage for the boats. The remains of many brick kilns may be found on the rivers in St. Tammany parish today.

After the settlement was moved to its present location, the river front at Columbia Street became the focal point of land and river traffic. Passenger and freight boats made regular trips to New Orleans, some of which were steam driven.

The country north of Covington for 100 miles was covered with virgin yellow pine, some of the finest in the world. It was government owned, but acquired by settlers through homestead rights. A settler could get title to 180 acres by cultivating and living on ten acres for a period of ten years.

Military Road

A main road was established due north through Mississippi into Tennessee, and was used by Gen. Jackson on his way from Tennessee to fight the Battle of New Orleans. He took a boat at Covington and crossed Lake Pontchartrain to get to New Orleans. The road to Covington was called Military Road, because a military post was established on the river north of Covington. It became the artery of traffic to the north, serving the settlers. from St. Tammany parish to Tennessee.

The settlers would take days, sometimes weeks, to drive their ox teams to town to trade their produce with the merchants and buy provisions to last them for months. Many farms were started along the way. Sheep and cattle business developed, lumber and naval stores operations became extensive and large mercantile houses handled a large volume of business.

A branch of the Union Bank of New Orleans was located on Rutland and New Hampshire streets, the old brick foundations are still on the spot. The manager of the bank lived in the then famous Rosedale Mansion on Portsmouth (now Wharton) and New Hampshire streets. This old mansion was burned about 1899, and the present frame structure was built about 1901.

Bank Buries Money

When the Yankee gunboats came up the river to take Covington, the banks money was hidden in a tank buried in the yard of the owner of the bank. The tank was removed in 1915 by the present owner of the property, but no money was found. If there had been any money in the tank, it would have been Confederate and worthless.

The early activities of the settlement started at Columbia street and the river and radiated out into the forests. Foot paths became wagon roads, then highways and now ribbons of concrete to all parts of the country.

The land on the river front was owned by a man named John W. Collins. On March 19, 1814, he dedicated it to the town and laid out the squares, streets and lots. The record reads, “It is humbly dedicated to the late President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, giving use of all streets, alleys, water courses, with timber thereon, as shown by plat, referred to in the body of this dedication.” After the execution of the dedication, Mr. Collins proceeded to sell the lots to interested citizens.

Ox Lots

In the squares, a 20-foot alley was cut through, with an ox lot 120 by 120 feet, in the middle to accommodate the farmers’ teams at night, to keep the oxen off the streets. This dedication by Mr. Collins, was a part of the Division of St. John.

As an illustration of how the town started to develop, the writer has titles and descriptions of property on Portsmouth street (later Independence, now Wharton), between Columbia and New Hampshire, which Includes lots 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15. The following names are recorded, as purchasers of the lots:

Alice Wilson, 1815; Samuel Murphy, 1818; Peter Quinn, 1817; James and Thomas Tate, 1817; John G. Greeves and Laurent Millandon, 1823; James McCoy and Samuel Mallory, 1825; Henry Quinn, 1835; Samuel Davis, 1835; Mrs. Mary Merritt and William Bagley, 1844; William Bagley, 1846; Rev. Victor Jouncourt, 1845 G. Price Durance, 1849; William Bagley, 1850; Mary Ann Dunnica, 1857; Archbishop A. Blanc, 1858; John Ruddock, 1867; Charles R. Bailey, 1868; Rev. Joachim Maneritta, 1870; George Ingram, 1875; Adam Thompson, 1877; Thomas Collins, 1883; James Taylor, 1884; Henry Smith, 1890; St. Peters Church, 1896; Hypolite Laroussini, 1891, H. A. Mackie, 1915.

After the Civil War the railroads came from the north to New Orleans, and commerce and river traffic to and from St. Tammany parish faded. Mercantile houses became country stores, the deep water at the foot of Columbia street filled with sand and only small boats can be accommodated now.

Boll Weevil Obliterates Cotton

The boll weevil took its toll of cotton, the timber played out, the W. P. A. ruined the farmers and with the discontinuance of passenger train service, Covington almost became a ghost town. But with its good climate, timber re-growth, pure artesian water, good drainage, beautiful trees, white sand bathing beaches, Covington has become the place of recreation and health for the people of New Orleans and other parts of the state and nation.

Money Hill Tung Oil Plantation

As business people of New Orleans retired, many established homes and beautiful estates in St. Tammany parish, creating a substantial income for the community. A network of good highways have helped the situation greatly.

Covington and surrounding area have large educational institutions, drawing students from other states and foreign countries.

The new $365,000 parish hospital will add much to the desirability of Covington as a residential city. The tung oil industry and cattle raising, have been developed on a large scale in this area.

Businesses of Covington

A naval stores plant was established in Covington in 1911 and has operated continuously since, with a considerable payroll and benefit in land clearing, pine stumps being the raw material used.

Covington Bank & Trust

There are many very old business places and residences in and around Covington, which would make good reading, if their histories were told. Few cities in America are more interesting and beautiful than Covington.

The parish has other interesting places. Slidell has large and important industries; Madisonville has its shipyards; Abita Springs and Mandeville are famous recreation and health resorts.

St. Tammany parish is a pleasant and healthful place to live in and has a most promising future. It is 68 miles by road and 35 miles by air from New Orleans.

When the Greater New Orleans Expressway is built, St. Tammany parish will be the front yard of the big southern metropolis and its most beautiful residential district.

End of Mackie article

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

Local History

Covington History: The History of the Star Theater

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

The Star Theater in Covington is legendary in the minds of Covington area residents who have tons of great memories of seeing the big movies, meeting with friends on Saturday night, and taking part in the many community events sponsored by the theater over the years.

Warren Salles of Covington has owned the Star Theater, 332 North New Hampshire Street for many years. In 1997 he explained the history of Covington’s community movie show in an interview that I videotaped. His love of the theater business was evident as he told of the efforts to renovate and put the theater back into operation after years of sitting silent.

Click on the triangle above to play the video telling about the Star Theater and its impact when it was first opened in 1942 and in the years following.

The tornado that hit downtown Covington later that year put a kink in those plans, though the theater survived and is ready for its next run of community service.

The Salles Family History in Motion Picture Theaters

Salles family & friends

Warren Salles’ family has been involved in the neighborhood theater business in the New Orleans area for over 100 years. His grandfather built his first theater, The Market, in 1907, and it featured vaudeville acts. The second came in 1915.

The Star theater in Covington first opened on April 25, 1942, in the midst of World War II. It was built by his father, Warren J. Salles Sr., who operated several theaters in New Orleans before coming to Covington. Salles father first thought of building a theater in Covington around 1940, having enjoyed a summer home here for many years prior to that. For the new show, he bought the property formerly occupied by Badon’s Garage. but before he could start the project, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and war was declared.

World War II was both a help and a hindrance to building the Star. During the war, it was impossible to get steel. His father had to get special permission from the federal war department to get the steel necessary to complete the building. The trusses and the steel for the projection room were a critical need, since at that time projection rooms were built like bank vaults.

The 25 foot high star on the front of the building was lifted into place by a huge crane that blocked the entire street. The star featured two colors of neon lights and extended above the roof line of the building.

On the day the theater first opened in 1942, congratulatory telegrams arrived from around the nation, many of them coming from movie stars. Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Lionel Barrymore, and several other MGM stars sent their best wishes. “It was a courtesy of the trade and a common trademark of the MGM studies,” Salles said. At the time it was built and for many years thereafter, the theater was the largest motion picture theater in St. Tammany Parish.

The Movietone news reels became very popular, as they provided the only real look at the progress of the war around the world. “Dad was instrumental in selling a large volume of war bonds here at the theater,” Salles commented. “He came up with the idea of posting the name of a local serviceman in the lobby and selling the war bonds on a card table in his honor.”

During the war, Salles’ father would be regularly visited by the air raid warden to be sure his theater could be blacked out immediately in case of an air attack. In fact, there was a special switch that could be thrown to instantly darken the large neon star.

Salles recalls the celebration that accompanied V-J Day at the end of World War II. He has a photograph of over a thousand people standing in North New Hampshire Street. His father had hung two huge American flags all the way across the street, and a sound truck that had been built in the days of Huey Long was pressed into service to go throughout the city announcing the block dance that was planned at the Star in celebration of victory in Japan.

“The dance took place all night long, with the sound truck providing the music,” Salles explained.

Since the electric power tended to go out during storms, Salles’ father installed gas lights over the exits, and these would come on automatically if the electricity went off. The Star was also the first public building in Covington to be air-conditioned in the late 1940’s, he said.

Stage Shows

The theater hosted many stage shows during the 50’s and 60’s. The magic shows of Willard the Wizard were a favorite with the community, as were the presentations of a mind reader named Kirma the Great. “He was one of our more colorful characters,” Salles said. The Masked Rider and his horse also appeared on stage.

Widely known performers brought their act to the Star as well. Among the big name entertainers to grace its stage were Eddie Arnold, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Jimmie Dickens, and other Grand Ole Opry legends. Charlton Heston also visited the theater, as did local celebrity Louis Prima. Even the legendary Morgus appeared on stage at the Star. Miss Dell and her dance students review were frequent stage programs, and St. Paul’s School used the theater for its graduation ceremonies once, when Nikki Barranger was valedictorian.

The Star was the first theater on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain to show a movie in wide screen format, that being the 1952 motion picture “The Quiet Man” with John Wayne. To accommodate the wider screen, Henry Verges was called in to build a new screen frame. The theater also installed the first stereo sound in the northlake area.

As it became a hub of community life, Salles’ father would conduct special showings for private groups that were unable to come to the theater at night, groups such as the Catholic sisters at St. Gertrudes in Ramsay. “They even quilted an American flag for my father to show their appreciation,” Salles stated.

Peggy Dow

Some of the movies were truly special occasions as they starred St. Tammany area residents who had gone to Hollywood and become big-name actors and actresses. One such person was Peggy Dow, and a special premiere of one of her pictures brought in hundreds of fans and friends.

Part of the attraction were the giveaway stage shows, money nights where cash would be given away as part of the fun. The most popular game was called “Comet,” which was similar to bingo. There was also a series of horse racing games in the 1940’s where race films would be shipped to the theater and no one would know which horse in the film would win. Patrons would receive tickets which could have the winning horse’s name imprinted on it.

Over the years, the theater has also been used as a hurricane shelter several times. “I can recall people bringing their blankets and pillows and bedding down in the foyer and lobby. Many of them sat in the seats during the storms,” Salles said.

In 1997 the theater was extensively renovated with new sound, movie poster cases, concessions area and the marquee. The new cherry wood concession stand was custom-designed and custom-built by master craftsman Ernest Rodriguez III and his son.

Cutting the ribbon on the re-opening of the Star Theater in April of 1997

A tornado passed through Covington that same year, shortly after the theater was re-opened, and although numerous trees were destroyed, houses were damaged, and a two story dry cleaners building collapsed half a block away, the Star stood firm during the storm.

Salles on “American Pickers”

Salles has an extensive collection of photographs and memorabilia from the Star’s 55 years of community service, and he was even featured on an episode of “American Pickers,” the television show where two guys travel around the country looking for unusual collectibles.

Salles also spoke to the St. Tammany Parish Historical Society in 1997 about the history of the theater and its relationship with the community of Covington. CLICK HERE to hear an audio recording of that meeting presentation (MP3 file.)

Check out Ron Barthet’s blog Tammany Family for more great local history! More photos related to this post here.

CLICK HERE for information about other theaters in west St. Tammany.

Local History

Covington History: Fate of Covington Founder Researched

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

The history books credit Jacques Dreux as the founder of the Covington area, and while much is known about where he came from and what he did while he was in western St. Tammany, the facts grow dim as to where he went after he left Covington and what he did as an encore. His fate was researched by several interested parties in the 1980’s, and the article below is the result of some of that research.

Click on the image below to see a larger version of the article.

According to the article, one hundred and ninety-four years ago, a fellow decided that western St. Tammany would be a good place for a town, situated on the crossing of a major waterway and a major land trade route from Mississippi.

1814 map of Louisiana

The land upon which the City of Covington now stands was once owned by Jacques Dreux, who came into the area and laid out the town on the west bank of the Bogue Falaya River at the head of navigation. That was probably just south of where the present downtown area is located, considered to be a “highly desirable” site due to the river access and trade route from Mississippi.

According to a St. Tammany Parish history written by Frederick Steve Ellis, Jacques Dreux first took posses­sion of his property around 1800 after receiving a 640-acre Spanish land grant. In 1813, the Dreux tract was acquired by his neighbor John Wharton Collins, who on July 4, 1913, dedicated the town of Wharton.

After that, the name of Jacques Dreux disappears from the history books and the known genealogical records as well, making him to some extent a mystery man. He was born in 1778, but where he died is unknown.

Dreux’s original name for Covington was St. James (or St. Jacques), but there was no exact location of this particular com­munity. The town was formally incorporated on March 11, 1816, by legislative act and its name changed to Covington.

In research conducted by Louis de la Vergne, a Covington area resident, the Catholic Church records are clear that, while Dreux himself did not marry and have children, 4 a number of present-day Covington area families seem co-Iaterally linked to the Dreux genealogy.

Jacques Dreux descended from Mathurin Dreux (1699-1772), his grandfather, and fam­ily names allied with the Dreux included the Saunhac du Fossat familv (which evolved into the Soniat name), the de la Vergne family line and even the Villere family name, which ties in with Covington’s former mayor Keith Villere’s genealogy.

Jacques Phillipe Villere
26th, 2nd since U.S. Statehood
Governor of Louisiana

Keith Villere’s great, great, great grandfather Jacques Phillipe Villere in 1784 married the daughter of Jean Gabriel Fazhande and Charlotte Dreux de Gentily. The Dreux family was long associated with New Orleans East and the Gentilly area.

Other modern-day family names associated with the Dreux family descendants include the Livaudais family, and the Jumonville de Villiers family, as well as the Charbonnet name, the Cartier family, the Fortier family, and the Navarre family names.

The records indicate many other family names connect to the founder of the Covington area community, including fam­ily names such as d’Estrenan de Beaupre’, as well as the histori­cally prominent de Marigny de Mandeville family name, of whom Bernard de Marigny de Mandeville laid out and estab­lished the town on the lake.

After he left Covington, Jacques Dreux may have gone, to Mobile or Pensacola, says William deMarigny Hyland, the historian of St. Bernard Parish. “His family had a tradition of following the Spanish govern­ment, and when the Spaniards retreated out of the area he may have gone with them,” Hyland said.

Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville (1785–1868)

Bernard deMarigny laid out the town of Mandeville in the late 1820’s, and he and Jacques Dreux were about the same age, according to Hyland. They undoubtedly knew each other, he said, and were members of a group of New Orleanians interested in developing the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. “These guys all knew each other,” says de la Vergne.

“People had been settling in St.Tammany in the late 1700’s,” Hyland explained,” and they knew the Anglos were interested in building up trade with New Orleans. It was obvious even back then , that the Northshore had potential, he stated.

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

Local History

Covington History: Cemetery No. 1

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

CW photo by C. Cochrane 2016

The Covington Cemetery No. 1 has been a maintenance challenge over the years, and it was in pretty bad shape in the early 1990’s, that is until a group of community preservationists got involved. Here’s the story.

Click to enlarge

The History of Covington Cemetery No. 1 was published in 1988 by the St. Tammany West Chamber of Commerce Auxiliary. Entitled “The Legends of Covington Cemetery No. 1: Covington, LA, 175th Anniversary 1813-1988” the 166-page book contains volumes of information about the cemetery and who is buried within. Click on the image below for several paragraphs from the beginning of the book:

click to enlarge

(From “Legends of Covington Cemetery No. 1” Published 1988)

In May of 1813, John Wharton Collins bought from Jacques Dreux, the Spanish land grant that DREUX had received in 1803. It was 40 arpents by 40 arpents and on the West side of the Bogue Falaya and included the new town of St. Jacques.

Collins paid $2300.00 for the Dreux tract which included the entire 40 arpents by 40 arpents except for four small lots 60 x 120 both that Dreux had sold to Mr. Tate, Mr Edwards, Mr. McGehee and Mr. Brooks. All lots were in the vicinity of the present day Bogue Falaya Park.

CW photo by C. Cochrane 2016

On July 4, 1813, John Wharton Collins dedicated “A plan of a portion of land, laid out under the title of the Division of St. John of Wharton”. In 1816 a bill was introduced in the State Legislature “To change the name of the Town of Wharton to that of Covington.* This was done against the wishes of its founder, John Wharton Collins .

In 1817 Collins became ill and by December it was necessary to move him to New Orleans where he died two days after Christmas. “His remains were brought back to Covington, sealed in a lead coffin, by the little mail boat.

CW photo by C. Cochrane 2016

“He was buried in the ground of his choice at the corner of Columbia and Kirkland Street. John Wharton Collins was twenty-nine years old at the time of his death.” He left a widow, Marie Elizabeth Tabiteau,and one son, five year old Thomas Wharton Collins .

His widow within six months married his nephew John GIBSON.1

On November 11, 1822, John Gibson and Marie Elizabeth Gibson sold to the Town of Covington for $35.00, two lots of ground in Square 25 (now Square 27) “both now used and to be used as a Public Burying ground”.2

On December 10, 1822, John Gibson and Marie Elizabeth Gibson sold two more lots in Square 25 (now Square 27) for $35.00, “the said Lots shall be exclusively used and appropriated as a burying ground for said Town.”3

CW photo by C. Cochrane 2016

In the same year, 1822, “Timothy Flint, that roving Presbyterian preacher …, remarked in his ‘Recollections’ that this cemetery was one of the neatest and best kept he had found in his travels throughout this section of the State.”4

Ninety-one years later in 1913 sadly this was no longer the case “the present unkempt and rundown appearance of the cemetery is a reflection upon our town and its people.” The Womens Progressive Union decided to “undertake an improvement in the Covington Cemetery.”5

click to enlarge

They found that “this is a big, weighty matter and fraught with many difficulties…”.6 By April of 1913 The W.P.0. had a cemetery committee which was composed of the following women; Mrs. Preston Burns, Chairman; Mrs. Clifton Burns, Mrs. J.B. Worthan, Mrs. H.T.G. Weaver, Mrs. B.B. Warren, Miss Carrie Frederick, Mrs. J. Millaley, Mrs. J.B. Lancaster, Mrs. Wallace Poole, Mrs. Albert Smith, Mrs. H.H. Smith, Mrs. V. Planche, Mrs. W.A. White, Mrs. L.M. Bourgeois and Mrs. Wm. Bodebender, ex-officio.”7

By May of that year The Farmer was able to report “Through the efforts of E. J. Frederick the town council donated $50 to the fund and made provisions for a monthly payment of $15.00 and the Union is pledged to $50. A committee was appointed to obtain subscriptions and to write to non-residents who are lot owners.”8

CW photo by C. Cochrane 2016

In June of the same year articles continued to appear in The Farmer about the cemetery and the work being done there by the women of W.P.U. “Mrs. Clifton BURNS and Mrs. Preston BURNS are active in the work of the Womens’ Progressive Union in connection with cleaning up and beautifying of the Covington cemetery.

CW photo by C. Cochrane 2016

“They live but a short distance from the cemetery and can be seen coming from the grounds any evening after six o’clock, not on dress parade either, but in a garb meeting the requirements of those who use ‘elbow grease’ as well as persuasive language. The cemetery is already wonderfully changed, and the removal of rubbish has brought to light dilapidated tombs and piles of brick which once were tombs, but which have put an appearance of crumbling foundations of ancient and desecrated structures of generations ago. In fact, some of them are known to be over a century and a quarter old.”9


  1. Schwartz, Adrian D. Sesquicentennial in St. Tammany, 1963,
    Reprinted 1973 by Carols’ Corner. Covington, La. p. 12,
    20, 21.
  2. St. Tammany Clerk of Court, Covington, La., COB A/640
  3. Ibid, COB A/654
  4. Schwartz, p. 20
  5. St. Tammany Farmer, Covington, La. January 18, 1913
  6. Ibid, February 15, 1913
  7. Ibid, April 19, 1913
  8. Ibid, May 3, 1913
  9. Ibid, June 7, 1913

See also:

Check out Ron Barthet’s blog Tammany Family for more great local history! More photos related to this post here.

Local History

Covington History: the St. Tammany Parish Courthouse

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Introducing our new Local History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View his blog Tammany Family here.

Here is the history as well as some photographs depicting four of the courthouses that have served St. Tammany Parish.

An 1820 map showing the first courthouse near Enon (click to enlarge)

Prior to 1817, a courthouse serving both Washington and St. Tammany Parishes was located near Enon in Washington Parish in an area known as “Washington Fields.” Records indicated that some soldiers were stationed there for the War of 1812.

According to a publication of the Louisiana State Bar Association entitled “Louisiana’s Historic Courthouses: A Look at the Past and the Present,” (Published in 2016) The St. Tammany Parish courthouse sprang from legislation signed by Louisiana’s first governor, William Charles Cole Claiborne in 1813. The legislation called upon a local committee to locate a courthouse site “within three miles of the center of St. Tammany Parish, which at that time consisted of Washington Parish, St. Tammany Parish and the portion of Tangipahoa Parish east of the Tangipahoa River.”

Following those directions, the group established the first courthouse near the banks of the Bogue Chitto River near Enon on property owned by Judge Thomas C. Warner, who was the first parish judge in St. Tammany Parish.

The Bar Association’s Journal went on to explain that four years after establishing the courthouse near Enon, another group was given the assignment of moving the parish seat. “The Claiborne Company had purchased a portion of the Kleinschmidt Spanish land grant in 1813. In exchange for the commission naming the Town of Claiborne as the parish seat, the Claiborne Company offered some of its land and agreed to build a courthouse and jail for the parish, free of charge.”

“Robert Layton told them (the group seeking a parish seat) that he’d build a courthouse if they made Claiborne the parish seat,” said retired Judge Steve Ellis, a parish historian. This resulted in the second St. Tammany Parish courthouse being built in the Town of Claiborne just east and across the river from Covington. It cost around $20,000 to build.

That building, built in 1818, currently stands across the driveway from the Chimes Restaurant near the Bogue Falaya River. The structure was completed and opened for business on April 12, 1819.

However, the bar journal account noted that “within 10 years of the erection of the 1819 Courthouse, the Police Jury determined that the courthouse should be moved to Covington, previously known as the Town of Wharton.”

On June 5, 1837, the Police Jury purchased Lots 12-15 on the corner of Boston and New Hampshire Streets in Covington for use as a courthouse site, the bar journal stated.

The 1819 Courthouse was eventually sold and used as a private residence and Catholic seminary. In the late 1800s, a hotel known as the Claiborne Cottages was built next to the former 1819 Courthouse. Those cottages were destroyed by fire in the early 1900s.

The parish seat was moved from Claiborne to Covington in 1838. A courthouse was built on the corner of Boston St. and North New Hampshire St. In 1884, however, the Police Jury voted to demolish the courthouse located at that location. “During the demolition and rebuilding period, Covington Town Hall was used as a courtroom. The new courthouse opened two years later in 1886 and was used for 73 years, according to the bar journal account.

The structure pictured above at that location was built in 1896, with the cornerstone of that building pictured right, as it looks preserved as a monument in front of the old courthouse site at the northeast corner Boston St. and New Hampshire St.

1896 Courthouse

“The completion of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway in 1956 magnified the need for a larger facility to conduct the parish’s business,” the Bar Association article went on to say. “In 1959, the parish decided to build a new courthouse, completed in 1960. Within the year it took to complete the new courthouse, court was held in the gymnasium of the Jefferson Avenue grammar school. The new courthouse shown below was opened in 1959 in the same location as the previous courthouse. It featured a jail on the third floor.

The police jury held a number of committee meetings about what to do about the growing space problems in the courthouse building. They finally decided, despite objections, to build a new courthouse down near Interstate 12. The courthouse stayed in Covington, however, after some legal action by city officials noting that the courthouse had to be in the parish seat.

For a brief time, in an effort to provide more space, there were a couple of courtrooms and judges offices in the building where the Southern Hotel is located today. It served as Parish Administrative Offices for several years, complete with police jury meeting room and offices for various parish agencies.

The parish chose to ignore the city’s objections and built an office facility on Koop Drive off La. 29 near Interstate 12, moving its main administrative offices and several key departments to that location. In 1996, efforts resumed to build a bigger courthouse, but within the boundaries of the City of Covington. The old P&W Salvage facility on Jefferson Avenue was considered.

“The 1960 courthouse was used until the St. Tammany Justice Center opened in 2003, which brought together many of the parish’s offices that were scattered throughout the city,” according to the Bar Association article. Planning for the massive $64 million structure began in the year 2000.

“The St. Tammany Parish Justice Center, unlike any courthouse in Louisiana, is a 312,000-square-foot structure containing 22,000 cubic yards of concrete and 25,000 St. Joe bricks and housing 12 courtrooms,” said the article.

Check out Ron Barthet’s blog Tammany Family for more great local history! More great photos related to this post here.

Local History

Local History: Covington In The Early 1930’s by Philip E. Pfeffer

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Introducing our new Local History segment provided by local historical writer Ron Barthet. View his blog Tammany Family here.

We turn now to the recollections of Philip E. Pfeffer for an overview of Covington in the early 1930’s, some 90 years ago. This account was written on February 27, 1993.

Covington In The Early 1930’s by Philip E. Pfeffer

The court house was a wooden structure of two stories, and it well filled the needs of St. Tammany Parish. As one entered the courthouse from Boston Street there was a wide hallway the length of the edifice. To the left of the hall was the office of the sheriff, housing the “High Sheriff’, a chief deputy, an “outside” deputy, and a clerk.

images provided by Ron Barthet
images provided by Ron Barthet

To the right of the hall was the office of the Clerk of the Court, in which worked the clerk himself and a couple of deputies. Going further to the right there was a “blister”, a concrete building not more than twenty five feet square, housing all mortgage and conveyance and court records.

To the rear of the court house proper was a large wooden room which housed the police jury and its secretary and the assessor. A separate brick two story edifice, fifteen or twenty feet square, was the parish jail.

images provided by Ron Barthet
James T. Burns

Robert D. “Bob” Jones was the sole judge of the 22nd Judicial District for Washington and St. Tammany Parishes. James T. “Jim” Burns was the only district attorney for both parishes. Neither had a secretary or a law clerk.

Bob Jones lived in Bogalusa in a modest home and came to Covington one week a month to try cases. Sometimes the docket was bare and he didn’ t come at all.

The lawyers in Covington were Lewis L. Morgan, Harvey E. Ellis and his son Frank, J. Monroe Simmons, Dalton J. Barranger, Arthur Finney, Fred J. Heintz, Victor Planche, Lindsay McDougall, Victor V. Blackwell, Adrian Schwartz, perhaps one or two more.

The Slidell lawyers were Gus Fritchie Sr., L.V. Cooley, Jr., Sidney Provensal, E.F. Hailey, perhaps one or two more.

images provided by Ron Barthet

Drug stores were all over the place. The principal one was Schonberg’s, whose motto was “follow the crowd – there’s a reason.” It was a gathering place, with its soda fountain, for after school and other events. It was on New Hampshire Street in the Southern Hotel Building, right next to the (then) post office.

images provided by Ron Barthet

Next to the pharmacy was a door leading to the upstairs office of H. E. Gautreaux, M.D.

An amusing story concerns a woman’s purse which was left at the drug store. It was placed in a conspicuous place so the owner could claim it. Days went into weeks but no one came forth. At length a grammar school boy with a considerably older sister spied the purse and announced “Why, that’s my sister’s.” A hush came over the place for it was well known that the purse contained a package of condoms – something disgraceful in those days.

About where the former office of August J. Planche was the drug store of Oliver J. Hebert, who had been a pharmacist for Schonberg’s and broke away to start his own place. He later moved into the corner building on New Hampshire and Boston Streets.

images provided by Ron Barthet
Herbert Drugs circa 1980’s

On Columbia Street in the middle of the block was the City Drug Store, owned by Stanley and Percy ‘Theriot. These brothers bottled a vicious green fluid entitled “Ant enemy”, which sold hundreds of bottles. In one corner was an alcove with entrance to the office of H. D. Bulloch, M.D.

images provided by Ron Barthet

On the corner (where else?) of Columbia and Gibson Streets, in the brick “Badon Building” was the Corner Drug Store, presided over by Mr. L. J. Nicolle. To the rear in a separate entrance was the office of Ludwig Heintz, M.D.

Dr. F. B. Buquoi had an upstairs office in the brick building on the corner of Boston and Columbia Streets, which had housed the Covington Bank & Trust Company, whose boast was “St. Tammany’s Million Dollar Bank.” One of Dr. Buquoi’s sons often referred to his father’s “assets over a million dollars.”

It was a joke around town that there was a saloon on every corner and another in the middle of the block. One recalls Charlie Jenkins and Paul Herbez, on each side of the alley on Gibson Street between Columbia and New Hampshire Streets.

images provided by Ron Barthet
images provided by Ron Barthet

“Tugy’s” was in the Southern Hotel Building near the corner of New Hampshire, presided over by Julius Tugenhaft, a public spirited citizen. He boasted that he charged a cent a bottle of beer more than other places, and that these pennies would build him a house. This turned out to be true.

A number of Covington citizens who later became prominent in other fields got their start as saloon keepers.

The Roman Catholic Church was near the fair grounds. The square it now occupies was vacant and a diagonal path through it showed its use as a short cut. The Presbyterian Church was where it is now, but much smaller, having many years later been enlarged. The Methodist Church was in its present location but was a wooden building. The Baptist Church was a converted home and was known as “the poorest church in town.”

images provided by Ron Barthet
The Covington 1st Baptist Church Building, Jefferson Avenue at 23rd Avenue

High school students were glorying in their new building under the name of Elmer E. Lyon High School, named after the (then) Parish Superintendent of Schools, which was placed in operation at the beginning of the 1925-26 school session. It was in the square bounded by Jefferson, Madison, Seventeenth, and Eighteenth.

images provided by Ron Barthet
Covington High Old Entrance

The superintendent’s office was just inside the entrance of the front door. The staff consisted of Mr. Lyon himself, Josie Frederick, and Josie Diehl. A state law later forbade the naming of any public facility after a living person, and the name was changed back to Covington High School.

Up to 1925 the high school had been on the upper floor of the very substantial brick (not brick veneer) building in the square bounded by Jefferson, Theard, Twenty Third and Twenty Fourth. This same building continued to be the only other public school in the town. It is now utilized as the C. J. Schoen Middle School.

Lyon High School was attended not only by Covingtonians but by pupils from Abita Springs, Mandeville, Madisonville, and even Sun and Bush.

A public spirited citizen had donated fifty thousand dollars to erect a cupola over Lyon High School, in which was housed a large four-sided clock which sounded the hour loudly all over town. Unfortunately this did not survive a later fire and was never replaced.

St. Scholastica’s School (Convent) was housed in a huge three (four?) story wooden building painted green. It had great potential as a fire trap which fortunately it did not fulfill. It later had to be torn down by orders of the Fire Marshall.

images provided by Ron Barthet
St. Scholastica’s School

St. Paul’s College (known as college because of the Latin “Colegio”, but later changed to St. Paul’s High School), was under the auspices of The Christian Brothers, who did not believe in sparing the rod. In fact a venerable teacher named Brother Raphael was known by the students as “Bre’r Rap”.

St. Paul’s was widely attended by boarding pupils from Central and South America and the Caribbean. Generations of Covington day students got an education which many considered superior to that obtained in the public school.

Saturday nights at the town’s only movie palace were a riot, as the St. Paul’s boarding students, confined to their campus all week, descended. Loud was the appreciation for the escapades shown on the silver screen.

images provided by Ron Barthet
the Majestic Theatre circa 1930’s

Pre schools and kindergartens were virtually unknown but later “Miss Reeder’s” on Seventeenth Avenue prepared a great host of Covingtonians for their first grade.

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

Local History Pic of the Week

Photo of the Week: HJ Smith & Son’s Wagon

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HJ Smith & Sons General by Cici Photography“HJ Smith & Son’s Wagon” was submitted by Cici Photography, shows an antique wagon in front of HJ Smith & Son’s General Store & Museum on Columbia Street in Downtown Covington, LA. 

Submit your photo to for a chance to have it featured in our “Photo of the Week”. Preference will be given to photos taken locally. Please include the title of your photo, the name of the photographer and where the photo was taken. Original works only, please.

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Local Author Offers Simple & Effective Philosophy – “A Poor Man Can Survive” by Murray James, Jr

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Mr. Murray James, Jr. with his book, "A Poor Man Can Survive"

Mr. Murray James, Jr. with his book, “A Poor Man Can Survive”

Mr. Murray James, Jr. is a quiet, unassuming and friendly gentleman, quick with a smile and a warm handshake. By his own account, he started out with very little, but rather than allow his situation to be an impediment, he simply worked harder. While he recognizes the despair generated by poverty, Mr. James also champions the responsibility of the individual to take charge of their lives and initiate the positive changes necessary to move forward.

“Be The Best In Everything That You Do” This was something Mr. James’ father told him when he was a young boy, and this saying has been the motto by which he has lived his life. Mr. James’ book, “A Poor Man Can Survive”, chronicles his rewarding experiences working for Mr. Barton Hebert Jr., a man stricken with polio and in need of regular assistance who became like a brother to Murray, and whom Mr. James dutifully cared for over 42 years. The book was written to inspire others to have hope in the future and push for their dreams.

“A Poor Man Can Survive” is currently available at Jewel’s Cigar & Briar Shop in Covington and NAPA Auto Parts in Folsom, LA. Mr. James will speak at Christwood on March 17th with regard to the changes he’s seen in Covington over the years. Murray James Jr. can be reached at 985-373-8389 for book or speaking inquiries.

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History Antiques Hosts Open House & Book Signing of “Money Hill” by Mimi Dossett

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History Antiques ChristmasHistory Antiques & Interiors will host an open house on Friday, December 12th from 10 am – 5 pm. Refreshments will be provided, and a book signing of “Money Hill” with author Mimi Goodyear Dossett will be from 11 am – 1 pm. Stop by and peruse their selection of accoutrements such as the pictured handmade craft art, and the holiday pillows, tea linens and stationary, all customizable.

History Antiques 6 - Copy

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Parishwide Trace 20th Anniversary Celebration Kicks Off at the Covington Trailhead Saturday

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St. Tammany Trace 20th Aniversary Celebration

Come Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Tammany Trace. Whatever your style, the Trace Anniversary Celebration has it, with fun for the whole family. This moving celebration kicks-off in the morning on Saturday, November 1st and will travel through each of the Trailheads. Along the way, you will experience music, art, food, dancing and more fun for the whole family. Don’t forget to grab your passport, visitors who make it to each Trailhead will be entered into a special drawing! To find out more about the event, call 985-898-3011.

We3 will be playing at the Covington Trailhead for the STAA's Art Market

We3 will be playing at the Covington Trailhead for the STAA’s Art Market

Covington events begin at 8 am with the Covington Farmer’s Market at the 600 block of Columbia Street. The Covington Trailhead presents a musical performance by We 3 to accompany the St. Tammany Art Association’s Art Market, and the Mayor’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles hosts a resource fair with participating businesses. Tours of the Covington Brewhouse will be available, along with a chance to register for a Grand Prize! Don’t miss the Kick Off Ceremonies with Parish President Pat Brister and Covington Mayor Mike Cooper at 10 am (at the trailhead.)

More information at

Read more here: Mayor’s Council On Healthy Lifestyles To Host Community Resource Fair Celebrating The 20th Anniversary Of The Trace