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Local History

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

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

Historical Markers

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

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

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

The Southern Hotel

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

John Slidell

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

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

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

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

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

Slidell: An Overview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1st United Methodist Church

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

John Slidell

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

City of Slidell Centennial

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

Slidell Town Hall and Jail

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

Fontainebleau Plantation Sugar Mill

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

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

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Local News

Mayor Mark Storm Update – Hurricane Zeta

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Hurricane Zeta Prep Update from City of Covington Mayor Mark Johnson. Sign up for email updates at

Covington’s own meteorologist Michael Efferson offers a very concise and most useful update on this week’s hurricane:

Hurricane Zeta: – The forecast track remains similar to pretty much every previous one. Climatology favors a more easterly one if any changes do occur.

Timing: Wednesday afternoon-midnight for peak conditions for southeast LA. It’s short because Zeta will be moving fast.

Here’s what I’d be most concerned with in southeast LA:
1. Flash flooding: rain will be heavy, even today(Tuesday). We’ve seen heavy rainfall events the day before landfall many times before. I’m talking parish sized flood events. Be careful driving and watch out for flooded roads
2. Winds: For those east of I-55, we saw some trees down and relatively short-term power outages with Delta. I’d expect similar, if not slightly worse conditions with Zeta.
3. River Flooding: Probably the lowest threat but non-zero. We can handle roughly 5-7″ of rain without more than moderate river flooding. More than that would be problematic.

City Impacts from most to least:

New Orleans/Slidell: 50-75mph winds. Expect scattered trees down and power outages lasting from a few hours to a day or 2. Localized street flooding likely. Covington: 40-65mph winds. Expect isolated to scattered trees down, no power loss to a day or 2 at most. Think similar to slightly worse than Delta impacts. Hammond: 30-50 mph winds. Isolated trees down and maybe powerloss for less than a day.

Baton Rouge: 25-35 mph. No real-world wind impacts. BUT, localized street flooding possible today and tomorrow.

**UPDATE 10-28-2020** from Covington’s own meteorologist Michael Efferson:

Winds look as bad or worse than I mentioned yesterday across New Orleans and Slidell. Covington, Hammond and Baton Rouge should be about the same.

Bottom Line:

  • Take this storm seriously. It WILL be worse than hurricane Delta was for those east of I-55 (Covington, Slidell, New Orleans metro)
  • Get your errands finished by noon.
  • 4 to 6 hour window of intense rain and dangerous winds
  • It will not be safe to be on the roads late this afternoon.
  • Winds should rapidly relax after around 9-10pm.

City Impacts from most to least:

New Orleans/Slidell: 60-90mph winds. Expect scattered trees down and power outages lasting from a few hours to a few days. Localized street flooding likely.

Covington: 40-70mph winds. Expect isolated to scattered trees down. Many will lose power for short period to a day or 2. Localized street flooding likely.

Hammond: 30-50 mph winds. Isolated trees down and maybe powerloss for less than a day.

Garbage / Recycling Pickup

Garbage will be picked up tomorrow morning (Wednesday) — But not per usual. Trucks will be running early to beat the storm.
Customers are advised to place bins out this evening, then secure bins tomorrow after pick up, prior to storm.
Assuming storm path and timing does not change, recycling will remain on Thursday.
After the storm: Leaves and clippings should be bagged and placed curbside on garbage day. Small piles of branches should be consolidated amongst neighbors (making the boom-trucks more efficient).
Changes in pick up schedule will be posted by Coastal Environmental Services on Facebook and on their website:
Coastal Environmental Services

Covington is a No Wake Zone

Covington Public Works is pre-positioning barricades for frequent flood hot-spots as well as cleaning culverts / catch basins. Big thanks to those residents who adopt a ditch or catch basin to check and clean prior to storms ( RivF : ).
Reminder: Covington streets are a NO WAKE ZONE. Though you may drive through safely, your wake rolls up into businesses and homes that otherwise would not flood. Avoid flooded streets when possible … go slow when unavoidable. Be kind.

Covington Fire Department will be checking on our most vulnerable, home-bound residents prior to the storm.
Covington Police Department will be on stand-by.

Sewer Lift Station – Generators are fully fueled.

CLECO order of re-energizing outages: 1) Hospitals 2) Nursing Homes 3) Sewer Lift Station / Treatment Plant 4) Traffic Signals 5 ) Residential Neighborhoods.
Repair crews are being pre-positioned today. To monitor outages & repair times, use CLECO’s app or Outage Map.

City Hall will be closed on Wednesday, October 27th

Visit for more information or to sign up for Mayor Mark’s email updates.

Read about St. Tammany Parish Government Emergency Operations for Hurricane Zeta, including self-serve sandbag locations:

Local History

Covington History: the Train Depot

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

Covington’s first train depot was located on N. New Hampshire St. on the northeast corner of its intersection with Gibson St.

A timeline of important dates in the development of the railroad in St. Tammany Parish is detailed in the book “The Early History of Bonfouca and Lake Pontchartrain” by Carl Fedrowisch. On Dan Ellis’ website the following information is provided:

The Mandeville to Sulphur Springs Railroad Co. was organized in 1868, aiming to build a railroad from Mandeville northward towards Abita Springs.

A 22 mile long railroad trestle between New Orleans and Mandeville was deemed “possible” by engineers in 1880, but a year later the proposed bridge location was moved to the east end of the lake following the completion of the preliminary survey.

On October 15, 1883, the railroad bridge across Lake Pontchartrain south of Slidell was completed. The first train arrived in New Orleans from Meridian, MS, and Slidell became an important railroad stop, especially with the coming of the creosoting process and Roberts Landing creosote plant providing trestle building timbers and cross-ties that lasted much longer in service.

Train Depot 1910’s

In June of 1887, the East Louisiana Railroad was completed between Pearl River and Abita Springs, and on May 16, 1888, the East Louisiana Railroad was completed into Covington.

In 1904, the New Orleans and Great Northern Railroad was organized and plans were made to build a track from New Orleans to Bogalusa, then northward up the west side of the Pearl River to Jackson, MS. The same year the Salmen brothers of Slidell started building a railroad track from Slidell to Mandeville.

The original railroad depot in Covington was built in mid-1888, and when the East Louisiana Railroad reached Covington, it heralded an economic boom. The original depot faced New Hampshire Street with a passenger and freight terminal facing east. The track split in front of what is now Hebert’s Cleaners, with one track curving northward towards New Hampshire St. and the other track continuing on Gibson heading west.

Eventually the increase in the volume of train traffic convinced town officials and business people that a bigger, better train depot was needed, and the push for a new train station began.

click to enlarge see more at
click to enlarge see more at

And the new depot, a large brick structure, was built in 1921.

The north end of the train depot building is occupied by Lola Restaurant.

Covington Trail Depot 1982

Over on Facebook, Patrick Moore shared with us some of his grandmother’s memories of the Covington Train depot.

“My grandmother, who was 96 when she died in 2003, talked about taking the train from Abbeville to Covington in about 1935. She came to visit her mother-in-law/my great grandmother.

“My grandmother remembered arriving at “the new station” and walking to my great-grandmother’s house. When she’d asked for directions to the house, she was told “it’s an easy walk.” Today I’m not sure anyone would say that, as the distance is about a mile!

“When I was in high school I worked at The Covington Depot as a waiter, and when my grandmother would come in for dinner she’d show me where the depot waiting room had been, where she’d sat, etc.

“My grandmother was born in 1907 and she was raised in Abbeville, where her father was mayor, but she spent several years as a young girl residing in New Orleans because her father’s work brought him there. While she was living in New Orleans, my grandmother befriended a girl whose last name was Delahoussaye. The girl’s family owned a weekend home here in Covington and my grandmother stayed there on several weekends as a guest of her friend’s parents.

“My grandmother told me about her first visit to Covington, which was via the Delahoussayes, and that it occurred in the late teens. She and her friend traveled here from New Orleans by streetcar and they were met at the station in Helenburg by the Delahoussaye’s chauffeur and limousine. Mrs. Delahoussaye received them at home and proposed that they embark soon thereafter into Covington to pick up groceries for dinner.

“My grandmother was impressed when Mrs. Delahoussaye, who was described as “very formal,” prepared for the short trip into Covington by donning a hat, veil and gloves. My grandmother, who was rather formal herself, shook her head when telling that story and said: “Imagine! Wearing a hat and veil and gloves(!) in the country!” Apparently the fashion conventions to which Mrs. Delahoussaye so staunchly adhered, in my grandmother’s way of thinking, were better reserved for town events.

“The story continued with Mrs. Delahoussaye making her grocery selections and departing the store immediately thereafter, unburdened by her purchases. The groceries were delivered to the house later that day and received by the cook.

“Ever since hearing that story I’ve imagined the c. 1919 scene of the Delahoussaye’s black limousine as it rumbled across the Bogue Falaya River bridge (which would have been a plank bridge in those days, I assume) onto Boston Street.

“The story also reminds me of the culture that my grandmother and others always associated with Covington: that it was a country town where one employed country manners in all things, such as clothing. We think of Covington today as a rather fashionable and sophisticated address, but it was certainly a country town in 1919!”

Local News

Innovative Floodgate Design Installed in St. Tammany – First of its Kind in the State in a Residential Area

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St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper announced today, the completion of the installation of a FloodBreak Automatic Floodgate Mitigation System — in the Fox Hollow subdivision in the Slidell area. This gate is the first of its kind in the State of Louisiana installed in a residential neighborhood. With the installation of this gate, the gap in the levee system will now be closed during a flood event. This system requires no man power to operate, and is automatically activated by flood waters which cause the gate to rise and protect the area where the gate is installed. As the flood waters recede, the gate recedes as well. No man power is required to operate the system. When not activated, the gate lies underground, flush with the roadway, and residents simply drive over it. It is touted as a “passive, automatic flood barrier system that provides permanent and virtually invisible flood protection without human intervention or power.”

“This completion of this project will give the residents of Fox Hollow additional flood protection with the most innovative technology available, as well as additional peace of mind,” said Mike Cooper, St. Tammany Parish President. “We appreciate the help of all who advocated for this project — Councilman T.J. Smith and members of Drainage District #4. The protection of life and property during a weather event is our goal with every flood mitigation measure we put into place.”

“Water knows no boundaries and because of that we have found it necessary to protect the 1500-plus residents to help prevent them from flooding,” said T.J. Smith, St. Tammany Parish Councilman, District 14. “With the leadership of Drainage District #4, we have been able to provide an additional resource that supplements the additional five miles of levees and the pumps for this district.”

Warner Trucking is the contractor for this project, and Mike Riviere of Infinity Engineering is the engineer. The cost of the project is $369,797.00.


Local History

Covington History: Historical Markers of St. Tammany – Part 1

Published by:

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

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

Here is their list. You can view the full list and individual markers here:

Indian Village

In 1699 Bienville visited the Colapissa Indians who lived in this area. The Indians called the Pearl River “Taleatcha” (“rock river”) because of pearls found in shells from its waters. The French found the river water good to drink.

Greater Mandeville Veterans Memorial, a War Memorial

Dedicated To The Memory Of Those Who The Defense Of Our Country And All Who Served In The Cause Of Freedom

Bicentennial Covington #1

In 1907, Guido Alexius and his sons Alfred, Cintio and John, founded Alexius Brothers and Company; and later his son Horace joined in the business. In 1915, this landmark establishment, originally a gym, was purchased. Later in the 20th century, Guido’s grandsons G.C. and Haller Alexius operated the hardware store at this location until 1985. In addition, portions of the land were donated by the Alexius family for the construction of the Covington Trailhead.

The Old Railroad Depot

The original depot faced New Hampshire Street with a passenger and freight terminal facing east. During the mid-1900s, the depot was moved one block to the present site (now a restaurant). The St. Tammany Special line left New Orleans at 4:30 p.m. and arrived in Covington at 6:15 p.m. It would leave Covington at 6:45 a.m. and arrive in New Orleans at 8:30 a.m. daily. This train was composed of elegant coaches and contained parlor buffet cars.

Abbé Adrien E. Rouquette

English side- Abbé Rouquette (1813-1887), poet and priest, lived as missionary among Choctaw Indians in region of Bayou Lacombe from 1859 till his death. The Choctaw called him “Chata Ima,” meaning “Like a Choctaw.”

French side”Abbé Rouquette (1813-1887), poéte et prêtre, vécut comme un missionair entre les Indiens Choctaws de la région Bayou Lacombe de 1859 jusqua’à sa mort. Les Choctaws l’appelérent “Chata Ima” qui est “comme un Choctaw.”

Public “Ox Lot” Parking

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

H.J. Smith and Sons Hardware and Museum

Founded July 4, 1876, H.J. Smith and Sons Hardware and Museum is the oldest hardware and general store in the parish, housing unique artifacts pertaining to the history of Covington. Of note are the dugout cypress canoe and lead coffin. It is a regular stop for school field trips. Cotton was brought in from north of town and Mississippi plantations to be shipped to New Orleans. As many as 40,000-50,000 bales went through Covington in a year. The wagons pulled by teams of oxen regularly lined Columbia Street from the cemetery to the landing.

St. Tammany Fishing Pier

The St. Tammany Fishing Pier was built from sections of the original I-10 Twin Span Bridges which opened December 21, 1965. Tens of thousands of cars used these bridges to cross Lake Pontchartrain between Slidell and New Orleans until the morning of August 29, 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made its final landfall. A storm surge in excess of 16 feet, combined with that water’s return to the Gulf of Mexico destroyed the twin bridges. This destruction became one of the storm’s most iconic images. St. Tammany Parish Government, partnering with LA DOTD and the LA Dept. of Wildlife Fisheries, chose to create a fishing pier as a new public use for the remnants of the bridges and as a testament to the strength and resiliency of the citizens who call southeastern Louisiana their home.

Reconstruction Period

During the Reconstruction Period, trade was still slow as the main source of land transportation was still the ox and the wagon. From the mid-1800s, the railroads were primarily used access the area’s vast timber reserves, but once built, they were quickly put to use by the burgeoning tourism and resort industry. On May 16, 1888, the East Louisiana Railroad reached Covington, heralding an economic boom. The flow of people and commerce that first came by river exploded with the arrival of the railroad.

Bicentennial Covington

Three rivers and several Indian trails converged in the area where Covington was founded. These major trade routes are what placed Covington at the center of commerce. They became the lifeline of trade and transport between points north of Lake Pontchartrain and the markets in New Orleans and beyond. When the bridges periodically washed out from logs floating down the river, the community would rally to restore these vital links.

Original Homestead of Walker Percy

Homestead owned by Walker Percy, who was an American author and philosopher. He is best known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the U.S. National Book award for fiction. Walker Percy along with 21 other noted authors created the fellowship of Southern Writers.

St. Tammany Parish World War I Memorial, a War Memorial

Erected and Dedicated To The Soldiers Of World War I
1920; Restored 2010 By St. Tammany Parish Kevin Davis, Parish President.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Historical Markers of St. Tammany!

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

Non Profit Spotlight

Non-Profit Spotlight: Boys & Girls Club Continues Community Aid Programs

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Since 1965, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana has been a leading provider of both after-school and summer enrichment programs focused on serving disadvantaged youth ages 6 – 18. We are a local 501(c)3 nonprofit and rely on the generosity of local donors, partners, and supporters. Annually we serve over 4,000 youth across Southeast Louisiana ranging from New Orleans to the Westbank, Slidell, and of course our local Club in Covington! Over 70% of the youth we serve are ages 12 and under and over 70% of our youth come from single-parent households. We not only provide education and educational resources, we provide mentorship via our Club Staff and volunteers, nutritious meals, life-enhancing programs, preparation into early-adulthood, and more.

Our Mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, and responsible citizens. If anyone would like more information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana or want info on how to get involved whether that’s through a donation or volunteering, you can find our website at:

Here are the updates and changes that we’ve implemented in response to COVID-19:

Like many nonprofit organizations in the greater New Orleans area, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana and the youth we serve have been dramatically impacted by COVID-19. Our community continues to face unprecedented times, but your support can help kids that need critical support. Our Mission remains the same, the only thing that has changed is our delivery. Here’s what we’ve been doing:

• COVID-19 Financial Relief: To date, and with the help of various donors, we have been able to provide $29,300 in COVID-19 relief to our families in need. This has been distributed in the form of Rouses Gift Cards, Chevron Gas Cards, and direct rent / mortgage relief.

• Direct Family Contact and well-being checks: We contacted every single one of our youth and families that we serve to check in on them and to offer assistance through this challenging time. We continue to provide links to emergency EBT benefits for children, locations of food banks and online learning modules to assist parents who are now being tasked to operate as full-time teachers while their kids are home. We continue to call our families weekly.

• Grab & Go Meals: We have partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank and are providing Grab & Go Meals at two of our Club locations, Slidell and Westbank. In Covington we serve meals through Solutions of Folsom, distributed from 9 – 12 at Faith Bible Church on Columbia Street. We are staffed on-site distributing both lunch and dinner to those in need. Individuals who show up do not need to be members of BGCSELA or have their children enrolled in our programs to qualify for a free meal.

• Virtual Programming and Online Learning: Beginning the first week of June, we launched our virtual programming and education curriculum available to all our youth. Club Directors are creating great video content to engage our youth, we even have at home workouts and DIY STEM labs from home. Additionally, every week our Club Directors are jumping on Zoom with our Youth to further engage them in discussion around the week’s topics as well as encourage them to interact with other youth from the safety of their home. This is in large-part due to our partnership with Chevron who has been an outstanding community partner in our efforts to switch to virtual.

Love Boys & Girls Club? Learn more, get involved or donate at or follow on Facebook.

General Local Events Local News

Christmas Tree Recycling Information

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Christmas trees for the recycling marsh restoration program will be picked up in the city of Covington on Saturday, January 19, 2019 by our contractor Coastal Environmental Services. Only bare, green trees placed curbside will be picked up for the restoration project.
Should our citizens wish to do so, they may drop off bare trees at the St Tammany Parish Fairgrounds, 1515 N Florida St, in Covington. Trees will be accepted on weekdays through the end of January.

General Healthy Living Opinion

Can Industrial Hemp Save Louisiana?

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In the article “Toxic sites in Louisiana: 15 of

the state’s most polluted places” (Feb. 2017), Scott

Threlkeld details several areas of environmental concern

across the state. Louisiana is home to 15 Superfund sites

on the EPA’s national priorities list. St. Tammany Parish

has two Superfund sites, the former American Creosote Works

in Slidell and the former Madisonville Creosote Works in

Madisonville. Contaminants are still being removed from

the groundwater at both sites.

In June 2014, The Times-Picayune/ reported that

Louisiana waterways were among the most polluted in the

nation, with industrial facilities releasing more than 12.6

million pounds of toxic chemicals into rivers, bayous and

other waters in 2012, as per a report by the Environmental

America Research and Policy Center.

In 2017, CBS News reported that Italian farmers in Taranto,

Italy are using industrial hemp crops in order to

decontaminate the soil. Contaminants from a local steel

plant polluted the area, causing a build up of dioxin in

local grazing animals. The solution: Plant Hemp.

By Barbetorte (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

In phytoremediation, contaminants are absorbed by the

fast-growing roots of the cannabis plant which either store

or transform toxins into a harmless substance. The process

is proven to pull heavy metals from the soil, and

industrial hemp was used following the nuclear disaster at

Chernobyl, removing strontium and cesium.

While industrial hemp is still a controlled substance in

the United States, Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell wants

to mainstream hemp production by removing it from the list

of controlled substances. Kentucky is at the forefront of

the industrial hemp comeback with approval for more than

12,000 acres grown in the state in 2018, with 57 Kentucky

processors turning the raw hemp into a multitude of


The crop was historically used for rope, but other uses

include clothing, mulch, hemp milk, cooking oil, soaps,

lotions, building materials, plastics and biofuels.

Industrial hemp has the potential to provide needed

products at a fraction of the environmental impact as

conventional methods of production using petroleum, which

is the cause of much of the pollution in Louisiana in the

first place. Let’s give hemp a chance.

Questions or comments:

General Local News

Tammany Utilities Earns Criticism

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In a report from WWLTV, The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality confirmed that Tammany Utilities failed to properly report sewerage spills in St. Tammany Parish. Representative Paul Hollis announced that he plans to create a task force during the 2018 Legislative Session to identify “inept government entities like Tammany Utilities” and recommend solutions.

Tammany Utilities’ poor performance predates the sale of the sewerage and water company to the Parish, which happened under the leadership of former St. Tammany Parish President, former Director of the invitation-only Northshore Business Council and current Slidell City Mayoral candidate, Kevin Davis.

“In December 2005, SELA pled guilty to a felony violation of the Federal Clean Water Act and agreed to pay a $2.1 million fine for improperly operating sewer systems throughout southwestern St. Tammany Parish and polluting local waterways over an 11-year period. On March 29, 2006, SELA was sentenced in Federal District Court pursuant to the plea agreement to five years probation and fined $2.1 million for violating the Federal Clean Water Act. The fine was reported to be ‘the largest single corporate environmental criminal fine ever in Louisiana.’”
“Before the Parish purchases the SELA System, we (appraiser R.W. Beck) recommend that the Parish have a detailed environmental investigation performed to identify potential future liabilities. Once the Parish takes ownership of the SELA System, it will own the environmental problems and the regulators will no longer hold SELA accountable. It is recommended that an escrow fund be created from the proceeds of the sale to cover any future potential non-compliance costs that may arise resulting from violations that occurred under existing SELA ownership.” – Appraisal Report, Southeastern Louisiana Water & Sewer Co., LLC, Prepared for St. Tammany Parish, Oct. 2006

General Local Events Local News

Last LA Safe Meeting of the Year

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As 2017 draws to a close, it’s time to make decisions while also taking the time to celebrate a year of hard work and collaboration. Residents, officials and other stakeholders are invited to come to the table one last time to have your voices heard as we evaluate each of the projects being considered on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 at the Slidell Municipal Auditorium from 6 p.m. To 8 p.m.
You will have a direct impact on what could be funded as a result of this initiative by coming out and making your voice heard and your preference known. Opportunities to select your favorite project(s) will be provided on-site at the last round of meetings, which also serves as a chance to celebrate everyone’s hard work with food, music, art and other staples of your parish’s diverse culture. (To arrange for transportation, call Rachelle at 504.517.5292.)

Be a part of the selection process and the celebration. The selected projects will be announced early 2018. To keep informed, follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (all at @LiveLaSafe). Visit
LA SAFE is managed by the Louisiana Office of Community Development’s Disaster Recovery Unit in partnership with the Foundation for Louisiana’s Coastal Resilience Leverage Fund.

General Local Events Local News Non Profit Spotlight

Keep Covington Beautiful Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

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Keep Covington Beautiful is looking for volunteers for the St. Tammany Parish Department of Environmental Services’ sponsored event, “Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day” on Saturday, October 31, 2015.  Visit for more information, or contact Diane Casteel at

KCB Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

KCB Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day

Local News Opinion

Citizen’s Group Calls For Baseline Water Test by Timothy Gates, Correspondent

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Voices of St. Tammany, a local citizen’s advocacy group, sent out a press release last week calling for baseline water testing across St. Tammany Parish before any industrial operations begin.  The focus of the request is directed at the St. Tammany Parish Government and Helis Oil and Gas Company, the company currently preparing the well site near Hwy. 1088 in Mandeville. The statement calls for independent testing of municipal wells across the parish that reflect a variation of well depth.

Most recently, St. Tammany Parish Government posted a “Cease and Desist” notice at the well site, pending an appeal process with regard to Judge Morvant’s (Baton Rouge) April decision.  Earlier this week, Morvant ruled that an appeal of this decision could continue.  Response from Helis representatives referred to the action as “illegal” and in violation of applicable state law, stating that the project is moving forward as permitted.

Many local citizens groups with a focus on the issue of hydraulic fracturing saw the action as a victory, however small.  The decision that there is no local control over development, coupled with years of state legislation that is beneficial to select corporate interests, is a situation that needs attention from representatives and senators on a realistic level, not a rhetorical one.  Increasingly obvious is the fact that changes need to take place on the state level, a sentiment echoed to this writer over a year ago, at the very beginning of the fracking debate, by an employee of the Department of Natural Resources.

“If you can change the law at the state level, we’ll be happy to uphold it.” – Patrick Courreges, DNR

swamp-bayou-louisiana-moss-cypress-natureMayor Greg Lemons of Abita Springs, a fairly well-known name among the hydraulic fracturing opposition, is a proponent of baseline water testing across the parish, before any operations begin.  He stressed the importance of establishing what is and what is not currently in the water supply to have an accurate assessment of the effects of possible future industrial operations.  Mayor Lemons suggested that the Parish take the lead on this issue with the support of locally formed citizen’s advocacy groups, of which there are several.

Describing himself as both a buinessman and a realist, Lemons offered some personal insight into his objections to hydraulic fracturing operations.  Natural gas is burned off rather than processed at many producing sites.  It is a costlier process, both production and tax- wise, so it is often wasted instead.  Watching what is produced shipped to overseas markets, while also watching the price of the natural gas provided to the citizens of Abita rise in price, Lemons commented that from a business perspective, the results of operations do not support the rhetoric of “energy independence”, and in fact, can show the opposite effect.

Mayor Lemons says that he’s “elected to serve the people of Abita Springs, no one else.”  He also realizes this is bigger than him.  “What legacy do we want to leave our children? Pollution? Radiation? Louisiana’s delicate ecosystem is being destroyed.  That’s not an environmentalist {talking}, that’s a realist.”   Thank you, Mayor Lemons.

Note:  There was no response from Helis representatives regarding baseline testing as of this writing. Timothy Gates may be reached: 985-288-9609  or

Local Events

St. Tammany Parish Library Hosts “Battle of the Books”

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stplibrarybattlebooks2015Teams are currently forming at the Causeway, Covington, Madisonville, Mandeville and Slidell Branches for the first ever Battle of the Books competition! This book based, Quiz Bowl type event will take place on July 11th. Teams will be meeting weekly between now and then to review the selected books, train, and prepare for battle! If you have a Tween (ages 10-13) who loves to read, bring them to one of the following informational meetings where you can learn more about the event. Covington: June 2nd at 2:30, Mandeville: June 3rd at 5:30, Slidell: June 4th at 5:30. Causeway and Madisonville met last week, but there may still be room on their teams! Please give them a call if your child is interested in joining. 985-893-6280


Local Events Local News

Public Input Invited For Planning Study: Culture, Recreation & Tourism In St. Tammany

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nature centerA round of Community Meetings to gain public insights and opinions regarding culture, recreation and tourism planning in southern St. Tammany Parish will begin the evening of Wednesday, August 20th in Slidell. Two additional meetings will be held the following day in Madisonville and Lacombe. The Parish’s Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism initiated this Strategic Plan in May of 2014 to identify best uses for mitigated, flood-prone properties and how they may best accentuate existing outdoor recreational and habitat preservation amenities in the parish. A team of design consultants led by Austin, Texas-based Design Workshop, LLC is under contract to the Parish to craft this Strategic Plan, based on public input and studies already completed by the Parish or municipalities.

The theme for this planning process is “Explore. Enhance. Enrich.” and by it the team intends to explore the parish, identifying currently underutilized properties; develop conceptual plans to enhance those properties – improving their suitability for outdoor recreation, cultural heritage and wildlife habitat – and; to enrich the quality of life for residents and visitors to St. Tammany Parish.

An online engagement platform has been established at this address:

Residents are invited to visit the above website and to attend one of three upcoming Community Meetings to provide input.

Wednesday, August 20, 6:00 pm at Mayfield Elementary School Cafeteria, 31820 Hwy. 190 W., Slidell

Thursday, August 21, 11:00 am at Madisonville Public Library, 1123 Main Street, Madisonville

Thursday, August 21, 6:00pm at John Davis Recreation Center, 61100 North 12th St., Lacombe

All Community Input Meetings are free and open to the public. Residents need attend only one meeting to receive information and give their input.