Thursday, June 30, 2016

Julius Mathies Jr. Builds Antiques

Many people like antiques, but few like them so much as to build them themselves, that is, furniture that's new but looks old. Julius Mathies Jr. of Covington did just that, and here is his story. Click on the images below to make them larger. 

Mandeville Pictorial Map - 1995

In 1995 I drew another Mandeville pictorial map, this one in color. Here it is.


Over the years, St. Tammany has been home to several shipyards. Here are some photographs of those shipyards.

Jahncke Shipyards at Madisonville, above

Shipbuilding crews at Madisonville

Bayou Bonfouca 1975

Madisonville 1975
Equitable Equipment Company was the world's largest builder of LASH and SEABEE barges, building over 730 LASH Barges valued in excess of $35 million. The company built various types of offshore support vessels as well, ocean-going tugs, tugs for harbor and inland waterways operations, self-propelled drilling ships, general purpose barges, and other marine equipment for the maritime and petroleum industries. 

T-Rivers Poster

When TRivers was first opened on the southern end of Main Street on the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville, I was asked to draw a poster to help people find out how to get there. The drawing was to be printed on T-Shirts also. Here is the poster.

T-Rivers Ribbon Cutting

The predecessor to T-Rivers was the Knee Deep Inn, 
shown below in a photograph by Colleen Collier. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Mardi Gras Parade Preparations

The amount of work that goes into putting on a Mardi Gras parade is monumental. The crowds in the streets yelling "Throw Me Something Mister" have no idea of the planning, logistics, permits, last minute details, tree limb trimming and much more that all go into making the parade a possibility. 

Mardi Gras in St. Tammany Parish is no exception. But most all of the professional Mardi Gras floats that appear in dozens of parades in small communities across southern Louisiana have one thing in common, the floats are made in New Orleans. Those good-looking, well-built floats have to be retrieved from New Orleans, brought to the community in which the parade will take place, then, afterwards, brought back to New Orleans for the next scheduled small town parade to pick up the next day or two. 

The Krewe of Olympia parade in 1972 got its floats from a well-known Mardi Gras parade float maker in Gretna, so the night before the parade in Covington, a huge number of volunteers drove across Lake Pontchartrain, through New Orleans, over the Mississippi River bridge and to the Mardi Gras float warehouse. A couple of hours later, in the middle of the night, the floats were hooked up and off they went, back across the Mississippi Bridge (see below), through New Orleans, back across the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and into the parking lot at the Bogue Falaya Mall shopping center. 

Lou Major Jr. and I, as news reporters for the Covington Daily News, decided to tag along on this adventure and take pictures. So below is the photograph of the King's Float, Olympia Parade, as it is being whisked across the Mississippi River at 40 miles per hour on its way north of the lake, where it will be the star attraction in that year's downtown Covington parade.

I can't even imagine how, after the parade is over, that same group of volunteers help hook up all the floats again and run them back to New Orleans to the warehouse where they will be parked, inspected, and spiffed up for the next group from somewhere in the South to show up and haul them off to the next parade.

Tammany Trace Poster

The efforts to transition the old railroad track from Slidell to Covington for public use was a slow, exacting and painstaking process. The federal Rails To Trails program was making it possible, but parish officials, Kevin Davis in particular, had to get a lot of ducks in a row to make it happen. 

While the negotiations were going on, I drew a poster depicting some of the activities that would be popular on the old train track, activities such as jogging, walking, cycling, horseback riding, etc. Davis liked the picture, since it captured what the whole project was about. When the name Tammany Trace was chosen, it was decided to make the poster into souvenirs for the official name announcement ceremony. It was given away to several people as a commemorative item from the event. 

See also:

Betty Flanagan, Artist

St. Tammany Parish is home to many artists with many styles and degrees of skill. One of those artists who had moved away came back to the area for a visit in 1972, and here is her story. Click on the image to make it larger.

Here is a link to her webpage.

Dredging of Tchefuncte River

In 1926, citizens of Covington met with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives at the Southern Hotel asking them to do something about the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya Rivers to make it possible for schooners and steamers to once again navigate from the lake to the town. The rivers had gotten clogged to the point where boat service had been all but halted.

Here is a newspaper article telling of that meeting. Click on the image to make it larger. 

St. Joseph Abbey From The Air

In 1975, I took an aerial photo of St.Joseph Abbey just north of Covington. Here is that photo. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Here is a link to the present day aerial view of St. Joseph Abbey.

Hmmm. Hasn't changed that much in 40 years.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Pictorial Map of Covington - 1986

Here is the Covington area business map I drew in 1986. In addition to the downtown area, it showed Claiborne Hill and over to Tyler Street. Click on the image for a larger view. 

Abita Springs From The Air - 1975

This is an aerial photograph of downtown Abita Springs taken in 1975. Note the ABC Grocery still standing, and the bank branch has not been built yet. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Below is the same photograph with some labels on the landmarks.

Here's a wide angle picture above, also taken in 1975. Close ups of the same scene are located below. Click on the images to make them appear larger.

To see a present day aerial view of the same area, CLICK HERE.

Newspapers in St.Tammany Parish

Over the years, many newspapers have served the citizens of St.Tammany Parish. Here is an article, published in the mid-1970's, about the publications from the past, as well as those current. The photograph at right shows some of the news media available in 1979.

Click on the image for a larger version.

Some of the publications I have seen over the past 40 years in St. Tammany Parish have been the Daily Sentry News (Slidell), the Slidell Times, Pathways Magazine (Covington), Accolades Magazine (Slidell), Tammany Touch Magazine, Inside Northside Magazine, Greater Covington Chamber of Commerce Magazine, St. Tammany Guide, St. Tammany News, St. Tammany Banner (which merged with the News to become the St. Tammany News-Banner), The Mandeville Bantam (which became the Mandeville Banner), the Northlake Sunday News, St. Tammany West, The Slidell Independent Newspaper, The Abita Springs Gazette, and The St. Tammany Farmer Newspaper (Covington). I may have missed a few, but I hope not. 

In the 700 block of East Boston Street in Covington

 Click on the image above for a larger, more readable version.

See also: WARB Memories

Boy Scout Camp at Sulphur Springs

This postcard shows a group of Boy Scouts at their camp at Sulphur Springs near Covington. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Lacombe Aerial Photograph - 1975

Here's an aerial photograph of the curve in Hwy. 190 at Lacombe, taken in 1975. The view is from the north, looking down with the fire station at the upper right.

Predictions About Abita Springs for the Year 2076

In 1976, the American Bicentennial Year, there was a lot of speculation about what life in the United States would be like 100 years from then, in the year 2076. I sat down with all the mayors in the area and posed them the question: "What will your community be like 100 years from now?" Below is the article about Mayor Ed Peters response for Abita Springs. Click on the image to see a larger view.