In the mid-1970's the advent of citizens band radio was welcomed by almost everyone, truckers, farmers, and average citizens who monitored Channel 9 to help give information to motorists in trouble. The northlake area was no exception to the fast-growing hobby.
Monday, September 26, 2022
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Saturday, September 24, 2022
In July of 1977 polo came to St. Tammany, thanks to the efforts of many people interested in the horseback sport, and the building of a new barn on Stafford Road just outside of Covington.
Here is an article from a local newspaper some 45 years ago.
Today the area is home to a number of polo farms. According to the New Orleans Polo Club website, polo fields taking part in the 2022 season include Innisfree Farm near Folsom, SummerGrove Farm on Hwy. 40, Terral Farm in Bush, and Carpathia Farm north of Covington.
Friday, September 23, 2022
In December of 1977 memories of Covington from years long past were shared by nursing home resident Ethyl Heatherly. Her recollections were told during visits with Joanne Champagne.
Here is the article as it appeared in the Dec. 1, 1977, issue of the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper some 45 years ago.
The following is the text of the above article:
Memories of Covington Told By Miss Heatherly
Ethyl Heatherly lives at the Forest Manor Nursing Home in Covington now, and one of her favorite visitors is Joanne Champagne, a member of the newly-formed Covington Junior Service League. Together they talk about how Covington used to be, how it looked and how it was to live here.
Miss Heatherly was born in Hang Town, Texas, a stage 'stop between Fort Worth and Dallas, and her mother died soon after she was born. She was raised by a family in Forrest County, Miss., finished high school and attended a stenography. school at a college in Hattiesburg.
She began her working career as a stenographer for the mayor of a Mississippi town, and she eventually moved to New Orleans. She moved to Covington in 1933, during the height of the Depression, where she began working in the Clerk of Court's office. She worked there for 20 years, retiring in 1968. Before going to the nursing home, she lived on the Hammond highway about two miles outside Covington.
Her recollections of Covington range from its street scenes to its people's personality. She recalls the smell of the fresh peaches from Mississippi being sold by street vendors; the pineapple pears, juicy ones for canning or eating; the crab apples for preserving, mayhaws in the ponds for the gathering.
In the proper season, fox grapes could be seen hanging from the trees, there for the taking, along with the hickory nuts, if one was not afraid of snakes, that is.
She remembers the Covington of years gone by, where the pecans which were too small to be used for candy and big round would burst in the fall, breaking when they hit the ground. If someone would eat them green, it would make them sick.
"Marigolds and blackeyed susans, wild honeysuckle in the woods, and golden rod for making fake rubber, according to Waldo Emerson," she comments. "And birds' , Mocking birds, cardinals, and endless number of wild violets, white in the marshes and blue. Roses, Luis Phillipe, the true rose-at evening giving off a natural fragrance in the woods all the year."
The pines, with their ozone air, throng the wilds; the ozone air, famous for curing the ills of mankind. The oaks spreading their limbs to catch the moss so needed by the poor folks and the sick for fresh, inexpensive beds.
"What would we want with gas for heating when there was still pine nuts for burning in fireplaces?" she asked. For cooking there was split oak for burning in Franklin stoves.
For amusement, there was sand lot baseball for the youngsters and for the elders, there were hunting in season, fishing in the bayous, teal and ducks in the lake, swimming and boating for those young in heart.
For eating, early Covington residents had a most varied menu: fresh chicken raised at home; a young lamb for Iamb chops, bread fresh from the oven, honey fresh from the honeycomb. As a special treat on the Fourth of July or Sunday, one could get ice cream or frozen cream cheese.
"It is evening now and high in the branches of the trees, the small vesper sparrows are singing their good night carol to the setting sun and before the stars. The long shadows filled with the odor of Cape Jasmine and the yellow Jasmine wine drift over the porches.
"And now the fields will be plowed for planting, with seeds for every kind of vegetable and some never heard of before going into the ground. This meant food for man and beast, creating a bountiful land unspoiled by waste or ignorance.
"Beautiful and productive St. Tammany was well-known, what with its flowing wells and harvest fit for a king. It abounded with products of God for the good of man Harvests were conserved and kept stored through the cold winter months until blossom time again." A million dollars could not replace this fertile spot, muses Miss Heatherly, thinking about St. Tammany of the past.
She recalls Covington as a town resembling a "tight little knot of a few families intermingling and spreading out into rings, as if a stone had been tossed into a pond." The younger men of the community moved out into the world, bringing back with them new blood into the family. One young man of Pennsylvania descent fell in love with a young woman from Alexandria, and the family was pleased, saying the family was becoming inbred.
"Family life here at that time must have been very beautiful," she recalls, "very loving, kind and wonderful to remember. When money moves in, the better things fade away ...." she concludes.
End of the 1977 article
Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Tuesday, September 20, 2022
Monday, September 19, 2022
The Oak Downs quarter horse race track in Pearl River was a popular destination back 30 to 50 years ago.
According to local residents commenting on Facebook, the Pearl River quarter horse race track was located east of Oak Downs Drive. It was owned by Eddie Holdsworth, they said, and several remembered going out there when they were kids.
"My dad use to race horses out there before I was born. He took me a lot when I was a kid to watch the races," one person said. Lee Williams remembered having quick snippets of video of his dad and grandfather at a race there.
"Up until about 20 years ago and many years after they had stopped using it as an actual racing track, but they used the barn/stalls in the far back, right corner of the property (just beyond where the grand stands used to be). Those who still owned horses locally but would race them in other areas (New Orleans, Lafayette, etc) would rent the stalls out for there horses. The horse owners would have their trainers come there and they would still use the track to train and time the horses. I went there ALOT with my dad growing up. I think that they were still using it in that capacity by the time that I graduated high school in 1994."
Another commenter said that Claude Polk and brother Jake raced a quarter horse named Bar Queens there.
"It was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon," said Allen Decker. " They held one of the Pearl River Catfish Festivals there."
Twyla Beals said that she loved going there. "My Grandfather (Chuck Craddock) and his brother Rick had a horse (Parkers Warrior) this was in the early 70's. I was little but still remember it all!"
In January of 1965, the Mandeville Bantam newspaper featured an insert section that showcased the Mandeville Jaycees, an award-winning group that had taken part in many community improvement projects. Here are a few pages from that newspaper section. Click on the images to make them larger.
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
Monday, September 12, 2022
Keeping the historic Abita Springs Pavilion clear of underbrush and in good condition has been an ongoing community effort for over 100 years. One notable volunteer clean up of the pavilion area took place 50 years ago.
In 1972 William E. Sorensen wrote an interesting account of that particular effort. The story was made even more interesting by rumors of concealed treasures in the undergrowth around the pavilion. Please take that information with a grain of salt. It may have been a manufactured rumor just to bring in more volunteers to clean up the area.
Here is the text from the above article:
Springs Cleaned Up by William E. Sorensen
Imbued with interest in their town, an energetic group of average Abitaites are endeavoring to dispel the dismal aura which for a decade has been enshrouding the community's time-hallowed but mistreated Spring Pavilion and its vicinity.
On weekends, a dozen-odd civic-minded volunteers are engaged in gradually transforming the trash-littered, tangled thorny wilderness adjoining the pavilion into a presentable park-like area. With this goal in view, workers brave blazing sun , snakes, mosquitos and poison ivy.
The pavilion was recently returned to its original owner, the town of Abita Springs. Long a ward of the Louisiana State Park Commission, the building and its premises were in 1965 assigned to the St. Tammany Parish School Board. During the spring of 1971, Abita again obtained possession.
Prior to the latter transfer, vandals during the darkness of many nights, were bent on destroying the substantial structure. Senseless vandalism was perpetrated with impunity.
Located where Nature in a bygone era caused a mineral well to gush forth, giving Abita Springs its genesis, the desecrated landmark will eventually be restored to its former popularity--a setting for jovial gatherings, budding romances, and a nook of sentimental remembrance for senior citizens.
Meanwhile, on this particular Saturday, volunteers with naked sweat-streaked torsos are wading in a swampy swale, clearing it of rank jungle growth by wielding machetes and axes. Someone has advanced the suitable suggestion of creating an ornamental lagoon there. displaying aquatic flora.
Elsewhere, vigorous volunteer workers are removing truck loads of chopped down undergrowth and fallen trees, along with piles of trash, the obnoxious sorts which gross "Philistines" throw onto and pollute other peoples' properties.
The project has merely been started. It is a laudable undertaking, worthy of aid from every loyal Abita resident. An enormous amount of work is to be done. Many brawny men are needed to make headway with it.
To help in maintaining the morale of volunteers now devoting their sparetime to the park and pavilion job, one might suggest a barbecue, picnic or fish fry, staged by the administration of the town of Abita Springs or some such agency, seasoned with a sprinkling of whoopee.
Some lucky volunteer worker assisting in landscaping the wildwoods by Abita's pavilion may come upon a long concealed treasure trove. For the interesting book, "Treasure Leads": by Jerry McCarty. in a section about Abita Springs informs us:
" ....Many are the stories and possibilities of hidden money around this old resort town."
McCarty's statement is well substantiated by persistent scuttlebutt in the locality. And it is well known that treasure, gold, silver, and jewelry, were hastily transported and hidden during Civil War times, buried in the woods, sunk into bayous or wells. Most of these were likely recovered.
But in spite of exhaustive searching and digging many were never found. This was mainly due to the fact that some of the men who knew the hiding places perished during the war or during the fever epidemics which formerly harried the Southland.
Hence caches containing money have in the past and relatively recently been discovered in various locations. Those that may have been hidden at Abita Springs are still waiting to be uncovered by an ambitious Abitaite man-jack or woman-jane.
St. Tammany Farmer May 18, 1972
End of Article