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.

Shipyards of St. Tammany

Over the years, St. Tammany has been home to several large shipyards. Thousands of men and women worked their daily, contributing to the well-being of the U.S. maritime fleet and warships when needed. Here are some photographs of those shipyards.Click on the images to make them larger. 

Jahncke Shipyards at Madisonville, above

Video panning across 1917 photo of Jahncke Shipyards


According to Tim Colton, over at the website, the shipyard in Slidell was originally established by Fritz Salmen in the 1880s: it became Slidell Shipbuilding in 1914 and Canulette Shipbuilding in 1919.  It was sold in 1954 and renamed J. & S. Shipbuilding, then sold again in 1957 and renamed Southern Shipbuilding.  To see a list of ships built at the Southern Shipbuilding location, CLICK HERE.

Southern Shipbuilding closed in 1993 and the facility has been razed.  


View of the office building at Louisiana Shipyard in Slidell.  

Louisiana Shipyards, Slidell, 1930's 


Shipbuilding crews at Madisonville


Video panning across shipbuilding crews photograph above

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. 

According to Tim Colton over on the website,   "Equitable Equipment Company was founded by Neville Levy in 1921.  In 1966, they acquired the former Higgins Industries yard on the Industrial Canal in New Orleans, which had closed in 1963, and began to build boats there, using the name Equitable Shipyards, while the Madisonville yard continued to build barges.  Equitable was acquired by Trinity Industries in 1972 and both yards continued in operation until 1996, when Trinity spun off the New Orleans yard as part of Halter Marine Group." To view a table that attempts to list all the barges built by Trinity in the Madisonville yard, CLICK HERE.

Also according to Tim Colton over on the website,   "Balehi Marine of Lacombe LA was founded in 1975 by David P. Levy, a graduate of the US Naval Academy who had worked at Equitable Equipment for 30 years.  The company was unusual in that Levy, although the owner, filled the position of VP Engineering.  In addition, although small, they built boats in steel, aluminum and fiberglass. They closed in 1992.  The yard even had an unusual location, way up Lacombe Bayou, north of Slidell, miles from a navigable waterway." To see a list of ships that were built at Balehi Marine, CLICK HERE.

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 Opens

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. 

The Trace itself opened on September 17, 1994. 


A video on the Tammany Trace

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.