Sunday, July 31, 2016
Over the past 100 years, the pavilion at Bogue Falaya Park in Covington has played an important part in the community's activities, both as a spot for special events as well as a place to just enjoy the trees and the river.
The first park pavilion was building in April of 1909, and the park itself opened a couple of months later.
Here is a series of photographs of the park pavilion, in its various manifestations, since it tended to get rebuilt after every flood that seriously damaged it or wiped it away completely. Click on the images below to make them appear larger.
Saturday, July 30, 2016
The "St. Tammany Special" was a train made up of several cars that made daily trips between New Orleans and Covington. Its schedule called for it to leave New Orleans at 4:30 p.m. each day (except Sundays), arriving in Covington at 6:15 p.m. The train would then leave Covington the next day at 6:45 a.m. and arrive back in New Orleans at 8:30 a.m.
The trains were comprised of "elegant vestibule coaches and Parlor Buffet Cars."
Friday, July 29, 2016
However, city officials did not have the funds needed to maintain the facility, so the park gates were closed until the city could afford to keep it up. "So we acquired the property and just sat on it," said Councilman Donald Primes. Once city funds started to come in to begin improvements to the park, it was opened for public use. The new sign was built with materials from Poole Lumber Company with the design based on the photograph shown above.
Helping with the installation of the sign was a crew from CLECO, including Bucky Jakins, Paul Sheridan, Frank Gendosa, and Weldon Foxworth. Sign Services of Covington provided the painting of the sign and helped in its installation.
"Tchefuncta Country Club", encompassing 900 acres on the Tchefuncta River, 38 miles from New Orleans, was developed with miles of winding paved roads, its own sewer and water systems, underground utilities, with construction starting on a golf course and country club— all before the first home was built— without any tax money and without any promoter seeking a profit.
The country club's unique story begins with a lunchtime conversation between two young men in the New Orleans Petroleum Club. It was spring 1956, the causeway across Lake Pontchartrain was under construction. The two found that they had each been looking at property where the causeway was going, thinking of a home in the country among the trees, possibly on a river.
Search for a Site
The next few weeks were spent looking at sites and talking to friends who were also interested in more spacious living — with enough land for a golf course, horse trails, swimming, fishing etc. In June, the small group found a tract on the Tchefuncta River known as "Emfred". This beautifully wooded site was owned by Emma and Alfred Suter of Bogalusa who used it as a country place.
The group was enthusiastic and negotiated an option. The next few days were spent cajoling friends into putting up $50 each for the $6000 option money. Then the battle cry became "If 120 people put up $2000 each we can buy the property and put in roads." Original plans were not elaborate. Each person was going to put in his own water and a septic tank. A meeting was called at the Petroleum Club to get the ideas of the group and make plans. Thus was born Tchefuncta Club Estates Inc. A Board of Directors was elected, the land purchased and development started.
Problems On Every Front
A professional engineering firm was employed to assist in planning and developing the area. Committees of the co-owners worked on various phases of the development: Country Club and recreational area construction, roads, sewerage, water, utilities etc. There was even a committee to name the streets! There were legal problems, tax problems, right of way problems — these amateur developers for example discovered why most commercial projects have straight streets instead of winding roads — each time you bend a sewer line you must have a man hole at considerable additional cost.
All the time and effort of committee and board members were put in with no compensation except the dream of an ideal home and surroundings. Some of these men never realized the fruits of their labors — oil companies transfer personnel. Of the original 15 on the organization committee only seven reside in the community now and two still own lots.
Start of Construction
The fall of 1956 saw the start of construction and the start of the rains! Tchefuncta-ites will tell you that the three years from 1957-59 were the rainiest in history. But neither rain, nor mud, nor delays daunted the spirits of the Tchefuncta pioneers! Many members of the group moved to Covington, a town four miles from Emfred, to watch progress and be ready to build at the earliest possible time. One family rented the old Suter home and ploughed through three years of muck and construction just to enjoy the advantages of the great outdoors and watch their dream grow!
The first 144 persons who joined in taking the original option had first selection of the building sites and names were drawn from a hat to determine order of selection. The second group, from 144 to 246 also drew from a hat to determine their order of selection. Time limits were set on each group and one would see whole families tramping the woods to find their preferred dream spot, afterwards picnicking under the moss-hung trees or swimming in the river.
Subdivision Project Completed
In late 1959 the project was completed. The first resident moved in March 1960 and the Club House was completed in 1961. Now Tchefuncta has 11 miles of winding roads, central water and sewer systems, underground utilities, large wooded sites (minimum 150' x 200'), 250 acres of Country Club and recreation area featuring a club house, tennis courts, AAU size swimming pool, yacht harbor and docks, boat launching ramp, picnic and game areas, horse stable, golf course, golf driving range, fishing, boating and water skiing — the "very desirable residential sites with complete family recreational facilities" have become a reality.
Tchefuncta originated with a group of oil men, but other-business and professional men joined early in the venture. Now the population consists of a cross section of professions.
For more information about the estates, CLICK HERE.
Mr. and Mrs. Kent McWilliams Jr.