The Columbia Street home of the STAA
While not absolutely certain, the above photograph may show the current location (if not the current structure) of where the St. Tammany Art Association is located on Columbia Street at the alleyway.
At one time, the art association building was the location of the C. Nichols Toy Store
The two story building in the background is the current location of the art association.
The street scene in 1975, with the older section of H.J.Smith General Merchandise Store still in the background (with Dutch Boy paints billboard on the side of it)
and a few years later, after H.J. Smith's Son added a new building across the alleyway
In making the move to the new location, the art association really accomplished a great deal by renovating the structure for art galleries and art classes and the covered porch with a balcony on the second story. In this picture you can see the vacant lot between the washateria and the old H. J. Smith Sons General Merchandise Building (now the museum) prior to the building of the new H. J. Smith Sons store next to the alleyway.
In 2005 the News Banner spotlighted the work of Dottie Severson, an "unsung hero" who helped make the re-location of the Art Association a realilty.
On August 29, 2021, the building was extensively damaged by Hurricane Ida. The sheet metal roof was torn off, and draped down over the adjacent patio.
Photos by Ron Barthet
Roof under repair
A temporary re-location was made to a storefront on New Hampshire Street. After the Columbia Street building was re-roofed, the art association moved back into that two-story structure, and the storefront shown above was torn down for an addition to the Southern Hotel complex.
Here's a short history of the St. Tammany Art Association written in 1988.
Here's another thumbnail sketch of the group's history from 1976