Friday, September 30, 2016

100 Years Ago This Week

What was going on 100 years ago this week? The following link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service. CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer edition of September 30, 1916. Some of the headlines are Additional Prizes Offered by Fair Association, Pineland Springs Bottling Co. To Be Moved Into New Method Laundry Building, and Frank Patecek Puts In Handsome Showcases.

Here are some ads from that issue. Click on the images for a larger view.

St. Tammany Parish Fair 2016

The St. Tammany Parish Fair kicked off Thursday, with a parade and opening ceremonies on Friday, and exhibits on display along with midway rides. Here are some links to photographs. 

To view pictures of the Opening Ceremony, CLICK HERE

To view pictures of the Pageant Winners, CLICK HERE

To hear the names of the pageant winners this year, CLICK HERE for an MP3 audio file. 

Getting Ready for the Parade Pictures, CLICK HERE

Poster Artist Suzanne King and Donis Jenkins

Poster Artist Suzanne King and this year's fair poster

Pictures of St. Tammany Fair People, CLICK HERE

Pictures of the Exhibits, CLICK HERE

More Pictures of the Fair Activities, CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE for pictures of the animal exhibits

2016 Fair Is Dedicated to Lawrence "Cotton" Jourdan

This year's fair was dedicated to Lawrence "Cotton" Jourdan. To hear a recording of Dennis Glass tell of Jourdan's contributions to the community and fair association, click on the YouTube video below.

Turpentine Production

Turpentine was also a major product in St. Tammany Parish. Here's a postcard illustrating one of the steps in getting the raw materials for the solvent. The resin of pine trees was distilled to produce the fluid, which was useful in a variety of applications.

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Tapping pine trees in 1895

Turpentine still near Abita Springs

Turpentine Orchard Cooperage 1895

From the 1905 Paint, Oil and Drugs Review Newsletter

The Five-Mile Turpentine Still

Thursday, September 29, 2016

May Day Festival Pictures

May Day was a big holiday at Covington Grammar School with pageantry and plays. In 1951, this group performed "The Wizard Of Oz" on stage. Click on the images to see a larger version. 

Tentative identification of the 1951 troupe is as follows: top row, from left to right, Virginia Smith Giles, Jack Blossman, Linda Ernst (?), Henry Schoultz, Edna Blossman Bulloch, Billy Beal, Jackie Heintz (?), Ray Pond, Beth Allen (?), Tissie Warner Gibson, Stanley Jacobs, Lucie Herbert Comenge, and Billy Ezell. On the front row, from left, are Archie Julian as the Tin Man, Ronnie Fortier as the Lion, and Heintz Taylor as the Scarecrow. Question marks indicate that the person identifying the individuals was not absolutely certain. 

Here's the group May Day Festival Picture from 1948

The identification of the people in the photograph above went as follows: Bottom Row, left to right, Herbert Cannon, Meredith Lyons (?), Johnny Coltora, Adele Mayfield (?), Lynn Ellen Becker Wheeler, Pete Saul, Nancy Alford (?), James Jenkins, and Judy Forshag. Second row, left to right, Lloyd Cambre Jr., Virginia Smith Giles, Archie Julian, Tissie Warner Gibson, Dianne Buquoi, Peggy Caserta (?), Paul Knight, Patricia Sumrall (?), and Paul Lacroix, Jr. Top row, from left to right, Bain Ellis, Lucia R. Resch, Bobby Prats, Joyce Bruhl (?) Billy Planche, Muriel Smith Blossman, Wayne Dugas, Jeannie Warner Schoen, Richard Blossman, Nancy Jo Thompson (?), Eugenie Terrebonne (?), Gary O'Keefe, Beryl Gill (?), Donald Morgan, Ruby Nell Willie (?), and Eddie McCraney. 

And still yet, another May Day Festival Picture from the early 1950's featuring Covington Elementary School students.

This photo is of the 1949 May Day Festival and didn't have any names attached to it.

The focal point of the whole May Day celebration, the May Pole Dance. This picture was taken around 1918 at the Covington Presbyterian Church.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Covington Motors Staff Late 1970's

This picture shows the Covington Motors Ford Dealership staff when it was on New Hampshire St. across from the train depot. It was taken sometime in the 1970's before the business moved to 190.This was on the corner of Lockwood and New Hampshire. Click on the image to make it larger. 

The former location of Covington Motors Ford

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Poole Lumber Aerial Photo in 1974

Now here is an aerial photo that's difficult to figure out, so I will describe exactly where it is.  Here's the picture, taken in October of 1974, of the brand new Poole Lumber Company building on the north side of Covington. 

The view is looking towards the east, with the 190 Bypass at the bottom of the frame heading down towards Covington High. La. Hwy. 25 runs across the frame about two-thirds up in the picture. It is heading off toward the left to go to Folsom, and it is curving towards the right of the frame to go down into Covington. Poole Lumber Company is the large white roof on the right hand side.

Click on the image to make it larger. 

Covington High School is just down this road

Here's a close up view of the La. 25/Covington Bypass intersection. Click on the image for a larger version. 

The picture is interesting for what it does not show, things that haven't been built yet: the St. Tammany Parish Jail, the Winn Dixie Supermarket and shopping center, the Shell Service Station, drug stores, Wendy's, Burger King, McDonald's, with no residential subdivisions in the far distance.

The picture is shown again below compared side by side with a Google maps image from this year. Click on the image below for a larger view. 

See also:

Staff Photo of Dependable Glass in 1979

Here's a group photo I took of the management and staff at Dependable Glass in June of 1979, thirty-seven years ago. Click on the image below to make it larger. 

2016 Fair Is Dedicated to Lawrence "Cotton" Jourdan

This year's fair was dedicated to Lawrence "Cotton" Jourdan. To hear a recording of Dennis Glass tell of Jourdan's contributions to the community and fair association, CLICK on the YouTube video below.

Indian Pow Wow

Every so often in St. Tammany Parish, Native American descendants from throughout the region would converge for an Indian Pow Wow, a couple of days of dancing, visiting, and on-site demonstrations of Native American lifestyle and skills. Here are some pictures of a Pow Wow I visited some years ago up at the Tchefuncte Family Campground near Folsom. 

Monday, September 26, 2016

The History of Brock Elementary School

         The following information came from a presentation at Brock Elementary about the school's history, as well as a newspaper article describing how the school began. 

        The first schools in Slidell were private schools taught by ladies who taught the basic curriculum: reading, writing, and arithmetic. The early settlers in the area sent their children to them for their education.
        Many of the early settlers of Slidell were the surveyors who mapped the railroad to New Orleans. 
       The first high school was a wooden structure that stood at the present site of Brock Elementary, graduating its first class in 1909. The lower grades were housed in buildings such as the old R of P hall and several buildings on College Street. The first graduating class of Slidell consisted of four ladies: Miss Ella Scogin, Miss Lena George, Molly Guzman, and Violet Holdsword. Their principal was a Mr. Messick.
         In 1911, the Building Committee for Slidell High School reported to the School Board that on May 17, 1911, the firm of Stevens & Nelson was employed as architects for the new high school building made of brick.  
        On July 20 the contract for construction of the three story building was let to I. C. Garber of Jackson, MS, for the sum of $18,469. The contract for heating and plumbing on the new building was given to the firm of C.C. Hartwell Company for the sum of $2,898.

A 556 foot water well was drilled at a cost of $417, and a storage tank for the water was purchased for $200. The building had four toilets, one each for boys and girls and two for the teachers. The school was completed in early 1912. In 1912, Professor C. E Hooper served as principal for the school, and he directed the first band, with many members of this band going on to play with the LSU band.
        It housed first through eleventh grades until 1925.  It was during this time that Mrs. Craddock, a teacher and librarian at the grammar school, began the first elementary school library in  the State of Louisiana. A great effort among everyone was made to sell magazines in order to raise the money to buy books for the library. It was so successful that the State Librarian visited the school one day and asked Mrs. Craddock to speak at the Librarian Convention in Baton Rouge.

      The next principals were Mr. Baker, Mr. MacAffee and Mr. Ratcliff. The one school with grades first through eleven continued until 1925, when a third high school building was built on Third St. The elementary grades stayed where they were and became known as the Grammar School.
      The first principal was Henry Mayfield, and in 1935 came Mr. Glynn H. Brock.

Playground Enlarged
In 1930, a resolution was adopted by the School Board approving the acquisition of additional land next to Slidell Grammar School for use as a playground. The land was purchased from Olga M. Nolan for $450. 
In a 1936 report to the School Board, it was commented that The Slidell Elementary School (today’s Brock Elementary) had a well-organized program for each child. “Children can get a warm lunch with milk for a very reasonable charge. I did not have time to observe the school’s physical education work, but Mr. Brock, the principal, stated that it was much better organized than last year, and he was anxious for me to see it in operation.”

Glynn H. Brock

      By 1939 the building required extensive repairs.  Classes were held in neighboring buildings such as the Masonic Temple , the Community House and the old Redman Hall while the new school was being constructed.  

Brock Elementary in 1939

       By 1942, construction was complete and the Slidell Grammar School once again housed  first through seventh grades.  This structure also included a  library, a lunchroom, and a gymnasium.  Part of the school facing Brakefield Street was destroyed by fire in 1951 and was rebuilt in its original  form in the same year. 

Brock Dies
In the School Board minutes of May 15, 1968, a resolution was passed recognizing the contributions of Glynn H. Brock Sr., who had died recently. The resolution stated that Brock was a dedicated educator, “serving as a teacher and coach for Slidell High School from 1924 to 1935, Principal of Slidell Elementary School from 1935 to 1951, and Supervisor of the St. Tammany Parish Public Schools from 1951 to 1963, at which time he retired.”
“In the above mentioned capacities, he exemplified maximum knowledge of his profession and an everlasting sincere consideration for the students,” the resolution stated.        “For many years, the names of Glynn H. Brock and the Slidell School System were considered synonymous terms.”
As a citizen of Slidell, he was active in many fraternal and civic organizations, always doing “more than his share,” and because of his activities, often being honored for his meritorious work. He was described as a true Christian, an active working and devoted member of his church. 
It was decided to name a school in the Slidell area in his memory. 
In November of 1970, The School Board recalled that Brock had died 18 months previous, and at that time, it was decided that a school would be named after him. So it was moved and seconded that the name of Slidell Elementary School be changed to Glynn H. Brock Elementary School. The motion unanimously passed. A plaque was to be placed on the school.
      Brock had also served as President of the St. Tammany Parish Library System's Board of Control in 1956.

    After being extensively damaged in Hurricane Katrina, Brock Elementary reopened to students on Tuesday, December 9, 2008, three years after the hurricane. For several days, maintenance department workers and teachers prepared the school for the influx of its 278 students who have been temporarily housed at St. Tammany Junior High School during reconstruction of the historic Brock Elementary building.

     A faithful restoration of the educational institution was a top priority for the School System. As one of Slidell’s original landmark schools, it graduated its first class in 1909 and has served the central Slidell area for generations.

Brock Elementary School student body 2007
(For information on how this photo was taken, CLICK HERE.)

     U. S. Senator David Vitter and U. S. Representative Steve Scalise visited the newly re-opened Brock Elementary School in Slidell in December of 2008, taking a tour of the facility that has been completely restored.
     The Congressmen visited several classrooms, spoke with teachers and students, and attended a special program in the gymnasium.
     Students from various grade levels danced, sang holiday songs, and presented the Congressmen with artwork in appreciation for their help in bringing back Brock. 

     First Lady Michelle Obama visited Brock Elementary School in Slidell on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, to kick off the next phase of her “Let’s Move!” Campaign to combat childhood obesity. She was greeted by hundreds of students at the school with cheers, songs, smiles, hugs, and handshakes.
     During her visit, she spoke to school food service personnel, School administrators, and community leaders. Mrs. Obama said that Brock Elementary was not just a school that was dedicated to academic success, not just a school that is a model of determination to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina, but it was also a school that is a model of excellence in teaching children good nutritional habits right from the beginning.
     “Brock Elementary is among the very best of the best,” Mrs. Obama stated.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rosemerry Fuhrmann Hanian

Artists of every kind have made Covington a special place in the hearts of many residents and visitors, artists ranging from sculptors and watercolorists to theatrical thespians and wood carvers. One of the most influential artists to have graced this area however, was Rosemerry Emelia Fuhrmann Hanian, a master of the art of dance. 

Not only did she provide dance performances of a sophisticated and international flavor, but she shared her experiences and expertise with many young people in the community through her outstanding dance instruction studio, the Creative Dance Center. Many of those students have gone on to excel in college and professional dance careers.

Rosemerry, at right, and her students

She opened her studio in Covington in 1967, and the article below was written six years later, in 1973.  

Where Dancing is an Art

October 1973 Tammany Touch Magazine
By Leslie Fardeau

Mrs. Rosemerry Fuhrmann, who teaches dancing in the Covington area, is nationally known for her interpretive dancing and several roles in Broadway productions. She is presently teaching modern dance, ballet, and East Indian courses to girls ranging from five to eighteen. Using dance as an element of worship has always been important to Mrs. Fuhrmann.

She first began to develop this in 1952 when she studied East Indian Dancing with Hidassah in New York City. Part of their training included choreographing the 23rd Psalm. Because Indian dancing is so often invocational and reverential, this training has been invaluable to her. In 1962 when she was a dance instructor at Marymount School in New York, she taught a group of girls to choreograph the Lord's Prayer. The Mother General of the Catholic Church was present at the time and exhibited her approval and delight about the performance. 

The residents of St. Tammany Parish are most familiar with recent performances in the Christ Episcopal Church, Presbyterian Church, St. Peter's, St. Paul's and the Priory. The programs all varied according to the wishes of the minister or priest. 

One of the most popular performances was "A Family of Trees", a touching narration by Jules Renard. The subject matter dealt with the interrelationships in a group of stately trees; and many interesting parallels may be drawn with people. "Gymno Pedie," a smoothly flowing music piece by Eric Satie, was the accompaniment for the piece.

Another well-received production is "Reverance" in which the dancers evoke a mood of devotion and invite the audience to participate. As the lead dancers call various groups to prayer the viewers are automatically involved through the music and actions of the performers. This particular dance was performed at St. Paul's Chapel this past Christmas and at St. Peter's as well.

It was originally choreographed for the St. Francis Catholic Church in New Orleans at the request of Father Putnam in 1968.

The most exciting events for Rosemerry were the occasions when the minister or priest got involved in the presentation. Using the Bach Magnificat in Das the background music, her girls choreographed the carrying in of the wine and wafers at the priest's request for St. Paul's last year. 

Father Angelo at St. Peter's originated the idea of combining scriptures about the life of Mary with the Dance of Mary, a piece of music from a Bach suite. The result was a touching and significant production.

Dancing is much more than a fun pastime for Rosemerry and her pupils: she sees it as a means of expressing her innermost being. She believes that her students should develop inwardly as well as physically. In her words, "Without true inward grace the technical knowledge is worthless; a certain sense of being, attitude, and approach toward life are essential for a truly complete dancer. Dance is a means of expression and a way of communicating with people.

What better way to worship than with the whole body and not just with your mouth. People are especially moved by the dedication of the girls and because they've chosen to use their training in a special manner. The girls are decidedly more giving, dedicated, and serious because they understand the importance of reverential dancing."

A special group of serious dancers known as the "Dance Players" has performed all over the parish and for many special events throughout the South. The group is composed of Teresa Guderian, Nora Eddy, Linda LeBlanc, Adrienne Norman, Gay Moore, and Mauer Doskey. Their current project will take place at Loyola University on November third.

Teachers and educators from five states will participate in and view sessions on "Developing the Creative Potential in the Multi-Ethnic Group". Doctor Paul Torrance from Atlanta, Georgia, who is nationally known for his work in bringing movement into reading programs, will serve as the co-ordinator.

The dance players are working on exaggerated pantomines for a variety of single words which will emphasize the effectiveness of combining dancing with reading. On November tenth Rosemerry'.' group will be part of four companies who'll be performing at a theatre in Lake Charles. They were invited by Ida Clark, who has a studio in the area, to do some various Indian techniques. The dance players are willing to perform for anyone who would appreciate serious and comprehensive dancing, Rosemerry added.

Dancing is an art as old as man, even the oldest cave paintings depict figures in typical dance movements. Early man copied his dance patterns from the animals around him; such as the courtship rituals of the cranes. The dances of primitive people are not merely expressions of the desire to jump, stamp and have fun; they often reveal important attitudes about birth, love, death, nature, and worship.

Although many of the primitive tribal dance forms have disappeared as man's sophistication has increased, the Western world still retains many forms which probably originated in the Middle Ages. Folk dancing, court dancing, wandering troubadours, and church plays of the Middle Ages included mystery, miracle, and morality plays which were elaborate with large casts and dramatic scenic effects. 

The first players and dancers were the clergy; as the casts grew larger the common people were given parts. Eventually, as dancing passed into the hands of the people, theatrical dancing became acceptable as entertainment. Although it has its roots in the past, we can see the contemporary application of dancing in very special ways, right here in St. Tammany Parish.

Click on the image for the article clipping from above.

As a child, Rosemerry learned dance from local teachers, then attended Southeastern and LSU to further perfect her skills. Her decision to focus her attention on the dance styles of India enabled her to bring a special flair to her performances and endeared her to many involved in Broadway productions. In 1955, she took part in the second national tour of "Kismet" where she played the Princess Samaris of Bangalore

She was a choreographer as well as on stage as an "Angel" for the production of "The King and I," in New York and was also a choreographer for "Kismet." She lived and worked in New York for two decades, achieving remarkable success in her career on the Broadway stage before returning home.

Once back in Covington, she established the Covington Dance Center. The first dance studio was located in the old Werhli Home in downtown Covington. Later, she moved it to a former church building on 23rd Avenue, just one block away from the Covington Civic Center, where the main auditorium was later named in honor of her father, well-known area businessman and showman Charles Sidney August Fuhrmann.

She became a legend in the area and across the world of Dance.  When she died in 1992, she left a "legacy of thousands of lives touched by her love of dance" as well as teaching her students the "thrill of creativity." 

She was featured in Dixie Roto Magazine in 1954, including a cover photo


Many of her dance performances were especially choreographed for certain occasions, aimed at conveying specific meanings through interpretive dances. The community  looked forward to each new creative performance, and Rosemerry's knowledge and teaching of those skills were appreciated. Each new expression of those skills through heartfelt performances was warmly anticipated.  

Her expertise in the dance styles of India even brought her to the 1984 World's Fair to take part in special performances on "Asian Day. " 

Her Creative Dance Center students were active not only in local productions, but they also took part in several Jazzfest presentations, danced with the New Orleans Symphony and Tulane University Summer Lyrics Theater, and even went to Los Angeles to tape a segment for the CBS "Young Audiences" program.

Her sister Patricia Clanton said of Rosemerry, "She felt a reverence for all life. She dedicated her life to dance, to the arts, and to creativity. She nurtured each student. She loved each student, and they loved her in return." 

As a result, her love of dance has spread outward, first through her students, then the community, and now the world. Once again the artists of Covington have made their mark on the hearts and minds of those far beyond its boundaries. For art knows no boundaries, and in the case of dance, it is indeed an international form of communication.

A newspaper article from 1994