Thursday, October 27, 2016

Southern Living Article About West St. Tammany

In November of 1985 Southern Living Magazine featured an article about Covington and Mandeville, telling of their attributes, climate, fine shopping and restaurant offerings. There is quite a bit of detail about Lee Lane shops. Here is a copy of that article. Just click on the images below for a larger view. 

 The following text comes from the Southern Living Magazine, November, 1985

"A glance in the rearview mirror shows the skyline of New Orleans fading with each methodic bump of the concrete slab beneath the automobile tires. For the next 24 miles, travelers cruise along the world's longest bridge. From the arrow-straight lanes they may wonder if they will ever see land again. 

"But at the end of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway lies St. Tammany Parish, which local Chinese residents often call "the mouth of the dragon." because the long bridge resembles a dragon.

"Mandeville. Madisonville. and Lacombe all wait along the shores of the 630-square-mile lake to smother visitors in country charm. 


"Just ten miles away is Covington— blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, historical old homes, gourmet res­taurants, and enough antique and specialty shops to satisfy any shopper's craving.

"For years. New Orleanians have sought out the soothing waters, quiet solitude, and pure air of the Covington area. A government report at the end of the 1800"s declared Covington the healthiest spot in the country. Underground springs pumped clean mineral water, and dense pine for­ests provided a natural air conditioning that kept the area much cooler than nearby New Orleans.

Water Paradise

"Covington is bordered by the Tchefuncte and Bogue Falaya Rivers. The clear waters are a paradise for swimmers, fish­ermen, and canoeists. Two state parks, Fontainebleau and Fairview-Riverside, are only a few miles outside the town. 

"Fair­view-Riverside surrounds a house that was originally built as part of a lumbering camp in the 1880's and later renovated as a summer home. Fontainebleau is the site of a 19th-century sugar plantation. The crum­bling brick ruins of the mill, built in 1829, stand near the park entrance.

"Coving­ton visitors discover lovely neighborhoods and distinctive shopping areas. Most of the town is shaded by oaks, which are draped in gray-tinted moss.

Lee Lane

"More than a dozen restored Victorian cottages are clustered along Lee Lane in Covington, near the Bogue Falaya River. Trimmed with gingerbread, curlicues, and balustrades, they house a varied collection of specialty shops.

"The restoration of Lee Lane began about 15 years ago (1970) when Mab Valois opened The Armoire. which features chil­dren's and women's clothing. Others soon followed her lead, applying fresh coats of paint to neighboring buildings and stocking them with hand-milled soaps, artwork, an­tiques, and hunilcraltcd items from across the South.

"Ann Moores opened The Kumquat, a bookstore and gift shop, on one corner of Lee Lane. The business soon outgrew the building, and Moores built a reproduction of a 19th-centurv plantation home across the street to house the store. The Kumquat offers an impressive selection of fiction and nonfiction best sellers, cookbooks, and children's books. Prominently displayed near the entrance are The Moviegoer, Lost in the Cosmos, and other works that estab­lished Walker Percy, Moores' father, as one of this country's outstanding contem­porary writers. 

The Kumquat

Marjorie Allen patterned The Partridge after the year-round Christmas shops in her native Scotland. Many of the hand­made ornaments and decorative pieces are from Germany and England. One section of the shop is filled with nutcrackers of all shapes and sizes, from the traditional soldier models to a 3-foot-tall guard.

At The Pear Tree, the focus is on grape­vine baskets and dried flower arrange­ments. The Lily Pad's specialty is hand­made shower wraps, and the most pop­ular items at Quilts & Quaints are quilts with the double wedding ring pattern. Lee Lane's Backstreet carries a line of food products from Vidalia, Georgia, including burnt sugar mustard, Vidalia onion pickles, and onion relish.

"Lee Lane's annual holiday festival. "Christmas in the Country," be­gins November 30 and runs for 10 days. 

 Gourmet Restaurants

Within 15 miles of Covington, there are about a dozen gourmet restaurants, featur­ing Italian, French, Chinese, and continen­tal cuisine. 

"Award-winning chef Chris Kerageorgiou. who worked as a cook in some of New Orleans' most popular res­taurants, left the city and moved to the country 13 years ago. He opened La Pro­vence, which is a four-star restaurant, near Lacombe.

"I felt I wanted to be in a place where I could challenge myself. If you were good, you could make it." he explains. "And in Europe, the good restaurants are always in the countryside."

Kerageorgiou combines the cooking tra­ditions from his native France, where chefs visit the market daily to select fresh pro­duce, with local products such as oysters, redrish. and crawfish. The menu changes daily, dictated by the freshest vegetables, seasonal seafood, and herbs that Kera­georgiou gathers from the garden behind his restaurant.

Frank Wong compares the success of his Trey Yuen in Mandeville to that of La Provence. While striving for authenticity, the chefs at Trey Yuen also remember the tastes of local patrons. It isn't unusual for alligator or crawfish to be served with Sze-chuan sauces.

While Trey Yuen is recognized as one of the finest Chinese restaurants in the state, it is also a showplace. Lavish Ori­ental gardens surround the elegant build­ing, which resembles a Chinese palace. "What 1 try to create is something, so when people come here, they feel like they're in another country." says Wong.

"Immersed in the charm and peaceful life-styles of the Covington area, it's easy to forget that the bright lights and invig­orating rhythm of New Orleans are less than an hour away."

In March of 2021, Southern Living published another article about Covington, telling of its lifestyle quality, attractions, charming shops, and hotel accommodations. CLICK HERE to read their article.