Monday, March 27, 2017

The History of St. Tammany Parish Hospital

The history of St. Tammany Parish Hospital goes back to the mid-1940's, with a ground breaking ceremony finally held in 1953. The doors were open for the first time in late 1954.

The Women's Progressive Union of Covington began talking about the need for a hospital in 1946, and after eight years of members promoting the idea by speaking to churches, missionary groups, farmers and sewing circles, plans were made to go ahead with the project. 

In the early 1950's the M.C. B. women's group sold its library building to Christ Episcopal Church for use as a parish house, and the M.C.B.'s, undaunted, centered their attention on a local hospital, should one ever be built here.

The police jury called for a bond issue vote, and together with federal funding, a ground breaking ceremony was held on May 4, 1953.

Groundbreaking ceremonies with, from left, Maurice Duplantis, Norma Core, Ike Champagne, L.L. Landon and Gus Fritchie.

The groundbreaking ceremony is pictured above. From left to right are Louis Voss, Archie Singletary, James Thompson (in the rear), Eugene Esquinance, Fred Mizell, Joseph Stein (in the rear), Eugene McIntyre (in the rear), Norma Core, Lucille Glisson, Walter Clairain, Oliver Hebert, Ike Champagne, Gus Fritchie, H. A. Davis, August Perez, Jack Tannehill (in the rear), Cecile Hebert, George Broom, Baxter Pond, Jessie Bankston, Father Tim Pugh, Maurice Duplantis, and L. L. Landon. 

The hospital opened its doors to patients 18 months later in December of 1954. It cost $365,000 to build, with an initial inventory of 15 beds. Almost immediately expansion projects were started, with another 15 beds added in 1958.

In 1954, the St. Tammany Parish Hospital was dedicated, with the faithful M.C.B. Club among its staunchest supporters. A check was presented from' the club to outfit the nursery with two incubators and eight basinettes and furnishings for a de luxe private room. 

Later the club gave a steam table, for keeping meals hot to the hospital. They also gave a literal donation toward an iron lung.

Because of its many contribution to the hospital during its early years, when the M.C. B. Club disbanded in 1959, each member was made a life member of the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Guild at a cost of $425 for the then 17 active members.

Hospital Expands

Expansions of the hospital continued throughout the 1960's and 70's. Many of the additions were funded in part by donations and contributions by individuals and community organizations. Soon there were private rooms, the nursery, pediatrics, operating rooms and more parking lots. 

A 1977 expansion

The hospital now has 232 beds following the completion of a major renovation and expansion project three years ago. 

CLICK HERE to see an aerial photograph of the hospital in 1975.

Dr. M. J. Duplantis