Wednesday, January 31, 2018

VFW Officers in 1977

Back in 1977, this group of men were sworn in as officers with District Nine of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Also, a trophy was presented to a member who had been with the group over three decades. Click on the image below to read names. 

Ralph McIntyre and Ken Fuglied were from Slidell; Louis Roome and Bert A. Bickham were from Abita Springs, 

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn

This portrait shows State Senator B.B. "Sixty" Rayburn in the late 1970's. He was one of the most powerful people in the Louisiana State Senate for many years. 

The following information is re-printed from the Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home website:

"B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn, Senator, 12th District, was born on August 11, 1916. Sixty passed away on March 5, 2008 at St. Tammany Hospital in Covington, LA. Mr. Rayburn was a Baptist, a Mason and a Shriner, Louisiana Cattleman’s Association Member, and past President of the Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association for many years. 

A farmer, cattleman, horseman, and avid hunter, Rayburn worked at Crown- Zellerbach corporation as a pipe fitter for thirty years. He was a graduate of Sumerall High School and Sullivan Memorial Trade School.

His political career began in 1944 when he was elected to the Washington Parish Police Jury, becoming the youngest Police Juror in Louisiana. He served as vice-presedent of that body until 1948 when he was elected to serve in the House of Representatives. He remained in the Louisiana House until 1951, when he was elected to serve an unexpired term in the Senate. Rayburn, who served under Earl K. Long, former Governor, was continuously returned to the Senate by his constituents for 44 years and was the acknowledged Dean of the Louisiana Legislature.

As a legislator, he served on the following committees: Conservation, Education, Transportation and Public Works, Industrial Relations, Labor and Capitol, Long-range Highway, Retirement, Interim Emergency Board, Bond Commission, and Chairman of both the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget for many years.

He was elected delegate to the 1973 Constitutional Convention, where he served as Chairman of the Committee on Revenue, Finance and taxation.

In 1959, Senator Rayburn was awarded an honorary doctorate from Loyola University in recognition of his knowledge and understanding of state government. In 1973, he was made an honorary member of the Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association in recognition of his years of service to the cause of “the health of man and his domesticated animals” in Louisiana, and for his help in creating the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Senator Rayburn was the first lay person to receive this honor. In 1978, Senate Concurrent Resolution 135 was passed to name the school of veterinary medicine, the Rayburn School of Veterinary Science, in honor of the Rayburn family of Washington Parish due to the fact that Senator Rayburn was instrumental in the creation of the veterinary school on the campus of Louisiana State University and in honor of Senator Rayburn for his leadership, dedication and contribution to the State of Louisiana.

On March 17, 1993 the Louisiana State Uniersity School of Veterinary Medicine presented him with the University Medal which is the highest honor given at LSU. Senator Rayburn received this recognition in honor of his many contributions to the School of Veterinary Medicine and the State of Louisiana.

Senator Rayburn was instrumental in obtaining funds for construction of a new Sullivan Vocational-Technical Institute, which was put into use in September of 1971, at a cost of $985,730.

In 1948, Senator Rayburn was instrumental in obtaining $500,000 for the construction of Washington- St. Tammany Charity Hospital and formal dedication was held on January 6, 1951. Senator Rayburn secured funds in the 1979 and 1980 legislative sessions in the amount of $29.6 Million for the construction of Washington Parish Correctional Center. This created some 400 plus jobs for his area.

On August 31, 2006 the Washington Parish Correctional Center was renamed the B.B. “Sixty” Rayburn Correctional Center in his honor of hard work and dedication for securing this institution for Washington parish. " 

He has his own Wikipedia entry. CLICK HERE to read more about his career. 

His obituary may be found at THIS LINK.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Wetlands Preservation - 1987

In late 1987 the St. Tammany News-Banner newspaper published a special section on environmental concerns facing the parish. The project featured several different writers addressing a variety of subjects: air quality, water quality, wetlands, etc. The article below was one of those, and deals with the preservation of wetlands habitat. It was written by famed sportsman Don Dubuc.

Click on the images to make them larger and more readable. 

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Covington High Homecoming Court - 1978

In the late 1970's, the homecoming court at Covington High School posed on stage for this picture. Click on the image to make it larger. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Carrying the Torch

In 1996, the Olympic Torch journeyed across St. Tammany Parish on its way to the games in Atlanta, GA. Here are some of the folks who helped it along. Click on the image to make it bigger. 

Water Quality Concerns - 1987

This article about water quality concerns in St. Tammany Parish appeared in a 1987 special section on the St. Tammany Environment, published by the News-Banner newspaper. Click on the images to make them larger and more readable. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

100 years ago this week

 What was going on 100 years ago this week?

CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer edition of January 26, 1918. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Click on the images below to see larger versions.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

New Hampshire Street Scene

In 1907 this is how New Hampshire Street looked, from the middle of the 300 block, viewed southward towards Boston St. To the right is the location of the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper, and in the background is the first floor of the Southern Hotel. To the left, not clearly visible in the background, is the parish courthouse.

Click on the image to make it larger. 

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Air Quality Concerns - 1987

In late 1987 the St. Tammany News-Banner newspaper published a special section on environmental concerns facing the parish. The project featured several different writers addressing a variety of subjects: air quality, water quality, wetlands, etc. The article below was one of those, and it concerned the air quality of St. Tammany especially how it is related to spraying for mosquito control. 

Click on the images to make them appear larger and more readable. 

See also:

St. Tammany Parish Mosquito Abatement District

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Lacombe Senior Citizens Bus Trip 1979

On July 12, 1979, this group of Lacombe area senior citizens posed for a picture as they were getting ready to board a bus. Click on the image to make a larger version. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Environmental Overview - 1987

In late 1987 the St. Tammany News-Banner newspaper published a special section on environmental concerns facing the parish. The project featured several different writers addressing a variety of subjects: air quality, water quality, wetlands, etc.

Here is the introduction and pictures of the writers who were involved. Click on the images below to enlarge the view to more readable text.

The writers who took part in submitting articles for the special section.

In the 1980's St. Tammany was home to a growing number of concerned environmentalists, and this was back in the day when protecting the environment was not on everyone's "to do" list.  

See also:

Student Environmentalists in 1987

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Old Mandeville Griffin Bakery

The Griffin Bakery was a landmark in early Mandeville, a central gathering place for the community. The building was constructed in stages, and then all linked together for the various purposes it filled throughout its 100-year-plus history.

In 1996 Mandeville resident John Fineran took on the task of renovating and restoring the building at the corner of  Lafitte and Jefferson streets in old Mandeville.  Here is the story of the original bakery and the efforts 22 years ago to restore the building. Click on the images to make them larger. 

A 1997 View of the Structure

Below is the 1997 article in the St. Tammany Farmer telling about the renovation of the building and its significance in Mandeville history. 

Old Mandeville Bakery Is Being Restored

The aroma of fresh-baked bread still lingers in the memories of many older Mandeville residents who used to frequent a bakery located at the corner of Lafitte and Jefferson Streets. They remember lining up at the side door of Griffin's Bakery, waiting to fetch home a hot loaf of French bread for a late night snack.

That scene may soon be re-enacted as the building that housed the bakery in the 1920's and '30's is being extensively restored, including the huge oven that baked the bread.
John Fineran is project manager for the meticulously-accurate historic restoration of the building, a project that has been underway for the past two months. He is working for his sister, Carolyn Fineran, who bought the building last last year, saving it from destruction. She lives in Denver. After Carolyn Finerans bought the place, she told John to come fix it up.

For the past twenty years, the structure has been used as a remedial educational facility.
John said the front of the original building was constructed sometime between the Civil War and 1900, "or shortly thereafter, the best we can figure."

The Finerans have talked to a number of older residents who remember what the building looked like years ago. Ernest Griffin, 79, has been a great source of information.
They actually held a reception where the recollections of older residents were video-taped for later reference in the reconstruction of the building.

The structure is thought to have been built originally as a general store by the Dutz Baudot family. John has been told. In 1920, the Griffin familv bought the property and built the bakery in the back.

"This was the second Griffin bakery in Mandeville," John Fineran said. "The first Griffin bakery was actually located across Lafitte one block closer to Lake Pontchartrain." In 1938, it was sold to another family and continued operation as a bakery.

One person told John of a wing, since demolished, built on the east side. With his help, John was able to determine the size of the addition. "There was a room with a bay window, a gallery ran along the front, with Victorian columns and gingerbread," he explains. The informant happened to be a drafts-man and was able to sketch the layout of the structure.

The wing was torn down during the depression, and Fineran has determined that pieces of it were sold to various other homeowners around town. "We are tracking down braces and other pieces that were sold off so we take measurements and replace them here with exact duplicates."

Looking For Photos
Even though Fineran has found quite a bit of information about the structure, he is still looking for photographs and verbal descriptions to help round out the project.

One Mandeville oldtimer was able to point out the location of the cistern, which made the Griffin family one of the first in the area to have their own indoor plumbing and water.The bakery was powered by a gasoline engine located on the porch that ran the mixers and other bakery equipment through a pulley and belt arrangement through the wall. The engine also ran an electric generator when needed.

Built in 1921, the oven measured 15 feet across and deep and seven feet tall. It could bake 150 loaves of bread at a time. The walls are eight bricks thick. "I'm looking for people who can tell me about these old ovens," Fineran commented.

"They would start firing the oven at 11 in the morning and would be ready to start cooking around 9 p.m. At first, this oven was heated by wood, then they went to diesel for a while." But they had a problem with the diesel when it exploded and blew out the back of the oven in 1925, Fineran was told.

Once he gets the original building back the way it was in the mid-1920's, he hopes to gain recognition for the structure on the Registry of Historic Places. Certain tax breaks are available through that process.

The remainder of the building will be restored to they way it looked in the mid-1930's.
To the best of John's knowledge, there aren't any other commercial properties in Mandeville on the historic registry.

Keith Villere, mayor of Covington, has consulted with John concerning restoration of the landscaping on the 150 by 140 foot lot. Fineran plans to wind an existing wisteria bush along a series of trellises, from one end of the property to the other.

Fineran is impressed with the way Columbia Street in Covington has successfully rebounded, with cafe tables on the sidewalks and a leisurely community "feel." He hopes the bakery will be able to do the same kind of thing for Mandeville.

While the scheduled completion date is mid-February, much work remains to be done.
For instance, to gain access to replace the rotting sills and floor joists, workers had to remove the flooring in many rooms. Fineran is pleased to use Florida Parish lumber in the project, getting it from Jenkins Sawmill north of Folsom.

The roof will be restored to the original tin metal, he said, something he had to talk the local planning commission into permitting.

Some of the front rooms may be converted to offices, and the Finerans are even thinking about a bed and breakfast arrangement. "Think of how neat it would be to spend the night in a historic bakery," John said.

"It's been a fun project. I've learned a lot doing this," he admitted. "Learning how they did things back then. Actually, I've become computer literate on this job. The state has been
very helpful, and there's a lot of information on-line about this kind of thing."

Visions of Hot Bread

Already, people are stopping in to say hello and see how the project is progressing. They seem eager for the day when loafs of hot bread will be available fresh from the oven.
Years ago, the bakery was a hub of the community, providing many Mandeville homes and weekend visitors with bread, with many customers coming across the street from Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church after each Mass.

"You look around in different southern Louisiana towns, and you usually find a bakery located next to the Catholic church," Fineran reported.

He points out several noteworthy landmarks in the immediate neighborhood. "We have to preserve old buildings like this," he concluded. "Everything is starting to look so plastic over here. It's changing too fast."

St. Tammany Farmer Jan. 2, 1997

Today the structure is occupied by 
Lama's St. Roch Family Restaurant and Market

The History of Griffin's Bakery

This account comes from a printed history in the window of the building:

The three separate buildings that were connected together to make Griffin's Bakery were built sometime beginning in 1900 and developed into its current layout around the middle of the 1930's. One of the first references to the structure took place when the building was indicated on the 1915 Sanborn map of businesses. 

The Griffin family bought the property from the E. H. Baudot family in 1920 and turned it into a bakery. The Sanborn map for 1926 showed an attached structure called "the bakehouse," located a few feet in back of the main group of buildings.

Although the exact construction date of the main building is not known, it looks to be around the turn of the century as indicated by the style of architecture. 

The two bay windows are "something of a mystery" since they are supported by highly-decorative brackets in the "Italianate tradition," with a scalloped band ornament at the top. These would seem to have been popular around 1900, according to architectural research, but they may have been added to the building later. 

The gallery front porch, wrapping around the corner front entrance, was a common feature of Louisiana commercial structures. 

A photo from 1932 provided by Ernest J. Griffin Jr.
Shown is his grandfather and the delivery truck


The Griffins sold the bakery to the Roquettes in the 1940's, and many older Mandeville residents remember going to the Roquette bakery on a regular basis.

It is one of the few buildings left that give an indication of the once vibrant commercial section of Olde Mandeville. That distinction allows it to be a unique representative of the historic downtown character of Mandeville. The Old Mandeville Griffin's Bakery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places database on December 1, 1997. 

 Photos from 1997

The brick oven

Photos from 2018
301 Lafitte Street, Mandeville
Lama's St. Roch Family Restaurant

The Scientist Entertainer - Dr. Daniel Posin

One of the most interesting professional scientists ever to live in the Covington area was Dr. Daniel Q. Posin. His professional science career spanned many decades and touched upon many aspects of science and physics, but he was best known for his efforts to explain space exploration and atomic energy to the public. 

Dr. Dan Posin talking to a Covington audience

Here is an article from the October 3, 1996, issue of the St. Tammany Farmer.

In September, 1996, his presentation on the fascinating fields of science and physics entertained and informed his Covington audience, but he had done that sort of thing before, nearly 3000 times before, winning awards, earning nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, and hosting numerous children's television shows on science and its future promise. 

Born in Russia, he fled the Revolution there on a cattle boat, coming to America where he eventually became a nuclear physicist, one of the best known scientists in the country. He met, and gained the respect of, Dr. Albert Einstein who personally encouraged him to continue his mission in bringing knowledge about the peaceful uses of atomic energy to the public's attention. That mission included dozens of children's television shows where he explained the mysteries of science and particularly, space exploration.

Shown above is one of the more than 30 books he wrote for the popular market about science. They had titles such as Dr. Posin's Giants: Men of Science,Out of This World, Mendeleyev: The Story of a Great Scientist, Exploring and Understanding Our Solar System, What is a star, What is Chemistry, What is Electronic Communication, Science in the Age of Space, Chemistry for the Space Age, and Find Out! First Step to the Future.

The race to space began in the middle of the 1950's, and his expertise was sought out when he signed on as scientific consultant and adviser for the CBS radio and television networks. He produced three television shows and one radio program weekly. Among his programs were "Out of This World," "Dr. Posin's Universe" and "On the Shoulders of Giants." His face was well known as his programs were advertised and promoted far and wide. 

Posin presented science in an enjoyable and entertaining way,. His friends and acquaintances knew that on any given day, Posin "could be found dancing energetically around whichever studio he was working in." His presentation skills were aimed at school children, but the adults could also feel the excitement when he explained space travel with the roar of the rockets and the wonders of the solar system.

"He was this darling little guy with a mustache like Groucho Marx, dancing around and showing the planets," said his daughter, Kathryn Posin.

An account of his life stated that he was born in 1909 in Russian Turkestan in a village by the Caspian Sea. He was six years old when his family saw the Russian Revolution coming and began its three-year flight to the United States. He and his mother made their way to Mongolia and finally got passage on a ship to San Francisco. He traveled in steerage next to the cows.

Despite arriving with not a word of English, he soared through school, sold newspapers and worked in restaurants and camps, won scholarships and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of California at Berkeley with a Ph.D. in physics. His father had died young of tuberculosis while working as a janitor in Russia.

In 1943, at the age of 34, Posin became president of the National Academy of Sciences and moved to Massachusetts Institute of Technology to conduct research on radar and radioactivity. It was there that he met and became friends with Albert Einstein. Both men were deeply shaken when the atomic bomb was used in World War II. Einstein, who recognized Posin’s gift for explaining physics to ordinary people, urged him to use his talents to teach the world.

As his education progressed and his fame grew, Posin gave more than 3,000 lectures in the United States and England on nuclear power and its dangers and benefits. His arguments against using it for war won him six nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize. His book "I Have Been to the Village," about world-altering decisions starting at the village level, had a forward by Einstein, who wrote: "Dr. Dan Q. Posin's book bears eloquent witness to the sincere and self-sacrificing way in which the ablest among the scientists try to fulfill their duty toward the community."

In 1967 he started teaching physics at San Francisco State. He taught until he was 87, after which he moved to the New Orleans area to be near his son, Daniel Jr. In 2003 he died at the age of 93 in New Orleans, LA. 

Dr. Posin, at right, was introduced to the Covington audience by Dr. Richard Harrison with the Delta Regional Primate Center. 

See also:

Before Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson, There Was Dan Q. Posin