Monday, January 21, 2019

Everybody In Town Helped Rebuild Park

When flood waters swept through Bogue Falaya Park and destroyed the pavilion in the summer of 1916, city leaders joined together and declared "Park Day," a special day when all able bodied citizens were to meet at the park, join work crews, and remove the debris and save all the materials possible so the pavilion could be rebuilt.

It was quite an effort. Most all the businesses in town closed for the day and sent their employees to the park to help. A huge effort made sure that enough lunches were on hand to feed the dozens of workers. 

Bogue Falaya Park was a key community gathering place back in 1916, so everyone knew they had to pitch in and together rebuild the pavilion and restore the park, which had only been opened a few years before. 

A special bonus of the following news article (which appeared in the July 29, 1916, St. Tammany Farmer) is that every one of the businesses that were closing was listed in print, and every citizen who had signed up to work that day (or send a substitute if they couldn't make it) was named. So here are a lot of community names all in one place, many of them familiar, many of them not so familiar. 

Park Day Will See All Loyal Citizens At Work

News Article July 29, 1916

Men Whose Hands Have Never Known a Callous Spot to Work in Gangs


Whistle of Ice Factory Will Sound Time for Work, for Dinner and Knock Off.

There was a combined meeting of committees from the Park Commission, The Association of Commerce and the town council, Tuesday after noon at 3 o'clock.

There were present: Mayor Lacroix, J. H. Warner, H. A. Mackie, D. I. Addison, C. E. Schonberg, L. M. Bourgeois, C. C. Kornfeld, members, and secretary Seller.

L. M. Bourgeois, C. C. Kornfeld, and D. I. Addison were appointed to a committee to ask the merchants to close on August 3, 1916, the day being set apart for the restoration of Bogue Falaya Park, and that a list of those agreeing to close be reported.

A. V. Smith, Jasper E. Nilson and H. A. Mackie were appointed a committee to see the ladies about furnishing lunch on the park grounds on that day.

The question of providing the ladies with sheltered accommodations for preparing and serving lunoheon wad discussed, and it was agreed that proper provision would be made for this.

It was suggested that the St. Tammany Ice and Manufacturing Co. be asked to allow Mr. Barrenger to remove the electric wiring from the pavilion, as he understood the work and would be a valuable assistant.

Mr. Charles Jenkins, C. V. Quave, Frank Boudousqui and Pete Barelli are to be requested to take charge of separate gangs, so that the work may be laid out in a practical and efficient manner and the lumber be saved with as little damage as possible.

(Mr. Lawrence M. Bourgeois agreed to bring his team and employees to assist In the work of hauling, etc. He will have four men with him.

Mr. Mackie stated that it should be understood that while the people in their patriotism, were giving their labor free to the town, August 3 was to be a work day and not a play day Everybody must work, and if anyone got tired or could not stand the work, he was to report immediately to the foreman and be retired. This was for the good of the cause.

There was work to be accomplished and it could not be accomplished with men unable or too tired to work. Those who did not feel that they were abl3 to do the work might employ substitutes to take their places. Workmen are to be on hand at 8 a. m. if possible.

It was also decided to remove the shells from the roof of the pavilion as there were enough shells to make it pay to do this, and that an effort was to be made to save the tar paper by cutting it off in strips. Instructions were given to ask Commissioner Dullon to superintend this work.

Special attention was called to the fact that there would be more tools needed than could be obtained unless the volunteers brought them. It was therefore requested that everybody bring a hatchet or hammer and a crowbar. A few sledgehammers will also be needed.

(Mayor Lacroix stated that the town could furnish teams on that day.

The whistles of the St. Tammany Ice and Manufacturing Co., will blow at 8 o'clock a. m. for work to begin and will blow at the noon hour fo dinner, at 1 p. m. to begin work again and at 5 p. m. to knock off.

All those who the committee have not been able to see are cordially invited to send In their names immediately, if they desired to participate in the work of restoring the park.   

All workers are requested to report at Bogue Falaya Park at 8 a. m. promptly, that they may be assigned to their gang. Foreman are requested to report at 9 a., m. Sunday, July 30, to meet the committee In charge and lay out the work.

The attention of the ladles is called to the fact that the men are doing the heavy work and are leaving to them the task of preparing the luncheon.   The management and organization of committee, etc., and all preparations for this part of the work, except the preparing of quarters, will be in their hands.   It is supposed that donations of cakes and other things will be liberally made by the   people.  Money from this source will be credited to the building fund of the pavilion.

The regular dinner will be served for 25 cents. It will consist of Gumbo, rice spaghetti, or red beans, meat bread and butter and coffee. Mrs. Gabriel will prepare the dinner, with the exception of the gumbo, which will be made at the Mackie home and brought over.

Following is a list of those who have consented to close up on Park Day, Thursday, August 3, 1916

Those business which will close up.

Mrs. S.   Garcia,   Champagne & Duplantls, Herbert Grocery Co., Lawrence M. Bourgeois, C. C. Kornfeld, A. C. McCormack, D. I. Addison, & Co., P. E. Smith, Geo. A. Ryan, Jos. Federico, Paul J. Lacroix, Segond & Fontan, F. C. FitzSimmons, Grocery Co., Smith Hardware Co. Ltd., A. V. Smith, Covington Bank and Trust Co., H. J. Ostendorf, Nilson Frederick Co., F. P. Marsolan, Jan Connaughton,   Aug.  Coig,   H. J Smith's Sons, Louis David & Son: Frank Patecek, Fred Hartley, Julia Heints.   Ozone   Motor Co.,   W. H Kentsel,   St.   Tammany Bank and Trust Co., Alexius Brothers and Co., Theobald    Brothers,    Wehrli & Therlot, A. J. Blanche & Co., W N. Patrick, E. G. del Corral, Theo Zinzer, L. R. Reeves, A. Sawaya. M Sawaya, A. M. Amasen, W. R. Badon E. M. LeBlanc, Mrs. Preston Burns W. A. Fauntleroy, Ulyssus Depriest, E. Romano, Robt. L. Aubert, W. Cannon, A. LeBlanc, E. E. LeBlanc. E Hmik, Jos. M. (Morgan ft Co., Pau Herbes, Planche and Per bos, Paul Laborde, Jr., Covington Grocery and Grain Co.

A List of the Workers

The following have agreed to work or furnish substitutes:

B. M. Smith, D. I. Addison, C. C Kornfeld, Lawrence M. Bourgeois, A J. Lajaunie, E. R. Morrison, Wm. Champagne, Gaston Duplantls, E. D Kentsel, Robert Badon, Fred Combe, W. E. Boes, C. P. (Bovivel, C. W. Poole, Jr., Leon Herbert, N. M. Hebert,  A. C. McCormack. R. C. Moisr J. E. Stanga, R. L. White, Claud Smith, P. E. Smith, C. E. Schonberg, F. J. Martlndale, F. C. Loret N. J. Seller, Geo. R. Tolson. Mrs.G.R. Tolson, Geo. A. Ryan, D. H. Mason. H. A. Mackie. L. Young, W. RIggs, John Stalks, Louis P. Pechon, J. L. Watkins, Vincent J. Pascal, H B. Pruden, Sam Oaserta

J. M. Simmons, A. D. Schwartz, M. P. Planche, S. J. Frederick. W. E. Blossman, N Gillis, T. E. Brewster, W. Galatas, T. M. Burns, Sam Blossman, Chas H. Sheffield, Jacob Seller. G. C. Lewis. L. E. Boucoudray, D. H. Weaver, W. R. Kennedy, V. H. Frderick, M. Nielsen, F. Genovese, Paul J Lacroix, Jos. Federico, C. O. Hendricks, Emile Frederick, Paul J. Laborde, Case Segond, Ben Fontan, N. H. FitzSimmons, H. Bosquet, Hardy H. Smith, W. H. Smith, L. A. Perreand, R. H Dutsch, E. G. Davis, E. R. Mosef, H. E. Ostendorf, J. F. Buquoi, Mackie Pine Product Co., J. E. Nilson, Ed. J. Menetre. F. P. Marsolan, Jar Connaughton

Jas. Smith, Ivy Champagne, Adam Seller, E. W. Jones E. J. (LeBlanc, A. Frederick, Aug Coig, J. Louis Smith, Louis David Jr., Emile Lacroix, Frank Patecek, Fred. Hartley, G. P. Molloy, Schoer and Molloy, J. S. Lambert, Alexiud Bros. and Co., Wm. Biery, James Mullally, C. V. Quave, E. V. Richard, J. H. Warner, Chas. Theobald, E Theobald, A. Theobald. Wehrli and Theriot, Louis B. Ahadie, J. B. Christia, Thos. J. Champagne, Victor Planche, W. N. Patrick G. Sawaya, C. M. Lazarus, A. Sawaya, Loz Surr, W. R. Badon, P. A. Burns, Emil Peyre, J. Aouellle, Ulyssus Depriest

E. Romano, A. LeBlanc, C. Duvolssir, E. E. LeBlanc, L.   Rushing,   A. J. Planche. A. E. Massman, Paul Hereby, Aug. Verges, St. Tammany Ice and Manufacturing Co., M. P. Planche, Julius Heintz, A. Perbos, W H. Kentzel, A. H. Grimmer, J. H. Lambert,  Edward  Alpuente, Bernard Commenge, Albert Rochenshu and Son, Harvey E. Ellis, and Pineland Springs Bottling Co.

See also:

Bogue Falaya Park

 Bogue Falaya Park Pavilion

Flood Devastates Covington 1916

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Three Covington Businesses - 1919

Three key Covington businesses were described in the Jan. 11, 1919, issue of the St. Tammany Farmer. Here are those articles. 

The people spotlighted were A.J. Planche, J.H. Heintz and E. L. Soniat. The latter ran a news stand in the Southern Hotel, next to the post office, which was also in the Southern Hotel at the time.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Elmer Lyon - Boy Scout Leader

In 1934 School Superintendent Elmer E. Lyon was certified as a Committee Member for the local Troop of the Boy Scouts of America. 

See also:

Elmer Lyon, Pioneer In School Consolidation

Friday, January 18, 2019

100 years ago this week

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer of January 18, 1919. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Quart of milk goes up to 18 cents; clearance sale at Patecek's; Society News; bank officers named, and prohibition seems like a sure thing coming.

Click on the sample images below to see larger version.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Neuhauser Brothers Store in Slidell

In 1905, this report was published about the Neuhauser Brothers store in Slidell:

     NEUHAUSER BROS. composed of Messrs. N.G. and A.S. Neuhauser, conduct one of the principal Mercantile establishments at Slidell, carrying an extensive assortment of goods.. Mr. N. G. Neuhauser has for thirteen years been the Station Agent. He is a large holder of town and country real estate and takes an active interest in educational affairs. His brother is well-known as having been the Manager of the Slidell Brick Works. 

Click on the images below to make them larger. 

 This article appeared on July 29, 1916.

Three years later, this article appeared in the St. Tammany Farmer of Jan. 11, 1919:

Click on the image above to make it larger and more readable.

The store offered a wide variety of goods, including automobiles.


Slidell Ship Launching Nov. 1918

The Steamship Buchanon was launched at the Louisiana Shipyards in Slidell on November 10, 1918. Here's a picture and some information in an article that appeared in the St. Tammany Farmer on January 11, 1919.

Click on the images and article to make them larger. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Elected Officials In 1906

This roster shows who was who among the elected officials in St. Tammany Parish back in 1906. Click on the image to make it larger. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

People & Places In Madisonville - 1919

Here are a few brief articles about the people and places in Madisonville in January of 1919, from the pages of the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper one hundred years ago. Click on the images to make them larger. 

January 11,1919

Prominent People and Enterprises of Madisonville

Mayor O.J. Oulliber

In recent years Madisonville has made material progress and development. The population has materially increased and to-day it ranks as one of the leading industrial towns of the State. In its progress and growth Mr. O. J. Oulliber has taken an active interest.

He has served as Mayor of Madisonville for sixteen years. So faithfully has he fulfilled the duties of this public office that he has been re­-elected at each election. Mr. Oulliber is a man of rare judgment and has shown unusual ability as a man of public affairs. 

He has always shown the greatest amount of in­terest in the town's development, and has been active in everything calculated to benefit the community.

As a man of public trust, it may truly be said that there is not a more honorable man for the office, for he has executed the duties of the trust in a most satisfactory way and has managed the affairs of the city with the same care and judgment be would have taken in his own private business.

That he has won the esteem of the people of the town is shown by the strong support he has received at the last several elections. He is also Justice of the Peace and devotes considerable of his time to the duties of this office.

He was born and raised here, is widely known and highly esteemed by his friends and acquaintances.

Dendinger Merchantile Company, Inc.

Madisonville is indeed fortunate in having such a splendid mercantile establishment as that conducted by the Dendinger Mercantile Company, Inc., a concern that dates its inception back to the early history of the town and has grown up with the community.

The business of this enterprising concern has grown from a modest beginning to the large proportion of today. It now stands as the largest and most completely stocked general merchandise establishment in this section.

The store is large and spacious and is stocked throughout with practically everything that could he called for. The concern has  learned the trade and knows just what to carry in stock to meet the demands of everyone, whether in Madisonville or in the country, for this concern has built up an unusual trade among the country folks as well as those of the town.

The rural trade is urgently solicited, and it is the express desire of the management to carry in stock such wares or articles demand­ed by these people. While the quality of merchandise carried by this concern is unquestionably of high character, yet the prices are reasonably moderate, because they buy in large quantities taking advantage of discounts and do not have high rents to pay like the larger stores of this kind in the cities.  

The Dendinger Mercantile Company gives their trade the benefit of all of these advantages. That they are appreciated is reflected  by the steady and material growth of the business from year to year. 1918 has been one of the most successful years for the business for many new customers are now trading here as well as practically all of those who have been dealing here for years.  

The stock is such as to please everyone.   It includes a full and complete line of groceries, all kinds of meats and supplies, vegetables, house furnishings and supplies, supplies for women and children as well as suits and complete supplies for men; paints, auto accessories, trunks, suit cases, and a full supply of farm tools and implements.

Theodore Dendinger, who is president  of  the Dendinger Mercantile Company, is a man of broad business experience and has done considerable towards  making Madisonville the splendid little city it is today.

J. N. Cornet, who actively manages the business of this splendid enterprise, is a wide-awake business man of training and experience.    In directing the affairs of this large business enterprise, he has shown rare judgment and ability.   Under his  management the business has continued to grow and prosper, which is the best possible tribute to the ability of this able business man.

Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Canulette

Among the prominent and leading families of Madisonville is that of Mr. and Mrs. A. D. Canulette,   who are widely and favorably  known over the entire parish.  

They are among the older residents here and their presence and interest in the growth of the town and community has been quite advantageous. They have always shown splendid disposition to assist in, any way calculated   to benefit the community.

They are large property owners in this section.  They have a very charming daughter. Miss Mary, who is well known and very popular.

Old Port Hole Inn

The Old Port Hole Inn, which is a landmark in Madisonville, Louisiana, is now conducted by Mrs. D. E. Overstreet. Mrs. Overstreet has been in the hotel business here for more than a year, having taken charge of the hotel in November of last year.

The hotel has accommodations for forty or fifty people and serves meals to all who care to patronize this hotel. Many changes and improvements have been made and this little hotel now is in first class order with shower baths, electric lights, running water in every room with other modern conveniences. The hotel is located one block from the Jahncke shipyard.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Abita Springs Art Goes To France

Somewhere in a French palace near Paris is artwork made by Abita Springs artists Gene Culbertson and Gary Achee. 

Back in February of 1984, Governor-elect Edwin Edwards needed something to give French President Francois Mitterrand during an upcoming visit, and he remembered the great duck decoy given to him by the Covington chamber of commerce a couple of years earlier. 

That duck decoy had been crafted by Culbertson, so another decoy was especially requested from him for Edwards to give to the French president. In addition, Abita Springs signmaker Achee produced an exquisitely carved wooden plaque pledging friendship between the two governments. 

Here is the article that described the adventure.

Tammany Art Presented To France

COVINGTON - West St Tammany Parish was well represented during the recent Edwin Edwards trip to France. More than a dozen local people accompanied the governor-elect, sharing in the enjoyment of such places as Paris and Versailles. But two men who didn't get to see the sights and who indeed, "never left the country" will also be remembered by the French and in particular by their president Francois Mitterrand.

For the products of their artistic and creative labors were presented, by Edwards as gifts to Mitterrand.

Edwards himself had been given a piece of Gene Culbertson's finely crafted wooden decoy work two years ago when he appeared at a Covington Chamber of Commerce installation banquet. He was evidently quite impressed because it was Culbertson whom he contracted to prepare what would be his own personal gift to the French president.

Gene Culbertson

"I was contacted by Edwards probably two and a half weeks before he was going to leave," said Culbertson. "I had a gift show at the World Trade Mart in Dallas coming up, and I had to build his thing in between everything else I was doing. I finished it on Wednesday and personally took it to Baton Rouge. They thought it was the prettiest thing they'd ever seen, and they said they were extremely excited about it. Then they left for Paris the next day "

Culbertson had fashioned and decorated a trunk-sized wooden box, its inner space divided into two chambers. Inside he placed two duck decoys one carved by Clovis "Cadiz" Vezier Sr. in approximately 1910, and the other a mallard or French Duck hewn by himself.

"I also put in a story about Vezier and how his father Beauregard had come over from France," said Culbertson. "I wanted to tie in Louisiana and its people to the French.

"Beauregard settled here and raised 10 kids. Clovis carved decoys and hunted for a living. Decoy making was a form of early American art and it looks like the work is becoming very collectible today," he said.

The Covington craftsman himself has the ability to fashion from a piece of wood creatures and objects so intricately detailed and incredibly lifelike that feathers appear soft to the touch. For Edwards or Mitterrand, he set a mallard in a hand made swamp scene complete with water roots, swamp grass and more.

"When I took it to Baton Rouge, they were all extremely proud." he said.

Signmaker Achee Creates Special Plaque

If Culbertson's creation was more a gift from Edwards to the president of France, Gary Achee s fine work should perhaps be considered a gift from the people of Louisiana to the people of that country.

Achee, an Abita Springs sign maker who happens to have learned his trade from his cousin Gene Culbertson, designed and then fashioned a circular cypress plaque bearing the sandblasted relief inscription "We are the French - Nous Sommes Francais" in gold leaf around its outer edge, and maps of France and Louisiana, their flags crossed in friendship, against a finely-grained background m the center.

 A brass plaque on the wooden continent of France reads: To President Mitterrand and the good people of France. Its counterpart on the boot of Louisiana says: From Governor Edwards and the good people of Louisiana.

"It includes the people with the politics said Achee. "It was kind of a mutual idea of Mark Delesdernier and myself. Mark said he was going on the trip and that if I wanted to make something he'd present it. It was probably around Christmas that we decided to do it. We did it because we're French."

It took Achee approximately one week, including "a couple of days to work out the design" and more to fabricate and finish the protect. The wood is rich and lustrous, and Achee's fine craftsmanship wonderfully compliments the natural beauty.

In the end it was the artist's sister who presented the plaque to Edwards who in turn gave it to Mitterrand. The governor elect was obviously impressed with Achee's work as well.

"He said he wasn't going to give it to Mitterrand," said Achee. "He said he was going to "hang it in his office instead."

    See also:

Duck Decoys In St. Tammany

Jahncke Shipyards - 1919

In 1919, one hundred years ago, Jahncke Shipyards was being applauded for its outstanding work in producing wooden ships for World War I. Wooden ships had been proven less vulnerable to enemy mines than metal ships, so the expertise of Jahncke workmen in putting out excellent quality wooden ships in record time was appreciated by the war effort.

However, after the war ended, so did many of the government contracts to build ships. Shipyard leaders as well as community supporters rallied and sent representatives to Washington to try to convince the government to continue to rely on wooden ships in addition to metal ships.

Here are a couple of articles about those Jahncke shipbuilding efforts back in 1919. Click on them to make them larger and more readable.

To view the Jahncke Shipyard Photograph Collection, CLICK HERE.


Click on the video 'play' triangle for a view of shipyard workers in Madisonville.

See also:

Maritime Museum Unveils Model of Jahncke Shipyard

Photographs from Jahncke Shipyard 

Friday, January 11, 2019

100 years ago this week

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer of January 11, 1919. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Click on the sample images below to see larger version.

After the end of World War I, Europe was devastated and millions of people were left destitute and hungry. The Farmer published a map of the dire situation showing which areas were suffering from the worst food shortages, as a nationwide effort was launched to gather contributions to help those war-ravaged areas.  


Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Dew Drop Dance Hall

The amount of research conducted by Dr. Karl Koenig on the jazz history of New Orleans and vicinity is astounding, and no where is this more evident than in his lengthy revelations about The Dew Drop Dance Hall in Mandeville. 

The Dew Drop dance hall is located at 430 Lamarque St. in Mandeville and was spotlighted in a 1986 article by Dr. Koenig which was published in The Second Line, the magazine for the New Orleans Jazz Club. 

Near the end of the article he made an impassioned plea about saving the Dew Drop and preserving its musical heritage. Here are edited "excerpts" from the article from a PDF file posted on the website:


by Karl Koenig
(Edited version)

One imagines the sounds of an early jazz band, (maybe a band led by the legendary Buddy Petit , who often played in the structure) and the shouts and laughs of a large crowd enjoying the good times and good music, both inside the hall (where the best of southern Louisiana cooking was being served by members of the Dew Drop Social Club, the owners of the hall).

It is over 100 years since the Dew Drop Social Club was formed (May 5th, 1885). The Dew Drop Social Hall may be the oldest and last existing structure of its kind. It is in need of repairs but, what is most important — it is still intact — the same way, the same boards in place — the same way it existed when it was built in 1895.

 It is a prime example of a late 19th Century country dance hall — the kind of hall that nurtured early jazz. Inside there is a foot and a half high band stand fronted by a wooden bannister about one and a half feet high, opened in two places to admit two pairs of steps that lead up to the bandstand. 

The windows are large openings, each side of the hall containing four such windows 6 feet high and 4 feet wide, big enough when open to permit the breeze from the lake to cool the participants in the hall on a humid, summery night, and allow the music being played to float throughout the neighborhood so that there would be no doubt that there was indeed a dance going on at the Dew Drop Dance Hall.

The Dew Drop Social Club was organized on May 5th, 1885 by Olicia Eunio, the hall built at a later date and dedicated on January 1, 1895.

Celeste Lee was one of the founders of the club. In an interview on February 23, 1985, Celeste recalled: "Many things went on in that hall. It was used for anniversaries, entertainments and concerts. The most popular event were the balls and dances. The hall was the center of our social life. I remember the dances. They were my favorite. We used to sell gumbo and other things outside the hall to make money for the club. 

"I remember many of the musicians that played there such as Buddy Petit. My sister's husband played with him — Papa Celestin, Louis Armstrong, Sam Morgan, the Fritz Brothers Band and so many more."

Celeste continued: "The bands in those days played all kinds of music; waltzes and everything, but my favorites were the lively jazz numbers. I liked to dance to them. 

"We even gave 'penny parties' to help the society. There are only about four members left, so we disbanded the society five years ago. The social club just dwindled away and the young people weren't interested in those kinds of activities — we couldn't even get a quorum for the meetings."

Celeste's sister Lillian, was married to Buddy Manaday the banjo player in the Petit Band and a close friend of Buddy Petit. In an interview with Lillian in her living room she talked about her husband and the Dew Drop Dance Hall:

"The dances at the dance hall were 'fun times'. There was all kinds of fun anytime we went to the hall. There was an event that was called a Tamarama, a musical vaudeville revue like a local talent show. It was real popular. Four of us girls would make look-alike dresses and wear them to the hall. I remember one was pink with frills and laces. My parents made sure that us young girls left the hall by midnight, even though the dance would always last until almost day­light. 

"I remember the delicious gumbo and cakes we served at the dances. (Lillian mentions there were other more potent liquid refreshments that were discreetly available outside the hall, near the back before, during and after Prohibition).

Buddy Manaday

Buddy Manaday was born in Baton Rouge in 1884 and moved to Mandeville in 1905 and started a five piece band. He always liked to play banjo and preferred it over the guitar. Manaday liked two things — music and fishing. He earned his living doing both of them. If he wasn't playing music he would be found out in the lake fishing. Before Buddy Petit came to Mandeville, Manaday's Band had only violin, guitar and bass.   

The two men, separated by 10 years in age, (Buddy was born c. 1895 in White Castle, Louisiana) became good friends and formed a new band using both musicians from Mandeville and the New Orleans area. They got work at the two dance halls in Mandeville, at the entertainment places along the shore of Lake Pontchartrain at Jackson Park in Mandeville (on Coffee Street) and other nearby locations in small Louisiana towns.

Once they worked a steady job at a place called 'Frosts' near the town of Madisonville. They would hire a horse and buggy to get to these jobs in nearby towns. Manaday also played a six string banjo. The band played about three times a week.

Jazz from New Orleans to Mandeville

My research in jazz history shows that jazz bands from New Orleans spread their music throughout the south a number of years prior to jazz's acceptance in the north, namely Chicago. In fact, it was the Petit/Manaday Band that did a good deal of this traveling — from Mandeville, to Bogalusa, to as far as Moss Point, Mississippi, from Pensacola to Mont­gomery, Alabama. 

Along the shore line of the northern part of Lake Pontchartrain there were three boat landings and a number of hotels, all using live music. Many of the local musicians liked the style of country living in Mandeville and found enough work in the area. They did not want to, or have to, go into New Orleans for work. The Dew Drop had at least two dances a week.

There were many jazz musicians born or living around Mandeville. This list includes: Buddy Petit, George Lewis, Ernie Cagnolatti, Andy Anderson, Tom Ladnier, Dan Moody, Bunk Johnson, Frank Lewis, George Washington and Ed Hall. Local musicians included the Laments, Klebert Cagnolatti, and the Fritz family; Isidore, Louis, Joe Lucien and Papa Fritz.

Isidore Fritz

Many New Orleans musicians mention the name of Mandeville clarinetist Isidore Fritz. He was the leader of the Independence Band. The band's personnel included: Isidore Fritz - clarinet and sax, Louis Fritz - trombone, Joe Fritz - bass, Klebert Cagnolatti - drums, Tom Ladnier - trumpet, Claybear - sax, Bunk Johnson - cornet, Leon Laurent - violin, Buddy Petit - cornet, Lucien Fritz - drums, Edmon Hall - clarinet.

George Lewis was very flattering when he talked about Isidore Fritz: "The leading clarinetist in the Mandeville area was Isidore Fritz. I heard him play many times." In the later part of George Lewis' life he admitted that he was probably more influenced by Isidore Fritz than by any other clarinetist.

Fritz played in a band in Mandeville led by his father Joe Fritz, a bass player. Isidore's brother Louis, played trombone. The trumpeter was Tommy Ladnier. Bunk Johnson would occasionally, in his travels show up in the town of Mandeville to play with the band and sometimes give advice in music to them.

After gaining experience in the Black Eagle Band and Leonard Parker's Band, both of Mandeville, George Lewis would get a chance to sit in with the Fritz Band — this may have been one of the first times Lewis played with Bunk Johnson. Lewis also heard Tommy Ladnier with the Fritz Band. Fritz died in 1940.

Lewis further stated: The Fritz Band (the Independence Band) at one time traveled to Baton Rouge to play. When they returned to Mandeville, George Lewis remarked that it was then he really began noticing them. He states: "That's when I found out how much of a clarinet player Isidore Fritz was. Isidore was one of the best, I'd say I ever heard, but he never would come over to play in New Orleans."

Manuel Perez also tried to get Isidore Fritz to cross the lake and play in New Orleans, but it was said that Fritz was reluctant to give up the family brick­laying business in Mandeville.
Fritz used to give George technical advice about clarinet reeds and embouchure help.

Meeting The Steamboats

The Independence Band and the Leonard Parker Band would many times meet the excursion steamers from New Orleans as they arrived in Mandeville. The two bands would try to attract the people from the boats to their dance being held that night in one of the hotels or dance halls in Mandeville.

Andy Anderson was from Mandeville and one of the finest trumpet players in the area. He mentions about Buddy Petit playing in the Fritz band: "Buddy Petit would play in the Fritz band sometimes and would fill his playing schedule up by playing the neighborhood towns on the other nights. The Independence Band played at Voutrans on Mandeville Beach."

Picture of the Dew Drop in the Jan. 1985 issue of the St. Tammany Farmer.

A number of early jazz musicians that were bom or lived on the north side of Lake Pontchartrain knew or played with Isidore Fritz; these include Andy Anderson, Earl Foster and Ernie Cagnolatti.

Andy Anderson was born August 10, 1905, in Mandeville. Bunk Johnson used to come over every weekend to play music in the Mandeville area. Anderson's father, George, played with Bunk. His father's band consisted of a violin, guitar and string bass. Andy heard many of the New Orleans musicians on the lake boats such as the Camellia which came to Mandeville each Sunday. 

Hearing Bunk in Mandeville inspired Andy to play trumpet. He knew Tommy Ladnier. Bunk had a sister, Bertha Jack­son, living about 60 feet from the Anderson home in Mandeville. His father's trio played at Jackson Park on Coffee in Mandeville.

Andy, later in his career, played on the Camellia with a band that had Reuben Hughes - bass, and Reuben McClendon - banjo. When asked about Isidore Fritz, Anderson remembered his band and had this to state: "Isidore, from over the lake, was one of the greatest jazz clarinetist around. Fritz couldn't read anything, but he could play harmony to anything and play anything anyone else could. 

Earl Foster, born December 28, 1904 in Mandeville, came to New Orleans around 1922. He began his musical career playing drums in Mandeville.  Bunk Johnson also played parades with Fritz in Mandeville. The bands rode in the parades there; the vehicle was a truck version of a tallyho. 

Isidore Fritz played clarinet with Buddy Petit before Manny Gabriel. Fritz's Band, named the Independence Band was based in Mandeville. Leonard Parker, trumpet, had a band in Slidell, but he joined the Independence Band, so his band was really the same as the Independence Band. Isidore Fritz was the only clarinet player Foster knew in Mandeville. He was a fine clarinet player and also played sax. Tom Ladnier played trumpet with Fritz's Band."

Ernie Cagnolatti was born April 2, 1911, in Madisonville, a town a few miles northwest of Mandeville. He came from a musical family and his brother, Klebert, played with Bunk Johnson during World War I at the shipyards in Madisonville with the Fritz Band. Klebert's wife is said to have had a picture of the band: Joe Fritz - leader & bass, Earl Fritz -trombone, Isidore Fritz - clarinet, Leon Pyrone - guitar, Klebert Cagnolatti -drums and Bunk Johnson - trumpet.

Ernie continued talking about the Fritz Band: "The band would come back to Madisonville for each ship launching by Jahncke Company and would rehearse afterward and play jobs nearby. The bands across the lake, like the Fritz band, were dixieland bands, called string bands."

Ernie moved to New Orleans in 1919. He recalls that Prof. Touro and Charles Deverges would come from New Orleans to the various schools across the lake and would teach music, mostly to students without financial means.

Ernie also names Dan Moody as one who also had a band composed of men from various towns in the Mandeville area where Moody had a regular job at Duval's Pavillion where the steamer Susquehanna came in. Sheik Cola played with Moody around the countryside. He cannot recall any brass bands across the lake, and on holidays a band from New Orleans would be hired, but it was difficult to get one. 

Musicians from the bands on boats like the Susquehanna, Camelia, Hanover, Victor and the Mandeville, which made fairly regular trips across the lake, would come to Mandeville and Madisonville. The boats, which made one trip on Sundays, would arrive in Mandeville about 11 a.m., the boats would go to Madisonville that night and tie up, and leave Monday, sometimes Tuesday for New Orleans.

The Sons and Daughters Hall has long ago burned, but Buck's Tavern, on the highway, once a mecca for New Orleans jazz bands and the place that Leon Laurent says that he and Bunk Johnson built, is still there (now called Ruby's Tavern) but no longer hires jazz bands.

The only place in Mandeville remaining the same is the Dew Drop Dance Hall. It was sold by the social club to Emma Cade Badia. She once thought of turning the hall into apartments, but has since abandoned the idea.

There are now people working to see that the Dew Drop remains intact as a prime example of an early dance hall. Its existence would allow one to hear just what a band sounded like from the stage of an old dance hall. 

Dr. Koenig's Efforts to Preserve the Dew Drop

Wouldn't it be great to give a concert/dance in the hall today? We could relive those early days when the Buddy Petit Band played on that same stage. Wouldn't it be something to hear Chester Zardis play on that stage some 50 years later? I hope we can prevent bulldozers from getting this historic landmark the way they got Armstrong's house in 1964. 

I talked to Danny Barker about the dance hall. He would join me in a concert at the Dew Drop to help raise money to insure its preservation. How about you? Would you come and play — or listen — to a concert from the stage of the Dew Drop in Mandeville? It would be really fun to have a jam session in this old hall."

Due To Extraordinary Efforts, the Dew Drop Was Saved and Preserved 

From 1986, when the article was written, significant progress was made to preserve the jazz hall. For more recent details, check out the website located at 

It said that the hall has been "owned by the City of Mandeville since 2000 and managed by the all volunteer, non-profit Friends of the Dew Drop. This hall is one of only a handful of buildings of its kind still in its original condition. The Friends of the Dew Drop are dedicated to preserving the structure and to keep alive the music that made this hall so popular."

The Dew Drop was added to the National Register of Historic Places in August of 2000. It is regarded as the oldest surviving rural jazz dance hall in the world. 

In its application to become listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is what was said about the structure and its history:

"The Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall is of local significance as a major center of social life for African-Americans in the Mandeville area. It is also of significance within southern Louisiana as a rare surviving African-American benevolent association hall. Because all available evidence indicates that the building's heyday as a social center and benevolent association hall ended c.1940, that date is being used to end the period of significance.

"Piecing together the history of the Dew Drop is hampered by the lack of written documentation and the fact that none of its members survive. Nor do many people who can give first-hand accounts of its early twentieth century heyday as a dance hall. According to newspaper reports, the group officially disbanded in 1980, when there were only five quite elderly members remaining. 

"Fortunately, jazz historian Karl Koenig interviewed, in 1985, one the founders of the club, 94 year old Celeste Lee; her sister Lillian, age 99, the wife of a musician who played at the Dew Drop; and Ella May Payne, age 90. Transcripts from these interviews were reproduced in an article Koenig published. In preparing this nomination, the staff of the Division of Historic Preservation interviewed Regina Gordon, 97, who attended dances at the Dew Drop in its heyday.

"Thus far scholarly and public attention has focused on the Dew Drop's dance hall and general social history. And, in fact, the group's name is typically seen in print simply as the Dew Drop Social Club. However, the cornerstone gives the name as the Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall, indicating that the organization was a benevolent association of the type found throughout New Orleans and South Louisiana beginning in the late nineteenth century. The history of these mutual assistance groups is yet to be written, but surviving documents and interviews provide the broad outline.

"Essentially a group of people banded together to provide assistance in times of need, most notably to pay for a proper burial. Charters were drawn up, providing for a dues structure, officers, and various membership requirements. Dues, and money raised from dances and other functions, were used to pay for members' funerals. Surviving charters also indicate a rigorous regimen for sitting up with sick members and attending to their needs (i.e., each member was required to put in so many hours). 

Benevolent associations operated under a wide variety of names. Among the most interesting are the Do Right in Geismar, Beauty Bright in Gonzales, and True Friends in Donaldsonville. Some were men's groups, some were women only, and others were both. All available evidence (admittedly fragmentary) indicates that the Dew Drop was either all female or heavily female in membership.

Historically there were hundreds of these groups in southern Louisiana, whether in New Orleans, in small towns, or serving a rural hamlet. Their halls ranged from large two story buildings (like True Friends in Donaldsonville) to small ones like the Dew Drop. Apparently benevolent associations, or societies, began their decline in the 1930s and '40s as the need for burial insurance was met by African-American owned insurance firms. As the old generation died, so went the benevolent associations. Today, relatively little survives to represent this immensely important institution in African-American life. 

The number of surviving halls in New Orleans is unknown. Elsewhere in South Louisiana there are only four known African- American benevolent association halls remaining: the Dew Drop in Mandeville, True Friends in Donaldsonville, Willow Grove in Wallace, and Do Right. The long abandoned Do-Right, in a "move it or lose it" situation in its original Geismar location, was relocated within the last few years by the River Road African-American Museum.

Benevolent association history aside, the Dew Drop is best known as a popular social venue for African-Americans in the Mandeville area. As early member Celeste Lee recalled, "The hall was the center of our social life." She continued: "Many things went on in that hall. It was used for anniversaries, entertainments, and concerts. The most popular event were [sic] the balls and dances. ... I remember the dances. They were my favorite. . . . The bands in those days played all kinds of music; waltzes and everything, but my favorites were the lively jazz numbers. I liked to dance to them. We even gave 'penny parties' to help the society."

Lee's sister, 99 at the time of the interview, recalled other social events:

"The dances at the dance hall were fun times. There was all kinds of fun .... There was an event that was called a Tamarama, a musical vaudeville revue like a local talent show. It was real popular. Four of us girls would make look-alike dresses and wear them to the hall. I remember one was pink with frills and laces. My parents made sure that us young girls left the hall by midnight, even though the dance would always last until almost daylight. I remember the delicious gumbo and cakes we served at the dances."

Ella Paine, born in 1895, reiterated Celeste Lee's comments about the Dew Drop being "the social center for blacks in Mandeville." She continued: "The Negroes were very social minded and the Dew Drop was always having some kind of affair. In 1928 it was going strong and very active." In recollecting some of the bands that played in the area, she observed that black bands played a "different style" for white audiences. "Then when they played at the Dew Drop they played 'hot'— you could really dance to that music."

Regina Gordon, 97, who was interviewed for this nomination, revealed that the Dew Drop had a wider audience that just Mandeville. As a teenager and young adult (late teens/1920s), while living in nearby Covington, she and a group of friends delighted in renting a flivver to make the trip to Mandeville and dance the night away at the Dew Drop. When asked if there was a similar facility in Covington, she said yes. When asked, "Then why the Dew Drop?" she gleefully replied that it was the thrill of a trip in what was then not a common item - the automobile. In short, piling into a car with a gang of friends and going to the Dew Drop was a special outing.

Additional research remains to be done to fully document the jazz history of the Dew Drop, although pioneering work has been done by Karl Koenig, as mentioned above. The building hosted jazz luminaries such as Buddy Petit and his band, famous trombonist Bunk Johnson, and Kid Ory, among others. Some were locals and others crossed Lake Pontchartrain from New Orleans to play various venues on the North Shore.

When the Dew Drop ceased being a dance hall is unknown. Its heyday apparently was the 1920s and '30s. As noted above, the organization formally disbanded in 1980, with only five members. As Celeste Lee, among the original members, recalled: "The social club just dwindled away and the young people weren't interested in those kinds of activities - we couldn't even get a quorum for meetings."

Emma Cade Badie, Celeste Lee's niece, bought the building in 1981. In 1993 Jacqueline Vidrine purchased it from Ms. Badie's succession. In recent years the Dew Drop's future was less than secure.

Various people were interested in buying the building, but seemingly always with relocation and new uses in mind. Happily, the City of Mandeville purchased the Dew Drop in early 2000 and is committed to leaving it in the old neighborhood and retaining its original character. Plans for its use have not crystallized.

Jazz was played at the Dew Drop for the first time in probably over 50 years when in April 2000 a four-hour recording session was held there under the sponsorship of the National Park Service, the New Orleans Jazz Commission, and the George Buck Foundation. As Richard Boyd wrote in the New Orleans Times-Picayune, the spirits of former jazz greats who played the Dew Drop "were probably in abundance as the all-star band opened with 'Walking Through the Streets of the City.' " In attendance were about 100 European jazz musicians and enthusiasts, who danced and second-lined. The Dew Drop was once again rocking."

Included in the application for the National Register of Historic Places was this detailed description of the structure itself:

"The Dew Drop Social and Benevolent Hall is a small wooden building built in 1895 in an African-American neighborhood of Mandeville. Shaded by large live oaks, it survives virtually unaltered.

"A cornerstone bears testament to the founding of the "Dew Drop Social and Benevolent No. 2 of Mandeville" on May 5, 1885 by Olivia Eunio and the erection of the group's hall in 1895. The building was the meeting hall for the mutual assistance/social organization, as well as the venue for popular dances.

"Much of the Dew Drop's appeal is its simple, unaltered state. Raised a couple of feet above grade on brick piers, the rectangular gable fronted building is sheathed in clapboards on the front and board and batten on the sides and rear. At first it might appear to have never been painted, but close inspection shows the remains of a green stain. Outlining the eaves is a sawtooth vergeboard on the front and a scalloped vergeboard elsewhere. 

"Three large windows are located along each side elevation. The windows remain as they were originally - with no glass and protected by shutters. A large wooden double door pierces the front elevation at the center. An off-center single wooden door is found on the rear elevation.

"Amazingly, the interior of the Dew Drop is largely pristine. In fact, the building has never been electrified. There is one large single space with walls of rough vertical boards, an exposed beam ceiling and a wooden floor. At the rear is a simple wooden stage which presumably has been replaced over the years. 

"When the City of Mandeville acquired the building in early 2000, one corner had been partitioned off, which has since been removed. The benches along the side walls were about all gone. The present ones were built based upon what remained. The free-standing benches located in the middle of the room are not original, but are certainly in keeping with the overall simple character of the interior. The painted border with crosses encircling the interior undoubtedly dates from a more recent use of the building for religious purposes.

"Certain clues in the Dew Drop's construction - most notably, changes in the floorboards and piers — have led to speculation that the building originally had an open front porch which was filled in very early. If so, the board and batten and vergeboard were matched exactly - there is no break in either."

Here are some pictures taken in 2000 by Donna Fricker of the structure that were included in its Historic Places application:

A lecture and concert were given at the dedication of the Dew Drop Dance Hall on May 4, 2002.
(Picture from Dr. Karl Koenig's Jazz History Website)