Tuesday, January 1, 2019

St. Tammany Historical Society Over The Years

The St. Tammany Historical Society began 47 years ago, engaging in meetings, banquets, exhibits, and coffees, with speakers all focused on the history of St. Tammany Parish and southeast Louisiana (a rather unusual place when it comes to the past 300 years.) 

Click on the images to make them larger. 


The historical group was formed in 1972 and kept busy publishing gazettes, encouraging research, and planning for a museum of some type. It usually met at the Mandeville City Hall. Here are some pictures. Click on the images to make them appear larger. 

A Historical Society Luncheon

Dr. and Mrs. S. H. Colvin, were among the founders of the historical society, as was Donald R. Sharp, pictured below

Viewing Exhibits with Bill Brugmann and Louis Wagner

Ron Barthet and Dr. S.H. Colvin putting together an exhibit at Mandeville City Hall

Guest Speaker Pie Dufour is greeted by Ella Paine

Pie Dufour had visited the area before, in 1955, to share the history of the Acadians with a local ladies group. 

Bertha Neff talking with Steve Ellis

The officers and board of directors in the mid-1970's: Seated from left are Germaine Cousin Smith and Miss Ella Paine. Standing from left, Ron Barthet, Mrs. F. W. Grant, Dr. S. Harvey Colvin, Bill Koonce, Mrs. Bertha Neff, and Carl Fredericks. 

Historical Society leaders, from left, Bertha Neff, Ron Barthet, Dr. Harvey Colvin, Steve Ellis, Ella Paine, Carl Fredericks, Carolyn and Bill Brugmann. 

Passing the Gavel: from left, Louis Ross Jr., Maurice LeGardeur, Fritzi Martin and Eric Bissel

Ron Barthet and John Hunley

Iris Kelso, Meda Koepp and Fritzi Martin


In The News


To read more about the historical society's publications, click on the article below from the 1985 edition of the Greater Covington Chamber of Commerce magazine. 

To read more about the Mandeville Architectural Survey, CLICK HERE

Melba Colvin and Bertha Neff

Warren Salles spoke to the historical society in 1997 about the movie industry. 

In 1996, the historical society visited Bay St. Louis and heard its historian tell of similarities between Hancock County and St. Tammany Parish. CLICK HERE.
Historian C. Howard Nichols
C. Howard Nichols talks about parish history. CLICK HERE 

Powell Casey talks about the history of Military Road. CLICK HERE.

Historical society members took part in the "8 Flags Over St. Tammany" Exhibit
CLICK HERE to see some of the exhibits

Columbia Street Landing Historical Marker

Mrs. Fritzi Martin, president of the St. Tammany Historical Society, and Louis Ross Jr., at right, a board member, are seen below pulling the cover off the new historical marker denoting Columbia Landing as the birthplace of Covington. The marker tells how the landing was an active harbor where cargo schooners and steamboats linked Covington to other river cities.

Research Funding

 Ron Barthet presents Paula Johnson of Abita Springs with historical society check recognizing her work in historic preservation and archaeological research. 1977


One of the first efforts to start a historical society in this area took place in 1954. Here's a letter that went out to residents interested in organizing a history research group for both Washington and St. Tammany Parishes. Click on the image below to enlarge the text. 

The 1954 group tried to save the Little Napoleon building at the corner of Gibson and Columbia Streets in Covington. It was to be used as a visitors center and museum.

In 1991 the historical society featured a speech by Allen Saltus, who was instrumental in helping the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Maritime Museum get organized and built a few years later. This article also notes the historical society's role in improving and maintaining the Otis House museum in Madisonville. 

New efforts to revive the society's activities were made in August of 2018. Here are some photos from a meeting held at the Madisonville Museum hosted by Iris Lulu-Simoneaux Vacante and attended by many members and officers of the society from across the group's 46 year history. 

Iris Lulu-Simoneaux Vacante

Donald Sharp, holding just one of the 30 three-ring binders of historical research he has gathered involving the "Tchefuncte River Corridor" and the towns along the waterway.