Thursday, November 14, 2019

M.P. Planche, Outstanding Citizen

One of the most respected citizens of Covington in the 20th century was Maurice Pierre Planche, a civic leader, business man and community promoter. He served on the city council for 17 years and on the parish police jury for 28 years, serving as the group's president for 24 of those years. 

His career spanned several decades, including a position as president and manager of the St. Tammany Ice and Electrical Company, the firm which electrified Covington, literally. 

Click on the images to make them larger.

When the public began buying automobiles, he was there with the Frederick-Planche Motor Co., a Ford dealership at the corner of Boston and North New Hampshire Streets.

Carol Jahncke wrote that in 1926, Mr. Maurice Plaunche and Mr. E.J. Frederick decided to open an automobile dealership, which was run by the two sons of Mr. Frederick, Hebert and Lawrence.

They bought the Ford agency from a Mr. Wirley, and almost immediately ran out of cars to sell because Ford had to close its plant down for almost two years as it switched from producing Model T's to Model A's. During that time, they didn't have any cars to sell, but offer a repair shop for the existing cars in town.

Finally in 1929, a new stock of cars came in, the long waiting list for customers was filled, and to celebrate, the Frederick-Plaunche Motor C. had a big parade around town to show off the new Model A's purchased through their business.
See above photo.

One of the events to publicize the business included putting on display the Ford motorcar that was riddled with bullet holes when famed bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde were killed in northwest Louisiana in the early 1930's. The car brought in thousands of curiosity seekers as it toured a number of places around the South.

The Ford car dealership was sold to Mr. Burns in 1939, and the Frederick-Plauche Motor. Co. became Covington Motors. The business was re-located to another spot almost immediately.

Planche had several other business interests, including cattle ranching, lumber, and real estate. He was a member of the Covington Knights of Columbus Council 3061, a charter member of the Greater Covington Chamber of Commerce and the St. Tammany Parish Humane Society. In August of 1921, he was among the business people named to the board of directors of the Covington Paint Company. He was chosen vice president of the new enterprise. He was also on the board of directors of the Commercial Bank and Trust. 

He died on June 29, 1973, at the age of 94 years. Here is some printed material about his life.  

The following items offer obituary information about M. P.  Planche.

He was featured in a community information booklet in the early 1900's, and here is the write up that told about his activities and accomplishments:

 "MESSRS. M. & V. PLANCHE are the proprietors of the Peoples' Bakery which is the largest baking plant in this section of the State. It is operated by electric power and is equipped with all of the up-to-date labor saving devices, including mixer, roller and steam patent oven,' etc. 

An extensive trade has been developed both locally and in wholesale shipments to points along the New Orleans and Great Northern R. R.. and also the Baton Rouge, Hammond and Eastern R. R. Mr. Maurice Planche who is also the general manager of the business is one of the most progressive citizens of the town. 

For three consecutive terms he has been one of the most influential members of the council. He is also a director of the St. Tammany Ice & Mfg. Co., and of the Covington Steam Laundrv. Hs is a prominent member of the local lodges of the Knights of Columbus and Woodmen, and also the Jefferson Fire Co."

In 1924, he was among the group of men meeting at the Southern Hotel to discuss the possibilty of building a bridge across Lake Pontchartrain to New Orleans.

  Among the local people who have been identified in the photo of the Causeway proposal are Arthur Finny, Allie Smith, Dr. W. L. Stevenson, Frank Ellis, Bennie Aeoville, Bud Heintz, Nat Goodwyn, O.G. Price, Mayor Charlie Sheffield, Barkley Smith, Maurice Planche, Louis Ross, Robert Dutch Sr. and James T. Burns.

See also:

The Planche Family 1900