Mardi Gras was celebrated that year on Feb. 28, 1911, with a parade and a ball, with hundreds of people taking part, several elaborate floats, and a tribute to the many Native American legends that centered around St. Tammany waterways. Here is the text of the article.
CROWDS ATTEND THE CARNIVAL
Street Scenes Never Before Witnessed in Covington.
Maskers and Merrymakers Join the Throngs.
Pageant Witnessed by Seven or Eight Thousand.
High Praises Sounded for the "Karnival Klub."
In anticipation of the day, the streets of Covington presented scenes of activity early in the morning. Those who had failed to decorate for fear of a change in the weather got busy with bunting and flags and the carnival colors were displayed on all the buildings of the principal streets, and many of the private residences vied with the more pretentious buildings of the main thoroughfares In decking themselves in gala attire.
Columbia and New Hampshire streets presented an appearance never before witnessed in Covington. Streamers of Carnival colors crossed and recrossed each other high above pedestrians and carriages; windows and openings wore fanciful designs; columns and posts were wrapped in the yellow, red and purple colors of the Kovington Karnival Klub and tissue paper designs of ornamental appearance were effectively used to add beauty to the display.
Streams of conveyances began to pour into town early in the day from the country districts and the carnival spirit was displayed in decorated autos and horses and carriages, most of which congregated at the wharf landing, where the Chief was expected to arrive at 11 o'clock a. m.
Throngs gathered on the surrounding hills and at the riverside, and gayly costumed maskers wound in and about the eager crowd cracking jokes and playing pranks, to the amusement of all.
ARRIVAL OF THE CHIEF
The people were becoming impatient when the whistle of the Steamer Josie was heard coming up the river. It was then about a quarter past 12. The arrival had been advertised for 11 o'clock.
The Indian riders who were to escort the chief to his place of rendezvous to take charge of the affairs of the day had been chosen for their skill as bareback riders and presented a wild and frontier-like a, as with simple halter, without girth or saddle, they guided their ponies to the proper formation for guarding his carriage.
As the steamer glided up to the wharf, a mass of flags and decorations, the crowd welcomed her with hearty cheers. The chief sat on the upper deck surrounded by his aides and waving salutations to the crowd. The water craft of the river mingled the shriek of the whistle with the cheers of the throng, and during the excitement and struggle for a nearer view, the chief and his attendants were ushered into a carriage in waiting and were on the line of march almost before the people were aware of what had taken place.
The procession wended its way to the platform in front of the courthouse, where the mayor was awaiting the chief to turn over the keys of the town and extend to him the calumet of peace. The platform was gaily decorated and the mayor was surrounded by members of the council and press and other prominent citizens. He addressed the chief in a clear and strong voice that could be heard by all surrounding the platform:
THE MAYOR'S ADDRESS
"Welcome 0, Chief Tamanend, thou and thy tribal adherents. Welcome back to the land of sparkling waters, to the land of flowers, to the land that thy nation hath made rich in legends of health-giving fountains and breezes of everlasting life.
"In commemoration of the traditions of thy people we have gathered together to celebrate the day, merging the past and the present in historical representation and existing conditions, cementing the ties of friendship that have been woven in the march of civilization by recollections that warm the heart and bring the flush of pride to the cheek.
"As Mayor of Covington I present to you the keys of the city and bid you welcome. In the name of the People I extend to you the hand of good fellowship and wish you and your people all the joys of the carnival season. The city is yours. Your every wish is supreme. I offer you, the calumet of peace. Your are now in charge of the affairs of our municipality."
The keys were delivered to the Chief by pretty little Irma Beaucoudray, who was key-bearer, with the following words: "Chief Tamanend: These keys open not only the gates of our city, but the hearts of our People to you and your followers."
THE CHIEF'S REPLY
Chief Tamanend arose in his carriage with all the stately dignity of the red men of the forest. In the Peculiar colloqualisms of his race he expressed his sentiments of appreciation and his acceptance of the keys.
"The great pale face has spoken, and his words fall sweet on my ears. I look about me as one lost in the forest. Where your buildings cover the ground the green grass bent under the feet of the deer. Your panting horseless carriages pack hard the highways where once the fleet-footed runners of our tribe marked a trail in the soft, yielding turf. Our white brother has learned the language that speaks from the heart and the ears of Tamanend are open.
I remember the legends of which my white brother speaks, and even as the yellow leaf brings back memories of the green, so my mind wanders from the shelters of my white brother to the wigwams of my forefathers. I have smoked the pipe of peace, me and my people. I open my hand for the keys of your city. I open my heart to your people. Tamanand has spoken."
His closing remarks were drowned by the cheers of the crowd.
From the grandstand the chief and his escort proceeded to his quarters and at half-past one o'clock mounted his car at the head of the procession.
As the procession moved on its advertised line of parade the crowds thronged the sidewalks, the windows and the galleries, eager to see and to attract the attention of the maskers on the floats. Sometimes the souvenir would fail to reach the party for whom it was intended, but mostly friends of the men on the floats were favored.
The pageant was the finest ever witnessed in Covington and was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The following description and legends will give some idea of the character of the floats:
Heading the parade were the mounted police, the captain of the day, the chief scout and his eight men, the Mandeville Band. Preceding each float following the king's float (chief's float) were two lieutenants, and at the head of the mules which drew the floats were negro hostlers, some wearing white and some red hoods.
FLOAT NO. 1: The Chiefs Float.
Float No. 1 was a beautiful mound, almost shoe-shaped in its contour, bordered with large Cherokee roses and covered with growing palms, flowers and vegetation, at the summit of which sat Chief Tamanend, in all the glory of his head-of peace.
Tamanend was chief of the Mohawks and originally lived in the Hudson Valley. He refused to join Tecumseh and his tribes in making war on the whites. He was a great friend and benefactor of the early English and Dutsch settlers and taught them the medical use of many kinds of roots and herbs and assisted the white man every way he could.
The soldiers sainted him and called him St. Tammany for his many deeds to them, and now we find our parish named after him and may we always be proud of it, for while he was a savage chief he was brave and had the heart of a true Christian.
FLOAT NO. 2: Title Car
Float No. 2, the title car, represented a crescent resting in the clouds, with the words St. Tammany on the inside of the crescent.
FLOAT NO. 3: Bogue Falaya River, (Meaning Long River)
Float No. 3, was a scene among the pine trees. Indian maidens in their bright beaded costumes were weaving baskets in which to carry the earth to make room for the receding waters of the lake, as described in the legend below. Nearby was a tepee and a pot boiling over the fire suspended from a pole resting in the crotch of the limbs of two small trees.
In the long, long ago the young chief Inoke lived on the banks of the Bogue Falaya River. He was in love with Huma whose father lived by Big Water (Lake Ponchatrain). Inoke as he sat with Huma one evening watching the beautiful sunset on the waters asked her if she regretted leaving her home to go with him. She answered that she would miss the shallow water of the lake where she and her girl friends had so often gone bathing.
Then Inoke told her that he and his warriors would carry the earth from each bank of the river that it might be widened so that the water would spread out and become shallow. Then Huma said she and her girl friends would make the baskets for him and his braves to carry the sand in, which they did. And the upper river became so shallow that Huma could wade across it at any place. And to this day little children go wading in the waters of this beautiful stream without any danger of falling into deep holes.
FLOAT NO. 4: Abita River, (Name of an Indian Chief)
Float No. 4, was representative of the legend of the Abita River. An Indian maid is seen through the transparent water to be seated upon a prominence in the undulating bottom of the stream, with a dip-net in her hand. An Indian brave on a mound opposite her is playing a crude musical instrument of Indian fashion. Another brave near her is casting a seine, while the third is shooting turtles with his bow and arrow. All these are presumably victims. of neglect in taking warning given by the legends of the tribe.
Myth as is told by the Choctaw Indians, Owa Naholo, meaning white people of the water, who dwelt in the deep pools of the Abita river: Woe unto him who swims in the deeps pools of Abita river, for surely the Okwa Naholo will catch him, and within three days he will have scales, and will forever afterwards have to live under the water like the fish.
FLOAT NO. 5: Ponchitoawa, (Means Singing Hair)
Shows Ochakwa being burnt at the stake. The Indians, with their knives and tomahawks are seen dancing about the tortured victim, beneath the spreading limbs of a huge oak.
Taklaha and his tribe lived on this stream. He was ugly; his men were ugly; his wives were ugly; his whole tribe was ugly all except his little son Ochakwa, he was beautiful. Taklaha was cruel and wicked; his men were cruel and wicked, likewise his wives and whole tribe were cruel and wicked. Yes, all except his little son Ochakwa, he was good and kind.
Taklaha and his men would burn their prisoners and all their wives, and the whole tribe would sit around and enjoy seeing their catpives suffer, all except little Ochakwa, he would run away and hide in the bushes and put his fingers in his ears that he might not hear the horrible cries.
Taklaha did not like Ochakwa, he called him coward and little squaw-man. One day Ochakwa turned some captives loose, Taklaha and his men tied Ochakwa to a stake and built a fire around him. While he was burning he sang like a bird then they cut off his head and hung his scalp with its long black hair on the tree, but when the wind came it sang too. And to this day the long Spanish moss will sing you to sleep with a sweet lullaby, if you lie down on the banks of the Ponchitoawa when the winds come in the springtime.
FLOAT NO. 6: Chinchuba, (Aligator)
Float No. 6 shows Father Roquette teaching the Indians useful lessons and instilling into them the principles of Christianity. Chiefs, with their flowing headdresses of eagle feathers, as well as the braves and the squaws. are seated on the grass beneath the protecting shelter of an oak tree listening to him.
The Reverend Pere Adrian Roquette lived on the banks of this picturesque stream and devoted his life to the elevating and bettering of the conditions of the poor Chocktaw Indians. The oak tree under which he preached the Gospel to these savages, and his little mission house still stand as a monument to this god-fearing man.
FLOAT NO. 7:Tchefuncta River (Tchefuncta Meaning Chinckapin)
Float No. 7 shows the Indian warriors, with the terrible alligator, Chinckapin, which the young chief Inhulata, had captured to win the hand of Princess Tala. The Princess I and her mother and child are seen in the background. The Indians waive spears and knives in their triumph, and the whole made a very realistic scene.
Heloha and his tribe lived on the banks of this stream. Winter has come and gone many times since this powerful chief lived. He loved his little son Tofaape very much, and took care in teaching him how to swim and paddle his little canoe. A large alligator whom they named Chinckapin, because he had rough bumps on his head that resembled chinckapins, lived in the river.
He would eat you if he got a chance. Heloha sat in front of his tent watching little Tofaape playing with his upturned canoe in the middle of the river. He loved to watch him, so did the alligator who was hid in the rushes on the opposite bank.
And he knew when he swam far enough away from the canoe for him to catch him which he did. Heloha swam around and around with his tomahwk in his hand, but he never saw little Tofaape again. Then Henloha offered his beautiful daughter to the one who would kill Chinckapin. The young chief In-hula came with six of his braves and set a big trap and baited it with the form and caught Chinckapin and took the pretty princess Tala away with him as his bride.
FLOAT NO. 8: Bayou Lacombe (Meaning Squeezing)
Float No. 8 pictures the people of Walohaha, both braves and squaws, gathering the medical herbs that were to free them from the fever. A large pot hangs over the fire in which the herbs are being boiled. The scene is laid on the slope of a hill with marsh grass.growing at the bottom and the high land showing groves of oak.
Walohaha many, many moons ago came with his tribe from across the big waters and built their homes on this bayou. He was young, big, strong and very brave, but did not like to make war and kill. He told his people there was room for all, and they must not fight with their neighbors, but let them fish and hunt where they choose. He loved his people; he loved the big forest trees; the flowers and the birds. One day he shot a snake with his arrow and set free a toad that the snake had in its mouth.
Then the toad asked him what he wished for and Walohaha said: A medicine that would rid his people of the fevers that they had in the spring time. Then the toad showed Walohaha many kinds of herbs and roots, and told him to boil them in a large pot and squeeze the juice out and give this to the sick, which he did and there was no more sickness.
FLOAT NO. 9: Pearl River
Float No. 9 gives a view of Prince Kwanaka and his braves gathering pearls from clam shells for the rainbow necklace of Helonia. A canoe is drawn up on the land at the base of a high bluff, and palmetto can be seen growing in patches here and there.
Helonia was queen of the tribe that lived along the shores of this quiet stream. This was long before the pale face people came. Helonia and her people did not allow anyone to hunt on their grounds, except themselves. They would fight you. Prince Kwanaka came one day from the high hills with six of his father's braves to kill bear and deer.
Helonia had her warriors to catch and bring them before her alive, then she told Kwanaka that she would give him and his men three moons to get her a necklace of beads, each bead to have every color of the rainbow, or else she would have them burned at the ctake. After two moons had passed, a little brown lizard came to the lodgeroom where they were held prisoners and stuck out its red throat.
Kwanaka fed it a fly then the little brown lizard told him to search in the clam shells at the bottom of the river. Kwanaka asked the queen to let him and his men go swimming and they would get her the necklace. It did not take them long after they got her consent to find the clams or to find the pretty pearls that lay hid in then.
Kwanaka did not leave when the queen told him that he and his men might go back to his people, but sat looking into her big brown eyes. When the queen asked him why he I did not leave he told her that it was true that she had given his body freedom but she still held his heart captive. So pleased was she with this reply, that she consented to be his bride, and they both ruled her people together.
Superintendent Baird of the Cumberland Company, had a float in the parade representative of the business of the company. It was fitted out with operating room and office, and outside towered the poles with their cross-bars of wires, at which were stationed linemen ready to work. At the operating board sat Camile Pigott, making connection for Master Dale Kentzel, a patron of the company, who held the receiver to his ear in an attitude of listening. Ida Poole occupied the desk of recording clerk and bookkeeper, Laurence Frederick was lineman and Bennie Miller messenger. The whole formed a very pretty tableau and was a credit to the company.
While the crowd was the largest ever seen in Covington, it is a pleasure to be able to say that no disturbance took place and the extra detail of police was not required to keep order.
THE BALL OF THE "KARNIVAL KLUB"
An event that was looked forward to with no less interest than the parade itself was the ball at Cantrelle Hall in the evening.
The club has not been seclusive in its membership. Everyone in good standing has been given an opportunity to join, because it was considered in the nature of a public benefaction in which every public spirited citizen should be interested.
It was therefore determined that invitations should be limited to three for each member, except in the case of guests from outside of town, and that no invitations should be issued to those who refused to contribute to the occasion. Invitations became a coveted honor, and necessarily some failed to get them who expected to be invited.
The large hall was beautifully decorated in the carnival colors, evergreens and moss. The columns were wrapped in purple, yellow and red, with circles of moss and evergreens. The ceiling was hung with moss, not festooned but in drawn out pendant clusters, and the, walls were decorated with miss and evergreens of the pine needle.
About fifty-five feet of the hall facing the stage was cut off by double strands of rope wrapped with the , carnival colors and interwoven between with wide strips of colors, leaving room at each end for a passage walk into the space beyond, which had been set apart for the dancers of the called dances. These barriers were removed when the three called dances were over and all joined in the dance.
The throne for the chief and his princess was represented by a huge weather-beaten mound of limestone, fashioned by the hand of time into a natural seat for two. It was situated in the center of an oak grove and backed by a running stream, giving a vista of the pine forest beyond.
On the left was a tepee of hides and on the right was a tripod from which was suspended a pot over a fire, which was being stirred and tasted so vigorously by a big buck brave that it did not look probable anything it contained would be left for the chief or his princess.
It was 8:40 o'clock before the curtain was raised, bringing to view the chief and his princess seated on the throne in the midst of the scene we has just described, disclosed more prominently by the burning of red lights in the woods on each side of them. Occasionally the whoop of an Indian could be heard, and presently there filed out from the woods on each side of the throne strings of red men, their sinuous motions giving notice of the dance that was about to take place.
They passed from the stage into the roped-in space and were soon indulging in the weird dance that brought excitement to the savage of "many moons ago."
In the meantime, the chief paid his compliments to the princess. The locket was inlaid with bars of purple enamel, at the convergent center of which was set a handsome diamond. The chain was double with heavy clasp. the princess' present to her chief was a burnt leather plaque with the head of an Indian chief in the center and "K.K.K." (Kovington Karnival Klub) underneath in one corner. One the reverse side was a pocket containing expensive stationery.
After the Indian dance followed the called dances, in which the people got a nearer view of the princess, Miss Mae Poole, who is very pretty and who made as charming an Indian princess as ever put her moccasined feet upon the green turf of St. Tammany. She wore a costume of buff leather, trimmed with colored beads, the skirt of which was heavily fringed with leather and reached just above her ankles.
Over this she wore a leather coat buttoned in front, and over this a fringed girdle of leather. All was handsomely trimmed with beads. She made a very picturesque Indian maid, and many of the young braves strutting about cast admiring glances at her. She wore no mask, but was painted in true Indian fashion.
The chief, who was Mr. H. B. Pruden. wore the conventional garb of the Indian chief, with the long headdress of Indian feathers. He looked as brave and fearless as a chief should be and was evidently very proud of possessing such a handsome princess. Both carried their parts well.