Sunday, May 17, 2020

1970s Krewe of Slidellians Parade

Max Rodriguez Jr. posted a video on Facebook showing a silent 8mm film featuring the Krewe of Slidellians Parade in the early 1970's. This is footage from Front Street near the train station. The man in the beginning is his father, Max Rodriguez Sr, who later became police chief. 

 To view the video of the Krewe of Slidellians Parade, CLICK HERE

Cultus Pearson - The Crab Man of Lacombe

In 2013 Cultus Pearson took to the microphone at a Louisiana Sea Grant presentation and told about his life catching crabs in Lake Pontchartrain. The video of his talk is on YouTube, and a link to view that is presented below. In his talk, he shared his efforts to protect the crabbing industry, the shell dredging challenge and the legislative visits that it involved.


Click on the play triangle above to view the video.

In the description of the YouTube video is the following biographical information:

Cultus Pearson, commonly known as "The Crabman of Lacombe," lived within the Pontchartrain Basin, since the 1930s. He grew up in South Point, La., a small fishing community on the Southshore near Irish Bayou, and learned crabbing from his neighbor.

His father worked as a bridge tender at the south drawbridge of the Southern Railroad, but always supported his sons' fishing efforts. Learning all he could about the habits of blue crabs, Mr. Pearson and his brother created a very successful crab supply business that later included a refined softshell crab process that is still used today.

Mr. Pearson served in WWII as a Sergeant in the Army and was awarded the Bronze Star for service in the South Pacific. After returning from the war he finished high school and earned a degree in Forestry from LSU. He was married to his wife Frances Davis for 63 years and they raised nine children. Mr. Pearson owned a service station in Lacombe and built fiberglass pirogues and lake skiffs while his children were growing up, but continued to crab throughout his life.

He died on February 2, 2020.   

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Aerial Photo of Lacombe 1970

Thanks to NASA, we have this high-altitude photograph of Bayou Lacombe taken in February of 1970. The original was an infrared photo that showed the trees as orange-red, but I have adjusted the hue to make it look like more natural colors. Click on the image to make it larger. 

Friday, May 15, 2020

100 Years Ago This May 15

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer Issue of  May 15, 1920. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Click on the sample images below to see larger versions.

Barney Carey opens a refreshment saloon in Abita 

Neighbor comes to the rescue of calf

Mandeville To Get Electricity, Wharf News

The Progress community was located on the northern end of Ben Williams Road near where Whippoorwill Grove subdivision is located.

Card Games Are Entertainment Among Friends

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Ray Perer, Tapdancer and Showman

Eleven years ago, in 2009, a special awards ceremony was held at the Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe. It was the fourth annual St. Tammany Parish President's Art Awards. 

The St. Tammany Parish President's Commission on Cultural Affairs named Slidell area theater star Ray Perer as its "Performing Artist of the Year." In this short video, Commission vice chairman Stephen Cefalu described Perer's career, both professional and in Little Theater, in Slidell and Covington as well. Plus there's an interview with the man himself about his life and times.

Click on the "play triangle" above to view the video.

Video by Channel 10, Access St. Tammany

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

St. Peters 5th Grade -1965

Here is a group photo of the fifth grade class of Sister Mary Martin at St. Peter's Catholic School in Covington, LA, 1965-66. Click on the image to make it larger. 

Photo Source: Remember Covington Facebook Page

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Kindergarten Class Visits Airport 1976

In 1976 two kindergarten classes from Mandeville Elementary took a memorable field trip to the airport in New Orleans. Click on the picture and article below to make it larger and more readable.

One of the students' fathers, Ken Sollberger, was a pilot for Delta Airlines and helped arrange the trip. At the end of the field trip, Delta gave all the kids a set of wings to help commemorate the experience.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Police Jury Group Spotlights St. Tammany

Forty-seven years ago in the winter publication of the Louisiana Police Jury Association, an article told about St. Tammany's progress in a number of areas, quoting parish and community leaders. Here is a copy of that article, as published on December 16, 1973, in the Northlake Sunday News newspaper. 

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

St. Tammany Parish was billed as "Louisiana's Shangri-La."

Iberville Visits Southeastern Louisiana

Here is a map of Iberville's route in his exploration of southeastern Louisiana in 1699. It included passing through the Rigolets within sight of St. Tammany Parish.

Click on the above image to make it larger. 
Map Source: The Don Sharp Collection 

According to the Virtual Museum of New France, Iberville explored and conquered for France much of eastern Canada, including Hudson's Bay. He fought and overcame the British at several key battles, but France then signed a treaty with Britain that returns several of the forts and parts of Canada that he had fought for back over to the English. Eventually he turned his eye southward, where the British were laying claim to large parts of the American continent.

Quoting from the New France website:

"Forced to look elsewhere but still dreaming of giving North America to France, d’Iberville argues for the establishment of a French colony at the mouth of the Mississippi : “If France does not seize this most beautiful part of America and set up a colony, […] the English colony which is becoming quite large, will increase to such a degree that, in less than one hundred years, it will be strong enough to take over all of America and chase away all other nations.” 

"His plan is to strangle the New England colonies between Canada in the north, the Gulf Mexico and Louisiana in the south and the Mississippi River in the west.

"On March 2, 1699, he succeeds where Robert Cavelier de La Salle failed: traveling by sea, he discovers the mouth of the Mississippi. Three consecutive expeditions, in 1699, 1700 and 1701, allow him to built the forts of Maurepas (Biloxi), Mississippi and Saint-Louis (Mobile). In 1702, having won the trust of the natives, the commander of Louisiana leaves that colony, never to return."

To read more about Iberville, CLICK HERE.

Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville

At one time, Bayou Manchac was known as the Iberville River. This is just one of the namesakes of south Louisiana that honors Iberville. Those include Iberville Parish, New Iberia, and a street in the French Quarter.

In 2008, the Louisiana Wildlife Federation passed a resolution honoring Bayou Machac (the Iberville River) as a key international historical boundary. The text from the group's resolution follows:

Historic & Scenic River Designation for Bayou Manchac

WHEREAS, beautiful Bayou Manchac, which lies along the boundaries of three parishes – Ascension, East Baton Rouge and Iberville – has been a river significant in Louisiana history, and has been included in the Louisiana State Historical Markers program, and

WHEREAS, throughout history, Bayou Manchac was home to numerous native American cultures, as well as later European settlements including Galveztown, Fort Bute, Fort San Gabriel, Manchac, and Hope Villa, and

WHEREAS, Bayou Manchac served as an international boundary in the original Louisiana Purchase, and

WHEREAS, Bayou Manchac, known for a time as the Iberville River, is described in the journals of Pierre le Moyen, Sieur d’Iberville, and in later writings of William Bartram, and

WHEREAS, much of the banks of Bayou Manchac are wooded and provide excellent habitat for a wide variety of riparian and aquatic plants and wildlife, and

WHEREAS, Bayou Manchac remains a quiet, natural, scenic waterway, protected by a canopy of trees growing from both banks, and is regarded by those that live in the vicinity as one of Louisiana’s most beautiful examples of nature.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Louisiana Wildlife Federation supports the designation of Bayou Manchac, from its origin near the Mississippi River to its union with the Amite River, as a Louisiana Historic and Scenic River, and urges the Louisiana Legislature to nominate Bayou Manchac for such designation.

See also:

Parish History Overview

Friday, May 8, 2020

Sal Impastato, Lacombe Chef

Eleven years ago, in 2009, a special awards ceremony was held at the Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe. It was the fourth annual St. Tammany Parish President's Art Awards. 

The St. Tammany Parish President's Commission on Cultural Affairs named Lacombe restaurant owner Sal Impastato as its "Culinary Artist of the Year." In this short video, Commission vice chairman Stephen Cefalu introduced Impastato , who tells a little of his background, his vision, and his thankfulness for the way St. Tammany Parish residents have enjoyed meals at his restaurant for years.

CLICK HERE  to view the video.

Photo source: 

CLICK HERE to read the history of Sal & Judy's Restaurant and its
Chef Sal Impastato
See also:

Sal & Judy's Website

Sal & Judy's Facebook Page

100 Years Ago This May 8

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer Issue of  May 8, 1920. The link is provided by the Library of Congress and its Chronicling America service.

Click on the sample images below to see larger versions.

Moss Factory Proposed

Society News

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Lightpole Smashed

This accident took place many years ago at the intersection of Tyler Street and 21st Avenue in Covington when the Time Saver convenience store was still on the northwest corner. 

It's one thing to run into a lightpole and smash your car. It's another thing to run into a lightpole and break the pole in two. But to run into a lightpole and break it into three pieces, well, that's just impossible. 

There were so many wires attached to the pole that it didn't even fall over when a vehicle hit it with enough force to break it in three pieces.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Tugy's Bar

Tugy's Bar in Covington was a landmark establishment for many years, the cornerstone business of the Southern Hotel building and at one time the only bar located inside a parish courthouse in the country. 

Click on the image to make it larger

The bar was opened by a Covington bartender Julius "Tugy" Tugendhaft  around 1935,  and it was originally located in the southeast side of the ground floor of the Southern Hotel on Boston Street in Covington.  Tugendhaft moved the bar to the southwest corner of the building around 1961.

Philip E. Pfeffer recalled that Julius Tugenhaft was a public spirited citizen involved in many community projects. "He boasted that he charged a cent a bottle of beer more than other places, and that these pennies would build him a house. This turned out to be true," Pfeffer said.

He sold the bar around 1964 to Al Poncet, who continued its operation for another 20 years. 

Next door to Tugy's at one time was the Colonel and Son Restaurant, owned by Colonel Earl Wilson and his son Earl Wilson, Jr. There was a connecting door between the cafe and Tugy's, so the restaurant could serve beer to its customers via Tugy's. 

Debbie Diamond, the Colonel's daughter, said that he retired in 1961 after almost 30 years in the Army and moved the family to Covington. "My Dad and brother decided to open the Colonel & Son cafe together. I waited tables in there as a teen. We served some of Covington's best coffee and biscuits made by Mrs. Minnie in the kitchen. Almost every morning a regular group of men met for coffee there. One of them was Mr. Roy Johnson, the father of our mayor today, Mr. Mark Johnson. Mr. Roy had a great personality. A really nice guy who was always laughing and smiling," Debbie said. "Those two passageways both connected to a back entrance to the Southern Hotel, which was owned for awhile by my sister and her husband, Sylvia & Harold Glockner."  The Southern Hotel closed in the late 1960's, but Tugy's Bar persevered.

Tugy died in October of 1971. The 900 square foot bar continued to operate, but it was soon to be rejuvenated when the St. Tammany Parish government purchased the building in the early 1980's for use as its administrative offices and a couple of courtrooms and police jury meeting room.

Officials allowed Tugy's to continue operating as a barroom as it had for half a century.  The bar had been allowed to remain in the newly-designated courthouse because of its "historical significance."

 It was tradition that after every police jury meeting, parish officials would "re-convene" at Tugy's Bar to relax and talk off the record. A former city councilman was quoted as saying, "There's no telling how many deals were cut in there. That was where the real meetings were held after the meetings."

John "Pizzie" Romano, bought Tugy's from Al Poncet in 1984. He had once tended bar there when he was 18 years of age, and when he purchased the establishment, he was 46 years old. 

Romano was a well-respected businessman in the community. He owned the Heritage Lounge,  Pizzie's Po-boys, Romano's Grocery, and Romano's Steakhouse. He was the Director of the Brand Commission and the Assistant Director for the Horticulture Commission for the State of Louisiana. In addition to serving on the Covington City Council and the City of Covington Planning and Zoning Board, he also served on the St. Tammany Parish Hospital Board of Commissioners. 

Sixteen years after he purchased Tugy's, however, a new courthouse was built at the end of North New Hampshire Street, just three blocks up the street. As a result, the Southern Hotel building was no longer needed by the parish. Romano told a newspaper reporter that when the parish moved out, he lost about two-thirds of his business. "It was a great crowd. You would have a carpenter sitting right next to a judge," he was quoted as saying. 

The parish eventually sold the building to a private individual for $885,000. The new owner increased the monthly rent on the barroom space, a cost that the sole business left in the building could not afford. Romano closed the bar in February of 2004, much to the shock of many Covingtonians.  He owned the bar for 20 years.  "It is such a part of Covington history," he said, "I would never consider moving it out of the downtown."

Photo of Ten Year Class Reunion crowd, St. Paul's School Class of 1975, at Tugy's Bar in 1985 (Photo source: Warren Illing)

A legend was gone. It had at one time been a central focal point of St. Tammany politics, but after 69 years of operation, that distinction had moved on.

But then, around 2010, the bar re-opened briefly as "Tugendhaft's Tavern," run by Steven P. Reed.  He was granted a conditional use permit by the Covington Zoning Commission to proceed with re-opening the legendary business, although under a different name, since Romano had registered the name "Tugy's Bar."

The business was closed once again a couple of years later, however, when renovations began on the Southern Hotel building under its new ownership. The space occupied by Tugy's Bar thus became hotel meeting rooms, still a place for people to meet and speak to each other, but without the beer taps. 

The iconic Tugy's neon sign is now on display at the H. J. Smiths Sons General Merchandise Store museum on Columbia Street. 

Romano died on Dec. 23, 2018, at the age of 81. 

The landmark neon sign

See also:

John Fahey Honors Tugy Tugendhaft   

Businesses Located Inside the Southern Hotel

Signs of the Times

Photo Processing Technical Notes


Monday, May 4, 2020

Keeping Cafeteria Workers Up-To-Date

Training St. Tammany Parish Public School cafeteria workers on the latest in nutritional menu preparations was a continuing effort in the mid-century schools.

Click on the images to make them larger.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Abita Springs News Summer 1929

Here is a sample of society news focusing on the Abita Springs area as printed in the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper on May 25, 1929. Click on the image to make it larger and more readable.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

John Hodge, Pottery Artist Extraordinaire

In 2009, a special awards ceremony was held at the Louisiana Heart Hospital in Lacombe. It was the fourth annual St. Tammany Parish President's Art Awards. 

The St. Tammany Parish President's Commission on Cultural Affairs named Covington artist John Hodge as its "Visual Artist of the Year." In this short video, Commission vice chairman Stephen Cefalu introduced Hodge, who tells a little of his work, his philosophy, and his thankfulness for the way St. Tammany Parish recognizes and appreciates artists. 

Click on the "play triangle" in the window below to view the award presentation. 


John Hodge at his pottery wheel

See also:

John Hodge Pottery Website

Friday, May 1, 2020

Reptile Jungle: Owned by Famous Exercise Expert

 A popular roadside attraction east of Slidell was the Reptile Jungle, located on U.S. 90 next to the White Kitchen restaurant.

Reptile Jungle was owned and operated by Arthur Jones who, after opening Reptile Jungle, went on to became a millionaire when he invented the Nautilus physical fitness equipment system. CLICK HERE for more information about Arthur Jones. 

According to this article below, he was quite a character. He died in 2007 after a long and intense career. His obituary is printed below, as published in the Seattle Times newspaper. 

 Arthur Jones, eccentric reshaped the exercise world, dies at 80
Originally published September 2, 2007, in the Seattle Times.

By Patricia Sullivan

    Arthur Jones, the swashbuckling inventor of Nautilus exercise equipment, which revolutionized strength training by replacing the dead weight of barbells with a variable resistance technique, died Tuesday at his home in Ocala, Fla. No cause of death was reported. He was 80.

    Gruff and profane, Mr. Jones did not fit the image of the creator of the machines used by svelte, leotard-wearing exercise enthusiasts. He wore horn-rimmed glasses and ill-fitting pants. He spent his early life hunting big game for zoos and collectors. He made television shows and a movie, all geared to outdoors adventure.


An episode of "Wild Cargo" with local New Orleans announcer Bill Wilson as host . Warning: some scenes may depict the killing of animals in the wild.
Click on play triangle to view.

    It was his invention of the Nautilus that made his fortune and reshaped the world’s physique. It took bodybuilding out of the subculture of dank gyms and brought sedentary office workers into brightly lit fitness centers.

Frustrated bodybuilder

    The creation was born of frustration. Living in the Tulsa YMCA in 1948, Mr. Jones became irritated when the barbells and exercise regimes that were then in vogue failed to give him the big muscles he sought.

    “I ended up with the arms and legs of a gorilla on the body of a spider monkey,” he told Forbes magazine in 1983. “I figured there was something wrong with the exercise tool.”

    One day, instead of quitting when he reached a plateau, he cut his routine in half and was surprised to see results. Deducing that muscles need rest to recover and that leverage affects strength, he began experimenting. He introduced his product in 1970 and dubbed it the Nautilus, after the nautilus seashell, which resembles the kidney-shaped cam that was his breakthrough development.

    The machines and the company he formed to sell them made him a multimillionaire and landed him on the Forbes 400 list. At one point, financial analysts estimated that Nautilus, now based in Vancouver, Wash., was grossing $300 million annually.

He was featured on an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous
Click on the play triangle above to view the video. 

    With his new wealth, Mr. Jones bought 600 acres of north Florida property to house a private zoo containing 90 elephants, three rhinoceroses, a gorilla, 300 alligators, 400 crocodiles and three used Boeing 707 airliners. He founded a “fly-in” community in Ocala called Jumbolair Aviation Estates, whose most famous resident is actor John Travolta.

    But Mr. Jones’ flamboyant personality didn’t play so well in the business world. In 1984, Adweek magazine said he spent $4.2 million on an ad campaign as a purported ploy to avoid making a profit and paying taxes. The Internal Revenue Service indicted him in 1981 on charges of failing to pay federal income taxes in the 1970s.

    As many as six former business partners and distributors accused him of threatening to kill them after disputes. Some distributors accused Nautilus of failing to ship merchandise they had paid for.

    He also disastrously invested $70 million in a video studio, dubbed the Nautilus Television Network, which produced a talk show starring his friend G. Gordon Liddy, the chief of the Watergate “plumbers.”

    He sold his share in the Nautilus business and began experimenting with a new invention, intended to analyze and exercise lumbar muscles for those who have lower-back pain. That invention turned into the company MedX.

    “This is the first machine that truly isolates the muscles of the lower back,” he told BusinessWeek magazine. “My competitors who say otherwise are liars or fools — or both. Let them sue me. I can’t wait.” Suspicious of the competitors, whom he called “thieves, frauds, fakers, slanderers and incompetents,” he often carried a Colt .45.

    “I’ve shot 630 elephants and 63 men, and I regret the elephants more,” he once said.

    Born to a well-to-do family in Arkansas, he was the son of two doctors. He started running away from home at a young age and dropped out of school in ninth grade.

    He rode the rails, he later told interviewers, until enlisting in the Navy during World War II and serving in the Pacific. After the war, he launched a zoo in Slidell, La.

    Along the way he learned to fly and began collecting exotic animals, which he ferried to zoos, pet stores and researchers. He claimed run-ins with agencies such as the CIA and FBI, which he said accused him of running guns or bombs to Cuba.

    For 12 years, the exotic-animal business thrived. He made a series of TV programs that aired as “Wild Cargo” in the United States. In the mid-1960s, he moved his family to Rhodesia, where they lived two years until the government took exception to his wild-game business and seized his assets, forcing his return to the United States.

    He acknowledged that his politics were to the right of Attila the Hun and, while living in a state plagued by drug runners, advocated killing drug users.

    He sold Nautilus in 1986 for $23 million. He also sold MedX in 1996 and then retired.

End of Seattle Times Article

Another episode of Wild Cargo tv show with local New Orleans announcer Mel Levitt as host. Warning: some scenes may depict the killing of animals in the wild.Click on the play triangle to view.


 A Reading of the Article
"Faster Planes, Younger Women and Bigger Crocodiles"

From Slidell Magazine   

Slidell Magazine has a video that features an article about Arthur Jones read by John Case on its channel. 

To view the video, click on the play triangle in the window below.

John Case reads about Arthur Jones