Friday, October 30, 2020

Marketing The Markets

 In the early 1980's downtown Covington was pretty scruffy. Buildings throughout the area had that run-down dilapidated look, a freight train regularly rolled through town on its way to the scrap metal salvage yard, and the whole area needed a coat of paint.

The chamber of commerce brought in consultants on what could be done to spruce up the look of downtown, and everything was proposed from the construction of fake modern facades to complete restoration of the existing buildings. 

Some longtime business people had a vision, however, a return to better days through diversified service and specialty shops. Lee Lane began to prosper, art galleries opened, some old buildings were torn down and new buildings were built to mirror the look of the original structures. 

The histories of key cornerstone buildings were compiled, an application was made and it was declared a historic district. After a long legal battle, the ox lots became official parking lots. 

One of the more visible projects was the conversion of the old city maintenance barn into a row of upscale shops, a nice restaurant and plenty of parking out front. It was a key historic location, where the old Covington Grocery and Grain Company site was situated, next to the St. Tammany Ice Manufacturing and Electric Company site, and across from where the pine stump processing facility had burned down years earlier. 

In 1973 it was the center of town, and that's why the city maintenance barn was there. Then a better idea came along.
Click on the image below to read the article.

Downtown Covington was transformed by business leaders and building owners who were ready to invest in fixing up, repairing and making usable building space even more appealing. Taking Lee Lane's lead, the commercial mix went from general retail to a more specialized professional service and art-oriented community. 
Covington made the switch to small friendly restaurants, art galleries, a host of personal services in hair styling, spa treatments, and even holistic healing practitioners. Bogue Falaya Park was refurbished and re-opened, a number of family-oriented fairs and festivals were created, and everything became better, brighter and more fun to be around. 

It wasn't your grandfather's downtown Covington any longer. H.J. Smith's Son General Merchandise broadened its services, added various artistic offerings to its inventory, but still had the basic hardware and old timey appliances and gardening tools. The two washaterias in town became the art association and a Subway Restaurant. The old freight train railroad tracks became Tammany Trace recreational bike trail

The Southern Hotel became the Southern Hotel again. And the grandest change of all, the pine stump processing facility became the new St. Tammany Parish Justice Center. 


The old post office became a school board annex. The school board annex became Southern Hotel garden suites. Hebert's Drugs became Bridge's Drugs became Dunning's Florist, and is now Del Porto's Restaurant.

Revere's Cafe became Courthouse Cafe became Rick's Cafe and is now Cilantros Mexican Cuisine. Houk's TV Service became Western Auto became Our Place and is now Downtown Drugs.
Marsolan's keeps selling garden supplies, feed and seed, with a little live music thrown in from time to time. 
See also:

Thursday, October 29, 2020

100 Years Ago This October 30

What was going on 100 years ago this week? CLICK HERE for a link to the St. Tammany Farmer Issue of  October 30, 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. 


Louisiana Lighthouses - Forgotten Treasures

 In 2005 Louisiana Conservationist magazine ran an article about Louisiana's lighthouses, calling them the forgotten treasures of Louisiana waterways. The article was written by Mandeville resident Deb Burst.

To see a pdf copy of the article, click here. 

The source of this article was the Louisiana Digital Library collection of Louisiana Conservationist magazines, located at the following link:

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Slidell High School - 1914

On March 21, 1914, some 106 years ago, the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper ran several news stories on Slidell High School, telling of its successes in instruction, music, athletics and accreditation. Here are those articles. Click on the images to make them larger. 

Slidell High School Accredited
History of Slidell High School
Slidell High Athletics

Music In Slidell High School

School Board Member report 

School Improvement League

Other photographs of Slidell High School through the years..

The two story building above was completed in 1924


See also:

Slidell High School Holds Centennial Celebration 

Slidell Graduates in 1910

The History of Brock Elementary School 


Veterans Day 1973

 Here's an article from the Mandeville Banner newspaper in November of 1973, some forty-seven years ago. Click on the images below to read about the Veterans Day Ceremony in front of the old courthouse.

See also:

Veterans Day 2019 

Veterans Day Ceremony Held in Covington

Veterans Day 1983 

Memorial Day Ceremonies 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Covington Accounts Explained in 1917

 In 1917 the Covington city administration printed and distributed two booklets explaining to the citizenry the current financial state of the city (103 years ago!) and the measures that had been taken to oversee and justify various expenditures. These publications were called "People's Bulletins" and here they are. Click on the images to make them larger and more readable.

Materials found in the Bertha Neff Collection.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Oelos Johnson, State Senator

 Oelos Johnson served St. Tammany Parish as its Louisiana State Senator between 1916 and 1932.

He was a Louisiana State Representative for Washington Parish between 1908 and 1916, and then was elected state senator. Due to changes in  legislative district boundaries, he served as Louisiana State Senator for Livingston and St. Helena Parishes between the years of 1916-1924, St. Tammany and Washington Parishes between 1916 and 1932, and Tangipahoa Parish for the four years between 1920 and 1924. 

(Source: Louisiana Digital Library)

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Madisonville's Time Capsule

A ceremony was held Friday, May 21, 1976, in the new Community Center and Town Hall on the riverfront in Madisonville. Here are excerpts from an article from the St. Tammany News Banner which described the occasion.

 "The event attracted over three hundred guests. The ceremony concerned a time-capsule to be sealed with a general history, lists of various organizations and clubs and their leaders, lists of businesses and other facilities and their location, a voter's list for 1976, photographs, and 1814 map copied from a duplicate made in 1841 of the town of Madisonville and other relevant material.

The capsule will be opened in the year 2076 AD." (Just 56 years to go!)

It was all part of the American Bicentennial Celebration held in 1976.

"Monsignor John J. Adams, Pastor of St. Anselm of Madisonville gave a very inspirational invocation, then Mayor Edward Badeaux welcomed the guests, and then turned the program over to Mrs. Herbert Lambert Jr. who explained to the many school children present what a time capsule is and its purposes.

Flag awards were announced by Mayor Badeaux for the contest held at Madisonville Junior High School to design a flag to represent the town of Madisonville. Teachers and/or students participated. First prize of $15 went to Michelle Dufrene, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Franklin P. Dufrene, second prize of $10 was won by Elizabeth Roberts, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred E. Roberts Jr., and third prize of $5 went  to Melissa Cazes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Chatellier.

Two honorable mention prizes of $3 each were won by Michelle Tyrney, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George "Danny" Tyrney and Billy Burkhalter, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ronald G. Burkhalter.

Following the awards, the flags of our nation were presented. The 50 star American flag was presented by Michael Stein, son of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Stein; the Bennington Bicentennial Flag was presented by Keith Oulliber, son of Mr. and Mrs. Elstet K. Oulliber; the American Revolution Bicentennial flag was presented by Paul Tyrney, son of Mr. and Mrs. George D. Tyrney, and the winning entry for the flag of Madisonville was presented by Blake Pennington, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Pennington.

After the presentation, everyone was led by Mark Manino, music director at Madisonville Junior High School and his choral group in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and singing the National Anthem.

Special guests were introduced by Mrs. Lambert and included local club leaders, councilmen, and elder citizens in attendance.

Robert Sander, a past commander of the American Legion, gave a speech on the purpose of the American Legion, its history and aims. Following was a speech by Leroy James, principal of Madisonvillle Junior High School, which drew the rapt attention of everyone.


The American Bicentennial Work/Prayer Cannon

A lovely rendition of American The Beautiful was sung by the junior high school choral group led by Manino. Local dance students choreographed and performed a modern dance. Students were Marguerite and Denise Bouey, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Allen Bouey, Melissa Cazes and Laurie Chatellier (substituting for her sister Kelly), daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Guy Chatellier; Tracy Ostendorf, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. L. P. Ostendorf, and Kim Stein, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Stein.

After closing words by Mayor Badeaux and prayer by Monsignor Adams, everyone sang a very stirring "God Bless America."

The program will be followed later by enclosing the time capsulre in a brick and concrete structure to be attached to the exterior of the new community center. The entire project is being financed by personal donations from the present mayor and councilmen and incoming councilmen and other interested citizens. This is the first project of its kind by any municipality in our parish.

Published in St. Tammany News Banner June 2, 1976

The first American  flag to be flown in St. Tammany Parish was raised by Lieutenant George Merrill, USN, near Madisonville in 1811, according to the historical marker at the town hall.



See also:


Jahncke Shipyards - 1919