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.