Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Louisiana Encyclopedia - 1909- Covington

In 1909, Alcée Fortier, Lit. D., a professor of Romance Languages in Tulane University, edited a two volume encyclopedia on the state of Louisiana. It was described as "Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form." It was published in Atlanta, GA, by the Southern Historical Association.

Here are some excerpts from the encyclopedia entry regarding The City of Covington in 1909.
Covington, the seat of St. Tammany parish, is beautifully located in the western part of the parish, between the Bogue Falia and the Tchefuncte river just above their junction, and on a dry, sandy soil that is easily drained, which makes the site an ideal one for a city.

The town was first incorporated under the name of Wharton on March 19, 1813, when it "was dedicated to Thomas Jefferson by his fellow citizen, John W. Collins." By the act of the legislature, approved March 11, 1816, the name was changed to Covington. and in 1829 it was made the parish seat.

Covington is well provided with transportation facilities. A branch of the New Orleans Great Northern R. R. passes through the town and connects with the Queen & Crescent at Slidell, a branch of the Illinois Central system connects Covington with Baton Rouge, the St. Tammany & New Orleans Railroad and Ferry company has an electric line connecting Covington with Mandeville, from which point steamers run to New Orleans across Lake Pontchartrain, and there is a line of steamers running direct from Covington to New Orleans.

As Covington is situated in the long leaf pine district. lumbering is the principal business interest, though there are other manufacturers, including ice, brick. etc. Being surrounded by open pine woods and well supplied with a fine quality of artesian water, the town is popular as a health resort, and is visited annually by over 100,000 visitors. There are two banks, three newspapers, a public library, a good fire department, a beautiful public park, recently opened, overlooking the Bogue Falia river, a good public school system, several private educational institutions, including Dixon academy and St. Joseph's college, a well conducted electric light plant. and churches of all the leading religious denominations.

The city's trade in groceries and grain amount to over $1,200,000 annually, and the business in other mercantile lines is in proportion. Covington is preeminently a city of homes, and the two building and loan associations are both doing a good business in building up the place by increasing the lumber of home owners. The population at the beginning of 1909 was estimated at 4,000.



Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Louisiana Encyclopedia - 1909

 In 1909, Alcée Fortier, Lit. D., a professor of Romance Languages in Tulane University, edited a two volume encyclopedia on the state of Louisiana. It was described as "Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions and Persons, Arranged in Cyclopedic Form." It was published in Atlanta, GA, by the Southern Historical Association.

Here are some excerpts from the encyclopedia entry regarding St. Tammany Parish.

 "St. Tammany Parish, established in 1811, is one of the "Florida Parishes." It is named after "St. Tammany," the Delaware chief, -who before and during the Revolutionary war was chosen for his reputed virtues as the patron saint of the new republic. The Louisiana parish was so named because it had a large Indian population at the time of its establishment.

"It is situated in the extreme southeastern corner of the state and from its original territory have been carved Washington parish and a part of Tangipahoa. It is now bounded on the north by Washington parish; on the east by the Pearl river, which separates it from Mississippi; on the south 'bounded by Lake Borgne, Orleans parish and Lake Pontchartrain .and on the west by Tangipahoa parish.

"Some of the earliest to take up claims under the Spanish were John Castonquat, in 1795; John Spell, in 1798; Joseph Slatten a year later; the Coopers in 1800 and 1801; William Wilson in 1802: William W. Collins, in 1803 ; Matthew Robertson and Joseph Cutterer in 1804, and a number of others who came in 1806.

"During 1808 new claims were located by the Galloways, Jesse Barker, Lawrence Stecker, Charles Roberts, Gideon Yarsborough and a few others. David Glover, John Mitchell, John Brinkley, the McClendon family, the Leas and John Talley established themselves in 1810.

The First Courthouse

 "The first courthouse was erected at a place called Claiborne, on the east side of Bogue Falia, about opposite to the present town of Covington, but the parish seat was removed to Covington in 1829.

"In 1819 the northern part of St, Tammany was taken to form Washington parish, and in 1869 a large part of its remaining territory was taken to form Tangipahoa parish. After the division, the population left to St. Tammany was larger than the whole in 1860, which shows how rapidly settlers established themselves in this region after the close of the Civil War.

"The main water courses of the parish are the Pearl river on the east, the Tchefuncte river on the northwest, the Bogue Chitto in the northeast and the Bogue Falia through the central portion and their many tributary streams, all of which are used in the extensive lumber industry.

Healthful Springs Discovered

"About 1856 it was discovered that the springs around Covington possessed medicinal properties and since then it has been the resort of invalids. The most famous spring is the Abita, a few miles northeast of Covington, with a capacity of 40,000 gallons a day, and the water is bottled and exported. Large hotels have been built and this district is a resort the year round for both northern and southern people. 

"St. Tammany has a level and undulating surface of 871 square miles, formed of coast marsh, pine flats, pine hills, alluvial land and wooded swamp. The parish lies in the southern part of the long leaf pine region and almost its entire area is heavily timbered. The principal growth is pine, though oak, beech, gum, dogwood and holly are found in the river and creek bottoms.

"Along the shores of Lake Pontchartrain are large tracts of live oaks that grow to great size and for many years were practically uncut. The soil of the bottom lands is of alluvial deposit that produces as fine cotton, cane and sorghum as any in the state, while the pine lands have a surface soil of sandy loam, which with reasonable fertilization will produce good crops.

"The proximity of St. Tammany to the New Orleans market, and the cheap and excellent transportation facilities make almost any industry of the parish profitable. Sugar, rice and cotton are the largest crops, but corn, hay, oats, beans, potatoes, all kinds of garden vegetables, and fruits and berries do well and are raised in large quantities, and now that the parish is well provided with railroad transportation, truck farming and fruit growing will doubtless increase.

"Stock raising and dairying have increased as the timber is cut and are paying industries to the farmer. Sawmills are numerous, cutting millions of feet of the finest lumber in the world each year. Most of the railroads in the parish have been built within the last few years and materially increased its prosperity.

"The New Orleans & Northeastern R. R. runs across the southeastern part, the New Orleans Great Northern R. R. traverses the entire eastern portion north and south, with branches to nearly all sections of the parish. Cheap shipping by steamboat is afforded on Lakes Borgne and Pontchartrain.

"The principal towns are Covington, the parish seat, Abita Springs, Alton, Bayou Lacomb, Chinchuba, Folsom, Madisonville, Mandeville, Pearl River. Slidell and Sun. The following statistics with regard to the parish are taken from the C. S. census for 1900: number of farms 397, acreage, 87,667; acres improved, 19,491 ; value of land and improvements exclusive of buildings, $226,290; value of farm buildings, $116,730; value of live stock, $171.382; value of all products not fed to live stock, $186,428; number of manufactories, 29; capital invested, $669,973; wages paid, $230,467; cost of materials used, $337,673: total value of ail products, $756,946. The population for the year 1908 was over 15,000."

Monday, June 28, 2021

New Sign For Menetre Park

The City of Covington recently hosted a special ceremony dedicating a new sign for Menetre Park in honor of the Menetre family and the late Mayor Emile L. Menetre.

The new sign was produced by OPA Signs & Graphics. Mayor Mark Johnson spoke at the ceremony, and several members of the Menetre family, including Ralph Menetre, were on hand to help with the unveiling of the new sign. 

Menetre Park is located at the east end of Third Avenue (off Jahncke Avenue) and features a public boat launch.

Mayor Mark Johnson speaks to the gathering

The Menetre family poses with a portrait of Emile Menetre

The unveiling of the sign

Emile Menetre served as mayor for 20 years from 1945 to 1965 
Photos above provided by the city.

Emile Menetre, Mayor of Covington

 CLICK HERE to go to Google Maps location of Menetre Park, Covington, Louisiana

Here are a few photographs of Menetre Park Public Boat  Launch activity...

Saturday morning on the river

Some newspaper articles mentioning 
Menetre Park in the 1960's and 70's


Sunday, June 27, 2021

Northshore Traditional Music Society

 The Northshore Traditional Music Society played music at the Columbia Landing gazebo Friday night, entertaining visitors from the June Block Party and Car Show. Members of the Steve Anderson band took part in the event helping to set the pace.

Columbia Landing gazebo: Click on the images to make them larger. 

The group had also played during the May Block Party event

The society was officially organized in 2020 as a non-profit organization, although it has been active for several years, primarily at the Marsolan's Feed Store Music Series. The people involved are connected with several different bands and music groups, but the Northshore Traditional Music Society is aimed at helping people get together with others, maybe learn some new music, and enjoy regular jam sessions.
"Our Saturday concerts at Marsolan's will start up again in the fall," said Chris Talley, one of the leaders of the group. The people who were involved in organizing the very popular Saturday concerts at Marsolan's  have now incorporated their new group as a non-profit so they could start raising funds to continue various community activities. "We had been paying for things our of our own pockets, and that got to be a strain," Talley commented.

While there is no definite "membership" in the group, there is a five-member board of directors that manages things. Signing up new members is something they are working on, but the board members themselves are very active in community events, both the Farmers Market and other businesses. They all have a heartfelt desire to promote the playing of music and helping others develop their own musical talent. 

The Society's Mission
Talley has a band of his own, the Three Rivers Cooperative, and Steve Buchholz is associated with a song writing group and other bands. "We're all pretty busy," Talley said. "We could spend all our time doing this." Talley has been associated with the Abita Springs Opry for years, serving on its board, and his band is one of the Opry's house bands.
The newly-established Northshore Traditional Music Society was designed to be "complementary" to what's already out there, Talley explains. "What we are trying to do is encourage people who like to play music but don't have an outlet to get together with other people to play," he said. "We are trying to do some concerts, but mainly we are trying to encourage more participatory events."
"Right now it's just jamming, but in the future we hope to do some workshops and other educational stuff," he went on to say. "We started off really ambitious, and we had a whole list of things the Society was going to kick off with, but then CoVID-19 hit and kind of rolled us back."
The Society is now getting back up to speed, planning to do some outreach into the musical community and providing educational outlets for its members and prospective members.  
Learning Music

Being a music teacher, Talley has several adult students who work not only to become better musicians, but also are seeking a group to just play music with, and that's where the Society comes in. "What I have found is that there is a lot of what I call 'orphan musicians' sitting at home looking for other musicians to play with and events to play at."

"That's who we are aiming at," he said. "People just getting together and playing music is sort of a dying institution.  It's about making music together, and encouraging each other when the music is really good."

Learning music is a very humanizing experience, he said. "First of all, you invest a lot of yourself in learning how to play, and then it comes to sharing that skill and working with others. "It's a very social thing." And thus the word "Society" is an appropriate part of the organization's name.

"Sometimes when my music students start getting discouraged about not learning as fast as they want to, maybe even wanting to quit trying altogether, I just tell them that in all my years as a music teacher, I've never had a student come to me and tell me how glad they were that they quit taking music lessons. It's always about how much they regret not going on with their lessons," he noted. 

Playing music is something a person can do their entire life, he said. 

Paying the Bills

The Society does make a little money selling baseball caps and T-shirts, and that money goes toward paying the expenses of the "anchoring band" that helps keep the notes flowing during scheduled events.

Talley knows that the mission of the Society is appreciated by the community, providing performances for the general public at special events.

A website is being put together for the group, and it will be fully operational in a few weeks. The website address is already secured and will be pointed to the new website when it is ready. 

Well-known guitarist Bryan Gowland joined the session Friday night

See also:

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Car Show in Covington June 25, 2021

 A gala block party and car show hit the streets of Covington last Friday night, with dozens of cars and hundreds of onlookers enjoying the music, food, beverages and vehicles of every size and description. Here are some photographs. Click on the images to make them larger. 






See also:

Car Show May 28, 2021