Monday, September 27, 2021

History Showcase On New Hampshire St. Set For October 3

The Covington Heritage Foundation will offer a guided tour of the 200 block of North New Hampshire Street on Sunday, October 3, 2021, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The event is another in the group's "History and Mystery" events showcasing individual blocks in downtown Covington. 

The history of the buildings and businesses (and the individual personalities that made them a success) will be featured, with several knowledgeable people on hand to share their memories. 

Here are some pictures of the buildings and businesses which may be featured in the "History and Mystery" Event.

Click on the following images to make them larger. 

The Del Porto Building

The Wehrli House

In 1974 Citizens Bank announced that it would give the Wehrli House, shown above, to any non-profit organization which would remove it from its location in-between Hebert's Drugs and the bank in the 200 block of North New Hampshire. If no one agreed to move it, then it would be dismantled.

The structure at that time was 110 years old, meaning it was built in 1864, according to local records. The bank wanted to use the location occupied by the house as a parking lot and drive through window facility.

Dr. Howard Nichols, president of the St. Tammany Parish Historical Society, reported that the society itself had considered moving the house which could then be used as a headquarters for the group, as well as a museum. The project was beyond the resources of the society, however, as determined by the board of directors. The group did pass a resolution to the City of Covington recommending that the city move the structure back onto the ox lot directly behind it so it could be stored until moved somewhere else.

Either that, or it could be set up permanently in the ox lot and used as a tourist attraction, the historical society suggested. It was hoped the project would capture the interest of the local committee planning a celebration of the American Bicentennial in 1976, Dr. Nichols stated.

No one stepped up to take advantage of the bank's offer, however, and the building was dismantled shortly afterwards.

 Citizens Bank & Trust

The Majestic Theater

This building later became a branch location of Commercial Bank, where...


Christ Community Church (Old Majestic Theater building)

Kentzel Printers

The old St. Tammany Homestead Association office

Now the home of Vineyard Church and Kimsu Oil Co.


Toad Hollow Cafe site in 1997 (The Gourmet Beignet)


Toad Hollow Cafe Today

Corner N. New Hampshire and Rutland St.

Jewel's Cigar and Briar Shop 

 See also:

CHF Event Examines 300 Block of New Hampshire

History and Mystery of N. New Hampshire St.

 Crowd Enjoys History of Columbia St. Businesses

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Bunny Matthews, Cartoonist

Celebrated New Orleans area cartoonist Bunny Matthews was honored at the St. Tammany Parish President's Arts Awards as the 2015 Visual Artist of the Year for his cartoon characters and other artwork.

Bunny Matthews receives Arts Award from Parish President Pat Brister
Photo credit: Sophisticated Woman magazine

A resident of Abita Springs since 1989, Matthews was lauded for his "Vic & Nat'ly" cartoons that have entertained a generation of New Orleans readers. Celebrated New Orleans area cartoonist Bunny Matthews was honored at the St. Tammany Parish President's Arts Awards as the 2015 Visual Artist of the Year for his cartoon characters and other artwork.A resident of Abita Springs, Matthews was lauded for his "Vic & Nat'ly" cartoons that have entertained a generation of New Orleans readers. 

His style was immediately recognizable, particularly since his work graced the sides of Leidenheimer Bakery delivery vans as they criss-crossed the metro New Orleans area. His artwork was also featured on one of the murals at the 1984 World's Fair.

Don Marshall, executive director of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, was quoted as saying that Matthews was one of the most amazing artists who's ever come out of New Orleans. 

He died on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. 

WWL-TV Tribute Video

For more information on his life and career, click on the links below: article

WWLTV article

 Offbeat Magazine

Louisiana Folklife Interview 

The Daily Cartoonist Article


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Bonnie and Clyde Movie Filmed in Covington

 The week of March 12, 2018, North Columbia St. in Covington was the shooting location for a scene in the Netflix film "The Highwaymen," starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson. On Thursday morning, March 15, after the filming was completed, I walked down to the 300 block of Columbia watch the movie set being dismantled and the old antique cars being driven away. 

For two or three days Columbia Street had been turned into 1930's Arcadia, La., where Bonnie and Clyde met their demise at the hands of several lawmen. The St. Tammany Art Association building had been converted into the "Bank of Arcadia" 

and Mo's Art Supply Store became Conger's furniture store with a morgue in the back (where Bonnie and Clyde were taken after being ambushed.)

Even Roy K. Burns Jr. attorney's office had been given a faux facade to become a 1930's portrait photography studio. 

It was the old cars lining both sides of the street that were the star of the Thursday morning show, however, as auto wranglers tried to start them up and load them onto a car carrier truck parked in back of Dependable Glass. Some of the old cars actually started up right away, and a few of the other old cars didn't want to start at all despite prolonged cranking. 

So some of the old cars had to be towed away by the other old cars that were up and running. There was even an old antique tow truck, which is quite rare I am told. 

The variety of old cars was quite amazing, several hardtops, several ragtops, and various different makes. 

The front porch of H.J. Smith's Sons General Merchandise Store underwent some slight modification for the movie, but not much, considering it already looked like a 1930's store, which is interesting because it was built in the 1970's to look old.  

The Smith museum is next door to the main store, and when Kevin Costner was invited to take a tour of the museum, he took them up on the offer.  He is quite a history buff, it seems, and he asked numerous questions about many of the things he saw in the museum.

Costner also visited Roy's Knife and Archery shop next door to Roy K. Burns Jr. office, and he talked for a while with Roy Blaum while checking out the bows and arrows.

It was a closed set Wednesday, so not a lot of locals got to see the action up close, except for the 300 extras in the crowd scene. All those people dressed up in 1930's costumes was a very interesting sight, especially when they took out their smart phones during breaks in the shooting.

All in all, it was a distinct break in the routine for Columbia Street merchants, and another good chance for Covington to be spotlighted by the movie industry as it has several times in the past few decades. I asked how many times has the front of H.J. Smith been used for the set of a movie shot, and I think they have lost count.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the street on the south wall of the Art Association building, movie set sign painters had added a new sign below the existing washateria advertisement. The top "15 cent coin operated" ad is real from years ago, and the bottom Carharttt overalls sign is brand new, made to look

Patricia B. Smith

 Patricia Burkhart Smith worked with the St. Tammany News Banner for several years in the 1980's, and turned out some important newspaper features on the environment and the people of St. Tammany Parish.

In the 1990's she moved to The Woodlands, TX, and started her own newspaper, worked with a local hospital's public information office, and was a medical reporter for a local television station. She also interviewed numerous celebrities and did medical features for People magazine.

She subsequently moved to northwest Washington state and provided expert editing services for  numerous books prior to publication.

Patricia Burkhart Smith

She died at the age of 72 years on Monday, August 23, 2021.

She spent most of her life in New Orleans. According to her obituary, Pat was a National Merit Scholar, and graduated from Ben Franklin High School in New Orleans in 1967, then studied Fashion Design and English at Washington University in St. Louis.

Pat at one time had a dress design shop in this building on Lee Lane. 
Click on the  images to make them larger.

"Pat was highly talented and creative, whether she was designing clothing, jewelry, stained glass, writing or producing content for screenplays, books, film, or news media, as well as being a book editor and coach.

"She was an award winning journalist and medical reporter and freelance writer and editor. She spoke Italian fluently, and loved languages, and enjoyed gardening, films, rockhounding and gourmet food."

In 1987 she led a group of News-Banner reporters in putting together a special section on St. Tammany Parish environmental issues. It was a well-received publication that called upon the talents of many high-school students for their contributions and concerns.

In 1993 Pat published a book called "101 Uses for Really Old Fruitcake."  I supplied the cartoons to go along with the suggested uses. She was in Houston putting the book together, and I was drawing the cartoons in Covington and faxing them to her. It was an interesting project.

Here is an article that appeared in the newspaper announcing a book signing for the new book.

One of her writing projects in the Woodlands was a book in collaboration with Sonya Fitzpatrick, an interesting person who was able to telepathically communicate with animals. That book was "What the Animals Tell Me: The Secrets of Communicating with Your Pet," and it was well-received in a number of circles.

Her other books included several for the "Dummies" series, including "Alzheimer's & Dementia for Dummies" with Michael Wasserman. Tapping her own extensive expertise in clothes design, she wrote "Making Your Clothes Fit," which was appreciated by those who chose to modify already-owned clothing rather than buy new garments.

Then there was the book "Flipping Houses" by Tim W. Lenihan and Patricia Burkhart Smith, a project that tied into the growing popularity of buying old houses, rehabilitating them, and selling them for a profit.

She also took part in a book entitled "Christian Family Guide to Total Health" with Muriel K. MacFarlane and Eugene Kalnitsky, as well as an informative guide  book on Wellness.

I drove to the Woodlands in the early 1990's to visit her newspaper office there. It was there in her newspaper office that I wrote the last chapter in my novel "The Gafferty Perspective," with her providing suggestions and comments about how to make it better. She was good at editing and writing, and she helped many people put together better books as a result.

She was a great believer in continuing professional development, attending writer's conferences and seminars.

Here is a picture of her (second from left) with friends at a 2017 meeting at Leonardo's in Mandeville. 

This photo shows her with friends at Columbia Landing in Covington.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Allen Little

 Slidell community supporter, showman, travel expert and renowned caterer Allen Louis Little died September 12, 2021, at the age of 77 years.

In 1974 Little began his catering service at Chateau Bleu, and he also operated a  group travel business. He was well known as captain of the Krewe of Perseus, the Slidell Carnival krewe, a post he held for 38 years.  He was active in the theater, first at Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans and then with the Slidell Little Theatre.

Little also served as a founding member with the Slidell Mayor's Commission on the Arts as well as a supporter of the Slidell Museum. In 2010, The St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs named him Performing Artist of the Year during its President's Arts Awards.

According to his obituary found on the Honaker Funeral Home website, "Allen loved every minute of his life, from Mardi Gras to Community Theater, from traveling the world to fine dining."

 In a special honor, he was named the 50th King Perseus in 2019. "He served decades on the Board of Directors of Slidell Little Theater, including leading the committee to raise funds for the second stage, now named the Allen Little Theater," the obituary goes on to say.

"Allen was involved in many civic and community activities, leading to numerous awards from the City of Slidell, St. Tammany Parish, the Slidell Rotary Club and others." 

 In 2016 he was one of the organizers of the 7th Annual Northshore Gumbo Cook-off. Held in conjunction with the Slidell Little Theater (photo credit), the event's organizers included, from left on the back row, Little, Steve Cefalu and Don Redman. On the front row, from left, area Christine Barnhill, Jackie Beau, Janet Robertson and Tracy Gallinghouse.

See also:

Honaker Funeral Home obituary photographs article



Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Covington Area Map 1935

The internet is a rich source of maps, especially old maps, as the government and universities toil away at digitizing a variety of printed archival materials. The first image below is of the Covington area from a 1935 USGS Topographical Map and the second image is the Mandeville area from the same map. 



To see the entire map from 1935 in high resolution, CLICK ON THIS LINK. This was before the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway and its approaches. It's always interesting to see where the roads were and what used to be located where. In Covington, La. Hwy. 21 jumped two blocks west of Tyler Street to cross the Tchefuncte River further upstream than it does now, and La. 22 west out of Madisonville has been re-aligned over the years.