Saturday, July 30, 2022
Friday, July 29, 2022
Block Party/Car Show July 2022
The monthly block party and car show was held Friday night, July 29, 2022, on Columbia Street in downtown Covington. Here are a few pictures of the event as it was just getting started. Click on the images to make them larger.
Thursday, July 28, 2022
Lyon High School Seniors 1924
Here's a group photo of the senior class of Lyon High School in Covington in 1924. Click on the image to make it larger.
Wednesday, July 27, 2022
Columbia Street Poster Map
Columbia Street in Covington is one of the finest small town main streets in the country.
It has pretty much everything: a variety of good restaurants, hardware stores, dozens of attorneys' offices, land surveyors, real estate offices, appraisers, art galleries, art studios, a medical spa, three banks (one on the south end and two on the north end), and the main city cemetery.
Because of its historic significance and current day activities, I have drawn a poster map that labels many of its present businesses and also lists some of its previous business locations. Here is the map:
Columbia Street Overview
Also on Columbia Street are the St. Tammany Parish Justice Center, city police headquarters, the Farmers Market, the Masonic Lodge, the St. Tammany Art Association and the historic Columbia Landing, which doubles as a concert stage and picnic area. At the top of the landing is a historical marker and an old-fashioned gazebo where musical jam sessions are often held.
Over the years its businesses have provided lumber for building homes, fashion clothing for dressing the family, shoes, hunting and fishing supplies, guitars, feed and seed and plants as well as health food items.
In one block there is a nationally-recognized glass design and fabrication firm on one end and a nationally-renowned general merchandise store that's been in business for 146 years on the other end.
Several motion pictures have been filmed on the street over the years, and a number of commercials have also been made on Columbia Street. It is a favorite location for block parties, auto shows, and parades all year long: Mardi Gras parades, the fair parade, the St. Patrick's Day parade.
The knife and archery shop is a landmark business, as is the coffee shop.
It's a street like none other, a major corridor for trade from Mississippi in the early years, and currently a favorite shopping destination for locals and visitors alike.
Tammany Trace, one of the nation's top recreational cycling trails, crosses it, as did the railroad track a century ago when passenger trains would bring hundreds of visitors to the community every summer weekend.
Columbia Street has long been one of Covington's most important thoroughfares, made possible by the business owners who located there and by the customers who shop there.
Columbia Street Scene
Spring For Art 2019
Windows To The Past
Monday, July 25, 2022
Local Interest in Tesla Inventions
Although his legendary work in electricity is not well known today, the reputation of Nicola Tesla, "The world's greatest electrician," was highly recognized back in 1898, so much so that the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper ran a large front page article about his goal in preventing future wars.
Here are the details from 124 years ago, December 31, 1898.
The text from the above article is as follows:
INVENTED BY TESLA.
A Device That May Render Fleets and Guns Useless.
It Is Alleged to Be a Powerful Destroyer, and Distance Is Said to Have No Effect on Its Magic Results.
St. Tammany Farmer Dec. 31, 1898 (Special New York Letter.] Nicola Tesla, greatest of living electricians, is still a young man. He was born in the ancient kingdom of Servia, 35 years ago, and combines with the enthusiasm of the Slav the dogged peristence of the same race.
Reared amidst congenial surroundings, and under the direct supervision of his mother, whose fame as an inventor of looms and other household devices is more than local; and assisted in his studies by his father, an eminent preacher of the Greek church, his natural love for mathematics and mechanics was given full play. While at school he mastered half a dozen languages, besides being recognized as the leader in technical studies; and consequently had no difficulty in securing a position in the Hungarian government telegraph engineering department at Budapest. Thy bureaucratic methods prevailing in the office where he was employed did not please him, however, and he drifted to Paris, and then to the United States, where he found employment in Edison's famous laboratory.
It is said—whether truthfully or not, I cannot tell, that the wizard soon grew jealous of the young man's genius and suggested that his room would be more agreeable than his company. Testa took the hint, and established a laboratory of his own at New York, where he has conducted a number or experiments which will forever give him a high place in the history of electrical science. A few years ago his workshop was destroyed by fire, and with It the results of years of research. This calamity, which would have discouraged most men, only served to fire the young inventor's ambition.
In patience he labored and toiled on lesser devices, which brought him the means of carrying on his greater operations.
And now he has broken his silence by announcing to the world the perfection of an engine which, if it does but half he claims for it, will revolutionize modern warfare and completely change the position of nations. In fact, the disarmament of the powers would be a necessity, and war would be so terrible that no country could sustain it even for a few weeks.
Mr. Tesla's invention, to describe it In a few words, consists in an application of electricity whereby, without interposition of any artificial medium of communication, one man can control and direct with absolute exactness the movements of any type of vessel, balloon or land vehicle at any distance that may be desired. From a station on shore or from the deck of a moving vessel a torpedo boat equipped with this device may be propelled either on or below the surface, maneuver at will in any direction and finally brought into contact and exploded at the side of a hostile ship at any point within the range of the operator. More marvelous yet, assuming that it were possible to locate the position of the warship to be destroyed, the torpedo boat could be directed to it, even if the vessel lay in a European harbor and the operator were stationed at Sandy Hook or Fort Monroe.
The result of this invention? Let Mr. Tesla speak for himself:
"War will cease to be possible when all the world knows that the most feeble of nations can supply itself with weapon which renders its coast secure and its ports impregnable to the assaults of even the united armadas of the world. Battleships will cease to be built, and the mightiest ironclads and the most tremendous artillery afloat will be of no more use than so much scrap iron. And this irresistible power can be exerted at any distance by an agency of so delicate, so impalpable a quality that I am justified in predicting the time will come, ncredible as it may seem, when it can be called into action by the mere exercise of the human will."
How does the new device work?
Hitherto the only means of controlling the movement of a vessel from a distance has been supplied through the medium of a flexible conductor, such as an electric cable, but this system, according to Tesla, is subject to many limitations, such as are imposed by the length, weight and strength of the conductor, by the difficulty of maintaining with safety the high speed of s vessel or changing the direction of its movements with rapidity, by the necessity of effecting the control from a point which is practically fixed, and from many other drawbacks which are inseparably connected with such a system.
Tesla's plan seems to involve none of these objections. He is enabled by the use of his invention to employ any means of propulsion, to impart to the moving body or vessel the highest possible speed, to control the operation of its machinery, and to direct its movements from either a fixed point or from a body moving and changing its direction, however rapidly, and to maintain this control over great distances without artificial connections between the vessel and the apparatus governing its movement and without such restrictions as these mast necessarily impose.
He requires no intermediate wires, cables or other form of mechanical or electrical connection with the object save the natural media in space. He accomplishes similar results, however, by producing waves, impulses or radiations which are received through the earth, water or at atmosphere by suitable apparatus on the moving body and causes the desired actions so long as the body remains within the effective range of such currents, waves, impulses and radiations.
Having made these experiments, Tesla proceeded to demonstrate his theories by means of a model which he exhibited to a representative of the New York Herald
Elevated on stools in the center of the inventor's laboratory was a model of a screw-propelled craft about four feet long. no attempt having been made to follow the usual sharp lines of a torpedo boat. The deck was slightly arched and surmounted by three slender standards, the center one being considerably higher than the other two, which carried small incandescent bulbs, a third bulb being fixed at the bow. The heel consisted of a massive copper plate, the propeller and rudder being in the usual positions.
The boat contained the propelling machinery, consisting of an electric motor actuated by a storage battery in the hold, another motor to actuate the rudder, and the delicate machinery which forms the functions of receiving through the central standard the electric impulses sent through the atmosphere from the distant operating station which set in motion the propelling and steering motors, and through them light or extinguish the electric lamps and fire the exploding charge in a chamber in the bow in response to signals sent by the operator.
"Now watch," said the inventor, and, going to a table on the other side of the room, on which lay a little switch box, he gave the leer a sharp turn. Instantly the little propeller began to revolve. "Now I will send the boat to starboard," he added, and another movement of the lever sent the helm sharp over, and another motion turned it back again.
"During the clay," explained Tesla. "we should steer our course by keeping the two standards in line. but at night we should depend on electric lights." and at a signal both the tiny bulbs were illuminated.
"Now we will assume," continued the inventor, "that the boat has arrived within striking distance of the vessel to be destroyed, and the bulb in the bow will serve to show that the explosion bas taken place." As he spoke he touched the lever again and the light flashed and was extinguished. "Imagine, if you can," concluded Tesla, "what an irresistible instrument of destruction we have in a torpedo boat thus controlled, which we can operate day and night, on the surface or below it. and from any distance that may be desired. A ship thus assailed would have no possibility of escape."
Mr. Tesla further claims that it is not even necessary to make a close approach to the vessel to be destroyed. At a distance of 100 feet the explosion of 200 pounds of dynamite will exert a shattering effect on a battleship, and 200 or 300 tons of the explosive, when exploded even a mile away would raise a wave that would overwhelm the largest and strongest ship ever built.
Mr. Tesla contemplates giving a public demonstration of his invention it the Paris exposition, where he intends to exhibit a model of a torpedo boat whose movements are to be directed from his office at New York.
End of article
So, in essence, Tesla was talking about radio-controlled torpedoes, or, had airplanes been invented by 1898, drone aircraft.
One of the reasons I found this article in the St. Tammany Farmer on Tesla so interesting was that just a month earlier I had finished writing a science fiction novel in which Tesla made a cameo appearance.
Thursday, July 21, 2022
Slidell Overview Update 1907
An overview of the origins and growth of Slidell was published in the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper in November of 1907. Here is a copy of that article. Click on the image below to see a larger and more readable version.
Slidell's Train Station
Sunday, July 17, 2022
The St. Tammany Superhighway
Long in the proposal stage and even longer in the planning stage, the new superhighway from Bush to Interstate 12, LA 3241 is now underway.
According to a project update in December, 2021, the corridor project runs approximately 20 miles and consists of a new four-lane divided highway connecting Interstate 12 (I-12) to Bush, Louisiana. It is broken up into three separate construction projects.
Segment Three of the current project, from Bush to Talisheek (intersecting with La. 435 just west of La. 41) is now under construction by Contractor Brown Industrial Construction, LLC. Bids for that section were let a year ago on July 21, 2021, with a Construction Contract Amount of $45,964,769.53.
The anticipated completion of segment three is between Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. That will be the first 5.6 miles of the entire project.
Meanwhile Segment 2 ( also known as DOTD Project H.004435) stretches from La. 435 near Talisheek, to La. Hwy. 36 near the community of St. Tammany.
That segment is also under construction, with the contractor being James Construction Group, LLC. Bids for that work amount to $62,565,356.72 and the contract was let on September 22, 2021. The anticipated completion date of that eight miles of roadway is also projected between the Fall of 2023 and Spring 2024.
The last section connecting La. 36 with the La. 434 interchange at Interstate 12, was in the plan development stage as of December of last year. Designated "Segment 1," it was set to begin the right-of-way acquisition in early 2022, with the anticipated letting of the construction bids in 2023. That stretch will run for 6.2 miles and complete the final section of the superhighway diagonally across St. Tammany Parish.
According to La. DOTD documents:
The LA 3241 project was planned as part of the Transportation Infrastructure Model for Economic Development (TIMED) Program, for which legislation was passed in 1989. The 30-year delay in delivering this project is attributable to poor financial forecasting that resulted in an overextended debt service extending to 2045 that, when combined with a prolonged permit process, caused an unacceptable delay to this very critical project.
Project Description: The LA 3241 project would construct two lanes of an ultimate four-lane principal arterial highway from I-12 to the southern terminus of LA 21 in Bush, Louisiana.
Currently, LA 21 is a four-lane divided highway between the City of Bogalusa, in Washington Parish, and Bush, in St. Tammany Parish, ending at its intersection with LA 41. Most of the project is on new alignment with a maximum right-of-way (ROW) width of 250 feet; however, the initial section near I-12 would expand an existing two-lane highway, LA 434, to four lanes.
Other than the initial section, the facility will be full Control-of-Access (COA) with the exception of two at grade intersections with major east-west routes which can be grade-separated in the future. Therefore, the travel speeds, reliability, and safety will be far superior to that of conventional highways.
Purpose & Need: The LA 3241 project would provide an alternative north-south connection that would reduce congestion and delays for those traveling from northern St. Tammany Parish and Washington Parish to I-12. The proposed highway would increase safety by reducing the amount of traffic and congestion on existing routes (LA 41 and LA 21/LA 59/US 190), and thereby reduce the potential for accidents.
In addition, travel time savings could help support and enhance potential economic development in northern St. Tammany and Washington Parishes. LA DOTD is obliged to construct the proposed highway to comply with La. RS 47:820.2B(1)(e), which requires “[t]he Louisiana Highway 3241 project from Interstate 12 to Bush…shall be constructed as a [four]-lane or more highway.”
The proposed action is needed to fulfill the legislative mandate, provide a logical, direct, modern, high-speed 4-lane arterial to I-12 from the southern terminus of the current, modern 4-lane arterial portion of LA 21; and provide a logical, direct, modern, high-speed 4-lane arterial to I-12 from the southern terminus of the current, modern 4-lane arterial portion of LA 21.
The project will also divert traffic from Washington and northern St. Tammany Parishes onto a 4-lane, modern, high-speed arterial to free capacity for local trips on segments of existing routes in southern suburban areas and reduce congestion during peak and some nonpeak periods; as well as support and enhance the existing and developing economic activities in Washington and northern St. Tammany Parishes that rely on the highway network to reach their markets by providing a travel time savings.
The proposed LA 3241 project is needed to provide an alternative north-south connection that would reduce congestion and delays for those traveling from northern St. Tammany and Washington Parishes to I-12. Continued growth in St. Tammany Parish is expected because of demand for affordable housing, developable land, a good local education system, and its location as a bedroom community to the New Orleans Metropolitan Area. Such growth has resulted in increased traffic volumes on the area’s roads, including north south routes LA 21 and LA 59, and local and secondary eastwest roads.
To provide transportation planning context, it is noted that the project is included in both the 2015 Louisiana Statewide Transportation Plan as a Priority A Megaproject, and the 2018 Louisiana Freight Mobility Plan as a Priority A Megaproject that addresses freight transportation needs. It is also included in the Regional Planning Commission’s FY 2019-2022 Transportation Improvement Plan (Tier I). The Regional Planning Commission serves as the Planning Commission for St. Tammany Parish. Upon completion of construction, the route will be designated as part of the National Highway Freight Network and the National Highway System.
End of La. DOTD document
On November 19, 2021, Gov. John Bel Edwards and DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D., held a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on the LA 3241 corridor in St. Tammany Parish. State and local officials attended the ceremony celebrating the construction of the new four-lane highway on the Northshore. The following is from the Governor's press release about the event.
“I am proud to see this project come to fruition,” said Gov. Edwards. “Creating a brand new highway is an example of what can be accomplished when we have the correct funding sources in place and when our leaders on all levels of government work together. This corridor will provide relief for regional transportation needs and stimulate economic growth in this region.”
“LA 3241 has been discussed for nearly 40 years, but because of lack of funding, it took decades to move forward,” said DOTD Secretary Shawn D. Wilson, Ph.D. “This new corridor will improve access between I-12 and the northeastern ‘toe’ of Louisiana, as well as provide an additional hurricane evacuation route from the New Orleans and Northshore areas. Infrastructure creates jobs and ignites economic development.”
“After decades of waiting, it is encouraging to see progress on a physical connection from Washington parish to St Tammany parish,” said Senator Beth Mizell. “New economic and educational opportunities will be more accessible to all citizens. This step makes a long awaited dream of the past a reality for the prosperity for all of our area.”
“After 32 years, we are finally fulfilling the constitutional TIMED Project LA3241 bridging the gap between Washington Parish and Interstate 12,” said Representative Malinda White. “Some said it would never happen and some died waiting for it to happen. Thirty two years later, TIMED project Highway 3241 becomes a reality.”
“I am thrilled to see this long-awaited project become a reality for all citizens in St. Tammany Parish, especially those in the northeast corridor,” said St. Tammany Parish President Mike Cooper. “Once completed, LA 3241 will provide a major connection and economic growth for I-12 to Northeast St. Tammany Parish and all neighbors, businesses and communities in between. I look forward to seeing the progress and completion of LA 3241 and its many benefits to St. Tammany Parish."
Saturday, July 16, 2022
Statewide Firefighters Convention in Covington - 1911
The statewide Firefighters Convention held in Covington in 1911 was a big deal. Click on the images to make them larger.
Text of above article:
Now in Session at Courthouse, Convention Hall.
Program and Routes of the Parades to Take Place.
List of Delegates Registered Up to Noon of Friday.
Hon. Robert C. Wickliffe Telegraphs Good Wishes.
Yesterday brought many from their beds at an earlier hour than usual in preparation for the reception of the firemen and their friends. Unfinished and delayed decorations were put in place and many minor detail's of the last moment called for hurried execution. The reception committee waited upon the incoming visitors on the morning trains and badges were distributed to the delegates and visiting guests.
The bureau of information promised to be useful adjunct to the preparations for the convenience of guests, but it evidently was not found by the visitors who were looking for 'the post office.'
The following delegates had registered up to the time we go to press: Wm. Holmes. (Old Bill), Bogalusa; L. B. LeBlanc, H. C. Ende, Asst. Chief John Dupuy. Adolph Dupuy, Jr., Chief J. A. Hebert, Jr., Plaquemine; Secretary Wm. J. Klein-peter, James J. Hoek, R. L. Maners. R. R. Stone, Gretna; Asst. Chief R.I. Munch, L. C. Schneider, Clinton Ayo, Geo. A. Toups, Men P. Sposito. Chas. A. Labit, F. H. Gaudet, J. Hoffman. Thibodaux; Chief R. Neff, Alexander; President J. B. Heaney. New Orleans: J. I. Hebert, A. S. Brown, D. Mizzi, Gilbert Kahn, Opelousas; D. W. Volt, Hammond; Robert White, New Orleans; C. M. Compton, P. Broussard, New Iberia; Chas. Lowe, R. A. Theft, Franklin; F. Mouton. E. Mouisset, Dr. G. A. Martin. Louis Chaupin, Wm. Graser, F. H. Moulton, A. H. Sauevoie, Lafayette.
We go to press before the opening of the convention, but the following program was mapped out:
FRIDAY. MAY 26.
8:30 A. M. —Reception committee will assemble to meet all trains bearing visitors, firemen and delegates.
10:30 A. M.—The guests, officers, delegates and members will assemble at courthouse for the opening of the convention, which will be called to order by President J. B. Heaney.
11 A. M.—Invocation by Rev. Father Jos. Koegerl of St. Peter's Catholic Church. Address of welcome on behalf of town of Covington Dr. F. G. Marrerro, Mayor of Covington. Address on behalf of the local tire department. N. H. FitzSimons, president Covington Firemen's Association. Response by President J. B. Heaney and delegates of State Association. Benediction, Rev. J. M. Williams. pastor Presbyterian church. Music by Second Regiment band of New Orleans.
2:30 P. M.—All delegates will assemble in the convention hall, the parish courthouse, where the regular order of business will be taken up.
8 P. M.—Entertainment. All delegates and firemen will assemble at the Air-Dome to attend a special Vaudeville performance, complimentary to the state firemen.
SATURDAY. MAY 27.
8:30. A. M.—Reception Committee will meet all trains bearing visiting firemen.
10 A. M.—Convention called to order ln convention hall, parish courthouse. Invocation, Rev. H. A. Rennie, pastor of Christ's Episcopal church.
Following topics are assigned for Saturday:
"Should not the insurance companies show a more fraternal friendship to the firemen of our state?" Harold A. Moise, New Orleans.
"Do the fire departments give protection other than from fire losses?" Chief Wm. Holmes, Bogalusa. La.
"What is the most important protection in a town, a police department or a fire department? How can a town be made to provide for a volunteer fire department the same as a police department?" Home Fire Company, Lafayette.
"What relation should exist between the paid firemen and the volunteers? Is the State Firemen's Association a benefit to the firemen? How can a pension be provided to protect out firemen?" Independent Fire Company No. 2, Baton Rouge.
"Is the efficiency of a fire department not affected in any way by the Interest manifested by the town council and citizens? How can the membership of volunteer fire companies be best maintained, and can it be done without the co-operation of the town council and citizens." Jos. B. Lancaster, Covington.
"In what different ways can the volunteer fire service be made attractive in order to enlist and make loyal members of our young men? Discipline and its advantages? Chief D. W. Wolff, Hammond.
"The necessity of fire drills in our public schools, buildings and factories, where a large number of persons are employed. Defective flues and their danger," Chief Hugh Waddell, Baton Rouge.
"Is there anything to be gained by firemen's tournaments, hose cart races, hook and ladder contests. etc.?" Rayne Fire Department.
"Is there any saving in the maintenance of motor-driven apparatus over horse-drawn apparatus in small towns where there are no paved streets? Is the motor any advantage oser the horse-drawn, in effectiveness and efficiency?" Chief Charles 0' Brien, Shreveport.
12:30 P. M.—Business session: Election of officers; selection of next convention town; adjournment till 1912 convention.
2:30 P. M.—Varied entertainments including a motor car ride through the ozone belt to Mandeville.
7:30 P. M.—The Kovington Karnival parade will be reproduced in honor of the firemen of Louisiana, passing through the principal streets.
8:30 P. M.—Ball at the Bogue Falaya Park, in honor of the visiting firemen.
SUNDAY, MAY 28.
8:30 A. M.—Reception committee will meet all excursion trains bearing are companies and visitors.
9 A. M.—Delegates will assemble at convention headquarters to receive their badges. Firemen and visitors will have from 9 a. in. to 12 m. to attend church services.
12:30 P. M.—All firemen In full uniform and delegates will assemble at Bogue Falaya Park to attend the barbecue.
2 P. M.—Parade; all fire companies will assemble at the corner of New Hampshire and Lockwood streets for annual parade through streets, returning to the park for review, after which it will disband.
3 P. M.—state firemen's tournament, after which all prizes will be so awarded.
The following telegram was received from Hon. Robt. C. Wickline, Washington. D. C.:
President N. H. Fitzsimons - Covington. La
Best wishes for the success of the convention. Am with you in spirit.
ROBT. C. WICKLIFFE.
Route of Firemen's Parade.
Form at New Hampshire and Kirkland streets; out New Hampshire to Rutland, to Columbia, to Lockwood. to New Hampshire, to Boston. to Columbia, disband.
Route of the Carnival Parade.
Form at the corner of New Hampshire and Theard Avenue; thence to Columbia street, to Boston, to New Hampshire, to Rutland. to Columbia St., New Hampshire to the park, to the Den.
Friday, July 15, 2022
Rutland Street Row
In 1997 Inside Northside magazine ran this ad showing the businesses along "Rutland Row," the historic Rutland Street in Covington between Lee Lane and Columbia Street.
Click on the image to make it larger.