Here's a group photo of one of Covington's volunteer fire-fighting brigades, Chemical Company No. 1, back in 1909...
Wednesday, August 30, 2023
Sunday, August 20, 2023
In 1996, some 27 years ago, the St. Tammany Retired School Employees Association held a Christmas holiday party for its members at the Covington Education Center. Here are some photographs of that occasion.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alta Brown
Wednesday, August 16, 2023
Father Dominic Braud was well-known throughout the community for a variety of interests and talents, for his work at St. Joseph's Abbey, his singing voice, his narration of special programs (including the New Orleans Philharmonic Symphony) and his knowledge of local history, particularly Native American artifacts.
He earned a masters degree in music with a major in voice and opera from LSU in Baton Rouge, and from 1953 to 1955 he worked as a professional singer in New York. He performed a solo concert at Xavier University in 1971.Father Braud, O.S.B., was a monk of Saint Joseph Abbey in Saint Benedict, Louisiana, just north of Covington. He was born April 30, 1928, in New Orleans, the son of the late Earl N. Braud, and Juanita Philips Braud. He made his profession as a Benedictine Monk of Saint Joseph Abbey on August 11, 1956.
He died at the Abbey on January 1, 2009, at 80 years of age. Many civic leaders across the area were saddened by his loss, for he had talked to many groups and organizations about history, sang in many church services, and was extremely active with the parish historical society.
According to his obituary, he was ordained to the priesthood May 27, 1961, and celebrated his Golden Jubilee of Monastic Profession in 2006. He was a Professor in St. Joseph Seminary, Novice Master, Choir Director and composer of Liturgical music sung throughout the country.
He was also manager of the Christian Life Center, Subprior, Guestmaster and for many years the Director of the Oblates.
Many people remember his work with the historical society, his vocal performances in area churches, as well as his love of playing tennis. His archealogical work brought him to many "digs" in his search for artifacts.
Father Braud was known as an eminent musical scholar. One person recalled Father Dominic as band director at St. Ben's in 1958. Another stated that Father Dominic was one of the best interpreters of Bach's choral music that he had ever met. "He was a modest humble man who was also a great host," he said, adding that he had taken part at numerous retreats when Fr. Dominic was host at the retreat house at the abbey. "He was always gracious and caring. He truly blessed all who came within his circle of influence. "
Sunday, August 6, 2023
He starts off by quoting Dr. Walker Percy who in an interview had described Covington as a "non-place" and that's why he enjoyed living here.
Moise disagreed that Covington was a "non-place." He spends the next couple hundred words explaining how, indeed, it was a special place for many people.
"I remember the large white frame house across the street from St. Peter's School," he wrote in the article, "the lower level of which was called the basement, featuring a cafeteria and a stage for the performing arts."
Many streets were gravel in those days, Moise went on to say, the green grass was warm under young bare feet. "We wore shorts, shot cap pistols and waterguns while the adults were giantlike," he recalls his youth.
He described the streetlights: "a single white light bulb suspended beneath a circular galvanized cover."
Moise then described the horror of a stray dog being shot by a police officer in front of school children, and the browbeating local officials endured because of it.
Moise continued his account of his youth in Covington by mentioning the rusty cannon in front of the American Legion hall, Philip Burns and his five-and-dime store where kids could purchase a bag of marbles so large it took two hands to hold it.
"For a dime a child could buy a wooden top that would be made to spin and hum a music as profound as Beethoven's Ninth," he went on to write.
"Harvey House, next to the Majestic Theater on New Hampshire Street, was an honest to goodness soda fountain straight from the heart of Norman Rockwell. Mr. Harvey had but one arm and the dexterity of a juggler," Moise explained. "He would create American ambrosias such as banana splits and strawberry malts worthy of the most sophisticated sweet tooth."
Click on the image to make it larger.
"There was no exit from Mama Haik's store without a purchase unless one could obtain an Act of Congress," he went on. "But the folks knew that before they entered or were called off the street. She had a little lagniappe for her customers who were, incidentally, her friends. She loved them. She really did."
Moise said that a youngster could get into the Star Theater for an admission of six cents and a nod from Mrs. Jahraus who knew everyone's birthday (for at the "age of twelve" the price of a ticket went up to twelve cents). Warren Salles, the theater owner, would open the door for the kids and enthusiastically greet each of them by name.
A mainstay in the legal community, Adrian Schwartz, "had a mind like flypaper for law and literature," Moise wrote. He commended Schwartz for his knowledge of Shakespeare and Wordsworth as well as the Bible. Moise recalled an incident in Tugy's Bar when Schwartz delivered with soul a performance of the "Seven Ages of Man" from the play "As You Like It."
Moise also told of Sid Fuhrmann's skill with an artist brush, gracing the canvas with colors, tones and nuances that would form a "delicate" bayou scene showing still waters shaded by cypress trees. Residents who acquired one of Fuhrmann's artworks "would not trade one for a Renoir," Moise asserted.
He went on to tell about August Planche, Maggie Grimmer, and Frances Young, "The Cat Lady of Jefferson Avenue." He also told of Mary Ragan's card-playing expertise and Paul Herbes' saloon behind the Star. He told of a meeting between the Sheriff, Dr. Gautreaux and the Chief of Police where they wondered why Jefferson Avenue wasn't named Church Street.
Moise described the children from families affected by the Great Depression, their haunted and frightened expressions, wearing worn overalls and avoiding people's stares.
He commented on the coming of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, how it brought a new type of citizen, folks who went to shopping centers to buy stuff (instead of the long-established downtown merchants.)
The Secret of Life
Moise lamented the passing of many of Covington's finest old families, now laid to rest in City Cemetery No. 1. "They were good people who knew the secret of life: that the comings and goings of being were to be taken in small and patient doses, that fortitude and endurance constituted virtue, and that experience taught only those who took the time to smell the roses as time went by."
The pioneer families of Covington "were not particularly educated people," Moise said, "But they were intelligent and wise. They knew what they wanted in life and in fair measure, they got it."
He ends his treatise by lamenting the death of the Covington he once knew. He called the "painful and certain progress" a pact with the devil as Covington and the area filled with south shore newcomers.
"Often times I drink coffee in the Courthouse Cafe with Schoen, Kentzel, and Holden," he concluded. "I take a certain comfort in knowing that my father and mother knew their fathers and mothers, and that our grandparents knew each other.
"Perhaps our children and grandchildren will drink coffee in some designated gathering spot," he hoped. Jahncke Avenue oaks that had become bare limbed the previous decade were now coming back with sprigs of moss for the first time in 25 years or so. That gave him encouragement.
Thursday, August 3, 2023
The newest state park in Louisiana, cradled along the banks of the Bogue Chitto River, has already reached number two status in state park attendance figures, and with the new facilities, it may be well on its way to being number one.
Three ribbon cuttings were held on Thursday morning, August 3, at the park, the first for improvements to the mountain bike area, the second for the launch of the Interpretive Ranger Jordan Brooks Smith Kids Trail, and the third for campground facilties for equestrians who bring their horses to the park's many riding trails. Even the park's disc golf area was updated.
The park enhancements have been a while coming, as for years the park has been needing better facilities. State officials soon realized that Bogue Chitto was a real "jewel in the rough" for the state park system, and it was gaining a sizeable following across the region.
The park offers fishing, canoeing, hiking, nature trails, kayaking, a meeting room, and a number of other amenities. The new air conditioned bathrooms have been a big hit this summer.
Members of a number of local and regional outdoor enthusiast groups are excited about the improvements, since they hold special events frequently at the park, given its excellent location, terrain and natural features. There's tubing, horseback riding rentals, campsites, and now "glamping" tents.
The Jordan Brooks Smith Interpretive Nature Trail
Only In Your State: Bogue Chitto State Park