Wednesday, August 30, 2023

1909 Firefighting Company

 Here's a group photo of one of Covington's volunteer fire-fighting brigades, Chemical Company No. 1, back in 1909...

Click on the above image to make it larger. 

Sunday, August 20, 2023

Retired Teachers Christmas Party 1996

 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. 

Click on the images to make them larger. 

Carlos, Johnny, Patsy, Hank, Troy, Francis and Helen

The Singing Santas

Special guests Supt. Lenny Monteleone and
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Alta Brow

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Father Dominic Braud

 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. 

Click on the image above to make it larger. 

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. 

Father Dominic Braud O.S.B.

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. 

An article telling of his talk to the local Rotary Club

 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. "

Click on images to make them larger and more readable. 

Singing in the church

You Tube Video Made In Memory of 
Father Dominic Braud, O.S.B.

Click on the "Play Triangle" Above to view video

See also:

SSA Gets Washington Close Up Look

 These SSA students got a Close Up view of Washington, D.C. back in 1986 ( some 37 years ago).

Click on the image to make it larger.

CHS Football Squad in 1963

 Here's a group photo of the Covington High School football squad in 1963, some 60 years ago.

Click on the above image to make it larger.

Lawyers Group in 1960

 This group of area lawyers were honoring Judge Robert Jones upon his retirement from the bench in 1960, some 63 years ago. Esteemed photographer Hazel Ogden took the picture.

Click on the image above to make it largre.

Sunday, August 6, 2023

Moise Recalls Places in Covington

 In September of 1987, James F. Moise wrote an article that was published in the St. Tammany Farmer newspaper, sharing a number of interesting anecdotes about life in Covington over the years. 

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. 

There was a description of St. Paul's institution of learning, just north of a "wild plot of earth known as Old Landing. Frederick, Goodrow and I would pedal our two wheelers down Jahncke Avenue under oaks dripping with shaggy moss."

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. 

The Covington area was a favorite location of many weekend residences of state officials, and come election time St. Tammany was a sure stop for politicians stumping for high office. The abundance of seafood pulled from Lake Pontchartrain also promoted the popularity of the Covington area, according to Moise. 

Harvey House

"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."

Harvey House ads from the early 1950's.
Click on the image to make it larger. 

Moise noted that the Harvey House dance floor was to the side of the soda fountain and the teenagers jitter-bugged to the shocking sounds of "Elvis and Fats."


"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. 

Adrian Schwartz

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.

Where we are now, in 2023, some 36 years after the above was written, the moss is still hanging and in spite of some serious hurricane encounters, the trees still shade those summer youngsters heading for the snowball stands. 

A Few Words About Columbia Street Mid 20th Century

By James F. Moise

There in Covington is a delicacy served only at Nathan's (Sandwich Shop): a truly delicious hamburger, perfected by Beverly browning buns on a more than worn iron top gas stove. I purchased a couple and with Coke in hand retired to a bench perched atop the warm sand in the Bogue Falaya Park.

 As most always the park was unvisited, quiet and comely. Upstream my eyes floated to a bend that formed the landing at the foot of Columbia Street, just passed the high bluff that lofted o'er the Mighty Bogue Falaya. 

I pictured in mind a memory of thirty five years gone: a Black parson baptizing his flock in water waist deep to a hymn the lyrics of which were as vanished as vapors.

Columbia Street

Columbia Street was little sister to conquering Boston Street with its privileged Courthouse frontage. Yet Columbia stretched unsubmissive and smug, like the cat that ate the canary, and boasted a breath of its own. Confident along its banquets were the buildings and the storekeepers whose names were an ordainment unswerving as the soverign oaks of Jahncke Avenue.

From the landing upward appeared the Masonic Hall, an unimposing red brick cubicle that never seemed occupied. The Lodge was handsomely dull with perfect grounds but not seen was a busy rake or mower, never ever.

Along was the shop of Barbier the Barber and I distinctly heard his unintelligible mumble as he snipped at locks. Tangent was City Hall where was paid the two dollar water bill. Across was a blond brick bank building converted into an A&P Store fronted by green push-carts and wiry farmers with reddish skin and salt and pepper stubble.

Katty corner was lawyer Adrian Schwartz with folded paper under arm as he searched for his office door next to Norman Haik's. Theriot's Drugs appeared and were seen the soda fountain and the white marble top tables graced with wire back chairs and the sweet smell of sundaes.

Across at the alley were three steps up to Nichol's Toys where for a quarter a balsawood plane was had. To the corner and the Napoleon Bar, a horrifying dump, the stench of which bettered the most seasoned booze head.

Drifting to another corner I found Yub Menetre smoking a cigarette and supporting a parking meter. He smilingly chatted with the voters and was careful to say as little as possible. Quiet LT Ragan followed a-fixin' a stubborn radio in his electric shop across from Schoen's Funeral Parlor. Then passed Lady's stately' home to Kirkland Street I saw the measured graveyard, then stopped still.

A hasty swallow of Coke followed by a small indiscretion allowed me the retaste of the thin white onions that flavored Nathan's delight. My thought-dream snapped and I felt a tad-bit blue. The repast ghosted away.

Blossman Home Fire Recollection by James Moise

In the late 1980's the Blossman family home burned, and Moise offered this memory-laden description of happier days in the kitchen of Opal Blossman. The house was located at the corner of West 21st Avenue and Jefferson Avenue, and it had been built around 1878 it was estimated. Click on the image of the article below to make the article about Moise's recollections larger and more readable. 

Memories of Attending Catholic School

In 1988 Mr. Moise shared his recollections as a student at St. Peters Catholic School in Covington with newspaper readers.

Click on the article above to make it larger. 

See also:

Moise Family Portrait

A Remembrance of Covington

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Bogue Chitto State Park

 St. Tammany area families have a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities to choose from- boating, skiing, hiking and biking. That list of choices expanded significantly recently with new and improved facilities at Bogue Chitto State Park just north of Folsom. 

Bogue Chitto State Park

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 mountain bike area improvements ribbon cutting

Click on the images to make them larger

The horse owners campground ribbon cutting

The Jordan Brooks Smith Kids Nature Trail ribbon cutting

Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser was on hand for all three ribbon cuttings, along with an array of local officials (including the sheriff and parish president), state representatives and senators, and volunteer organizations that use and love the new park. 

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. 

According to the state parks website for Bogue Chitto, "park visitors can experience a diversity of natural habitats on one of the most dynamic and scenic river systems in Louisiana. The 1,786-acre site includes small streams, cypress-tupelo swamps, a hardwood forest, upland forests and a rolling landscape.

"Overnight visitors will find accommodations from tent camping (complete with glamping sites) to RV camping to cabins overlooking the bluffs. For larger groups and family reunions, the park offers a group camp and a conference room.

Visitors are encouraged to "bring your mountain bike and explore the newly opened 14-miles of single track trails for bikers of all skill levels.

Fricke's Cave

"Fricke's Cave, which resembles more of a gorge, possesses delicate sandstone spires created when water erodes the surface underneath pebbles. The pebbles remain perched atop the spires, while over time water splashes on the sandstone surface, forming the two-foot-tall fingers of sandstone that shoot up from the now-lowered surface. Boardwalks have been built so that visitors can admire the sandstone creations from afar, as the formations are too delicate to allow visitors to walk among them.

"Fourteen miles of equestrian trails wind through some of the most interesting topography of southern Louisiana, with the trailhead located near Fricke's Cave." For the fishermen, there are 11 lakes stocked with a variety of freshwater fish, for the kids a water playground and an outdoor classroom, as well as numerous picnic pavilions for family get-togethers

Mountain Biking

The mountain bike facilities are impressive

In addition to the trails, there are practice areas for mountain bikers

The New Orleans Off Road Bicycling Association (NORBA) rides the trails regularly and also puts on mountain bike clinics and other events. Dirt Coaster Academy helps those new to the sport, teaching them how to ride the "roller coaster on dirt." The Academy is presented at locations around the state, but monthly at Bogue Chitto State Park. It's for ages 12 on up.  

A NORBA spokesman said their members love this park and appreciate the park workers efforts to keep up the trails for great rides. 

The Jordan Brooks Smith Interpretive Nature Trail

The Jordan Brooks Smith Kids Trail is an outdoor classroom

At right, Jeanne Brooks and Lt. Governor Nungesser

Horse Campground Pads and Rest Rooms

The seven new camping pads and hook-ups for horse riders and their trailers

The horse campground bathrooms are appreciated

The ribbon cutting ceremonies kicked off at the park meeting room with over 150 people in attendance. Officials gave welcoming remarks and Jeanne Brooks gave a talk about her son, the late Jordan Brooks Smith, who was an interpretive ranger at the park. He died in a tragic accident at the park a few years ago. The new kids nature trail was named in his honor. 

The crowd at the opening ceremonies

Brandon Burris, director of La. State Parks, left; Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser, center, and Jeanne Brooks, at right

To view meeting video, click one the "Play Triangle" above

The meeting room building

Playground equipment

Landscaped terrain

Visiting dignitaries

Volleyball court

An interesting array of antique farm equipment at the front gate

Robbie Thomas, president of Friends of Bogue Chitto State Park

Friends of Bogue Chitto was started nine years ago when the park was first opened. It has 40 members and puts on various events to help raise funds for things the park needs. Those events range from Halloween get-togethers and 4th of July watermelon parties to a trailride in November.

Bogue Chitto State Park Topo

See also:

Mountain Biking Video at Bogue Chitto State Park

Only In Your State: Bogue Chitto State Park