Sunday, February 25, 2024

Bayou Gardens Showcase Celebrated

Hundreds of people turned out for the Bayou Gardens Open House special event Saturday to celebrate the historic gardens located in Lacombe. They also enjoyed the informational booths that shared tips on gardening to help pollinators and wildlife.

The gardens, which were once a private estate owned by former Governor Richard Leche, are renowned for camellias and azaleas, and its spring artesian water. According to early descriptions, it was the site of an old Choctaw Indian Village. It later became the site of Holy Redeemer College and today is the headquarters of the Southeast Louisiana National Wildlife Refuges.

The grounds of the former tourist attraction were nationally known as “Bayou Gardens” and feature over 100 cultivars of camellias and a variety of azaleas blooming along a number of walking paths under oak and pine trees. The Saturday event  showcased these gardens and offered tours, displays, and workshops with a focus on learning about ways to support native plants and pollinators in neighborhood landscapes. Camellia experts were on hand to identify some of the hundreds of blooms in the gardens. 

Additional information was available with workshops on gardening with native plants and how to host butterflies and pollinators, plus a number of family-friendly craft activities, exhibits from local area organizations, and a “bug-arium” exhibit for kids.

Here are some photographs from the event. Click on the images to make them larger. 

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Refuge Center Visitors Center

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Rolland Golden

 Few artists achieve the public acclaim and widespread appreciation as did Rolland Golden, who lived his last years in the Folsom area. He was born in New Orleans in 1931, but in his younger years, he lived in Jackson and Grenada, Mississippi. His family also lived in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, while he was growing up. 

He graduated from the well-known John McCrady School of Art in New Orleans. During the Korean War, he served in the U.S.Navy.

A still frame from the Louisiana Public Broadcasting program about Golden

In 1957 he married Stella Doussan Golden and lived in the French Quarter in New Orleans. They opened an art gallery on Royal Street, his wife became his business manager, and his career skyrocketed. "She handles the business, and I produce the art," he once said. Later, they lived in Natchez, MS, where they operated an art gallery.

He first became a "professional artist" in 1957 and started winning awards in 1965. His career took off after the well-known celebrity Vincent Price saw one of his paintings on exhibit while visiting New Orleans, and recommended his prints for marketing through a major nationwide retailer.

Right from the beginning, his work was appreciated and praised throughout the nation, with his emphasis on portraying scenes from the New Orleans French Quarter, the Mississippi Delta region, and small towns and landscapes everywhere in between. 

His artwork became the subject of many lectures, public talks, and newspaper articles, with volumes written about his many public exhibits throughout Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and even southern California and Moscow.

He was one of the few American artists to be invited to have a one-man show in the Soviet Union. He was also one of the 50 watercolorists from the United States to take part in the Bicentennial National Invitational Exhibition.

A watercolor artist famous for his soulful portrayals of people, buildings, and deteriorating fences, he won dozens of awards, had a book written about him and even had a television documentary produced about him and his work. His paintings invoked many emotions, the art reviewers stated, among them "melancholy nostalgia."

Golden's artwork was collected by many private enthusiasts as well as museums both big and small. Often his work focused on Southern plantations along the rivers of Louisiana and Mississippi. He was known for painting an entire series of artworks based on a common theme, sometimes blending reality with the imaginary.

Golden's works were showcased in an art gallery bearing his name in downtown Covington in 2015-17, and his work could be found in dozens of galleries throughout Louisiana and Mississippi. He took part in hundreds of one-man shows during his career, including exhibits in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Memphis. In May of 2016, he joined several other artists in a St. Tammany Art Association exhibit called “Expressions of Place: The Southeastern Louisiana Landscape” which took place in the Miriam Barranger Gallery at the STAA headquarters on Columbia Street.

He loved to paint landscapes, but the Mississippi River itself was often a subject for his artistic eye. His style was highly praised for its emotional content and use of light. 

In 2014, he wrote his autobiography, "Life, Love and Art in the French Quarter," in which he described his emotional reaction to the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. His series of paintings of victims of the hurricane was highly acclaimed, although he said it was a depressing subject matter to capture on canvas.

He died on July 1, 2019, at his home in Folsom at 87 years of age. 

In 2020, the Louisiana Legends television show produced by Louisiana Public Broadcasting featured his life story.

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Friday, February 23, 2024

The Woods of Talisheek

A large Talisheek family portrait...

Click on the image to make it larger. 

This is a picture of the John H. Wood family, one-time residents of the Talisheek area, where Mr. Wood operated a large general merchandise store. He also had a sawmill at Sun, several miles up the road. His son Robert later purchased the store and operated it for 36 years, retiring in 1947, when he sold out to a nephew, Dudley R. Pitt, Sr. 

Robert Wood was also postmaster at Talisheek from 1931 to 1955, when he retired. He died in November of 1965. 

Left to right, seated, are Hannah Mary Pitt, Maude Thompson, Christine Hyde (daughter of Maude), Mr. Wood, Mrs. Wood, and Vera Louise Wood Beauchamp ( as a baby on her mother's lap). Standing from left are Robert, George, Katie Hiett and Captain Leonidas Wood. 

(Identification from a St. Tammany Farmer Picture From The Past)

John Wood died in 1926. 

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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Mardi Paws Parade Entertains Over 1000

 The annual Mardi Paws Parade celebrated its 30th anniversary Sunday afternoon in downtown Covington. The parade featured hundreds of dogs, one cat, and a nutria.

Well over a thousand people lined the streets to enjoy the parade. Here are some photographs. Click on the images to make them larger. 


Click on the "Play Triangle" to view the video
Then type "F" to see it full screen

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