Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Donis Jenkins

 Donis Jenkins, a well known Covington resident , passed away on July 4, 2024, after a life of serving in many different capacities in many different civic clubs and organizations. She was born in New Orleans in 1923 and died at 101 years of age.

In 1972, she took part in the "Discover St. Tammany Tour" held by the St. Tammany Parish Fair Association, along with Ralph Privette, Mayor Ernest Cooper and Rick Webb of WARB. (Photo by Ron Barthet)

Donis Jenkins

Click on the images to make them larger. 

She coordinated many of the Miss St. Tammany Pageants

For 30 years she worked as an occupational therapist at Southeast Louisiana Hospital in Mandeville, retiring in 1982.  After retiring, she enjoyed serving as a volunteer at the St. Tammany Parish Hospital for 17 years.

She was one of eight children born to Mamie Willie and Ellis Jourdan. When she was five years old, the family moved to Folsom where she attended school, later going to Lyon High School in Covington. After graduation, she went to work for Barton Hebert, and she married Lee Roy Jenkins in 1942. They had two children, Lee Roy Jr. and Raymond. 

Jenkins was a member of First Baptist Church in Covington, where she was on the building committee. 

Donis was honored for her arts and crafts.

Registering for Jury Duty

Arts and Crafts Division Chairman
St. Tammany Parish Fair

Parish fair activities were a big part of her life. For many years, she assisted in the office during the run of the fair in Covington. 

St. Tammany pageants chairman

In the above photo, taken in 2016, Donis congratulates artist Suzanne King for her St. Tammany Parish Fair Poster. 

Member of the church choir at First Baptist Church

A participant in many community service groups, she was a  member of the Covington Garden Club, past vice president of the St. Tammany Parish Fair Association, and oversaw the fair's arts and crafts division. She is best known as director of Miss St. Tammany and Jr. Miss St. Tammany beauty pageants, a post she held for 12 years. She also served as chaperone for Miss St. Tammany in the state pageant.

In 1984, she was part of the group presenting Rick Webb of WARB with a fair poster, congratulating him for his many years of service to the fair. The fair that year was dedicated to Webb. Donis is third from left in the above photograph. 

She was perhaps best known for her work with the Covington Business and Professional Women chapter which elected her president in 1969 as well as giving her the "Woman of the Year" honor. She was treasurer of Alpha House Day Care Center and also treasurer of the West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Auxiliary. 

 According to her obituary found on the Fielding Funeral Home website, she enjoyed serving in various offices in multiple associations such as the Alpha House Day Center, West St. Tammany Chamber of Commerce Auxiliary, and the St. Tammany Art Association. 

Her hobbies include sewing, making quilts and beautiful silk magnolias. She was passionate about gardening, flower arranging, and crafting. Her fruits and vegetables were always canned and distributed to friends and family.

In 2011-2012, she chaired the Cleanest City Contest and served as the Executive Board Chairman. She worked diligently for the Covington Cemetery Fence project and the organization was successful at completing the needed fencing. 

She has held every office and board position and was chairman of 30 committees in the Covington Garden Club.

Churning Butter in 1961

 Sixty-three years ago, in 1961, children at the 22nd Avenue Kindergarten found out how much work it was to churn butter the old-fashioned way. 

Click on the image to make it larger. 

Monday, July 8, 2024

It's Another Beautiful Day

 The building on the north side of Covington Center Drive, between the La. Social Services Child Welfare Office and the red old tire store building has a new tenant, the It's A Beautiful Day cafe and health food emporium. The business is an offshoot of a long successful store down in Mandeville, which is situated in front of the driver's license bureau on North Causeway Approach. 

The new Covington location features a lunch counter, several tables, and offers a variety of sandwiches, healthy drinks and desserts. 

Formerly the home of Aiavolasiti's Bakery, the location was originally occupied by Pasquale's Pizza Place on the northern edge of the Bogue Falaya Shopping Plaza. 

Aiavolasiti's Bakery

Monday, July 1, 2024

Phone Service Debuts in St. Tammany

The year 1884 was the year that telephone service came to St. Tammany Parish. Here is a collection of articles from the summer of 1884 that reveal the excitement that went from community to community as the "telephone line" was connected and opened up voice communications with the rest of the world. 

The first phone line was between Mandeville and Lacombe. That phone line was extended from Lacombe to BonFouca, and then a few months later, on to Slidell. Once the line got to Slidell, it could offer calls to New Orleans and other places around the world.

Covington to Mandeville was added a month or so later, with Abita Springs and Madisonville not far behind. 

Click on the articles below to make them larger. 

May 26, 1884

Covington didn't want to be left out of the coming of telephone communications. 
Click on the images to make them larger and more readable. 

Text from the above article is given below:

Tammany Farmer- W. G. KENTZEL, Editor (Official Journal of St. Tammany)


The communication of Col. Geo. Moorman, in another column, shows what steps have already been taken to place our parish in direct communication with the outside world. Covington, the most important town in the parish, is not included in the telephone circuit, so far as the present arrangements are concerned, but a proposition is made to extend the line to our town. 

We have no doubt our citizens will view this important matter in the proper light, and take immediate steps to secure an extension of the line to Covington. The subject has been discussed here for several years, and in May, 1880, a telegraph company was formed, subscriptions taken, and finally the stockholders held a meeting and elected the following officers: President, J. Cahier; Treasurer, J. E. Smith; Secretary, H. J. Smith. 

At that time the question of building the Northeastern Railroad was being agitated, and as it was thought by some that the road might pass this way, further action was postponed, to see whether or not the railroad company would build a line. Since that time nothing has been done and no meetings have been held. 

We believe a sufficient sum was subscribed in 1880 to construct a telegraph line from Covingtou to Pontchatoula, and the former subscribers will doubtless look with favor on the present proposition, to extend the telephone line from Mandeville to Covington. The distance is only teu miles, and we do not think it will cost as much as the sum named by Col. Moorman. 

The incalculable advantage and vast importance of this enterprise should enlist the hearty support of our citizens, and no time should be lost in making the necessary arrangements, so that the line may be completed as soon as possible. It will be an additional attraction to induce summer visitors to spend the season here, and will prove a great convenience to our merchants and business men, and the public generally. 

We have no doubt the officers formerly elected would still consent to act, and we suggest that President Cahier call a Meeting of the old subscribers without delay, so that the question may be fully considered, and a committed appointed to raise the necessary amount and communicate with Col. Moorman. on the subject. 

Scarcely a day passes but the urgent need of a telegraph or telephone line is not felt by some one, and this is our opportunity to secure it. Let us take advantage of it at once, if we hope to see our town prosper. It will be a proud day for the Farmer, and all our citizens, when we can proclaim that Covington is connected by telephone and telegraph with New Orleans and the rest of the world.

End of Article

May 31, 1884

To show the citizens' renewed interest, another subscription list was started. 

June 6, 1884

News that had been arriving by telegraph was now starting to come via telephone. 

June 18, 1884

Mandeville was connected to Lacombe and wasted no time in making a friendly call. 

Text from the above article:


MANDEVILLE. LA., June 18, 1884. 

As a matter of interest to the readers of the Farmer, we desire to inform them that the Telephone Line in St. 'Tammany parish is an assured fact. At 6:10 p.m. on the 17th inst. Mr. Packard, the skilled electrician and Superintendent of  the line announced, by a signal from Bayou Lacombe, that the line  was in working order to that point. 

The President of the line requested him to send for Mr. Chas. Aubry, the leading citizen of Bayou Lacombe, who has done so much to forward the interests of the company, as he desired that the first message sent over the line should should be addressed to him. At 7 pm, Mr. Aubry informed Col. Moorman that he was at the telephone and following message was sent, and reply immediately received:

To Mr. Chas. Aubry, Bayou Lacombe

 It is proper that the first message sent over the over the St. Tammany Telegraph and Telephone Line, and the greeting sent from Mandeville to Bayou Lacombe, should be addressed to you, as a partial acknowledgement of your disinterested and untiring labors for the success and completion of the line, and of your generous services, tendered without compensation, and with a view to benefit your community, which should entitle you to the thanks and good wishes of your fellow citizens, as well as to the gratitude of all the stockholders of the company. 

The Shady Beach City, with pride and pleasure, greets the romantic Bayou Village, and congratulates her that she is the first place, amid St. Tammany's sighing pines and unrivalled woodland groves, with which lightning converse is held, and to enjoy the presence and benefits of this grand and useful electric power, discovered by Franklin and utilized by Edison, in which the genius and the powers of man have marked, "with magic and art profound, the speed of light, the circling march of sound."

Geo. Moorman, President


Your complimentary message and hearty greeting, from the Shady Beach City, both to myself and the Bayou Village, is received with grateful feelings. We trust that the advent of the Telephone will make a new era in our parish, and lead to other needed improvements which will bring us population, enhance the price of property, and assist us to market our products.

I am ready, when called upon. to give any additional assistance to the Telephone Line, or any other work which will develop our resources or improve our parish.

Charles Aubry. 

The line is in such perfect order that the sound of a hammer upon a log, the barking of a dog in the vicinity of the Telephone at Bayou Lacombe, and the ticking of a watch placed at the instrument could all be distinctly heard at Mandeville, a distance of 10 miles.

The submarine cable is being placed across Bayou Lacombe today, and the work will be pushed on to Bonfouca and Slidell. Vidette.

End of article

June 28, 1884

The Covington to Mandeville phone link was underway. 

July 5, 1884

Madisonville and Abita Springs wanted in on the phone exchange as well. 

July 5, 1884

The first phone call from Mandeville to BonFouca was completed. 

July 12, 1884

A few days later, the first phone calls were made from Mandeville to Slidell and New Orleans. 

August 9, 1884
A month later, the phone line between Covington and Mandeville was ready for use. 

August 16, 1884

Vandals tried to disrupt phone service shortly afterward.
But progress prevailed and telephone communications thrived. 

The phone line reached Slidell in 1884, only one year after the first train passed through Slidell going from Jackson, MS, to New Orleans. In 1884, taking advantage of the new transportation mode, Fritz Salmen opened the Salmen Brick and Lumber Company, and Colonel Pete Schneider, the St. Joe Brickyard. In the midst of accelerating growth the town of Slidell was incorporated four years later on November 13, 1888.  Industries such as brick making and ship building provided employment opportunities solidifying the town's economic stability. By all accounts, it was considered a boom town, and now it had phones.

See also these links:

Covington Area Phone Book -1947