Talent Bank

A list of articles focusing on creative people who have discovered, developed and put their particular talents to good use...

John Akers of Abita Springs told about his great diversity of art portraying St. Tammany Parish wildlife and outdoor environments.  He was nationally known for his art through winning many contests, particularly "duck stamp" competitions. His 1990 print for the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans was very popular.Click here to read about him.

Al Albert of Covington, the man with the band,  was a printer by day, but at all other times he was Al the trumpeter and leader of his own big band. He had some interesting views on how musical talent is awakened and encouraged. Click here to read about him. 

 Todd Bender: In the world of competitive clay target shooting, the name Todd Bender is legend. Not only a world champion in the sport,  the former Covington resident has also become a top skeet shooting instructor. Early in his career he was also well-known as a wildlife watercolor artist. Click here to read about him.

Jeff Bratton, Covington Attorney, has been helping young people get into professional football for decades, working as a scout for several NFL teams on the weekend. He was a coach himself, in college and while he served in the military, fine-tuning the talents of the players and assistant coaches he worked with. During the week as a practicing attorney, he uses his legal talents to help people with various issues. Click here to read about him.

Leah Chase, a native of Madisonville, was famous for her Creole cooking skills, her restaurants in New Orleans, and her willingness to help young people learn how to become chefs. CLICK HERE to read about her visit to Lakeshore High in 2010.

Florence "Winky" Chesnutt Friedrichs  made quite a name for herself in local art  circles, and although she moved to Missouri many years ago, she remains in the hearts and minds of many here in St. Tammany.  Her pen and ink sketches and poster designs are framed and hanging on many walls in area homes and offices. To read more about her, click here. 

Dick Clanton worked for many years with the St. Tammany Public Schools, checking the hearing of thousands of students as they progressed through the grade levels. Upon his retirement he turned his creative attention to the art of woodworking. Click here to read about him.

Pat Clanton has been active in a variety of ways throughout the community, as a city council member, as a worker for the local chamber of commerce, and as a member of the famous little theater group Playmakers, Inc. Her talents have kept her in the spotlight for many years, literally, as she has served as emcee for scores of events, from 4th of July picnics and talent showcases at the Sidney Fuhrmann Auditorium, to publishers of local books, poet, and promoter of the arts. Click here to read more about her.

Joseph Culotta Jr. kept New Orleans radio listeners informed and entertained for 25 years with his pioneering call-in talk show "Let's Talk It Over." A Slidell resident for many years, he interviewed presidents, senators, state and local politicians, plus a wide variety of community professionals. In addition, he taught at area colleges and local high schools and as a La. Dept. of Veterans Affairs supervisor, he helped military veterans obtain VA benefits. CLICK HERE to read more about him.  

Alan Flattmann, a resident of the Covington area, has over his life-long career as an artist garnered many honors and accolades. He is revered for his pastel renderings of the scenes of New Orleans, his native city, and other urban landscapes. He is a Pastel Society of America’s Hall of Fame Honoree and Eminent Pastelist of the International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS). Born in New Orleans in 1946, Flattmann studied at the John McCrady Art School of New Orleans. To read more about him, CLICK HERE.

Katie Planche Friedrichs was the first dance director at Southeastern Louisiana University, beginning her work there in 1951 and retiring in 1984. Friedrichs built the SLU dance department virtually from scratch and is credited with bringing modern dance to Southeastern. One of the founders of Playmakers, she also starred in the John Goodman movie "Kingfish." CLICK HERE to read more about her.

Elizabeth Futral: Growing up singing in the choir at First Baptist Church, Covington, led this young lady to a wonderful career in singing Opera. She has performed around the world, won numerous awards, and won the respect of many for her accomplishments. Click here to read about her career and inspirations.

Coach Hubie Gallagher: the legendary coach and civic leader who for 32 years led CHS sports to great accomplishments, especially the basketball team. Click here to read about him.

Elizabeth Gochnour,  in an interview shared her insights on the mysterious realm of speaking, hearing, and other forms of communication. Click here to read about her.

Lucille Gomez talks about discovering, developing and disciplining talent, particularly in the area of arts and crafts. Click here to read about her.   

Connie Hagen, violin teacher , shares her thoughts about learning music and how to play a musical instrument. Click here to read about her.

Dale Hauck of Abita Springs has become a well-known and appreciated St. Tammany artist. In the beginning his paintings of wildlife were realistic lifelike portraits (and duck decoys) of birds, but they have now evolved into large colorful paintings of nature in motion. Click here to read more about him. 

Rosemerry Fuhrmann Hanian, legendary dance instructor of Covington, tells how, according to her research and experience, learning how to dance opens up new areas of creativity, as well as improving reading ability.  Click here to read about her. 

Nicholas Hasslock, a Covington resident for many years, fine-tuned his artistic skills and knowledge of ceramics to create authentic street corner letter tiles for the City of New Orleans.  Click here to read about him. 

Carol Harrison Jahncke, writer, business woman, puppeteer, she was one of Covington's most creative community activists. She owned and operated a book store and a map store, Carol's Corner, and helped launch a number of events, festivals and celebrations. An album of songs written about Covington area rivers was one accomplishment. To read more about her, CLICK HERE.
Herb Jahncke, Mardi Gras Float Designer- Herbert Grant Jahncke, Jr., of Covington designed and built Mardi Gras floats, artistic creations that evoked memories of  flambeau-lit Carnival parades of the late 19th century. To read about Herb Jahncke, CLICK HERE.

Elizabeth Jane Jones lived in Madisonville in the mid-1800's and learned from the Indian Medicine Men the recipes and techniques for curing the sick and bringing relief to the suffering. Her diligence and charity helped her neighbors and Native Americans for years. Click here to read about her.  

Dorothy Kehoe was a remarkable Covington area resident who was involved in a variety of activities, from the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 to local theater productions. She became involved in public relations consulting, and worked with the primate research center in that capacity and later for St. Tammany Parish Hospital.To read about her CLICK HERE.

William Kiermaier of Covington is "world" famous. His work reaches around the "globe." That is because he builds world globes, big spherical geographic masterpieces that have been popular with courthouses and libraries. Click here to read about him. 

 Dr. Karl Koenig carries out the preservation of jazz music in two important ways: first by playing it, and second by gathering and publishing key historical information about New Orleans jazz and the musicians who made it happen. Click here to read about him.

Landscaping As A Talent - While no particular person was named in this Talent Bank column, all the unnamed landscapers, landscape design architects, plant growers and diggers were recognized for their contributions to the overall greenery in the parish, both residential and commercial. Click here to go to that article.

Carol Lapari -   In Covington, Carol Lapari is a stained glass artist who is widely appreciated for her wonderful designs, attention to detail, and the considerable amount of work she has produced over the past 35 years.  Click Here to go to her article. 

Robert de Lapouyade of Covington was the last of the great Louisiana Scene Painters. As a youth, his talents became well known, and as he grew, his expertise in painting earned him an apprenticeship with Eugene and Clarke Cox, scene painters with the New Orleans theater circuit.Click here to read about him.

Frank Levy pursued a life mission over 40 years to introduce as many children and adults as possible to the creative world of the theater, and he did so with enthusiasm, energy and expertise.   Click here to read about him.

Magicians abound in St. Tammany Parish, so much so that a local group organized in the early 1960's to enjoy fellowship and pursue their stage craft. Area residents had always enjoyed visiting magicians giving special performances at local theaters, school fairs, and even birthday parties. But this group of enthusiasts took the hobby to heart and mystified many of their neighbors. Click here to read about the St. Tammany Magicians. 

Elizabeth Malone  was a well-respected and appreciated individual in Covington, active in Playmakers little theater and the humane society. She worked with Photographer Hazel Ogden, hand-coloring black and white portraits, and she is known for her writings and poetry. Click here to read about her.  

Joe Manuel and Phil Patterson, traditional acoustic guitar makers, started the Abita Springs Guitar Company, LLC. about 14 years ago. Their guitars are not only works of art, but you can play a tune with them as well. Click here to read about them. 

"Pistol Pete" Maravich, one of Covington's most famous residents, was the outstanding LSU Basketball player who went on to play for the Atlanta Hawks, the Jazz, and the Boston Celtics. His secret to success was simple: practice, practice and then practice some more. Click here to read about him.

Mary Frances Morgan interviewed and wrote a number of magazine articles about the people of St. Tammany, as well as articles for several nationally-published periodicals. Doubleday published her novel "Teacher Lady" in 1952, and she was a pioneer in early television in New Orleans, serving as a hostess for one of the first talk shows on WDSU. Click here to read more about her. 

Polly Morris was a gifted writer who produced feature articles for the St. Tammany News-Banner newspaper. A resident of Lacombe, many of her articles dealt with historical figures of that area and current day customs and people as well, but she also branched out into other historical accounts across the entire parish. Several of her articles were fascinating romps through current events and philosophical treatises on life in general.CLICK HERE to read several of her articles. 

Anthony Musmeci, a retired commercial artist from Folsom, had some interesting comments on the new direction of commercial art and photojournalism. This was at the beginning of the computerized manipulation of images that would later lead to Photoshop, Corel Draw, and other image-editing software programs. Click here to read about it. 

Pete O'Neal of Mandeville sandblasted intricate pictures into glass.  Click here to read about him.

Chef Rene Nicolas cooked for St. Tammany residents for many years, first at his Old Golden Shores Restaurant, then at Riverboat Tchefuncte and then at Rene's Restaurant Francais in Mandeville. Click here to read about his background and career accomplishments. 

Willie Paretti had a talent for volunteerism, which means she herself volunteered for several community organizations and she also inspired others to get involved. Click here to read about her.

Wes Parker  of Talisheek paints wall-sized renderings of birds and wildlife scenes, several of those for schools with mascots from the animal world. He's been doing this for more than 40 years and recently received recognition from his employer, the St. Tammany Parish School System. Click here to read about him. 

Dr. Walker Percy, a Covington resident, was well-known for his nationally-acclaimed novels. His non-fiction book "The Message In The Bottle" was important to him and helped share his views about developing communication skills. Annual Walker Percy conferences are still being held to discuss his work. Of particular interest was his belief that the nation would be much better off if everyone could just use a little old-fashioned Southern hospitality to get along with each other. Click here to read about him.

Ronnie Pogue endeared himself to decades of theater goers for his many performances with the Playmakers Inc. amateur theater group. As an administrator with the St. Tammany Parish Public School System, he was well known throughout the community. Click here to read about him and view a video-taped interview with him on educational television. 

Dr. Daniel Posin, was one of the most interesting professional scientists to ever live in the Covington area. His professional science career spanned many decades and touched upon many aspects of science and physics, but he was best known for his efforts to explain space exploration and atomic energy to the public. Click here to read about him.

Claire Rohrbough, talented watercolor artist, graced the Covington art scene for many years, winning numerous awards. She took her first art lessons in Japan. Click here to read about her.  

Robert Rucker. One of the great artists to live in St. Tammany Parish, and Abita Springs in particular, was Robert Rucker. In a video interview for "Louisiana Legends," he reveals what motivated him to paint Louisiana scenes and try to capture that Louisiana spirit. .  Click here to read about him and see a video interview. 

James Rumsey, Inventor of the Steamboat. Inventor James Rumsey was born in England, traveled to America, set up fur trading posts with the Native Americans in Illinois, then went to Natchez, New Orleans and Bayou Lacombe where, as a skilled mechanical engineer, he worked on ways of using steam to move a boat through water. Historian Donald Sharp fills in the details about St. Tammany's part in the development of the steamboat.  Click here to read about Rumsey and his work in Lacombe and on the Pearl River Island.  

Coach Jack Salter:  A native of Covington, Salter was first an assistant football coach at St. Paul’s School before becoming CHS Coach Hubie Gallagher’s assistant in 1962. A year later, Coach Gallagher retired, and Coach Salter became head football coach for the Lions.  Salter went on to become the most successful football coach in St. Tammany Parish history, forging a 256-110-8 record (a 70 percent victory rate over 33 years, despite the slow start), his teams winning 15 district titles, making four appearances in the state championship game and winning the 1976 state crown. Click here to read about him.

Jeremy Sheppard tracks down classic vintage guitars and then he finds new homes for those guitars. He has been doing this for 18 years and has met some great people in the process.Click here to read about him.

Ms. Erica Spindler of Mandeville has written more than 30 novels, some of which have been published internationally.  Click here to read about her. 

George Washington Sully of Covington was a cotton broker in New Orleans, but he was also known as a amateur artist who painted Native American portraits, ships and sailing vessels, and some landscapes. His son Thomas became a renowned New Orleans architect. Click here to read more about them. 

Tammany Trotters Pony Club: The parish has long been known for its excellent horse breeding and training facilities, but as the young folks began to realize the joy and opportunities of living in a rural area where keeping and riding horses was possible, the learning of essential horseback skills was becoming important. Click here to read about the Tammany Trotters Pony Club.

Lyn Hill Taylor, widely-recognized artist and art instructor, tells about how artists perceive their own talent and how the public perceives artistic talent. Her portraits and home illustrations are treasured, and her artistic portrayals of horse-riding activities are legendary. Click here to read about her.

Dr. John and Sharon Vercellotti of Covington have operated the V-LABS chemistry consulting firm for 40 years, earning all kinds of industry accolades. Located in downtown Covington, they continue to gather awards, recognition and certificates of appreciation for their leading-edge work in sugar carbohydrate formulations for food ingredient research. Click here to read about them. 

Justin Wilson was a man of many talents, a safety engineer, a Cajun cook, and an extraordinarily successful Cajun humorist and public speaker. He lived in St. Tammany Parish for a few years, and was friends with many locals. But with his cooking television shows, his books ( some humorous, some cookbooks) and his many recordings, his name will live forever as one of the most talented public speakers and Cajun cooking instructors. Click here to read about him.

Woodcarvers and Duck Decoys: So many people in St. Tammany enjoy carving duck decoys that it merited a blog article of its own. Click here to read about it.  

The Talent Bank logo