Mayor Mark, Congressman Scalise
& Collins Blvd

Mayor Clay Madden of Mandeville, Mayor Greg Cromer of Slidell, Parish President Mike Cooper and I recently had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Steve Scalise.

Parish President Cooper hosted the meeting in the Council Chambers at Koop Drive.
From past experience, I knew I would have the opportunity to present one area of concern for our community, preferably one with Federal implications. I chose the traffic and lack of progress on widening Collins Blvd., aka U.S. Highway 190 Bypass, from LA 25 to the Bogue Falaya River bridge.

Stage 0 Report
September 2013
I brought with me the Traffic Study I inherited from then Mayor Mike Cooper dated September 2013. It outlines the problems and potential remedies. Of course, the traffic snarls are far worse today than they were eight years ago.

I shared that the design for a new bridge over the river is 90% complete and that this project should go out for bid in late 2021.
Once completed, the existing bridge will be demolished and replaced.

Only after completion of the second bridge is design work for Phase II scheduled to begin. Design work takes a few years … then construction takes a few more years.

Only after completion of Phase II is design work for Phase III scheduled to begin. Design work takes a few years … then construction takes a few more years.

Me: "In St. Tammany, the Parish President is allowed 3 terms of 4 years each. If these projects remain on schedule, he (I pointed toward President Cooper) would be term limited out before their completion (2033)."
The Devil is in the Details:

Despite the fact that Hwy 190 is a Federal highway, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD). The Federal match of 80/20 is meaningless without a set of plans and a 20% match by the State.
Our State Emblem

When we (the City of Covington and citizens of western St. Tammany) ask DOTD to expedite the project, we are just one of hundreds of municipalities with empty hands extended towards the State begging for dollars ... much like hungry baby birds begging their mother to pluck blood from her chest to provide nourishment.
It Takes Money We Don't Have:

In a conversation 1 1/2 years ago with then State Senator Jack Donahue, I confirmed that should an area front money i.e. put skin in the game, that action could / would have a positive impact on scheduling. The upfront money is used for engineering design into a "shovel ready" project. Unused Federal dollars at year's end are often searching for these completed plans. Past Parish President Kevin Davis used this technique for interchange improvements along I-12 (think Obama Stimulus).

If St. Tammany Parish put up $1M (which they don't have) and if Covington matched the $1M (which we don't have), we could then approach the Regional Planning Commission and the State for additional matching funds. With plans in hand, we could better our place in the queue.

Otherwise, we are just baby birds hoping for a State handout.
Big Thanks to St. Paul's Marching Wolves
who brought their Mardi Gras dance moves and Carnival sound to the downtown streets of Covington in a show of appreciation to those residents and businesses that decorated their "House Floats." Here, the band splits itself around the Emile "Boss" Frederick Oak on South Vermont Street.
Bruce Willis is 65 years old.
He is now eligible for the vaccine.
Eligible patients must make an appointment to receive the vaccine, which is delivered in two separate doses three weeks apart.

Call 985-898-4001 and press 1 to schedule with St. Tammany Health System at the Express Care Clinic,
71338 Hwy 21, Covington.

Downtown Drugs is also administering the vaccine.

To register,
call 985-898-9958.

338 North Vermont Street
Yes, it's the old Western Auto Store ; )
Playmakers has the Play
Now they need the Audience
One of the oldest continuously operating community theaters in the United States, Playmakers was organized in 1955 as a non-profit, voluntary amateur theater. It is a charming venue located in the heart of the San Souci Forest 5 minutes north of Covington just off Lee Road. 

Sometimes supporting the community is as simple as buying the ticket and attending the event. This is one of those times.

For Tickets ($20 each) Playmakers Homepage
Northshore Technical Community College Joins Chevron to Improve Middle School Students' Math Skills
Northshore Community Technical College is one of the partners for Chevron's Fueling Math initiative, which kicked off this past Saturday.

The project aims to "raise the public’s understanding of the role that math plays in our lives, develop a team of volunteers to mentor and tutor local middle school students and provide meaningful learning opportunities to spark students’ interest in math."

It's not too late for your middle schoolers to enroll:
Photo of Emile "Boss" Frederick Oak
 from Watercolor by Lyn Hill, 1974
"The stately oak tree that stands in the middle of Vermont Street at the corner of East 19th Avenue in Covington was enrolled in the Live Oak Society and named for Emile Frederick Sr. in dedication ceremonies Tuesday afternoon. Father Francis Sander of St. Peter's Church opened the ceremony with a blessing of the tree and Mayor Ernest Cooper welcomed those present. Frederick, for whom the tree was named, was born in Covington in 1857 and lived here until his death in 1945. He was married to the late Amy McManus of New Orleans ... Rosemerry's Dance Players performed a beautiful dance to a poem entitled TREES."
St. Tammany Farmer - May 1972
per Wilfred L. David
Photo by Boss's granddaughter, Ms. Pat Clanton
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Replies to this e-mail go directly to Mayor Mark.
Recycling reminder … no glass, no plastic bags : )

If you have bulk debris or green waste , missed trash or recycling or need a new trash receptacle, click for Coastal Customer Care Form.
Rooted in History, Focused on the Future
Tammany Family Blog | by Ron Barthet