Craig Price Jr's Letter to the Editor on Local Government Session
Hidden Treasures can be found from top to bottom in Tangipahoa Parish. From the rolling hills in the north of Kentwood, all the way south into Manchac there is something for everyone. I would like to first thank Tangipahoa Tourism for setting up a full day of educational adventure for Leadership Tangipahoa. Our day started out with Dr. Howard Nicholls giving us a brief history of our parish that led into our first hidden treasure of Clay Shaw.
Clay Shaw was a New Orleans business man who was prosecuted in connection with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and was acquitted. He was buried right here in Kentwood, LA. We were met by Shaw's great cousin, Elton Shaw, who told us the story of Claw Shaw. Being able to hear the story of Clay Shaw from a direct relative gave us all great insight to this intriguing story.
As our morning continued, we stayed in Kentwood to hear the story of O.W. Dillon who in 1917 raised money to build upon the first African American school in Kentwood. Mr. Dillon made the school a success through raising funds and building the campus into five buildings with fifteen classrooms by 1945. Today you can see the newly constructed O.W. Dillon elementary school, dedicated to Mr. Dillon for his historical contributions to the Kentwood area.
We continued to head south down I-55 to make our next stop at Amato’s Winery in Independence, LA. Amato’s is a family owned and operated business specializing in dry, semi-sweet and sweet strawberry wine and other fruits. Mr. Henry Amato explained to us the process for making his wine and how he goes about distributing it. You can find Amato’s wine in any of our local grocery stores. There’s definitely a flavor for everyone to like.
Our next stop comes to Covey Rise, located in Husser, LA. If you are looking for a great get-a-way, then look no further than Covey Rise. With over 400 acres of natural wilderness, it’s a sportsman’s paradise. Covey Rise offers bird hunting, sporting clays and shooting lessons. This is a great spot family gatherings or to entertain business clients. Another great experience at Covey Rise, is the 30 acre farm of fresh produce. Covey Rise supplies 20 restaurants in the Baton Rouge area and 42 restaurants in the New Orleans area with their fresh produce. After taking a tour of the grounds, it was time for lunch. Tangipahoa Tourism sponsored our lunch at Covey Rise. Our class was in for a real treat! The chefs at Covey Rise prepared an outstanding dish. We started off with a bowl of pumpkin soup followed by grilled pork and fresh greens. To top it off,we were also greeted by Bruce Mitchell during our lunch. Bruce is known from the History’s channel, Swamp People. We were delighted to hear Bruce tell us stories of his adventure with the show. Our class had such a great time listening and asking Bruce questions about the show.
Early afternoon arrived and our adventure continued onto the Renaissance Festival in Hammond, LA. The Renaissance Festival starts in November and runs for 6 weekends into December. We were met by Alvin Brumfield, one of the owners and operators of the Renaissance Festival. He explained to our class the in-depth process of operating the festival. The festival has over 40 shows per day, live demonstrations and entertainers throughout the park. There is enough to keep any family entertained throughout the day. The grounds at the Renaissance festival depict 16th century England. You truly get the feeling that you’ve stepped back in time.
After our tour, we continued our day to the African American Heritage Museum. The African American Heritage Museum located at 1600 Phoenix Square in Hammond, is by far one of the most powerful and moving museums you could visit. The hallway leading into the museum contains over 20 original murals that tell a story. The museum also has eight galleries that host different artwork, exhibits and artifacts. The collection here is one of the largest you will find in the South. The museum is such a strong and impactful place for telling such rich history.
Our last stop for the day was the Art Station. The Art Station is a school for adults and is located in Ponchatoula, LA. If anyone out there thinks they cannot draw, then take a look into the Art Station. Mrs. Kim Zabbia has had over 850 students come through the Art Station, and has shown all her students what great hidden capabilities they truly posses. The Art Station offers drawing, painting and sculpting. Another great notice by the Art Station is the quilt trail that is taking off throughout the parish and beyond. People from all over travel to find painted quilt squares hanging on the sides of buildings throughout the community. There’s a website louisianaquilttrail.com that will give you a map to view the location of all the squares.
As our day came to an end, I looked back and admire all the great qualities this parish has to offer. Tangipahoa Parish offers such a great variety of activities and attractions for anyone to come and enjoy. Thank you once again to Tangipahoa Tourism for organizing a day filled with fun and educational sites for our leadership class.