Covington’s History Goes Way Back
Founded in on July 4, 1813, by a New Orleans merchant named John Wharton Collins, the land area compromising Covington Louisiana was originally a Spanish territory. Collins purchased the land for the specific purpose of starting a town which he named Wharton. He laid out plans for the town’s development in linear squares and named the central one the Division of St. John. This space is now known as the the “downtown” section and is the epicenter of Covington’s history and culture.
Upon the town’s incorporation in 1816, the state renamed Wharton to Covington. Some say it was to honor General Leonard Covington who fought in the War of 1812. Others claim it was because town officials loved to imbibe in whiskey from Covington, Kentucky. Either way, Collins was not pleased. Suffering from a case of sour grapes, Collins left for New Orleans. Only upon his death in 1817 was his body returned to be buried in Covington Cemetary Number 1.
Covington has been the seat of St. Tammany Parish since 1829 where it built its reputation on pine lumber and brick products, as well as agriculture. In 1992, the city completed a multi-million dollar renovation to the historic district and brought back the former beauty of Main Street. This project served to revitalize the area making it the hub of activity that it is today.
Census estimates say that nearly 10,000 people currently live here, but a drive down Highway 190 during rush hour makes it seem like many more than that! You will need to allow yourself a little extra time to get around if you have to get to any of the businesses along this thoroughfare.
Historic Downtown Is Part Of Main Street USA
Taking the time to stroll through the grid-patterned streets allows visitors the chance to view well-maintained and renovated historic buildings that have been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1981. They house several fine restaurants, boutique clothing and furniture shops, and art galleries. Some of the area’s top chefs and award-winning restaurants are set amidst the ancient oak and towering pine trees. Be sure to get a quick bite of lunch at Lola, near the Courthouse. It is in the renovated former railroad station and boasts some of the most tantalizing dishes around.
There is also a weekly farmers market every Wednesday that features the freshest, most flavorful produce from local farmers at the Covington Trailhead of the Tammany Trace. The city reports that it this small market has swelled in popularity and now generates more than $1 Million annually to support small agricultural interests in the area.
Three Rivers Arts Festival plus Centenary Walking Tours
The Three Rivers Arts Festival brings together more than 200 regional artists and craftsmen with the flair that can only be found in south Louisiana. When it is in full swing, the Festival spans six blocks and offers visitors the chance to view amazing pieces, sample local cuisine, and hear great music. Plus, the opportunity to chat with the artists themselves is always a treat. This is one of the biggest and best art festivals in South East Louisiana. People come from around the world to participate and visit this fast growing artisan festival.
Covington Cemetary Number 1, at the corner of Kirkland and North Columbia Streets, sits adjacent to the former City Hall. Here lies the city’s founder John Wharton Collins and the graves of some of the families that helped make Covington what it is today. It is truly a walk back through time and makes a unique photo opportunity.
The Future is Bright in Covington Louisiana!
As it continues to expand and prosper, Covington offers residents and visitors more things to do than ever before. The traveler has many hotels to pick from including a historic hotel in Old Town Covington. Many people visiting New Orleans end up staying in this area because of the old hometown country feeling. They have recently added a massive shopping and dining complex off of I-12 on the west side of town. Plus, the median household income and property values are above the state average. This makes it the perfect place to invest in a business. The city will continue to evolve as the years roll by, but it will never forget it to pay respect to its agricultural roots and the people that make Covington Louisiana such a wonderful place to live.