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In Profile: Santa and Mrs Claus give the gift of caring

Advocate photo by DEBORAH BURST - Santa and Mrs Claus, Liz and Lester Hilby, enjoy spreading Christmas cheer in St. Tammany.

Santa takes a break from watching the Saints game to pose with Mrs. Claus in front of their long row of holly bushes. With long white hair and beard, Lester Hilby puts his Santa glasses on top of those rosy cheeks, while Mrs. Claus, Liz Hilby, is stunning in her red Santa dress with black boots.… Continue reading →

Youth Service Bureau nears goal

When officials with the Youth Service Bureau began their “Button Up the Building” capital campaign about four years ago, their downtown Covington offices were in less than ideal condition. According to Bobbie Calandro, a member of the YSB Board of Directors and the campaign coordinator, the drop ceiling at the organization’s downtown Covington headquarters was “falling in.”… Continue reading →

Recreation and Leisure: Pearl River teen advances in professional auto racing

Photo provided by -

Athletes who have been competing at a high level since age 7 tend not to be overly intimidated by others in the sport. That’s certainly the case for Ronnie Osmer of Pearl River, who is less than a week removed from his 15th birthday, but also is preparing for some of the most important auto racing of… Continue reading →

Tammany Times: ‘Ugly Sweater’ party to aid pet shelter

Sharon Edwards

There’s something about an ugly sweater that makes me think of opening Christmas gifts. You know what I’m talking about. It’s the one your favorite cousin gave you, or maybe even your best friend. If they ask, you want to say, “I love it. I just wore it the other day!” If you have such a… Continue reading →

Check It Out: Californians help book get home to Louisiana

'Because of Winn-Dixie'

It is the most wonderful and sometimes chaotically packed time of the year. It was in this time that one California family went above and beyond to help a St. Tammany Parish Library patron who left his or her library book on an airplane. When Valentina Tragus’ grandmother got on her flight bound… Continue reading →

Cultural Collage: Slidell exhibit brings together artwork by creative friends

Advocate photo by KETHLEEN DESHOTEL - New friends who respect each others art collaborated in an exhibit at the Slidell City Hall. Kenny Bridges painted a portrait of Adam Sambola.

New friends Adam Sambola and Kenny Bridges share a love of art. They also have a similar respect for color and exaggerated reality. At the city of Slidell’s current exhibit, “Artist to Artist,” the friends share gallery space for their work. Sambola, a father of two and married to an art major, could always draw and studied… Continue reading →

Tammany Scene: A grand night, a Carnival theme, a feast of thanks

Advocate Photo by MISSIE NOEL (Eve)  Eve Royal Maids and Dukes for the 29th annual include Ernest and Tiffany Cleland of Covington and Andoni Vossos of Houston with Erin Culver of Cleveland, Ohio.

Live theater returned to Mandeville with the gala and grand opening of the new 30 by Ninety Theatre. Guests were treated to a pre-curtain reception prior to the opening night of “Clybourne Park” at the theater, located inside the Paul R. Spitzfaden Community Center.… Continue reading →

Tammany Tracker: 30 by Ninety growing out of the community center

Photo provided by 30 by Ninety Theater - What happens when Santa and a Mall Gorilla visit the Nativity? YMembers of the 30 by Ninety Theatre's Christmas comedy

A combination of success and conflict are giving the directors of 30 by Ninety Theatre in Mandeville a reason to find a new home. The theater is in the middle of its first season. And so far, a very successful season, with its opening production “Clybourne Park” and its Christmas comedy “When the Oldest Baby Jesus… Continue reading →

Turkey Train helps families cook for the holidays

Photo provided by the Exchange Club - Volunteers at Faith Bible Church in Covington are joined by members of the West St. Tammany Exchange Club, the Key Club at Archbishop Hannan High and the Covington Kiwanis Club for the annual Turkey Train.

The West St. Tammany Exchange Club recently participated in the annual Turkey Train held at Faith Bible Church in Covington. They were joined by members of both the Key Club at Archbishop Hannan High and members of the Covington Kiwanis Club. The volunteers helped distribute close to 300 turkeys and food baskets to individuals and families from… Continue reading →

Ballet Apetrei takes ‘Nutcracker’ to Mandeville High School

Advocate staff photo by REBECCA RATLIFF -- Margaret Mena (16) performing as Clara in the Nutcracker at the 26th annual Christmas classic on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at Mandeville High School. Mena is a junior at St. Scholastica Academy in Covington, LA.

For the 26th year, Ballet Apetrei presented the beloved Christmas ballet, “The Nutcracker,” set to Tchaikovsky’s enchanting music, to St. Tammany audiences. This year the scenes unfolded in a new venue, the theater at Mandeville High School, where the company presented abbreviated shows for students and full performances for the general public. The cast of “The Nutcracker”… Continue reading →

Northshore Camellia Show and sale is Saturday

The Northshore Camellia Society will host its seventh show and sale on Saturday at St. Scholastic Academy gym at 122 S. Massachusetts St. in Covington, with convenient parking available. Admission is free. The judged show is open to entries from any camellia grower, whether they have one bush or hundreds. The show will open at 8 a.m.… Continue reading →

Slidell Art League learns about St. Tammany Parish streetscaping plans

Photo provided by Kathleen DesHotel -- The Slidell Art League apprentice artists of the month for December are, from left, Beth Dewenter, John McCarroll and Delores Crain.

Guest speaker Jacki Schneider discussed plans to beautify street roundabouts in St. Tammany Parish during the November meeting of the Slidell Art League. League members also voted on the December artists of the month. In the master artist category, Colleen Marquis took first place with “Candles,” and Richard Ray was second with “The Prophet.” In… Continue reading →

‘A Christmas Brass Spectacular’ is Dec. 21

Photo provided by Christ Episcopal Church -- Erik Morales and the Louisiana Brass will perform Dec. 21 at Christ Episcopal Church in Covington. From left are Erik Morales, Andy Larsen, Fred Wild, Jeff Albert, Terrance Mahady and Blake Daniels.

Erik Morales and the Louisiana Brass will perform in “A Christmas Brass Spectacular” at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, at Christ Episcopal Church, 120 S. New Hampshire St., Covington. Members of the Louisiana Brass are Erik Morales, trumpet; Blake Daniels, trumpet; Fred Wild, French horn; Jeff Albert, trombone; Andy Larsen, tuba; and Terrance Mahady, percussion. For… Continue reading →

School briefs for Dec. 18, 2014

Photo provided by Tchefuncte Middle School -- Tchefuncte Middle School, recently named a 2014-15 Blue Ribbon School, is celebrating its 20th year. Shown are, from left, Oliver Rosenau, Kendall Jourdan, Kay Kergosien, Don Villere, Amelia Barrileaux, Matthew Truehart, Ethan Nunez and Jolie Ferguson.

TCHEFUNTE MIDDLE SCHOOL: Tchefuncte Middle School in Mandeville began its second 20 years on a high note, with a celebration of its designation as a 2014-15 Blue Ribbon School. Mandeville Mayor Don Villere and many past principals, assistant principals and staff members attended a whole-school assembly, staff members received blue ribbon pins and the students were… Continue reading →

Sports briefs for Dec. 18, 2014

dip & DASH: The Ice Man Dip & Dash once again will take place on Jan. 1 at 11 a.m. in Mandeville. The unique event involves participants running four miles from Franco’s Athletic Club to the Tchefuncte River and back. At the river, participants will plunge into the river for a 130-yard swim regardless of… Continue reading →

St. Tammany Business Briefs for Dec. 18, 2014

TOY SALE BENEFITS NO-KILL SHELTER: The Raising Cane’s restaurants in Mandeville and Covington are raising money for the St. Tammany Humane Society through the sale of stuffed plush puppies in the likeness of Cane, a yellow Lab. The toys, dressed as Cousin Eddie or Clark Griswold, of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” are $8.99 at the restaurants.… Continue reading →

St. Tammany college notes for week of Dec. 18, 2014

Photo provided by Southeastern Louisiana University -- Scott Caro, of Mandeville, produced and directed 'McCrea 1971: Louisiana's Forgotten Rock Festival,' along with Nick Brilleaux of Hammond, left. Also with Brilleaux are Rick Settoon, center, general manager of the Southeastern Channel; and Greg Weston, president of College Broadcasters Inc.

SOUTHEASTERN CHANNEL MOVING: Southeastern Louisiana University’s educational access channel has moved from Charter channel 18 to channel 199 for most area viewers. The move to channel 199 is a result of Charter’s realignment due to the system going completely digital. In its new position, the Southeastern Channel will be grouped with similar educational, government and public… Continue reading →

Carnival time in St. Tammany

SLIDELL NEWCOMERS BALL: “Hollywood Glamour” will be the theme of the Slidell Newcomers Club’s 37th annual Mardi Gras ball, to be held from 6:30 p.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Northshore Harbor Center, 100 Harbor Center Blvd., Slidell. There will be live music by Orleans, a krewe performance and a royal… Continue reading →

St. Tammany faith notes for December 18, 2014

CHRIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH: A Blue Christmas service, focusing on God’s comfort at the winter solstice, when daylight is at its lowest ebb, will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 21, at Christ Episcopal Church, 1534 Seventh St., in Slidell. The service, designed to help anyone dealing with loss, is open to anyone of any faith,… Continue reading →

Covington Rotary Club to feed 1500 families Christmas day

Every year on Christmas morning, hundreds of volunteers show up at the St. Paul’s School cafeteria in Covington to deliver more than 1,500 Christmas meals to students and families in the area who are in need. “It’s the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done,” said John Baldwin, co-founder of the Feeding the Needy program.… Continue reading →

Annual Holiday of Lights opens

Advocate staff photo by REBECCA RATLIFF -- A realistic manger is one of the popular attractions at the 15th Annual Holiday of Lights on Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 at the Trailhead on Koop Drive in Mandeville. The lights display will be illuminated through the end of December from 5-8 pm.

The 15th annual Holiday of Lights, sponsored by the Tammany Trace Foundation and St. Tammany Parish Government, officially opened to the public Friday at the Tammany Trace Kids Town Pavilion at Koop Drive in Mandeville. The fun continues with live entertainment, Santa Claus and kiddie rides from 6 p.m. to… Continue reading →

In Profile: Lessons from barn benefit students, animals

Advocate photo by DEBORAH BURST  - The Christ Episcopal third graders painted a wetlands mural on the side of their Discovery Barn on the Covington campus.

Located on the 36-acre campus of Christ Episcopal School in Covington, is a small barn called the Discovery Barn. More than a home to animals, it’s a hands-on teaching tool with lessons on preservation of Louisiana’s landscapes and wildlife. The prekindergarten through 12th-grade coeducational school, founded in 1984, is known for the… Continue reading →

Recreation and Leisure: Golf tournament helps keep West St. Tammany YMCA rolling

Advocate photo by ANDREW CANULETTE  - Money Hill Golf and Country Club PGA Professional Stephen Christopher holds the ball drawn in the West St. Tammany YMCA Second annual Great Golf Ball Drop on Nov. 24. The lucky winner was Spyro Contogouris, who won $1,615 by having his ball selected in the charity event.

Necessity is the mother of invention. That was the case seven years ago when the West St. Tammany YMCA began the Blue Heron Charity Golf Tournament to raise money for association programs. And that was the case again last year when YMCA officials began the Great Ball Drop, which gave an added boost to fundraising totals.… Continue reading →

Tammany Times: Red Ribbon photo wins national contest

A thumbs-up for a drug-free lifestyle just won national recognition and will soon put St. Tammany in the educational spotlight. The 2014 National Red Ribbon Photo Contest received hundred of entries and more than 188,000 votes were cast between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4 to chose the photo that best expressed the 2014 theme, “Love Yourself. Be… Continue reading →

Check It Out: Librarian retiring after 14 years

Photo provided by St. Tammany Parish Library - Miriam 'Miss Mim' Boots has served as Slidells childrens librarian for the last 14 years and will be retiring at the end of the year.

It is time to wish our wonderful Miriam “Miss Mim” Boots, of the Slidell Branch, a fond farewell. Boots, who has served as Slidell’s children’s librarian for the last 14 years, will be retiring at the end of the year. Asked what was her favorite thing about being the Slidell Branch children’s librarian, Boots replied, “I… Continue reading →

Tammany Tracker: Sip & Stroll an early Christmas present for local businesses

Photo provided by DAR - CHRISTMAS UNDER THE STARS  - The St. Tammany Chapter NSDAR, participated again this year in the City of Slidell's Christmas under the Stars 'Parade of Trees' on view in Griffith Park. Shown decorating the tree with American flags and red, silver and blue stars with the theme 'Salute to Our Heroes' are DAR members Karay Klein, Mickie Francioni and  Vicki Kirby. Also decorating the tree are stars representing Revolutionary War ancestors of chapter members. For information on St. Tammany Chapter, LSDAR, email Karay Klein at

Local businesses and restaurants in Old Mandeville are looking forward to an early Christmas rush, thanks to an upcoming weekend of holiday events. The weekend of merriment kicks off Friday with the Sip & Stroll and the Dew Drop Christmas concert. The celebration continues all day Saturday, with the Christmas Past Festival, followed by Winter on… Continue reading →

Tammany Scene: Thanks, newcomers mark pair of luncheons

Advocate Photo by MISSIE NOEL (newcomer) Elise Mince and Linda Nichols celebrate fashion with the Newcomers.

Northlake Newcomers The lovely ladies of the Northlake Newcomers club recently hosted their Fall Luncheon and Fashion Show at Tchefuncte Country Club in Mandeville. Members modeled the latest fashions from Chico’s, while guests enjoyed dining on Crawfish Monica, Chicken Alfredo and Crème Brû lèe. The event was organized by First Vice President, Mary Lynne… Continue reading →

Cultural Collage: Gray transforms energy into dreamlike reality

Advocate photo by KATHLEEN DESHOTEL -- Having spent five years in central Mexico, Gray gained an appreciation for Mexican history, culture and scenery. 'Heroes of the Revolution' shows the beginnings of his current style.

Art comes from within, and art is innate, according to William Byron Gray. He credits family characteristics for successes in his life. “From my mother’s side of the family, I inherited artistic ability. From my father’s side, I inherited an excellent work ethic,” he said. Hence, he balanced school and work and made the most… Continue reading →