Monday, October 6, 2014


The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will give major fund support for the 2914 Louisiana Book Festival to be held on Saturday, November 1 at Capitol Park in Baton Rouge.  The Festival opens at 9 am and closes at 5 pm.

This is the first time the LEH has inaugurated a new partnership with the Louisiana State Library's premier festival.  The LEH additionally will produce the 2014 festival program.  An original painting by the late artist George Rodrigue will appear on the cover of the LEH's magazine, "Louisiana Cultural Vistas," Fall Issue.The print is entitled Louisiana Legends 1991.  Four Lousianians honored by Louisiana Public Broadcasting are portrayed by Rodrigue:  cardiac surgeon Dr. Michael DeBaker, jazz musician Al Hurt, Marine Corps General Robert H. Barrow, Basketball Hall of Fame Bob Petit, and the artist himself. The original painting will be on display at the Book Festival.

Take a ride to Baton Rouge for one of the most splendid Book Festival in the nation!  This year you will be able to hear and to meet Rick Bragg, Jill McCorkle, Michael Pitre, Zachary Richard, James Carville and Mary Matalin among many others.

In addition to hearing and meeting many authors, you will be able to enjoy music, delicious Louisiana Foods, browse the Barnes and Noble tent where the authors will be signing, and just enjoy the day.  Sessions will take place throughout the Capitol Building, the Louisiana State Library, and the Louisiana Museum.

For more information about the 2014 Louisiana Book Festival visit

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


The ribbon was cut!  Donald Westmoreland, our Director, and Argiro Morgan, Chair of the Library Board of Control, flanked by our Parish President, Pat Brister officially opened the refurbished Slidell Branch of the St. Tammany Library on September 11.
Ribbon Cutting by Director Donald Westmoreland and Dr. Argiro Morgan, Chair of the Board of Control,  while St. Tammany's President, Pat Brister, holds the Grand Opening Sign
Steve Stefancik
Pastor Simmons and Donald Westmoreland bending his head in prayer

Pastor Barbara Simmers of the East Evangelical Lutheran Church
delivered the opening prayer.  Pastor Simmers prayed that the St. Tammany Library would find the funds for the opening of another library in south Slidell.  Prior to Katrina, there was a very well used library, but a tornado and flood destroyed the facility.  Other speakers included the Mayor of Slidell, Mayor Freddie Drennan, and Councilman, Steve Stefancik.

Immediately afterwards - and we do mean immediately - our Parish President praised the refurbished Slidell Library.
President Pat Brister
The dignitaries and patrons attending were thrilled to hear President Brister announce that her administration will be recommending that funds be set aside for such a new library in its next year budget.  She will be appealing for state funding and a matching grant to make the South Slidell Library a reality. 

Two days after over 1400 patrons crowded into the Slidell Library. Your Foundation was there to welcome everyone and a drawing took place for a basket of goodies filled with local donations.
The Foundation Table

 The day was filled with something for everyone. 
Music by the New Orleans Vipers
  • The Calliope Puppet Theatre
  • Crafts and Activities for Children
  • Guided Story Walks in the Herb Garden
  • Swing Dance Instruction 

  • Many delicious and refreshing desserts 
  • And sparkling mugs as souvenirs. 
It was a special day - filled with smiles, happy, happy children, hip-hop teens, computer users, and readers.

What a wonderful day.  Everyone had a glorious time and the staff and our Board were so glad to share their joy.

Monday, September 22, 2014



An annual national initiative, focused specifically on men's health, occurs in the month of November.  November has been renamed "Movember," because "Mo" is Aussie slang for mustache.
St. Tammany Library Foundation is bringing "Movember" to our community with special days dedicated to spreading awareness of the health issues men face - issues that affect not just their well being but also every member of their families and loved ones.

Two special Saturdays in November are set aside by the Foundation where men and women can join together to learn from physicians and ask them any questions they have regarding health difficulties men face.

In the eastern part of our parish, Slidell Memorial Hospital is scheduling "Men's Wellness for November 1 at the Slidell branch of the St. Tammany Library system.

In the west, the Foundation will partner with Lakeview Regional Medical Center on November 22 at the Madisonville Branch.


So "Shave the Date" you wish to attend.  Men, of course, are our focus, but women are welcome also.  More information will be forthcoming at the libraries, at the hospitals, at fitness centers, and in other "hot spots" in the community.  Both will feature prizes and surprises.  Stay tuned.



We’re getting ready to send in our first sections of the pavers of the bricks on the Serenity Circle next to the Madisonville Branch of the St. Tammany Library.

The patio is honoring St. Tammany’s National Book Award winner, Walker Percy, whose novels and essays rank among the greatest literary work of the latter part of the 20th century. Walker was a much loved and valued member of our community. He helped young aspiring writers and artists hone their craft and even succeeded in getting one published that won the Pulitzer Prize.

Be among the first to sponsor a paver in the patio and know that each paver is not just a brick.

It’s a legacy.

It’s a gift to the community.

And your engraving


A memory of what you cherish –

An inspiring teacher,

An enriching school,

A faith-filled church or minister,

A mentor,

An author,

An artist,

Those you love - living or deceased.

The first page on our website – -has the details. But be quick! We’re going forward soon and are planning a special reception when the first sections are installed. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


Thanks for the spreading limbs of American's national oak
And the lovely garden to celebrate our spring fete:
And  to John and Mary Jane Becker who made it possible...

Thanks for our memories of tables colored in soft pastels linens and Ruthanne Hilker who designed the landscape arrangement in Easter egg colors...

And our chairs who made this memory possible.

Thanks for the music that drifted down from the gallery from the Bob Ellis Trio which lightened our hearts …

Thanks for the delicious cuisine - the complete menu from Beck-N-Call; Turtle soup from Mandina's; Creole Jambalaya and bread pudding from Chez Bon Temps; delicious salmons from Benedict's; Tea in exquisite porcelain from the English Tea Room; cheese, strawberries and desserts from Sam's;  delicious sweets from the Fresh Market, Morgan Street Bakery, and Sam's; wine and champagne from  north shore merchants and the very special Walker Percy basket from Aquistapace ...

Thanks from members of the art community of St. Tammany Parish - especially the artists Phillip Safe, Suzanne King, Roy Pfister, Gretchen Armbruster, Sue Zaunbrecher, Kathy Zetzmann, Peggy Hesse and Muriel Dauterive - who delighted our visual sensibilities and helped to make our event a success ...

Thanks to the writers from the Northshore Literary Association whose autographed books filled
three baskets;

And all a the merchants who treated our guests to an array of beautiful items...

Thanks to members of the Junior League who poured the wine and the mimosas with grace and beauty for our guests ...

Thanks to our Flower Committee - Jamie Eason, Patricia Bonneau, and Nancy Anderson whose loving hands decorated our tables with a profusion of glorious spring flowers ...

And thanks to our Board for their dedication, loyalty, and devotion to culture, education, literacy, and the role of libraries that make all these possible to citizens of every age ...

We love all of you.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

You are invited to A Splendid Afternoon Soiree. Don't Miss It!

When: Sunday, April 27 from 3 PM to 6 PM!

Where:  The Seven Sisters Oak, the 1500 year old live oak - the National Live Oak in America! It is the garden of the lovely home of John and Mary Jane Becker at 200 Fountain Street in Lewisburg.
A setting next to none in St. Tammany Parish!

The best taste of St. Tammany!
  • Mandina's
  • Benedict's
  • Chez Bon Temps
  • Beck and Call
  • English Tea Room
  • Morgan Street Bakery
  • Fresh Market
  • Cheese and Desserts by Sam's
  • Coffee from the Abita Roasting Company
Music by the Bob Ellis Trio! - usually at the Royal Sonesta Hotel but this day in Mandeville just for us!

Works by eight prominent artists - including Phillip Sage, Suzanne King, Roy Pfister, Gretchen Armbruster, Sue Zaunbrecher, Kathy Zetzmann, Peggy Hesse and Muriel Dauterive. Picture one of these in your home!

A basket of books from our own gifted St. Tammany writers!

An auction second to none - including the O Spa, a designer brooch, a dining-around basket, a silver tray from Boudreaux's, a Holiday Inn gift certificate, a reproduction French bowl from St. Romain Interiors, and many other finds!

A chance to chat with the 2013 President's Award sculptor Bill Binnings who will do the statue of Walker Percy in the Serenity Circle!

And all the time sipping wine, mimosas, or sweet tea!

With the opportunity to contribute to an historic monument in our own St. Tammany Parish -


Send your $ 75.00 per person check to the St. Tammany Library Foundation at P.O. BOX 131, Mandeville, LA 70470. And if you are missing the party, do send a contribution. We'll be ever so thankful!

Saturday, April 12, 2014



The St. Tammany Library Foundation is hosting a splendid affair on Sunday afternoon, April 27 under the spreading canopy of the Seven Sisters Oak from 3 pm to 6 pm.  The Seven Sisters Oak is in the garden of the magnificent home of John and Mary Jane Becker.  The Becker's live in old Mandeville, close to Lake Pontcharain, 200 Fountain Street.  The Seven Sisters Oak is the largest Southern Live Oak in the nation.  This magnificent tree is estimated to be 1500 years old and has been the national champion Live Oak Tree for almost 30 years.

The food is especially prepared by some of the finest Northshore chefs.  Mimosas and wine will flow.  Additionally, the English Tea Room will be serving their fine teas, and coffee from the Abita Roasting Company will be available to cap the afternoon.

A special treat will be the music of the Bob Ellis Trio.  This group plays regularly at the Royal Sonesta Hotel and at other fine venues in the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Auction items include a "Dining Around" package, a day's rental of a platoon boat, gifts from fabulous Northshore merchants, a Walker Percy Basket that contains his favorite beverage and refreshments prepared by Acquisapace, a private luncheon at the Walker Percy table at the Lake House with a member of the Percy family, and numerous other items.

The Foundation is especially proud to have seven of the premier artists of St. Tammany offer works for the silent auction.  They are Suzanne King, Muriel Dauterive, Roy Pfister, Gretchen Armbruster, Kathy Zetzmann, Sue Zaunbrecher, and Phillip Sage.  This is a once in a lifetime chance to own one of the works of these acclaimed artists.

The Co-chairs of this event are Suzanne Myers, Ruthann Hilker and Mary Beth McGuinniss.

Tickets are only $ 75.00 per person.  The Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 organization and this is our FIRST fundraiser.  Let's put it on the St. Tammany calendar by a superb attendance!

If you cannot attend, the Foundation will be delighted to receive your tax-deductible contribution.

Send your check to the following address:  Post Office Box 131, Mandeville, LA 70471.
Checks should be made out to the St. Tammany Library Foundation.  Your check is your ticket to the event.  For more information, call Suzanne Myers at 504-453-4203.

Don't miss this fabulous event!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014



 Donors and members of the St. Tammany Library Foundation were treated to an afternoon gathering in the Walker Percy Room of the Madisonville branch before the opening of "The Big Read."   Wine, appetizers, and an opportunity to chat with the keynote speaker, Julie Rivette, was sponsored by the Foundation as a way to say "THANK YOU" for your support, encouragement and loyalty. 

The National Endowment for the Arts awarded the St. Tammany Parish Library a $ 10,000 grant to launch the celebration of "The Maltese Falcon" by Dashiell Hammett.  Julie Rivette, an author in her own right, spoke on her grandfather's life.  It was a rivetting talk.

The activities are still going on in all branches of the Library.  If you wish to see the John Huston's 1941 motion picture, The Maltese Falcon, featuring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor, come to the Madisonville Branch  on Wednesday, April 9th at 5:30 p.m.

Go to the Library's website - for more information on other films, activities for children, teens, and adults, and a Film Noir series on Wednesday evenings in April.

The Foundation hopes to have more informal gatherings for our members in the future!


Two weeks ago, Donald Westmoreland, the Director of the St. Tammany Library, received a call and a letter from United for Libraries, the division of the American Library Association for Friends and Foundations.  He beamed when he heard that the President of both the Library Board of Control and the St. Tammany Library Foundation, Argiro Morgan, won the 2014 Trustee of the Year Award.  This Award is given annually to an outstanding community leader who has given exceptional service to a public library system.  Argiro has served for four years on the Board of the Louisiana State Library with distinction and has recently been reappointed to the Board by the Honorable Lt. Governor of Louisiana, Jay Dardenne.

Her leadership was evident in getting the library system up and running after Katrina, in working assiduously with others to construct the St. Tammany's system newest state-of-the-art library, in helping other branches improve their footprint in their communities, in lobbying for libraries at the State Capitol,  in working with the Director of the State Library, Rebecca Hamilton, and in undertaking the permanent memorial for the Northshore's most esteemed writers of the second half of the 20th century - Walker Percy.

There are over 60,000 trustees in America, all of which work to improve the services and the status of public libraries by voluntary leadership.  Argiro was totally surprised by the honor.  She will receive the Award in July in Las Vegas at the Annual Convention of the American Library Association.

Just another kudos for your St. Tammany Library Foundation.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014



  The March 6 dinner at Keith Young's Steak House to celebrate the legacy of the acclaimed writer Walker Percy was a stunning success. The Foundation had the maximum number of guests that could be accommodated.  The food was superb, as well as the guest speaker,  Lt. Governor, Jay Dardenne.

Lt. Governor Dardenne, always a captivating raconteur, told the story of Louisiana from Poverty Point to the present, speaking of its rich heritage of blended cultures, and quoting from Percy's books to illustrate the uniqueness of our state.  The Lt. Governor's office's is in charge of Culture, Tourism, and Recreation - and our state could not have anyone who could know and love our state and its people more.

The Foundation was ecstatic to have the daughters of Walker Percy attend the event.  Ann Moores, her husband David, and her husband John traveled from Texas to be there.  Her son, Dr. David Moores, and his wife Celeste accompanied his parents. Ann was once the owner of the charming bookstore, the Kumquat, on Lee Lane.   Mary Pratt Lobdell, Percy's oldest daughter, and a St. Tammany public school teacher, was accompanied by her son, John Walker Lobdell.  The daughters only regretted that their mother was not there to share their joy.  Mrs. Percy, known affectionately as Bunt, died the past year.

Many dignataries attended.  Among those who attended were Secretary of State Tom Schedler and his wife Stephanie, State Representative John Schroder, Charles C. Fot, former Attorney General of Louisiana, and St. Tammany Mayors Mike Cooper of Covington, Peter Gitz of Madisonville, and Donald Villere of Mandeville. Also present were Lane Carson, Director of the LA Department of Veterans Affairs and a former State Representative and his wife Laura, Susan Strain representing her husband Mike Strain, Commissioner of Agriculture.  Eric Skrmetta, member of the Public Service Commission, was not able to attend but a member of his staff represented his office.

Dr. Morgan was pleased to also recognize two of the architects who designed the new library and the Walker Parker Circle - Billy Sizeler and John Owens.  The St. Tammany Library Foundation's first benefactors, Lewis Kahn, Mihael Swick and Charles Foti of the law firm KSF were honored.  Benefactors and Sustaining members, prominent attendees, and members of the STLF were feted at a wine reception prior to the dinner.

At the evening, the Foundation launched its drive to sell laser engraved pavers for both the pathway to the library and for the Percy Circle.  Pathway bricks will cost $ 50.00.  Bricks for the Circle run from $ 250.00 $ 150.00 and $ 100.00.  The donor can chose to honor loved ones, beloved mentors, their church or school, business establishment, authors, artists, and musicians.

Energy, enthusiasm, and commitment radiated from those who attended the stellar evening.
It was a splendid event, enjoyed by all. 



The weekend of June 6-7, 2014 will be the place to be if you are interested in Walker Percy.
The Festival will open with a crawfish boil on Friday, and on Saturday during the day there will be panel discussions in the morning and early afternoon.

The topics are intriguing.  "Moviegoing and The Meaning of Life,"  "Is Science Enough Without Religion?," "The Jewish People as Sign,"  "Walker Percy and the Search for Home."  

The director of the conference is Rod Dreher.  Go to or follow the festival on Twitter at @walkerpercyfest.  Also the festival is featured in Country Roads.  Go to for the article on the doings in St. Francisville.

Additionally, there will be tours of St. Francisville on Saturday.

At night on Saturday also there will be more Louisiana food and a chance to enjoy Walker's favorite drink, "Bourbon."

As Rod wrote, "very little is as delightful as sitting around in the shade of an oak tree, drinking cold beer and talking about the South, and books, and ideas with other people who love them as much as I do."   He considers Walker Percy's literary legacy a "cultural treasure," and so do we - and Percy's books were written right here in Covington in St.Tammany Parish. 

The Festival should be lots of fun and it will followour own celebration the previous Sunday, April 27.  It will be a great way to celebrate Spring!




Have you been following the news releases on the crowded schedule at our libraries around the parish?  There is something for everyone – East to West – throughout our libraries.

·      Interested in reading and discussing a book with other readers?  Every branch has an active book club meeting monthly.  Check with your nearest library for dates and times.

·      Even though we have had a spat of very cold weather, thoughts have turned to spring and gardening.   The Covington and Folsom Branches are having informational gathering on growing vegetables from seed.

·     Do you love words?  Scrabble games are on the menu at the Lacombe and Mandeville Branch Libraries.  Check out the schedule.

·      Children are exploring the art of the Caldecott winner picture books and are having guided art lessons based  on the illustrations of the winners of this prestigious award. 

·      And if you check the calendar at the libraries web site – calendar you will find activities for teens and even babies!

·      The Madisonville Branch is hosting biographies of Louisiana characters through a RELIC Grant the St. Tammany Library won from the Louisianan Endowment for the Humanities.  The program will last for six weeks.  The six biographies that will be discussed pertain to Baroness Pontalba, Lafitte the Pirate, Kate Chopin, Huey Long, Louis Armstrong, and “the Last Madam.”  The Madisonville Library has all the materials you need to read and to join the discussion.  Congratulations to the St. Tammany Library for winning another RELIC  (Readings in Literature and Culture) from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Grant
·      Our Library is absolutely WONDERFUL – and our FOUNDATION HOPES TO MAKE IT EVEN MORE SPECIAL!



We’re almost ready to have engraved the first section of the Walker Percy Serenity Circle.  Only seven more pavers are eligible to be among the very first section to be engraved.

The largest pavers for this section are completely sold out.  So have the smaller pavers.  We need seven more of the medium size pavers to begin the engraving process. 

Our donors have remembered their deceased loved ones, thanked those who have made a difference in their lives, quoted Scripture, wished blessings to others,
celebrated their marriage, remembered their children, and especially remembered Walker Percy and his family.

Around the circle will be six plaques featuring the names of six of his major works.  Four are already taken: The Movie Goer, The Last Gentleman, Lost in the Cosmos, and The Second Coming.  Only two more remain.

Go to our website to reserve one of the seven medium pavers to be among the first donors to the circle.  If you are interested in remembering one of his novels on a plaque or sponsoring a bench, send us an email at and we will get back to you for details.



            The Board of Directors welcomed two attorneys to our Board in 2014 – Lane Carson and Suzanne Myers.  We are indeed proud that such outstanding leaders share our commitment to the advancement of literacy, culture and community by enriching the public libraries in St. Tammany Parish.

            Suzanne Jones Myers is a graduate of the Loyola University School of Law.  She was admitted to the Louisiana State Bar Association in 1980, the U.S. District Court, Eastern and Western Districts of Louisiana, and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Suzanne has served as the Chairperson of the Member Services Committee of the LSBA, and the Young Lawyers Division, Disaster Legal Assistance Committee of the American Bar Association.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Bar Foundation and has given herself unstintingly to our community by her service to many causes, including St. Joseph Abbey & Seminary College, the Cenacle Retreat House, and the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center of Loyola University.

            Lane Carson is a graduate of LSU and Tulane Law School.  He was wounded while serving as a combat platoon leader in Vietnam.  He was the first Vietnam Veteran elected to the Louisiana legislature. He served Governor Treen as Asst. Health Secretary; President Reagan on the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board; Governor Foster on the La Veterans Affairs Commission and President Bush on the National Institute of Building Sciences.  For 27 years, Mr. Carson served as Chief, Civil Division with D.A. Walter Reed.  For the past 5 years, Mr. Carson served in Governor Jindal’s cabinet as Secretary of Veteran Affairs.

            What a wealth of talent these two outstanding Board members bring to our endeavors.  You should be proud that such leaders have agreed to serve you on the St. Tammany Library Foundation. 



It has been a challenging and exciting year for the St. Tammany Library Foundation.
We have met our initial goals and have formulated plans for 2014 enthusiastically.

2013 was one of consistent accomplishments:
·      The Walker Percy Serenity Patio is on the ground!  We still need to add benches, but the sale of engraved bricks is underway.  Consider having one engraved with your memories, hopes, or accomplishments of community groups. Get in touch with us if you believe you or a firm known to you has the resources to sponsor a bench or a plaque honoring the books Walker has written.  Our next step will be the sponsorship of a statue on one of the benches in the patio and the sale of the engraved pavers and the benches and plaques will make that possible.
·      The Foundation won one national award, the Baker and Taylor Award, from the American Library Association, one of only four given nationally to library foundations around the country.
·      Publicity on our progress has been featured in the Advocate, the Times Picayune, and the Farmer.  
·      Our website has continued to be updated and our Facebook page is up and running. 
·      We garnering accolades and support from businesses and organizations around the community.  The Foundation rejoiced over the support from Sam’s and Wal-Mart, the Madisonville Chamber of Commerce, the Louisiana Landmark Society, the Walker Percy Writing Center at Loyola University the Slidell Women’s Civic Club.
·      Your Board of Directors has exciting plans for the future. We are planning a wonderful event on Sunday afternoon, April 27 at the lovely home of Mary Jane and John Becker by the Mandeville lakefront!  Do mark your calendar and wait for updates!

 Your membership has made all this possible and I thank you!  You should be very proud of the accomplishments of your nascent Foundation.

If you haven’t yet renew your membership, do so.  Running just the basic needs of a Foundation requires funds, and we need as many supporters as we can get.  If you have renewed your membership, we thank you.  Get your friends on board so we can continue our work!

2014 will be a challenging and interesting year of the St. Tammany Library Foundation.  Let’s continue to move forward!