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April 11, 2013     The Ponchatoula Times
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April 11, 2013
 

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www.ponchatoula.com/ptimes Strawberry Queen XLII Heather Gonzalez and Strawberry Farmer King Mark Landry The queen looks as beautiful as the Choctaw Indian maiden depicted on the official festival poster, and the strawberries raised by the king are the most delicious in the land. Festival Chairman Ronnie Rocquin has a right to be proud. Grand Marshal of Saturday's Strawberry Parade Betty Stewart is the perfect pick, an icon of parish tourism and a Ponchatoula favorite. (Courtesy Photo) II ...................... POnchatoula's Early Strawberry Associations By JIM PERRIN Historian and Educator The economic activities of the small railroad town of Ponchatoula began to quicken during the first decade of the Twentieth Century, thanks to the strawberry. The seven hundred-plus citi- zens of the town and the more numerous rural residents liv- ing nearby witnessed the com- mercialization of the fledgling strawberry industry during the end of this opening decade of the 1900's. There were several reasons for the expansion of the straw- berry industry at this place and at this time. The Illinois Central Railroad Company had completed the expansion of their track sys- tem by double tracking the rail line through this area around 1906. This new constructioh allowed for a dedicated north- bound track and a separate southbound track, providing for much faster rail service. This faster service was especially important for the Louisiana strawberry district (essentially Tangipahoa Parish) so that the Historian and Educator Jim Perrin highly-perishable strawberry crop could be rushed to distant grocery shelves in good condi- tion. About the same time, a new and improved variety of straw- berry plant naed the "Klon- dyke" was developed which produced a large berry with superior shipping characteris- tics. Instead of the small quan- tities of fresh strawberries that could be sent to New Orleans and other local markets, now much larger quantities of ber- ries could be raised and trans- ported by refrigerated railcars to distant markets. With the improved trans- portation system, Tangipahoa Parish strawberries, could reach the market weeks before strawberries from other colder weather states were ready to be harvested. Ponchatoula straw- berries would therefore reach the grocery shelves in Chicago and other northern markets earlier and command premium prices. Word began to spread through the local farming community that an acre of strawberry PLEASE SEE PAGE 7 / THURSDAY, APRIL 11,2013 33 YEAR NUMBER27 50 II Police chief, mayor Strawberry Festival Parade complete festival plans Times Report With The Ponchatoula Times sitting in, Police Chief Bry Lay- risson and Mayor Bob Zabbia met at City Hall on Thurs- day afternoon to map out final plans for this year's festival, with hopes of making the public aware of their decisions. "We know what has to be done," said a confident mayor. PLEASE SEE PAGE 6 Crisis averted for service clubs? By BRYAN T. McMAHON There is a solution to the crisis faced by local service clubs, it would appear from the reasoning provided by the late city attorney Tom Waterman. Waterman gave a legal opinion to then-Mayor Julian Dufreche that the city enter into a formal "cooperative endeavor agreement" with the clubs to avoid a clash with the state constitution. A recent attorney general's opinion requested by Mayor Bob Zabbia says that the city must receive "fair market value" for city land used by the local service clubs, expected to be a substantial amount of money. Waterman's opinion was rendered on October 31, 2002 and ap- pears to imply that one way around the current debacle related to service clubs using city park space for their clubhouses for a nomi- nal price of one dollar a year is to set out in writing the benefits to the city in allowing Kiwanis, Rotary, Community Garden Club, and the Strawberry Festival Board the use of city property. The Ponchatoula Times obtained Waterman's opinion which was based on past attorney general's opinions and state law, from the former mayor and current Tangipahoa Parish Clerk of Court Julian Dufreche. PLEASE SEE PAGE 5 Up and running With wife Donna looking on, and having been introduced by Senator Ben Nevers, State Rep. John Bel Edwards of Amite on Thursday announced he is running for governor. (Times Photo) Rep. John Bel Edwards announces run for governor Tangipahoa Parish native son John Bel Edwards on Thurs- day told a crowd of supporters gathered at Jacmel Inn that he is a candidate for Louisiana governor on the 2015 ballot. Edwards ()f Amite currently serves as the State Represen- tative for District 72 in Louisi- ana's North Shore region. He is a 1988 Dean's List graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point. While at West Point, he was chosen by his classmates as the Vice Chairman of the Honor Committee In Charge of Inves- tigations. His formal announcement documents the rest: After eight years of active duty with the US Army as an Airborne Ranger, culminat- ing with command of a rifle company in the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, he went on to gradu- ate Order of the Coil from Loui- siana State University's Paul M. Hebert Law Center. From the heart of Louisiana, John Bel, as his friends and family know him, excelled in high school athletics (football and baseball) and graduated as valedictorian of his Amite High School class. As one of eight children from a family long dedicated to public service, John Bel carries on the family tradition. With a father who was the elected Sheriff of Tangipahoa Parish - the Ed- wards have four generations of Tangipahoa Parish Sheriffs in their family lineage with John Bers brother Daniel currently PLEASE SEE PAGE 4 April 13, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. Start your visit to the Strawberry Festival by watching one of South Louisiana's largest festival parades. The parade consists of over 90 units. Starting at the Ponchatoula Lions Club, the parade travels west on Pine Street. At South Seventh Street the parade turns left and travels two blocks south to Kiwanis Park . ?,1 2 .... t / o ,    ;'" o  , '    I Parade route 0 PONCHA TO UIA By OLE HARDHIDE The Alligator Welcome guests to Our Ponchatoula and to the state's larg- est festival. That's right, this is me talking, Ole Hardhide, the page one alligator who lives in my own gated poolside condo smack in the center of town, and despite what politi- cians tend to believe, the only reptile reporter in the world. You tend to read things in my column that no editor would dare write. Ole Pinchpenny, our publisher would back me up on this, I am certain. I had a harsh wake up call Monday morning when (Mayor) Bob Z. and (Chamber Prez) Paul P. were yelling at each other around dawn outside my cage, way before sensible alligators even fully wake up. Calm down lads, whatever the fuss was about. Why not be more like the young ladies of Our Ponchatou- la? Bonnie Kelsey made her first hole-in-one recently, while playing the Hammond Golf Center's 9-hole golf course. Bon- nie holed out a 3-metal on the 100 yard, 5th hole. Witness to the shot was playing partner Merrie Bennett. Bonnie, you should maybe teach at the Junior G01f Summer Carp com- ing up June 24-27 (see Page 8). And to think novelist Samuel Clemons (aka Mark Twain) called golf "a good walk, spoiled." Dudley Clark commenting on the New Orleans Parish Prison shocking video depicting shooting up, boozing, and hard partying behind bars: "A cheap way out for New Orleans Prison is to use one of the Carnival Cruise Ships for a new party jail, after the film released last week, they would have more fun in prison and can dump the bodies overboard. The jail was no differ- ent than Bourbon Street." But Dudley, the way Carnival has been sailing lately that might be considered cruel and un- usual punishment. Please do not think that this wacky yet bucolic little city is always so wild and crazy as it is during Strawberry Fes- tival. Please do come back on what passes for a normal day when the only riot and pandemonium to be experienced is at City Hall. The Country Market behind my cage sells items you just can't buy anywhere else and the same goes for the antique shops on and around Pine Street. Must-visit locations, apart from the obvious, my cage, come in the form of O'Donnell's excellent restaurant on S.W. Railroad Avenue operated by master chef Phil O'Donnell and the always-classy ROX Global Cuisine Restaurant on N.W. Railroad Avenue owned by Saul Rubio. By the time you come PLEASE SEE PAGE 2 The Ponchatoula Times - Call 985-386-2877 - P.O. Box 743 - Ponchatoula, LA 70454-0743 - editor@ponchatoula.com