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The Ponchatoula Times
Ponchatoula , Louisiana
June 14, 1984     The Ponchatoula Times
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June 14, 1984

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Thursday, June 14, 1984---3rd Year, Number 37 PONCHATO00lJLA TIMI00S 5o' Half Price For Subscribers -  See Coupon-Page Two # in Ponchat-oula Cowboys" to round-up 100 alligators !'. lVMAHON Edilor & Publbher to be the wildest round-up in history Thursday, when s crew of cowboys herd up to 100 alligators to Hammond. the owner of the new Best and family campground 1-55 Hammond exit on La. to hold its grand 4. acre family campground will wrestling shows, together with an animals, ranging from a ) rare South American birds. as it is called, to become a big day, and that's where comes in. Rottmann have just green gators that the and his top gator seeking, and to part with the whole reptiles. did not appear too the family s pets were finding "We've been married 16 alligators were here when said, explaining that iOtten used to them over the nonetheless happy to see not all the gators will be Murray Road area. "We good-sized alligators ten years Wayne Rottmann, "But sneaking out." He estimates 40 and 150 on his now. this time are asking how does one go about SOme fairly ferocious meat their current homes in the Murray Road to the villa wang full occu- in Hammond? doesn't seem to bother who allowed as how Would seem easy after what gone through building COmplex, but he gave this somewhat tongue-in-cheek advice on how to capture a gator: "You've got two choices," he said. "Either grab a gator by the head and get your leg broken by his tail, or grab his tail and lose your arm to his head." Armed with this sound advice and few rolls of duct tape (to bind the powerful jaws shut once a gator is caught), the group of alligator cowboys called in by Rogers set off Saturday for the Rott- mann gator farm. They were husky swamp boys from Livingston and Ascension Parish who usually can be found on the Blind River or off in the swamps. Red tape in the form of Wildlife & Fisheries regulations forced the round- Ponchatoula anna,m" herding Th huge  was not about to be herded into a cattle  and transported to Hammond. Best Western inn owner Shorty Rogers is tying to convince the Ponchatia r exhibit, just as soon as reptne to be more cooperative, but • gators   the program and load without much luck. Roge inn and up for the ride. family campground wiR feature a 100 (Times Photo) ique Festival to be permanent Ponchatoula event Staff Report marked the Second Festival held Saturday in Ponchatoula• of the crowds ranged on up, and main street reported a boost in sales, at local eateries, taverns, and the Country Market. ,is reaction to the festival its Cowen, responded laugh, "This time know What my comment been, that the 1984 is cancelled. 1 know is not going to bethe case The festival was just and next year will be ) Years of keeping the festival his own seemingly inex. rce of energy, Cowen says Well-enouqh established to a festival-committee and to organizations to set up 1985 Antique Festival. site is Cowen's three and property on the Bryan T. McMahon asked by Cowen to help activities and has structuring a commit- to help out, with in the Fall. for the 1985 festival. music will be offered, Varied food and beverage bPuarticipation by local usinesses. Additional to include an and a festival contest to see who can dress up in old-time fashions the best. Cowen, who says he will devote his energies to the indoor 1985 activities, has decided to open up a third building to the festival, the Hayride Building, thereby nearly doubling the number of indoor booths for 1985. All of the indoor booth space used this year has already been reserved for the 1985 festival, following this past week- end's activities. "The new additions made to the 1984 festival really helped it take off," said Cowen, citing this year's participation by a helium balloon clown in full regalia sent over by the Country Cupboard: the official T-shirt that was the hit of tle festival, with artwork and shirts fur- nished by T's 'n Things in Ponchatoula; this year's first official festival program and schedule, published by The Ponchatoula Times; and the outdoor charity auction held Saturday, where local merchants and citizens donated items that were put up for public bid on the festival grounds, with the money going to the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce's fund to build a bigger and more humane cage for Ole Hardhide the alligator; and the addition of typical Louisiana foods that went over well with the visitors from 11 states, especially Henry Arnold's boiled crawfish. "The participation this year of Ponchatoula businesses and the Chamber broadened the festival's appeal considerably, as did the friendly treatment and service our out-of-town visitors received down town," said Cowen. With the expected doubling of the 196 booths filled this year, next year's festival could well attract $6 million worth of collectibles and antiques from a period stretching back across the centuries. This year's festival  attracted over $3 million worth of quality items for sale, or a sunny afternoon of browsing, topped off by a jewelry auction Satur- day night of precious gems worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Cowen reported that antique dealers who lived close enough to Ponchatoula were making repeat runs back to their shops for more merchandise, an excellent indicator of how successful this unique festival really was in 1984. "1 keep saying that this will never be like the Strawberry Festival, or any other Louisiana festival for that matter, because the people involved are so different. These are people who care about antiques as they relate to history - not your standard festival goer," said Cowen. And yet, the antique dealers were the ones who begged for more music from groups such as the Ponchatoula Swing- sters, the Dr. Breeze Band, and Blues singer Jeff Welch. And since everyone with a booth was a contestant in the single contest of the festival, all eyes were on Cowen when he named the winners of the best booth _- Mrs. Celeste Layrisson and Mrs. Jan Holsom. Festival balloons and T-shirts were everywhere. This year the festival crowd easily tripled Ponchatoula's population and demand for accommodations was high. even for those who commuted from as close a distance as New Orleans. The new Best Western Inn in Hammond owned by Shorty Rogers was named Official Hotel of the Antique Festival and saw to the housing of the many out-of-state visitors. SEE PAGE TWELVE Across the ages HIStoW reached across the centuries to touch those who attended Poncha- toula's unique offal state festival, the Antique Festival. This year's offerings of old.ey coectJbles and rare antiques was supplemented by festival baboons, T-shirts, an open air auction. mad Louima's favorite delicacy, boiled crawfldh. (Times Photo) I dredging dangers argued by guest columnist G ago I received a booklet in "The Lake Pontchar- Estuarine-Per- by the Resources. features studies of both a letter from Mr. Vice President of Corp., a shell The letter was i will quote from Bill (I.have known Mr. Lennox for many years "thus the greet- ing). 1 find Mr. Lennox a friendly person with an overdose of .personality whocan sway anyone to his way ot thinking in regards to shell dredging; that is anyone but me.), since we last communicated, there is a new docu- ment dealing with the history of the shell dredging industry in Louisiana. It is a little bit too voluminous for mailing, but I shall find some means to get a copy in your possession within the next few weeks. The report deals at great length with matters we have debated over the years, and I am sure you will find it to be of considerable interest... with warm personal regards and best wishes. Sincerely, Ed." I did find the report most interesting, but not convincing. This booklet is the summary of a meeting that was held on April 6, 1983 at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans where Lake Pontchar- train and Lake Maurepas were discus- sed by learned men and women. I am going to write bits of what each person had to state at the meeting. I will begin with Dr. Roger Saucier, a physical scientist in the Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Corps of En- gineers Waterways Experiment Sta- tion, Vicksburg Miss., who holds a doctoral degree in the Field of Geo- graphy and Anthropology: "I am going to tell you a story based on research I did more than 20 years ago, of the origin and evolution of two of the most beautiful lakes in Southeastern Louisiana." in another paragraph: "The Pontchar- train Basin lies within one of the most lneamic natural environments in the d States.' The doctor went on the talk about swamp and marshes. Through his udies the doctor believed that Lake SEE PAGE TWO up to be postponed from Saturday to Thursday. but not before the reptile wranglers got a good look at the herd they had to move. There. down a narrow path behind a shed off Murray Road. the cowboys saw a vision that excited every one of them. alligators end-on-end and side- by-side in what used to be a big alligator pond but had become a mud wrestler's paradise. It looked for all the world like a crew of extras for an old-fashioned Tarzan movie, more gators than most folks see in a lifetime, one at a time. Decked-out in a cowboy hat. Shorty Rogers was soon over the fence and moving among his herd with a shep- herd's pole of sorts. The cowboys were not far behind: Don Wheat, Sammy Prejean, Fieldon Wheat. The ramrod of the outfit, Fieldon Wheat, said he expects it will take five days for ten brave men to move the herd. but judging by the comments overhead Saturday, the first day of the drive, Thursday. is liable to be a doozie. "'What we'll do is we'll work in teams of four,'" said one. "We'll rush in there and get the big ones like that one over there, one of us on each foot. 1 can't wait/" One cowboy was so overcome with anticipation that. upon being told he had to work his regular job during the SEE PAGE SEVEN C MY PONCJiATOULA By OLE HARDHIDE The Alligator Even when I typppppppe I chatter. You would too if you stretched out naked on your driveway for an afternoon of sunshine and were bounced on the tarmac by a huge jackhammer. That's precisely (well it's my patio really, not my driveway• I do not need a car) what happened to this gator. ! dove down to the depths of my private pool and even there the highway crew's machine found me. I felt like ! was swimming in one of those fancy drink makers Doug and Sandy use over at the Depot to make margueritas get slushy. Shake, shake, shake. But if ! thought the rat-tat-tatters that were digging for oil outside Vlnyard's Drug Store could shake a gator up, little did I know what was in store at City Hall, now the workingp]ace for the entire summer of one Miss Dine Scimemi. Fellows, line up to pay your water bills. I wondered what convention had come to town last Thursday when Pine Street was clogged with yuppies and others, and finally figured it out when l saw everyone turn into Court de Paulette for what I later learned was a wine-tasting party attended by 199 voters and one candidate for Seventh Ward judge. Well Floyd Laurent you were there and now that class is over and you know how to taste wine, 1 hope you have the time to devote to this new hobby. Remember to change hobbies when men with badges look down on you and say cute things like "move along." They didn't have a wine tasting at Admiral Archie Bonner's world-class trailer home, where about every Sunday he makes the thick boards of his table groan with pleasure under a load of bachelor victuals that would make a Home Ec teacher cry. Archie said he asked Sonny Welles if he was enjoying his meal last Sunday but he said because Sonny's such a gentleman Archie couldn't get an answer for about two hours. (Sonny never talks with his mouth full)• It is now safe to go swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. King Butler and Peck Edwards this past weekend captured the last giant redfish in the gulf, after having depopulated the once fish-rich big pond. (Someone better get those fellows into golf so they stay out of the gulf for a while). Word's out that Matt LeBlanc has a new tater tot that's the image of the great Frenchman from Hammond. That's why the owner of Spuds & Suds is grinning so wide. Sparky's back from his trip to Las Vegas. That's him walking across the street over there, the one with the handlebar moustache wearing naught but a barrel. (At least barrels have no pockets). Hey Don Clark, owner of the Smoke House, what are all your gal friends doing while you're off working in Arizona? t hear you've been keeping the long distance lines humming trying to keep them all straight, and pining away, while you're gone. I like Ed Nettles, the new manager of the Country Market, located on the lot behind my residence. "When a tour group comes in we always try to get them to patronize our local stores, to see what Ponchatoula has to offer. In Ponchatoula we work as a unit." Ah, My Ponchatoula. Speaking of the Country Market, Depot Day is coming up in just a few weeks, July 7 to be exact. Last year's festivities included, if you remember, Doc Gideon and Collins Bonicard shooting up main street. This year I hear that Ruth Bemer is going to ask everyone that comes to Depot Day to bring Ole Hardhtde a chicken (now that's a rumor I'd love to get started). Seriously, his year the TV crews will be back, the Big Man himself is going to be on hand to cook up Jackie's famed barbeque chicken (I like mire rare Jackie - unplucked would be fine), and secret festivities are planned for the day which should make it a must for everyone. REE PAGE FoURTE.2!