The Four Priorities of Drainage

#1: When it comes to drainage, the City's #1 priority is to avoid water in houses / structures. In general, we are successful with this. In certain major rain events, there are homes that take on water … and that is never a good thing.

#2: Mitigate street flooding (which impacts emergency vehicle responses). Continued routine maintenance of our drainage tributaries and detention ponds help with this.

#3: Mitigate yard flooding. The goal here is to have the water recede within 12 hours AFTER the rain has stopped. Please do not assume it will recede while it is still raining.

#4: Ditches holding water long after it has stopped raining. Ditches that hold water after a rain are a personal pet peeve of mine. Unfortunately, Covington is flat. Quite flat. There is very little fall across the city. This means the bottom of a ditch slightly out of whack, a blocked culvert or a culvert set at the wrong elevation 70 years ago can cause ditches to hold water. Public Works is tackling this city wide problem by digging fewer ditches deeper when they don't drain and by "blowing out" more culverts. In certain cases, they have made nice progress. In others, we continue the battle … much like whack-a-mole.

Side note: Structures in our area that flood tend to have two things in common: 1) They are constructed in a flood zone and 2) They are not raised i.e. built flat on the ground.

Side note #2: A flood zone is a zone of land that floods. If one's home is located in a flood zone, then yard and street flooding should be expected.

Side note #3: One should avoid driving on flooded streets. However, if one must, please do so slowly without creating a wake. Often times, the difference between a home or garage getting water and not getting water is some jerk driving his or her big truck quickly through the water … throwing off a wave that rolls into the structure.

Yes, We Flood

Covington (Wharton) was founded in the confluence of two rivers (Bogue Falaya and Tchefuncte). Throughout the 19th century, our town served as the primary port city for crops and building materials moving from Washington Parish, the west side of St. Tammany and from Mississippi to New Orleans. The Choctaw term Bogue Falaya actually means long river (28 miles in length) with its headwaters stretching north of Folsom into Washington Parish. The Tchefuncte River is 70 miles long.

Historically, the two rivers have flooded the west side of the parish every 15 to 20 years. In addition to March of 2016, the rivers overflowed their banks in the 1990's, 1983, 1961, 1947, 1928 (which was comparable to 2016) 1916, 1898 and 1884.


The flood of 1983 was particularly interesting. A south wind for 3 days had pushed the Gulf of Mexico into Lake Ponchartrain which then "plugged" the mouth of the Tchefunte River. A rain event upstream sent flood waters south to Covington where they made a u-turn and then flowed "uphill" to flood homes near the river as well as downtown.


Dairy King on Claiborne Hill Collins Blvd Bridge

Baldwin Motors

on Boston Street

Riverside Inn

with Mrs. Gloria Mulligan

Bogue Falaya River Crests

Since 1961


Marsolan children

taking a swim

Columbia Street Landing




"Families Take Refuge In New Southern Hotel"


Rain event reference in 1916 flood article

Big Thanks to Mr. Jack Terry for providing many of the news articles.

For more pictures, articles and reference to the 1884 flood, click on Ron Barthet's

Tammany Family Blog.

Mr. George Mire shares these links to our local river gauges … a handy way to observe what is headed our way:

Tchefuncte River Highway 190 west of Covington

Tchefuncte River Highway 21 near St. Tammany Parish Hospital

Bogue Falaya Highway 25 near Girl Scout Camp

Bogue Falaya Boston Street near Claiborne Hill

Side note #1: It is counterintuitive, but dredging the rivers deeper does not prevent or lessen flooding. Once the river is "full," it does not matter if it is full of sand, dirt or water. The flood waters travel across the top similar to a sine wave.

Side note #2: Engineers and Planners agree that the most effective means of reducing flooding is through detention (holding the water and metering it into the river). Detention ponds mostly benefit those living downstream. Although clearing and de-snagging has value, it also causes the water to reach those folks living downstream more quickly.

Side note #3: In some of the rain events described above, the Tchefuncte River stretches east and Bogue Falaya River stretches west until they become one river. In these cases, the only way to prevent structures from flooding is to elevate them higher than the water.

City Software Upgrades … Ugh

From our city Chief Administrative Officer, Erin Bivona:

We are in the middle of a significant upgrade of our finance management software, MUNIS, which will go live on May 22nd and 23rd. At the same time, we are transitioning to our new online bill pay system for Utility Billing. The new system will allow customers to see their bills online and have multiple options for payment, including Apple Pay, Walmart Pay, etc. This transition is expected to be completed at the same time as the MUNIS launch.


We ask you to please bear with us during this transitional phase. It’s been a huge team effort involving multiple departments and lots of training and testing to get to this point. Please let us know if any issues come your way so we can address them asap.

Sunset at the Landing … Fools Fest 2023 … Playmakers Comedy

Lifeguard Needed!!

The Reverend Peter Atkins park swimming pool will open for the summer on May 23rd and close on August 5th. It will be free to the public Tuesday - Sunday, 11:00am to 5:30pm. We could use one more lifeguard : )

If you know someone looking for summer employment, the City has an opening for one more lifeguard. Training and Certification provided by the City.

For details click: CovLA Life Guards, Human Resources

Replies to this email go directly to Mayor Mark.

Rooted in History, Focused on the Future
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