COVINGTON – Covington, Louisiana is setting with a lot of character, charm and nostalgia.
It’s also home to what has been a permanent fixture in the community for 145 years – The St. Tammany Farmer newspaper.
Brenda Willis has worked with the paper for close to 50 years.
She’s seen what was once a local paper widen coverage across St. Tammany Parish.
“To have a newspaper that not only caters to the larger cities like Covington, Slidell, and Mandeville and their urban and suburban needs and to also give news to communities like Folsom, Madisonville, Lacombe and places that are very small,” Willis said. “We are the only people that go to those meetings. We’re the only people that bring that information to those people.”
The paper started on Lee Lane a few blocks down from its location today, and as St. Tammany was largely agricultural, the budding news source was born to serve that community – and was named the farmer.
“One of the more popular features that we do each week is called files from the farmer,” Willis said. “A lot of the issues that face St. Tammany today haven’t changed. There was something that ran last week. One hundred twenty-five years ago, feral hogs were tearing up streets in Covington. That is not a problem that we have anymore obviously, but it is fun to look back at those things.”
Its serves as a written account of the stories of the past, as well as a steward of today’s St. Tammany news.
“It’s a history book,” Wilis said. “The farmer has been here for over 145 years of St. Tammany Parishes history. It was here when it was just farms. It was here for WWI and WWII. It was here when the cause way was built. It reported on the cultural revolution, women’s liberation, equal rights. It covered all of that. The beautiful thing about that is it continues to cover the news today as we change and as we grow, the St. Tammany Farmer is still there for the people of St. Tammany Parish.”