Heart of Louisiana: Old Covington feed store rocks on Saturdays

Published: Oct. 15, 2014 at 1:19 AM CDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2014 at 1:36 PM CDT
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COVINGTON, LA (WVUE) - has found a way to entertain its customers on Saturdays in the fall and spring. The feed sacks are replaced by chairs, and the sound of bluegrass fills the antique cypress building. FOX 8's Dave McNamara takes us to St. Tammany Parish for a unique concert series in the Heart of Louisiana.

For the past 75 years, folks have been buying cattle feed, garden seed and all kinds of tools for the farm and home from the Marsalon feed and seed store in Covington. Harvey Marsalon started working here when he was in middle school.

“My dad started this business in 1939,” Marsalon said. “It's been an ongoing business since then.”

But just before lunch on Saturdays, the old feed store begins a transformation. The shelves of animal food are rolled away and chairs are lined up in rows facing a small stage. Marsalon's becomes a concert hall for the next couple of hours. The music specialty is old-time country, folk and bluegrass. These guys call themselves the Bagasse Boyz.

“When you take all of the sweetness out of sugarcane, you're left with bagasse,” said musician Fritz Mayers. “That's us. We're the stuff is left over.”

This wasn't the case of a feed store that was looking for a way to boost its weekend business. Here it was the music that was looking for a new home.

“We have a healthy music program on the north shore, lots of places to play,” said fiddle player Van Glynn. “But this is the only place that's inside out of the weather 365 days a year.”

The bluegrass band strikes just the right chord for this feed store crowd.

“In a lot of the songs, they tell a good story, “ Glynn said. “People like to hear a story, and then a lot of the instrumentals are just fun to listen to whether it's fiddle, banjo mandolin or guitar.

These band mates make sure that playing good music doesn't get in the way of having fun.

“We love playing here and Marsalons,” said banjo player Fritz Mayers. “They are so nice and kind, but this is one of the few places that we really get to play in front of a bunch of chicks.”

“We played a coffee house in Hammond that burned out of the ground,” said bass player Willi Sager. “We played a plantation place that caught fire and burned. We played a few places that have gone out of business. So if you know somebody who you want to shut down, send us their name.”

This is a show where the audience members are encouraged to bring their own string instruments and they'll get a chance to play along with the band. You can enjoy one of the music shows at the Marsolan feed store the next two Saturdays at noon.

Additional links:

Marsolan's Feed and Seed Store:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/marsolans-feed-and-seed-store/325626024198585

The Fabulous Bagasse Boyz: https://www.facebook.com/pages/the-fabulous-bagasse-boyz/311616425552088

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