Located prominently at the Covington Trailhead is a statue of President Ronald Reagan. It was placed there as a result of efforts by his friend Patrick Taylor, an area resident. Taylor's foundation donated the statute to the City of Covington in 2008.
Reagan served as the 40th president of the United States between the years 1981 and 1989. He was also governor of the state of California from 1967 to 1975, after a successful career as an actor in the motion picture industry. He died on June 5, 2004.
Taylor was born in 1937 and over the years built a highly-successful independent oil exploration and production company in New Orleans. He helped fund and create the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students, popularly known as TOPS, which helped promising high school students meet their financial obligations for going to college.
Taylor attended a ceremony in Covington in
2003, when State Representative Mike Strain ( now La. Dept. of
Agriculture Commissioner) and other officials designated Highway 190
between Slidell and Baton Rouge as the "Ronald Reagan Highway." A
longtime friend of Reagan's, Taylor told the ceremony attendees that
when Reagan passed away, he would build a large memorial in his memory,
either in Shreveport or some other big city. Mayor Candace Watkins and
other local officials suggested to him that the statue should be placed
in Covington, and he liked that idea.
Reagan died the following year, and five months later Taylor also died. His foundation picked up the project, however.
Taylor was a very close friend of President Reagan," said former
Council President Patricia Clanton, "and it was decided that when he
died shortly after the highway dedication ceremony, a letter should be
sent to Mrs. Taylor inviting her to visit Covington to look at the
property where the Trailhead would be built as a possible location for
the statue. At that time the site was absolutely unattractive, but city
council members Lee Alexius and Trey Blackall pursued the matter."
On June 7, 2005, Phyllis M. Taylor, chairman of the Patrick F. Taylor Foundation, wrote to the city and offered to donate the bronze statue of Reagan when it was completed. The statue was finished on June 27, 2008, and placed at the Trailhead location when the exact location was decided upon and a foundation pedestal for the statue prepared.
The statue was sculpted by Patrick Miller of Ponchatoula.