The Walker Percy Trail lets you trace the footsteps of the noted author, a Covington resident since 1948 until his passing in 1990.
Born in Alabama in 1916, it was in Covington that he wrote his most famous books, including “The Moviegoer,” which won a National Book Award in 1962, as well as “Last Gentleman,” “The Second Coming,” and “Love in the Ruins.” The philosophical novelist was a devout Catholic, devoted to his family and reportedly fond of bourbon and naps.
Eight locations in St. Tammany Parish of significance to the author's life form to make what has been come to be called The Walker Percy Trail...
1. Mandeville - 2025 Lakeshore Drive: Currently The Lakehouse Restaurant, the structure built in 1834 by Bernard de Marigny was for decades known as Bechac’s. The lakefront restaurant was a favorite gathering spot for Percy who met friends for lunch there every Thursday. Among those friends was Bill Binnings, a noted artist who later would create the two bronze statues of Percy erected in honor of the writer. Today you can still sip a cocktail, enjoy lunch and a view of the lake, just as Percy did often.
2. Covington - Boston St. at Lee Lane: A Louisiana Historic Marker denotes details of Percy’s life and residence in Covington. The marker is less than a block from where Percy maintained an office in his daughter’s book shop. (See next item.)
3. 228 Lee Lane: Now a boutique called The French Mix, this quaint cottage formerly housed the Kumquat Book Shop, owned by Percy’s daughter. The author often wrote upstairs in his little office on the shop’s second floor.
4. 213 Park Drive: One of Bill Binnings’ statues of Percy stands in Bogue Falaya Wayside Park in downtown Covington. The 9-foot-tall bronze sculpture depicts Percy standing in a doorway. Percy and his wife Mary Bernice “Bunt” Townsend lived a short distance from the park, near 8th Street and Jahncke.
5. Highway 21 just south of Oswald Road: Another historic marker denotes the “Original Homestead of Walker Percy,” the property he first bought in 1948 when he moved to Covington. The marker is on the left-hand side of the highway, also known as Military Road, if you’re driving north.
6. 2 Pinecrest Drive: A creature of habit, Percy met his brother Phinizy “Phin” Percy and friends for lunch every Wednesday here, at Tchefuncta Country Club.
7. St. Benedict - 75376 River Road: St. Joseph’s Abbey. Percy is buried in the small cemetery at this Benedictine Abbey just northeast of Covington. His gravesite is marked by a small, plain stone. Percy served as a secular oblate of the Abbey, spending much time there in contemplation. Madisonville
8. 1123 Main St.: Stop here, at the Madisonville branch library, to visit with a large bronze statue of Percy seated on a bench with his beloved Corgi, Sweet Thing. The sculpture, by artist and Percy friend Binnings, sits in the library’s Serenity Circle outside its main entrance.