Hammond and Ponchatoula Louisiana Travel and Things to Do
Hammond, Louisiana is located at the junction of I-12 and I-55. Strategically positioned only 45 miles from Baton Rouge to the east, and New Orleans to the south, Hammond is an important element of the East Louisiana infrastructure.
In addition to highways, Hammond, situated on the Illinois Central line between New Orleans and Chicago, is also a local Amtrak passenger train stop. The well known "City of New Orleans" passenger train, famous for the song of that name written by Steve Goodman and sung by Arlo Gurhrie, made frequent stops in Hammond! Today, it is home to over 20,000 residents.
Nearby Ponchatoula is the "Strawberry Capital of the World" and the home to over 5,000 residents.
The Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival is held in mid-April each year.
Growth and Expansion
Hammond's close proximity to New Orleans and Baton Rouge have made the area one of the fastest growing cities and parishes in Louisiana.
In recent years there has been much new residential, and commercial, growth and development, including hotels and motels which also serve the New Orleans area during major events such as Mardi Gras, the Super Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Final Four Tournaments.
Hammond Area Attractions
The parish seat of Tangipahoa Parish, the City of Hammond is located near Ponchatoula, Springfield, Natalbany, Tickfaw, Independence, Amite City and Madisonville. This area features a number of attractions for both local residents and tourists as well.
Nearby Ponchatoula is known for its delicious strawberries which begin to be available in January of each year. The area has become a center for growing, processing, and shipping strawberries nationwide. In addition, the city has maintained and preserved a large historic district in the downtown area. It is also an antique haven, and visitors come from far and wide to shop Ponchatoula's antique stores.
Hammond is the home of Southeastern Louisiana University, a well respected and rapidly growing institution of higher education with an enrollment of over 15,000 students from across the U.S. and many foreign countries.
Other regional attractions include:
- Global Wildlife Center in Folson
- Kentwood Historical and Cultural Arts Museum
- Kliebert's Alligator and Turtle Farm in Hammond
- Louisiana Furniture and Art Gallery in Ponchatoula
- Amato's Winery in Independence
- Amite Chamber of Commerce and Museum
- Camp Moore Confederate Museum and Cemetery
Louisiana Swamp Tours
Visitors to Louisiana often experience the Bayou State firsthand, by touring the swamps!
In the greater New Orleans area near Hammond, there are many swamp tour options in communities such as Marrero, Westwego, Braithwaite, Lafitte, Des Allemands and Laplace.
Others swamp tours originate in South Louisiana cities such as Breaux Bridge, Henderson, Slidell, Houma and Thibodaux.
Read more about swamp tours in South Louisiana.
Swamp People on the History Channel
The story of alligator hunting in Louisiana is being told on the TV series "Swamp People" on the History Channel. Swamp People debuted in August of 2010, and has become a runaway hit ever since.
The History Channel has announced it is set to premier Season 12 on Thursday, February 4, 2021, at 9/8C.
Various segments of "Swamp People" are filmed around South Louisiana, including those near Hammond and Ponchatoula, Bayou Sorrel, Pecan Island, Bayou Pigeon, Pierre part, Morgan City, Houma and other locales.
Several of the alligator hunters have become celebrities, including Troy and Jacob Landry, Elizabeth Cavalier Choate, Bruce Mitchell, Junior Edwards, and others.
Bruce Mitchell hails from Ponchatoula, and has become a star and cult hero on Swamp People along with his dog Tyler. A lifelong swamper, Bruce is a bit of a renegade, but an experienced gator hunter. He hunts in the swamps around his home in the Ponchatoula area.
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Hammond and Ponchatoula Louisiana History
Hammond has been an important part of the Lake Pontchartrain north shore area since 1830 when Peter Hammond settled land 55 miles outside of his home in New Orleans.
The city of Hammond was later named for him. In 1854, the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad (Illinois Central) came through the area and helped accelerate Hammond as a commercial and transport center.
Ponchatoula was established as a logging camp in 1820, and incorporated as a town on February 12, 1861. William Akers was the city's first mayor, and is credited with founding the town, establishing it on land he purchased from the federal government in 1832. The Indian name Ponchatoula means "flowing hair".
Hammond Louisiana Images of the Past
U.S. Post Office
A Country Home near Hammond, Louisiana
The Oaks Hotel