Tangipaho Parish is a hidden gem located about an hour’s drive north of the airport, or closer depending on which local you ask. It is an area of the country that is often overlooked, unless you are looking somewhere between Baton Rouge and North of New Orleans. Although locals are aware of its existence, it is not mentioned as often as other cities in Louisiana.
Unfortunately, most of the stories and legends about Tangipahoa Parish that I have heard are not based on reality. They are floating transitions between bayous, being wiped away by hurricanes, Swamp People, and Britney Spears. However, the reality is quite different from these myths.
Most people who speak to me about New Orleans fall in love with the city but are concerned about the rambunctious and potentially dangerous nature of Bourbon Street. Bourbon Street is notorious for being the area where college students go to drink and party, and Mardi Gras has become legendary. At times, these legends have moved well into the area of dangerous. One of my favorite memories in New Orleans was a cop who told me that I could not walk half a block without running into somebody trying to accost me. After eight blocks and 16 times, I realized that his ratio was spot on.
However, Tangipahoa Parish is the New Orleans that people have missed and forgotten. The Parish is located in one strip of counties with the motto “Out of Four – One.” At the intersection of Highway 12 and 55, Tangipahoa Parish is a central base for exploring this area of Louisiana. Highway 12 goes from east to west, while Highway 55 runs from north to south. Highway 51 runs parallel to Highway 55, and the towns in this strip run within this area.
To understand Tangipahoa, it is best to have a different perspective in mind. Tangipahoa Parish is essentially a long strip that runs up and down for about an hour. It is like the Vegas strip that goes from one end to the other. On one end, you have Ponchatoula, which is quaint, antiquing, and has a wonderful all-time flavor. Next up, you have Hammond, which is a college town and could take the place of any town in the 1950s when you visit. Further up is Independence, which is the home to the Italian American Museum and is an enigma because it has an entire Italian American community that, at times, could be even more Italian-looking than part of downtown Bronx. Natalbany and Tickfaw are in the middle of the visit list, and on top is Amite, which has its wonderful small-town feel.
Ponchatoula is a hidden gem that is often overlooked. It is a great place to visit for those who want to experience the authentic side of Louisiana. The Parish is not just a myth, and its towns are not wiped away by hurricanes or filled with swamp people. Instead, Ponchatoula is a quaint, charming place that is waiting to be discovered.
Tangipahoa Parish, or “Tangi” for short, is a hidden gem in the South that many people may not have heard of. It’s a small parish located in Louisiana, but don’t let its size fool you. It has a unique blend of culture, charm, and hospitality that can rival any other destination in the South.
If you’re looking for a warm welcome, then Tangi is the place to be. The locals are known for their friendly and welcoming nature, and they are always ready to greet visitors with a smile. During my visit, I was lucky enough to be invited to a locals crayfish boil, which was a great experience. The locals were beyond welcoming, and they helped me navigate the culinary challenge of eating shrimp out of their shells. With their help, I was able to enjoy the experience without losing my mind.
Tangi has a lot to offer, but it’s often overlooked by travelers because of the preconceived notions people have about Louisiana. Many people associate Louisiana with swamp creatures and missing teeth, but that’s far from the truth. Tangi is a beautiful region that has a lot to offer, especially for those who love New Orleans but want to avoid the Bourbon Street scene. It’s essentially where the New Orleans imagery you see on TV ran off to.
The Cultural Mix That is Tangi
Tangi has a unique cultural mix that I haven’t seen anywhere else in the country. It’s a blend of French, Italian, Spanish, and creole cultures, and it’s also a mix of both Baptist and Catholic. It’s like Ellis Island was the entry point for the East Coast, and Tangi was the entry point for the middle of America and the French empire prior to the Louisiana purchase. This blend of cultures has created something truly unique, and it’s worth experiencing for yourself. I mean they even have Drive Through Daquiris which are there only cultural element.
The region has a lot to offer, from the architecture to the food to the people. It’s a short, relatively affordable flight from New York, and it offers the warmth and charm that you would find in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida, but with a unique cultural element. It’s also not as expensive as other popular destinations, which makes it a great option for travelers who are on a budget.
Tangi is a hidden gem in the South that more people should know about. It has a unique blend of culture, charm, and hospitality that can rival any other destination in the South. So, if you’re looking for a new travel experience, then consider Tangi. You won’t be disappointed!
Discovering the Charms of Ponchatoula and Hammond
If you’re looking for a weekend getaway with a small-town feel, Ponchatoula and Hammond, Louisiana, might just be the perfect destinations. Ponchatoula, in particular, is a town with a unique character that’s worth exploring. With more antique shops than you could ever want to see, this quaint town along the main street has a lot to offer. They have some amazing restaurants and wonderfully historic buildings. Even the train depot has been converted into a set of antique shops.
As for Hammond, this town was a bit of a mystery at first as it’s quite the presence but completely unknown. With elements of hidden 1950s-style, Hammond boasts a coffee shop that was once a drug store and is now bustling with activity even on a Wednesday night. It’s a nice geographic center that serves as a great little center to go up and down the Ponchatoula strip.
The Beauty of One Big Strip
Ponchatoula is like one big strip with various resources. If you’re staying in your central base, whether it’s an Airbnb or other accommodations in whichever particular town fits your fancy, you can explore the strip to your heart’s content. If you’re looking for more of a nightlife, then you’re going to Hammond. If you’re looking for that antique feel, you’re going to Ponchatoula. Of course, there are no hard and fast rules, and you can explore each one reflecting its own character.
Each town has its own flavor, and it’s easy to jump to different festivals and events happening in the area. For example, you can follow the Sicilian American festival in Independence with a wonderful jazz dinner in either Ponchatoula or Hammond. Maybe you want to explore the town of Amite and then zip right down to the Strawberry Festival in Ponchatoula.
The Festivals of Ponchatoula
One of the unique things about Ponchatoula is that they have more festivals than they know what to do with. The entire town is proud of the strawberry festival, and you can even take a picture with a giant strawberry downtown. There are also festivals throughout the year, most notably the Italian American and Sicilian American festivals.
Walking down the street of Hammond reminded me of walking down other main streets in quaint little towns. People are bustling on the sidewalk, and restaurants are packed. All this is happening in an odd bubble, which has almost been invisible from the outside world.
Using the Area as a Base
What’s great about this area is that because of the highways and the layout, it makes for a wonderful little base. You can use this as a central base and explore all the other interests in the region. By no means am I saying that I am against seeing those other traditional Louisiana things, such as the game farm and crocodiles in the Bayou. But keep in mind that what makes Ponchatoula and Hammond appealing is that it can serve as your central base to explore all those elements.
It’s much harder to explore those things when you’re stuck in a hotel in downtown New Orleans. But in Ponchatoula and Hammond, you can easily get on the highway and explore all the other unique interests Louisiana has to offer. So why not envision a perfect long weekend, running up and down the Ponchatoula strip, exploring different festivals and events, and experiencing the unique charm of each town?
is an author, and travel writer. He's written a few books and has written a few articles. He focuses on quirky things and travel.