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Sulphur, Louisiana

Hammond/Tangipahoa Parish

Walk through Southern history and meet the gators in a delightful crossroads

Situated in the “Crossroads of the South,” Tangipahoa Parish gets its name from the native Acolapissa people. The word Tangipahoa translates to “ear of corn” or “those who gather corn,” describing an agricultural way of life that has endured through the centuries.

Located at the intersection of Interstate 55 and Interstate 12, about 45 miles east of Baton Rouge, Hammond is home to pleasant summer months. Winters reflect a mild, cool subtropical climate. With a vibrant downtown, a tradition of maintaining historical structures and an appreciation for its own unique culture, Hammond is a truly hospitable Southern town.

Hammond, the largest city within the parish, has its roots in the sea. The founder of the town, Peter Hammond, was a Swedish immigrant and veteran of the Napoleonic Wars who arrived in Louisiana in 1818 after a daring escape from a British prison. A former sailor, Hammond saw the potential in the vast forests growing through the region northwest of Lake Pontchartrain. He purchased the relatively inexpensive property in the area, and began selling the wood to shipbuilders and other industries in the growing town of New Orleans, 58 miles to the northeast.



Through the Civil War, Tangipahoa Parish was a center for commercial activity. One entrepreneur, Charles Emery Cate, established a shoe-making factory for Confederate soldiers during the war and built Grace Memorial Episcopal Church. The factory was destroyed in the conflict, and the property has been transformed into the Cate Square, a city park. The church, however, remains to this day and, with a majestic steeple and white, wooden exterior, is one of the most distinctive structures in the town. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Heritage, Art and Community

Those seeking an out-of-the-box experience can take advantage of the galleries and events at Hammond Regional Arts Center, which prides itself in one-of-a-kind, community-oriented exhibits. Classes, unconventional showings (such as an art display produced using contributions from local schoolchildren) and special events, such as swing dancing, continue to attract tourists and locals alike. For a quick tour of local history that doesn’t require admission, the Hammond Oak, located in the center of downtown Hammond, doubles as a headstone for the town’s founder, Peter Hammond.


Richard David Ramsey

An afternoon at the African American Heritage Museum is another must for those with a nose for history and art. Featuring eight galleries, more than 20 original large-scale murals and a massive collection of historic artifacts, the museum profiles the stories and contributions of African Americans throughout the country’s history. See an exhibit dedicated to the famed Buffalo Soldiers of the American West.

For watery recreation, head just 15 miles southeast for Lake Pontchartrain, home to outstanding boating and fishing on 630 square miles.

A Night at the Theater

The 17-block Hammond Historic District preserves the mid-19th-century architecture of the town’s early days. Visitors who stroll the district will notice Renaissance Revival, Mission and Queen Anne Revival styles.

Fans of the performing arts can catch a live show from atop the balcony of one of the city’s oldest theaters. The locals refer to the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts as downtown Hammond’s “jewel in the crown”—the venue has seen everything from Vaudeville productions to Broadway musicals. The venue introduced the local population to talkies in 1928, and it also was home to one of the first theater organs to accompany showings.

Although this historic gem was almost torn down in the early 1990s, efforts by Hammond residents to restore the theater have since been successful, and modern visitors are treated to live plays, dance events and musical performances. For those folks who find the 830-seat venue to be a bit too big for comfort, a smaller venue, the Ghost Light, offers a more intimate experience for Louisiana-bred entertainment.

Connect with Swamp Creatures

At Kliebert’s Turtle and Alligator Farm, you can get a good look at hundreds of fascinating reptiles in captivity. Families can trek the Swamp People Trail during an hourlong guided tour, featuring reptiles that have grown up to 18 feet long, while chatting with the History Channel’s own Mike Kliebert, the park’s founder.

For the ultimate bayou souvenir, guests can purchase turtle shells and alligator meat.

For More Information

Tangipahoa Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau




Louisiana Office of Tourism