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Ponchatoula

Trip Planner USA  /  Louisiana  /  Ponchatoula
Ponchatoula is a small city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 6,559 at the 2010 census. Ponchatoula is known as the "Strawberry Capital of the World". It is part of the Hammond Micropolitan Statistical Area.HistoryPonchatoula was originally established as a mining camp in 1820, incorporating as a town on February 12, 1861. William Akers was the first mayor and is credited with founding the town, establishing it on land he purchased from the Federal government in 1832.At the turn of the 20th century the local area changed its chief industry from lumber to commercial farming. The main produce was the strawberry. The families who were major farmers during this era, which lasted about eighty years, have their last names engraved on a large plaque in front of city hall. The Strawberry Festival's roots go back to when farmers joined to sell the spring harvest of strawberries. Today it is the second largest event in the state, after Mardi Gras.During the 1980s the local economy changed to tourism, when farming no longer earned enough to sustain the town. The mayor at the time devised a plan to open antique shops where former businesses had been located. There are still about six of these shops in operation. This gave the town a second nickname, "America's Antique City."Ponchatoula is a name signifying "falling hair" or "hanging hair" or "flowing hair" from the Choctaw Pashi "hair" and itula or itola "to fall" or "to hang" or "flowing." It was the Indians' way of expressing the beauty of the location, with much Spanish moss hanging from the trees. "Ponche" is an Indian word meaning location, object, or person. The name is eponymous with the Ponchatoula Creek, which flows from points north of the city into the Natalbany River southwest of town.
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