Lidia Apostol's Letter to the Editor on the Hidden Treasures Session
I am honored to be part of the 2015-2016 Leadership Tangipahoa class. It is a remarkable program that offers great benefits to the individuals in the class and the parish. Once a month we meet with an extraordinary group of leaders and discover various aspects of Tangipahoa Parish. Our November session was called Hidden Treasures. Indeed, I discovered a great deal of treasures hidden right here in Tangipahoa Parish.
We started the day at the Tangipahoa Parish Tourist Center with Nicols Howard, who shared with the class the history of Tangipahoa Parish. The parish was founded in 1869. Shortly after, the New Orleans Jackson Great Northern Railroad was built. You ever noticed that the towns in Tangipahoa Parish are marked at exactly 10 miles intervals? It turns out that the train engine needed to be refueled every 10miles. How interesting. Mr. Howard also talked about the history of the Sicilians in Tangipahoa Parish. Our next stop was focused on the preservation of the Sicilian community, the Independence Heritage Museum. All the items in the museum were donated by families. There were lots of pictures, arts, tools, and other items in the museum.
Next we took a wagon ride at Liuzza Land. Elizabeth and Tonya talked to the class about how the farm is providing fresh fruits and vegetables to Louisiana for five generations. In addition to growing produce, Liuzza Land is now open to the public for field trips, weddings, birthdays, and other events. It is a fun place for children to see the goats, ponies, zebras, peacocks, and all kinds of other animals. Children also see how all the vegetables grow. Not to mention that Santa Claus will stop by in December at the farm.
After the farm adventure, the class went to the Renaissance Festival near Hammond, LA. Alvon Brumfield showed us around the 16 acres of this unique "outdoor seasonal theme park" as he described it. Whether you want to have tea with the Queen, see the glass blower or the cooper's shop, watch a puppet show, laugh with the comedians, or even milk a goat, there is something for everyone at the Renaissance Festival. The Festival takes place every year for 6 weekends after Halloween.
A new treasure of Tangipahoa Parish will be Reunion Lake. It is a RV Resort that will open in the beginning of 2016. It looks like the Resort will have 3 pools with one for adults featuring a bar in it, a teen house, playgrounds for the smaller children, a lake house, an outdoor amphitheater, and much more.
We then went to the Chappapeela Sports Park. The park offers soccer, baseball, and football fields on the 110acres, 3 play grounds, a splash pad, and a nice walking trail. Lots of opportunities for families to enjoy the outdoors at Chappapeela Sports Park.
Our next stop was at the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum. The beautiful collection of murals, artifacts, photographs and art works, tell the story of the African American people on their journey from Africa to Hammond, Louisiana. I was impressed by the beauty and the details on the murals, a real hidden treasure in downtown Hammond.
We ended our day at Gnarly Barley Brewery in Hammond, where Zac Caramonta, the co-founder gave the class a tour of the brewery and shared the secrets of the brewing process. The company started in a garage, however today their beer is served in 350 locations in Louisiana and Mississippi. It is not surprising, since the beer tasted really good. Gnarly Barley is a success story right here in Hammond, where dedication, passion, and hard work pays off.
We managed to discover a great deal of hidden treasures in one day. I am really looking forward to what is in store for our group for the rest of the year. On behalf of 2015-2016 Leadership Class I would like to thank Tangi Tourism for putting together such an amazing schedule and for providing transportation and a delicious lunch for the Hidden Treasures Session.
Lee Gray, CPA