Charles Terrell & Brenda Laurent's Letter to the Editor on Hidden Treasures Session
How blessed we are to live in such a beautifully diverse parish abundant with hidden treasures. Our leadership Tangipahoa 2016-2017 class explored several of these treasures today, Tuesday, November 15, 2016.
We started our adventure with TaMarlo Carter touring our Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum located in the stunning down town Hammond at 1600 Phoenix Square. The Museum has been educating visitors of the vitality and wealth of African heritage in Tangipahoa Parish and its surrounding areas since they opened the doors in February of 2007. We were walked through reminders of the slave ships, The Buffalo Soldiers, the Civil Rights Movement, and so much more. With over 20 original breathtaking murals and numerous magnificent artifacts, exhibits, and other original artwork, the collection is one of the largest of its kind in the south.
On the bus ride to our next destination, Tangipahoa's Tourist Commission's General Manager, Carla Tate, provided the group an insight on how the Tourist Center markets the parish to outside cities, states, and even countries. Some of our attractions include the eight museums in our parish, the Renaissance Festival, Strawberry Festival, SLU Athletic events, and local Camp Grounds. It was interesting to learn that our parish is often the choice place to stay for visitors attending large events in the city of New Orleans such as the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, Conventions, etc... Our parish is a benefit to many visitors as we offer lower hotel rates in Tangipahoa yet, we are close enough to the major city for easy travel to visitors' intended event.
Upon departure from the museum we set off to experience the Rise Escape Rooms and Haunted House located just outside of Hammond at 10334 La Hwy 442, in Tickfaw. From virtual to reality, every games dream, the Rise Escape Rooms offers video game style gaming in real world and real life chambers that you must solve the puzzle to escape. There is something for everyone in the family to enjoy. The owners are well aware that there are those who are not up for the scary stuff. Therefore, they offer intrigue for those who enjoy solving puzzles through clues as well as, fun for those who like to a little scare tactic to get the heart pumping.
From the Rise we escaped to the Italian Cultural Museum located in the 108 year old magnificent former Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church in Independence. Inside the picturesque old church building, Donny Orlando introduced us to brilliantly preserved history of the Italian/Sicilian American community of Independence and surrounding areas. He informed us that on Saturday mornings, great traditional Italian food can be tasted at the Farmer's Market between 8:00am and 12noon. We also learned that a small group of people are currently learning to speak the Sicilian language, which was the home language of many of the original families of Tangipahoa's Italian and Sicilian families.
Next we journeyed to center of our parish to refuel and discover the Covey Rise Sportsman's Retreat at 24009 Singing Waterfall Road in Husser Louisiana. The Covey Rise is a trifold facility that includes The Covey Rise hunting lodge, the Covey Farm and the Chappapeela Retreat. The Covey Rise goal is to provide a southern style sportsman outdoor experience on over 400 acres of Louisiana wilderness, everything from tailored hunts, fishing, hiking, cooking classes, youth camps and shooting instruction, to a tour of the Covey Rise Farm. The Covey Rise Farms grow vegetables for high end restaurants in New Orleans. Both the lodge and the Chappapeela Retreat provide luxury accommodations for individuals and large groups. And the dining is amazing! The chief strives to enhance your experience by tailoring each course of the meal to the season or occasion you are there for. While enjoying our delicious meal that included their very own fresh garden vegetables and succulent chicken, Mr. Grady Seale enlightened us on the history of Covey Rise and the success of the farm. Afterwards, former SLU Professor and Tangipahoa Historian, Howard Nichols, expounded on the history of Tangipahoa Parish. Mr. Nichols held everyone's attention as he described historical events of Tangipahoa's past that we are now able to relate to in the present. He could have spoken for hours and would never have lost our attention for a second. It was information that left us all wanting more.
Our last escapade for the day was at Gnarly Barley Brewing, located in Hammond at 1709 Corbin Road, for a tour and tasting of some customer favorites as well as new flavored beer. Gnarly Barley was established in 2011 by Zac and Cari Caramonta in their garage and has since expanded into a 10,500 square foot facility, consisting of a two-vessel 30bbl Brew house, one hot and one cold liquor tank, four fermentation vessels, one bright beer tank and a whole lot of passion for craft beer.
We would like to thank our adventure guides, Nick Gagliano, Carla Tate, and, Tangipahoa Parish CVB (Tangi Tourism) for sponsoring our exploration of the Hidden Treasures of Tangipahoa parish. We want to extend a special 'thank you' to Carla Tate for treating us to that delicious lunch and the special treat at Gnarly Barley this afternoon. This was a phenomenal educational experience about the Parish in which we live, that will not soon be forgotten and, one we will anticipate repeating and sharing soon with our own families and friends.
Charles Terrell, Tangipahoa Parish Government
Brenda Laurent, Regina Coeli Child Development Center
Brenda Laurent, Regina Coeli Child Development Center