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Leadership Tangipahoa

Press Releases

Date Press Release

Kathleen Elstrott & Amy Brumfield's Letter to the Editor on the Hidden Treasures Session

For Immediate Release:                                                       11/29/17
Contact:                                                                                 Casie N. Qualls

Kathleen Elstrott & Amy Brumfield's Letter to the Editor on the Hidden Treasures Session

Bottom L to R: Erin Fleming, Christi Marceaux, Shy Henry, Ashleigh Duroncelet, Liz Reno, Carmen Brabham, Connie Henry, Taylor Addison, Ann Stevens, Annette Baldwin, Nick Gagliano
Back row L to R: Kathleen Elstroutt, Jamie Seal, Ralph Wood, Nick Clesi, Brian Abels, Amy Brumfield

Dear Editor,

The Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2018 met on Tuesday, November 14 to discover the "Hidden Treasures" of Tangipahoa Parish. The mission of Leadership Tangipahoa is to improve the quality of life in Tangipahoa Parish by training a diverse group of current and emerging leaders about the interrelationships of community systems. The "Hidden Treasures" session was sponsored by Tangi Tourism and was a day dedicated to learning all about the wonderful things our parish has to offer to tourists and our own residents.

The class started the day at the Tangipahoa Parish Convention & Visitors Bureau on Wardline Road in Hammond with an overview of Tangi Tourism by Executive Director Carla Tate. Tangi Tourism operates from a four percent occupancy tax and their main mission is to bring people into Tangipahoa Parish. The employees of Tangi Tourism are a passionate group of individuals that love to connect visitors with local attractions and promote events from across the parish!

Next, Dr. Howard Nichols, retired professor from Southeastern Louisiana University, presented a lively lecture about the History of Tangipahoa Parish including tales of the Cate Family, Peter Hammond, and Jimmy Morrison. Tangipahoa Parish is part of the Florida Parishes which was not part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 but was part of Louisiana when it became an official state in 1812. The area was originally a vast pine forest, but people moved towards the railroad when it was built in the mid-1800's to create the cities, towns, and villages we know today. Tangipahoa Parish was created in 1869 by taking land from the four surrounding parishes, hence the parish motto - "Out of Four - One."  After the timber companies cleared the land, farming became the way of life in Tangipahoa and during its peak, 400 train loads of strawberries left Hammond every day. Strawberries are still celebrated every April at the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival.

The third treasure of the day was the Louisiana Treasures Museum & Educational Center in Ponchatoula. After the devastating August 2016 flood, the Louisiana Treasures Museum reopened its doors to continue to expose today's younger generations to the past cultures and people that existed in the Lake Ponchartrain area. Mr. Wayne Norwood started the museum after finding a bottle while diving for evidence for the Sheriff's Office. His collection has expanded to over 3000 bottles, Native American artifacts, agricultural objects, and materials from multiple military conflicts, each with their own story. In addition to the many interesting displays, the museum has a Louisiana Law Enforcement Memorial to commemorate the sacrifices of Louisiana police officials who died in the line of duty.

The fourth treasure was a drive through Downtown Ponchatoula. Ponchatoula is known as America's Antique City and the Strawberry Capital of the World. Besides great small businesses and delicious restaurants, Ponchatoula is also home to the USS Ponchatoula Memorial, the Collinswood School Museum, Ole Hardhide, and a collection of charming town events like Antique Trade Days, the Ponchatoula Art & Wine Stroll, and the Ponchatoula Christmas Lighting Ceremony.

The fifth treasure of the day was the Louisiana Renaissance Festival. The LA Renaissance Festival is one of 120 Renaissance Festivals in the country and is part festival, theme park, theatre, holiday shopping destination, and educational experience. The 20-acre festival is in its 18th season and is set in 1565 in the Queen Elizabeth Era. Starting in November of each year, the Louisiana Renaissance Festival creates the English "Village of Albright," with more than 600 artisans, entertainers and educational demonstrators. They have a very successful educational yet entertaining Student Days program with over 20,000 students from six states attending the festival during a three-day period. Alvon Brumfield, CEO and founder of the LA Renaissance Festival, took the class on a short tour of some of the unique offerings of this annual event. Many of the merchants found at the festival are artisans who make their product right before your eyes. The LA Renaissance Festival has a little bit of everything for everyone and is not to be missed!

The sixth treasure of the day was a delicious lunch prepared by Chef Marc Lyons at Covey Rise in Husser. In addition to offering a relaxing full-service hunting experience, Covey Rise grows produce that is sold to 120 restaurants from Houston, TX to New Orleans, LA to Santa Rosa, FL. Their niche market is that instead of chefs placing food orders, the chefs literally shop on the produce truck and create their menus around the fresh produce available. In the summer, Covey Rise offers a program to teach young children about hunting and camping. Visiting Covey Rise is not limited to hunting as they offer corporate retreats and luxury vacations as well.


The seventh treasure of the day was The Rise Escape Rooms in Tickfaw. While you may have heard of The Rise Haunted House as one of the best haunted houses in the country, right next door is a non-scary alternative adventure. The Rise Escape Rooms offer an hour of fun, challenging and unique entertainment sure to result in an unforgettable time. There are currently three scenarios in which to escape (The Bookie, Hijacked and Spellbound) with two more rooms coming soon. The versatile experience is perfect for parties, date nights and corporate events.

The eighth treasure of the day was Gnarly Barley Brewing Company in Hammond. Founded in 2014 by Zac and Cari Caramonta, Gnarly Barley has experienced tremendous growth from a home brewing hobby to a very successful brewery in a few short years. Located in a 10,500 square foot facility, they have room to create amazing blends to please the taste buds and support the local community, especially the Southeastern Lions. With Gnarly Barley leading the way, Tangipahoa now boasts its own Brew Tour with three other micro-breweries - Low Road Brewing in Hammond, Louisiana Purchase Brewing Company in Ponchatoula, and Chappapeela Farms Brewery in Amite.

The final treasure of the day is knowing that all of these hidden treasures and so many more are right here in Tangipahoa Parish! Some other treasures the class didn't have time to visit include, but are not limited to, the African American Heritage Museum, Camp Moore Confederate Museum and Cemetery, Global Wildlife, Liuzza Land, Louisiana Children's Discovery Museum, Middendorf's, Kliebert's Alligator Farm, and the Tangi Quilt Trail. Tangipahoa Parish also has five Annual Festivals - the Amite Oyster Days, The Independence Sicilian Heritage Festival, The Italian Festival, the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, and the Tangipahoa Parish Fair. Additionally, Tangipahoa Parish has the largest concentration of campgrounds in the state - seven of them ranging from rustic to resort-like.

So, plan your trip to Tangipahoa Parish or if you are a resident, explore all the great things in your backyard! There are more hidden treasures in Tangipahoa than anyone can experience in a single day!

One more "thank you" to Tangi Tourism for sponsoring this day for the Leadership Tangipahoa Class and to the Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce and the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce for their student sponsorships this year. The class has learned so many wonderful things and this wouldn't be possible without their support.

Kathleen Elstrott & Amy Brumfield
Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2017-2018

Kathleen Elstrott, DVM
Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce/
Ponchatoula Animal Hospital

After earning her Bachelor of Science and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from LSU and serving in the US Army Veterinary Corps, Dr. Kathleen Elstrott returned to her beloved hometown as an associate veterinarian at Ponchatoula Animal Hospital.  Dr. Elstrott enjoys fostering kittens, planning her wedding, and volunteering for her community with the Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce, the Ponchatoula Rotary Club, and the Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival Board. She is proud to be in the 2017 Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association Power of 10 Class and the Leadership Tangipahoa Class of 2018. 

Amy Brumfield
Administrative Support Specialist
Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce

Amy, Administrative Support Specialist, is a graduate of Hammond High School and Southeastern Louisiana University. She lives in Hammond with her husband and three children. Amy is very passionate about the vitality of the Hammond community - from education to recreation. She has worked for local businesses, state agencies, private corporations and non-profits. She is proud to bring her knowledge and skills to the Greater Hammond Chamber of Commerce. 

We are proud to have Amy represent the Greater Hammond Chamber as a member of the 2017 Leadership Tangipahoa Class.