Ponchatoula, Louisiana

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Ponchatoula is a city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 5,180 at the 2000 census. Ponchatoula calls itself the "Strawberry Capital of the World". It is part of the Hammond Micropolitan Statistical Area. The current mayor is Bob Zabbia.



Ponchatoula is located at 30°26′21″N 90°26′33″W / 30.43917°N 90.4425°W / 30.43917; -90.4425 (30.439162, -90.442507)[1] and has an elevation of 26 feet (7.9 m)[2]. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.2 square miles (10.9 km²), all land.

Ponchatoula is located along Interstate 55 and Highway 22, equidistant from New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In the early 1900s, Ponchatoula was one of only two ways to get to New Orleans by land, giving it the title of "Gateway to New Orleans."


Ponchatoula was established as a logging camp in 1820, and incorporated as a town on February 12, 1861. William Akers was the city's first mayor, and is credited with founding the town, establishing it on land he purchased from the federal government in 1832.[3]

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". The Indian name Ponchatoula means "flowing hair", arrived at by the Indians as a way of expressing the beauty of the location with much moss hanging from the trees. "Ponche" is an Indian word meaning location, an object, or a person.[4] The name is eponymous with the Ponchatoula Creek, which flows from points north of the city and into the Natalbany River southwest of the city. See Ponchatoula Creek, USS Ponchatoula (AOG 38), and USS Ponchatoula (AO 148).

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