Hammond, Louisiana

Hammond, Louisiana
City of Hammond
The Hammond Oak, located in the 500 block of East Charles Street. The grave of founder Peter av Hammerdal (Peter Hammond) is under this tree.
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Tangipahoa
Elevation 43 ft (13.1 m)
Coordinates 30°30′16″N 90°27′56″W / 30.50444°N 90.46556°W / 30.50444; -90.46556
Area 12.8 sq mi (33.2 km2)
 - land 12.8 sq mi (33 km2)
 - water 0.0 sq mi (0 km2), 0%
Population 20,049 (2009)
Density 1,383.4 / sq mi (534.1 / km2)
Settled 1818
Mayor Mayson Foster
Timezone CST (UTC−6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP code 70401, 70403
Area code 985
Location of Hammond in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States
Website: http://www.hammond.org

Hammond is the largest city in Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 20,049 at the 2009 census. It is home to Southeastern Louisiana University. The city was the home base for production of the first season of the NBC television series In the Heat of the Night.

Hammond is the principal city of the Hammond Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Tangipahoa Parish.



The city is named for Peter Hammond (1797–1870)—possibly anglicized from Peter av Hammerdal (Peter of Hammerdal)—a Swedish immigrant who first settled the area around 1818. Peter, a sailor, had been briefly imprisoned by the British at Dartmoor Prison during the Napoleonic Wars; he broke jail, made his way back to the sea, and later left his ship in New Orleans, where he used his savings to buy then-inexpensive land northwest of Lake Pontchartrain. There he started a plantation to grow trees, which he made into masts, charcoal, and other products for the maritime industry in New Orleans. He transported the goods first to the head of navigation on the Natalbany River at Springfield, Louisiana.

In 1854, the New Orleans, Jackson & Great Northern Railroad (later the Illinois Central Railroad, now Canadian National Railway) came through the area, launching the city's emergence as a commercial and transport center. The point where the railroad met Peter's trail to Springfield was at first known as Hammond's Crossing. Peter Hammond is buried on the east side of town under the Hammond Oak along with his wife, three daughters, and a favorite slave boy (see inset showing the spreading oak at gravesite).

During the American Civil War, the city was a shoemaking center for the Confederacy. It later became a major shipping point for strawberries, earning it the title of "the Strawberry Capital of America".[1]

Today, Hammond is intersected by Interstates 12 and 55. Its airport has a long runway which serves as a backup landing site for Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and serves as a major training site for the Louisiana Army National Guard. Approximately 15 miles (24 km) south of Hammond, on both the railroad and Interstate 10, lies Port Manchac, which provides egress via Lake Ponchartrain with the Gulf of Mexico. The combination of highway-rail-air-sea transportation has transformed modern Hammond from a strawberry capitol to a transportation capital. The city hosts numerous warehouses and is a distribution point for Walmart and other businesses, and Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond offers the state's only academic degree in supply chain management.

Downtown Hammond railroad crossing

The 19th-century shoemaking industry was the work of Charles Emery Cate, who bought land in the city in 1860 for a home, a shoe factory, tannery and sawmill. Toward the end of the war, Cate laid out the city grid, using the rail line as a guide and naming several of the streets after his sons.

After the American Civil War, light industry and commercial activities were attracted to the town. By the end of the century, the town had become a stopping point for northerners traveling south and for New Orleanians heading north to escape summer yellow fever outbreaks.

Intersection of LA 1065 (North Cherry Street) and US 190 (East Thomas Street) in Hammond's Historic District. The building in the background is Dantone's Grocery, founded in 1912 by Italian immigrants.

In the 1920s, David William Thomas edited a weekly newspaper in Hammond prior to moving to Minden, the seat of Webster Parish. There, he was elected mayor in 1936.

In 1932 Hodding Carter founded the now-defunct Hammond Daily Courier, which he left in 1939 to move to Greenville, Mississippi, where he later received a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Civil Rights Movement.[2]

During World War II, the Hammond Airport (now Hammond Northshore Regional Airport) served as a detention camp for prisoners of war from Nazi Germany. Additionally, the U.S. Army established and used the 15,216-acre (61.58 km2) Hammond Bombing and Gunnery Range east of the city.[3]

In 1953, John Desmond opened the first architectural firm in Hammond. He was chief architect of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board for some two decades before he relocated to Baton Rouge.[4]

Lucius McGehee Hall on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond is a sturdy example of Depression Gothic architecture. It is on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1980, police arrest a man for painting a picture of Mickey Mouse flipping the bird and saying "Hey Iran"

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans attorney, political activist, and state government watchdog C.B. Forgotston relocated to Hammond in 2006. Lawson Swearingen, a former Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate and a former president of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, resides in Hammond, where he is a professor of management at Southeastern Louisiana University.

Hammond's proximity to New Orleans and Baton Rouge - less than an hour from each - has begun to stimulate growth. Tangipahoa Parish is becoming one of the newest suburbs to both cities. Hammond and Tangipahoa Parish are now among the fastest-growing cities and parishes in Louisiana. There is an abundance of new development, both commercial and residential, as well as numerous hotels which absorb overflowing demand for rooms near major events in New Orleans.

Among the city's cultural attractions is the Tangipahoa African American Heritage Museum & Black Veteran Archives. This is one of the destinations on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.

Southeastern's Columbia Theatre, constructed in 1928 and renovated in the 1990s for $5.6 million, is a significant cultural venue in Hammond's Historic District.


Hammond is located at 30°30′16″N 90°27′56″W / 30.50444°N 90.46556°W / 30.50444; -90.46556 (30.504446, -90.465616)[5] and has an elevation of 43 feet (13.1 m)[6].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.8 square miles (33 km2), of which, 12.8 square miles (33 km2) of it is land and 0.08% is water.


Mayson Foster
Mayor of Hammond
Preceded by Louis Tallo
Personal details
Born 1946
Hammond, Louisiana, USA
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Constance Beatty Foster
Alma mater Southeastern Louisiana University, B.S. in accounting,
Profession Banker

As of the census[7] of 2009, there were 20,037 people, 6,251 households, and 3,706 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,383.4 people per square mile (534.2/km²). There were 7,014 housing units at an average density of 550.1 per square mile (212.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 52.43% White, 45.20% African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 0.91% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.57% of the population.

There were 6,251 households out of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.9% were married couples living together, 20.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.19.

In the city, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 23.1% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years, which is 7 years younger than the state-wide median age of 34.0 years. For every 100 females, there were 83.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $24,067, and the median income for a family was $31,617. Males had a median income of $30,625 versus $18,533 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,145. About 24.9% of families and 32.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.7% of those under age 18 and 19.0% of those age 65 or over.


Ponchatoula Creek, the stream along which Peter Hammond settled, has figured prominently in development of Hammond, Louisiana. Here this footbridge crosses a tributary between Southeastern's University Center and spacious North Park.

Southeastern Louisiana University is a large regional university based in Hammond and is one of the city's largest employers. It was established in 1925 through the efforts of the educator Linus A. Sims, then the principal of Hammond High School. The city's public schools are part of the Tangipahoa Parish School System and include Hammond High School, Hammond Junior High, Eastside Elementary, Westside Elementary, Southeastern Louisiana University Laboratory School, and Crystal Academy (alternative school).

The Catholic Church operates two schools in Hammond: Saint Thomas Aquinas High School, which is just north of the city, and Holy Ghost Catholic School (pre-kindergarten through 8th grades). In addition, Trafton Academy (pre-K through 8th) is a private school serving area students.



Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, is a common sight in Hammond. The old station is still in use and is located right in the middle of downtown.


Part of Hammond's success is due to its location at the junction of two heavily travelled interstate highways:

Hammond is 40 miles (64 km) from Baton Rouge, 46 miles (74 km) from New Orleans, 89 miles (143 km) from Gulfport, Mississippi, and 110 miles (180 km) from Jackson, Mississippi.

Two U.S. Highways serve the city:

  • US 51.svg U.S. Highway 51 (Morrison Boulevard) splits from I-55 between Hammond and Ponchatoula and parallels I-55 northward through the city's western side. U.S. 51 Business, which follows the original route of U.S. 51, leaves the parent 51 south of Ponchatoula and rejoins it after meeting US 190 in downtown Hammond and forming a concurrency with 190 until it meets US 51.
  • US 190.svg U.S. Highway 190 (Thomas Street / Morris Avenue) parallels I-12 and goes east-west through the city's commercial and historic downtown areas.

State highways serving the area include:

  • Louisiana 443.svg LA 443 (Morris Road)
  • Louisiana 1040.svg LA 1040 (Chauvin Drive and Old Baton Rouge Highway)
  • Louisiana 1064.svg LA 1064 (Natalbany Road, River Road)
  • Louisiana 1065.svg LA 1065 (North Cherry Street)
  • Louisiana 1067.svg LA 1067 (Old Covington Highway)
  • Louisiana 3158.svg LA 3158 (Airport Road)
  • Louisiana 3234.svg LA 3234 (University Avenue, continuation of Wardline Road, serving Southeastern Louisiana University)
  • Louisiana 3260.svg LA 3260 (West Church Street Extension)
  • Louisiana 1249.svg LA 1249 (Pumpkin Center Road)


Hammond is overlapped by most of the mass media in Baton Rouge and New Orleans and has the following mass media of its own:


External links

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