Lion Up in Hammond

LOCATED ON THE crossroads of I-12 and I-55, Hammond, Louisiana offers up numerous cultural, educational and recreational opportunities for residents on the Northshore. Downtown Hammond is bustling with numerous restaurants, shops and taverns that are located within short distances of each other, which allow for one-stop visits filled with fun and relaxation. Cate Square Park, located in the heart of downtown, is a perfect spot to bring young children for outdoor activities such as Frisbee throwing, swinging and enjoying the sunshine.

A block over on West Thomas Street you can enjoy lunch at a variety of establishments. Whether you are in the mood for a pizza from Tommy’s, a po-boy from Lee’s (retro) Diner, a stuffed beignet from the Berry Patch Café or the  many other local food options available, downtown Hammond is sure to fill you with culinary delights. Within walking distance are a few shops that are sure to please you with retail therapy while allowing you to walk off lunch. Bayou Baby offers affordable books, gifts and fun clothing for the children in your life while Obsession Boutique and Bra La Vie will fulfill the sophisticated side of your shopping desires. For a more adult trip, be sure to stop into The Crescent Bar. Established in 1936, The Crescent is the perfect place to root for your favorite college football team while enjoying a cold beverage in the company of your friends.

Located at 220 East Thomas Street is the historic Columbia Theater for Performing Arts which is operated by Southeastern Louisiana University (SLU). This beautiful theater built circa 1928, was renovated and reopened in 2002 and presents a collection of cultural concerts, dances and theatrical events year round. One particular concert series they present is The New Artist Concert Series where one can experience new music from up-and-coming artists. You can look forward to feel-good, hard-soul band Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds this October.

One short block from the theater, you will stumble across the Louisiana Children’s Discovery Center. The center is the premier children’s center on the Northshore and is a brilliant place to bring your pre-teenage children to explore and learn through a hands-on approach. Their playology theory proves that learning can be fun.

During the week, a visit to the Hammond Regional Arts Center (HRAC) will introduce you to interesting and unique art from local artists. The center proudly promotes and coordinates visual, performing and literary arts from the surrounding parishes.
Exhibits are set up monthly in the gallery, allowing different art to be presented throughout the year. HRAC also offers art camps for adults and children who would like to become more proficient in their artistic abilities. Numerous classes are available at select times of the year.

A walk five blocks to the north of Cate Square Park will land you on the oak filled campus of SLU where on Saturday afternoons in the fall you could “Lion Up” with its diverse student body and supporters of the football team. The Lions have been Southland Conference Champions two years now and are looking to continue their success on the gridiron, giving supporters an enjoyable ending to a fun-filled day tailgating around Friendship Circle. On the educational side of Southeastern, it has been recently listed among the top regional universities in the South where students graduate with the least debt making it not only a great university to attend but an affordable one at that.

While Hammond’s heart and soul are in the downtowan area, fun can be had in the outer regions, too. A trip to Kliebert’s Turtle and Alligator Farm, home of the original swamp people, is always entertaining for the young and old alike. You can walk through the swamp on a guided tour and behold the sight of their legendary Crush, a 15-foot 1,200 pound alligator and 300 other gators that are in their natural Louisiana habitat.

Berry Town Produce is a must stop for foodies who love farm fresh produce. The store carries a large selection of homegrown produce delivered daily from local farms. The Berry Town family has one of the largest vegetable farms in the South, providing strawberries and vegetables to the markets year round.

If you have a son or daughter who is active in the various recreational sports that the Northshore has to offer than chances are you have spent some time at Chappapeela Sports Complex. Located right off of Airport Road, this complex offers indoor and outdoor facilities along with three play areas, including a splash pad. Chappapeela allows sports enthusiasts to enjoy many different activities in an exceptional family environment.

Whether you live here or are just planning a fun filled afternoon with the children or a night out on the town, Hammond offers abundant opportunities to entertain your cultural, educational and recreational wishes, so come on and ‘Lion Up’ and see what Hammond, Louisiana is all about.

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Photo by Nick Salvetti

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Photo by Jerry Cottrell


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