Spanish Moss

Continuing our journey through place name origins, we travel to the southern end of the parish to the "Strawberry Capital.” The town of Ponchatoula takes its name from the creek that runs nearby, as many other towns take theirs from their nearby waterways.

Perhaps because of the large area of swamp limiting settlers, the Choctaw presence at this end of our parish seems to have lasted longer than elsewhere. In the early 20th century, a resident of the town relayed a tale of the origin of its name supposedly told to him by a “half-breed” raised by the Choctaw. He claimed they called the creek by its name in reference to the Spanish moss hanging from the trees surrounding it. Anyone who visits Ponchatoula can easily observe the abundance of Spanish moss hanging from the grand old oaks and towering cypress both in the town and the surrounding area.

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