Louisiana spring festival to feature Poverty Point

A northeast Louisiana chamber of commerce says that starting next year, its spring festival will celebrate the Poverty Point World Heritage Site instead of sweet potatoes

OAK GROVE, La. -- A spring festival in northeast Louisiana festival will celebrate will celebrate the Poverty Point World Heritage Site instead of sweet potatoes.

The prehistoric complex of Indian mounds known as Poverty Point in West Carroll Parish was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 2014. It was named after a nearby 19th century plantation but was created and used between 3,700 and 3,100 years ago and is about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of Oak Grove, where the festival is held.

"Since becoming designated as a World Heritage Site in 2014 it has seen a sizeable increase in visitors from all over the world. We look forward to celebrating the culture that was begun at this site and its contributions to our state and nation as a whole," West Carroll Chamber of Commerce president Rebecca Kovac Elliott said in a news release.

The rebranded Poverty Point World Heritage Festival has tentative dates next year of March 26-29. The Lamb Weston North Louisiana Sweet Potato Festival will move to the first weekend in October, during harvest season.

"This is something that I have been lobbying for, for many years. There are very few places that have the honor of claiming a world heritage site as their own," Oak Grove Mayor Adam Holland said.

The chamber said it will keep the festival midway and other familiar attractions but might add cooking demonstrations from Poverty Point and get local Native American tribes involved.

"We are still in the very early planning stages of how we want this event to evolve, and are looking for input and volunteers to make this largest and best festival in the region," Holland said.

The spring festival is associated with the Spring Bluegrass Festival at the Lingo Community Center, and the October sweet potato festival will be held in conjunction with the Fall Bluegrass festival.