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Poverty Point National Monument - Epps, Louisiana
by Tommy Ford

Three thousand years ago the natives of Northeastern Louisiana labored at an epic project who’s exact purpose remains unknown. Here, on the flood plain of the Mississippi River these ancient people constructed a system of mounds and ridges which cover approximately 400 acres.

Six rows of ridges, each originally about five feet in height, form a half circle, or pentagon. Some archeologists think that the ridges were bases for houses, but as no clear evidence of structures exist this theory is uncertain. The outer diameter of the ridges is almost mile.

Near the ridges is a 70 foot high bird shaped mound.

If you have even the slightest interest in prehistoric North American cultures, a stop by Poverty Point, located a short distance off of I-20 between Vicksburg, MS and Monroe, LA, will be well worth your time.

The site, administered by the State of Louisiana, has an excellent museum which displays artifacts unearthed on the grounds. There is also an observation tower.

During the summer months guides lead informative tram tours through the site, concluding with a short hike up the "bird" mound.

Summers in the delta are hot and insects can be a problem, so come prepared. Fall brings changing leaves and in spring the bird mound is cloaked in dogwoods, but remember, if you visit in the cooler seasons you’ll miss the tram tours which I highly recommend.

An air of mystery hangs over the place. Why did these ancient people labor on such a massive project? What were they thinking? How did they live and how did they die? Perhaps there are no answers but, there are clues hidden in the earth at Poverty Point.

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