On Saturday, Morehouse's neighbors in West Carroll Parish are set to celebrate the inscription of Poverty Point as a World Heritage Site on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's World Heritage List.
During the ceremony, which is slated to start at 10 a.m. at Poverty Point, remarks will be made by U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu and unspecified dignitaries from the U.S. Department of State and the Interior, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site plaque will be unveiled. According to a provided release, after the ceremony, a community event featuring living history demonstrations and free food will start at 11 a.m.
"This is a huge win for Louisiana. I don't think people realize how impactful this will be to northeast Louisiana's economy," Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne said. "The World Heritage designation solidifies Poverty Point as one of the world's greatest archaeological treasures, and we are excited to welcome new and returning visitors to the site Oct. 11."
According to the United Nations, to be included on the World Heritage List, heritage sites must be of "outstanding universal value" and meet one of 10 criteria established by UNESCO.
In a release from the Lt. Governor's office, the site was described as "one of the most culturally significant Native American sites in the U.S. Programs, and tours are offered daily and show visitors how life might have been for the prehistoric inhabitants of the area."
While Poverty Point is located in West Carroll, it's inscription as a world heritage site could have ripple effects on the entire economy of northeast Louisiana, as Dardenne noted.
In a United Nation's manual on managing tourism at these locations, the organization stated that a site's inscription on this list often coincides with a boost in visitation rates.
Any visitor with an interest in Native American culture or natural wonders could find more of the same in Morehouse.
In an October 2009 article for the Enterprise, reporter Wes Helbling wrote about the history of Morehouse Parish's ancient peoples and the symbols of their lives that remain to the present day.
"Morehouse Parish may have been home to as many as 16 mound sites, although only three sites are still in existence," Helbling wrote. "Two of these mounds are part of the Ancient Mounds Heritage Area and Trails Initiative...Caney Bayou Mound on Knox Ferry Road is believed to date back 4,000 years or more, to about 3000 B.C. during the Archaic Period."
Helbling also highlighted the Venable Mound on the Old Bonita Road, which he identified as the last surviving mound from a three-mound complex once known as McTheney Mounds.
According to the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, Poverty Point is the 22nd World Heritage Site in the United States. Heritage sites worldwide include the Great Wall of China, Stonehenge in England and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. Dardenne's office states that Poverty Point was the U.S. Department of the Interior's lone nomination for world heritage status-adding to the site's accolades as a National Historic Landmark, National Monument and Smithsonian Affiliate.
Poverty Point State Historic Site is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $4 and provides access to the area museum, video and seasonal tram tour. Children under 12 and senior citizens are admitted free. Poverty Point is located on La. 577 near Epps in West Carroll Parish.