Three thousand years ago if you stood on the Mandeville lakefront and looked southward, you would be looking at the Gulf of Mexico. The silt and the sediment that flows down the Mississippi River would not yet have deposited the big mud shelf that New Orleans would later be located upon.
About two thousand years ago, the Native Americans inhabiting St. Tammany Parish were to be called the "Tchefuncte Culture." Most everything we know about the Tchefuncte Culture comes from pieces of pottery, arrowheads and other artifacts dug up at the "Tchefuncte Site."
The archaeological dig was called the Tchefuncte Site because it was located in Chefuncte State Park, which was the original name of Fontainebleau State Park.
The word "Tchefuncte" was spelled a number of different ways over the years, and it's primarily known as the name of the river that passes by Madisonville. It is an Indian word, of course, and some scholars think it mimicks the sound of a rock thrown into water:
cha - funk - ta.
This map shows the Tchefuncte River flowing past Madisonville, the oldest permanent settlement in St. Tammanny parish and one of the oldest communities in the entire state of Louisiana.
Madisonville is believed to be the beginning of the "northbound" fork of the Natchez Trace trade route system.
The Choctaw Indians were known for the excellent baskets they made as well as the variety of ways those baskets were put to use.
The Acolapissa Tribe was the local Native Americans in St. Tammany Parish.
The best known Choctaw village was Abita Springs.
Abita Springs became so well known for its healing waters, that a two-story pavilion was built over the springs, and several large hotels were constructed in the area to handle the influx of hundreds of summertime and weekend visitors.
Flags That Have Flown Over St. Tammany
I presented this historical slide show to the Northshore Chapter of the Louisiana Professional Women's Association at Tchefuncte Country Club today.
Here is a picture of some members attending the event.