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Kathy Barrett, Desiree Wardsworth

by Connor Raborn reporter@hammondstar.com

Kathy Barrett and Desiree Wardsworth, friends from Ponchatoula, chatted in the shade at Hammond Square after lunch Monday.

The duo had the day off and decided to spend the afternoon together eating a Mediterranean lunch, conversing and maybe shopping. They've been friends for about five years, but in that time, they've become as close as family, they said.

Their favorite things about living in Tangipahoa Parish include the combination of things to do with what they called the "relaxed" atmosphere.

"It's not overly crowded. It's a slower-paced lifestyle," Barrett said.

"But you do have access to the things that you'd like to do, like the shops downtown and the restaurants," Wardsworth said.

Barrett lived in New Orleans and Florida before moving to Ponchatoula, and Wardsworth has lived in New York, Florida, and Ohio. Wardsworth was clear on what makes Tangipahoa Parish unique for her.

"It feels like home, and everywhere you go, people are very friendly," she said.

As the two have started making their respective summer plans, getting to a beach as soon as possible is topping the list of priorities for Wardsworth. Barrett is thinking of something potentially cooler in temperature, like camping, in consideration for her husband.

"I know my husband. He is not going to a beach in June or July," Barrett said with a laugh.

"I'll chance it," Wardsworth said.