WASHINGTON, June 23 -- The office of Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., issued the following news release:
The World Heritage Committee today voted to make Poverty Point a World Heritage Site after years of work by U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne and local officials. Poverty Point is now the 22nd World Heritage site in the United States, joining the ranks of sites like the Statue of Liberty and the Grand Canyon.
Sen. Landrieu secured the attendance of a high-level U.S. official, the Department of the Interior's Acting Assistant Secretary Rachel Jacobson, to advocate for the site at the World Heritage Annual Convention that met in Doha, Qatar, during the last week. Jacobson led the federal delegation along with two Louisiana officials. Just last week, Sen. Landrieu restored funding for the United States to pay its dues to the World Heritage Program so that the 21-voting member countries voted on the site's merits and not on the failure of the United States to pay its dues to the program.
"Poverty Point is an historic gem that deserves World Heritage site recognition, and today the World Heritage Committee agreed. With this designation, we will be able to preserve the site for generations, attract more tourists from across the world and create more jobs for Northeast Louisiana," Sen. Landrieu said. "Poverty Point's new-found and well-deserved status has truly been a team effort. Today's success would not have been possible without the work of Lt. Gov. Dardenne and his staff, State Senator Francis Thompson, and the staff and high ranking officials of the Departments of State and Interior who have spent countless hours on this nomination and who personally advocated for this recognition. I appreciate that the World Heritage Committee gave Poverty Point this recognition today and confirmed what we in Louisiana have known for many years."
Poverty Point dates back more than 3,000 years, when a vast trading network stretched for hundreds of miles across the continent. The site is a large architectural complex consisting of three or four earthen mounds, one of which is the second largest earthen structure in North America; a series of six large earthen ridges, which are believed to have been living areas; and a large flat plaza. It is considered an engineering marvel that took five million hours of labor to build.
Last year, Sen. Landrieu successfully added a provision in support of Poverty Point to FY 2014's Appropriations bill, but it was stripped by House Republican leaders. For years, Sen. Landrieu has supported Poverty Point and worked with local leaders to secure World Heritage site status.