Doug Mouton / Northshore Bureau Chief

PONCHATOULA, La. -- November brought a huge spike in building permits to Tangipahoa Parish for new home construction, and parish leaders hope the trend will continue.

'We're excited to have it,' said Andy Currier of the Tangipahoa Parish Permit Office. 'We know it's going to help our economy for the next year as these houses are being built, but as of right now, I would not dare to make an assumption of what the reasoning is behind the blip.'

That blip has brought nearly double the normal number of building permits to Tangipahoa Parish.

'Building permits in the last two years are at probably, maybe 60 percent or 70 percent of where we were pre-Katrina,' Currier said.

That's far better than most of Louisiana or the nation. According to Currier, the vast majority of the new permits are in the southern half of the parish in subdivisions like Blythwood Estates near Ponchatoula.

'In five months, I've seen about 30 houses, just in this subdivision,' said Blythwood homeowner Derrick Hess of the construction he's seen since moving into Blythwood.

Hess said he simply got more for his money in Blythwood than anywhere else on the Northshore.

Slabs have already been poured on many of the lots where permits where just issued.

'When you're doubling your expectation on your building permits,' said Tangipahoa Parish President Gordon Burgess, 'eventually those jobs are going to be created.'

Tangipahoa has been one of Louisiana's fastest growing parishes for the past decade, and parish leaders are hoping the rise in the number of permits will continue into the new year.

Normally, Tangipahoa leaders say, the number of new home construction permits is down in November, but not this year.

Parish leaders were hesitant to guess what's behind the sudden spike, but they say, they certainly hope it continues.

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