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LSU mounds, oldest-known man-made structure in the Americas, is even older than previously thought

The LSU Campus Mounds pictured here are the oldest known, man-made structures in the Americas.
Courtesy of LSU
The LSU Campus Mounds pictured here are the oldest known, man-made structures in the Americas.

On today’s episode of Louisiana Considered, we learn about Blight Month in Baton Rouge and hear how rising mental health concerns can be addressed both by the legal system and the community. Plus, we get more insight into the history and purpose of the oldest-known man-made structure in the Americas, the LSU mounds. This episode originally aired on Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. To hear the full episode, click the “play” button above.

Two mounds in the ground stand out from the surrounding landscape on LSU’s campus in Baton Rouge. It’s long been known that these mounds were built long ago by Indigenous people, but new research reveals just how old these structures are and why they were built.

Brooks Ellwood is a professor emeritus with LSU’s department of Geology and Geophysics. He joins us for more on the mounds, which he said are the oldest man-made structure in the Americas.

But first, we have a discussion with East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome, who has declared September as Blight Month in Baton Rouge as her office begins cracking down on blighted properties in the city. This past May, she appointed Marlee Pittman to be the city’s first director of community revitalization. Pittman, who is also the former director of community development with the Mid City Redevelopment Alliance, joins us for more on what Blight Month entails.

Also on Louisiana Considered, we learn that The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, has seen a dramatic increase of mental health care needs over the last few years. While this is largely due to the pandemic uncertainties, in Louisiana, mental health concerns were also exacerbated by Hurricane Ida.

The interim director of NAMI New Orleans, and retired Chief Judge of the Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, Calvin Johnson, tells us more about rising mental health concerns and what we can do to address them, both in the legal system and in the community.

Today’s episode of Louisiana Considered was hosted by Adam Vos. Our managing producer is Alana Schreiber and our digital editor is Katelyn Umholtz. Our engineers are Garrett Pittman, Aubry Procell, and Thomas Walsh. 

You can listen to Louisiana Considered Monday through Friday at 12:00 and 7:30 pm. It’s available on Spotify, Google Play, and wherever you get your podcasts. 

Louisiana Considered wants to hear from you! Please fill out our pitch line to let us know what kinds of story ideas you have for our show. And while you’re at it, fill out our listener survey! We want to keep bringing you the kinds of conversations you’d like to listen to.

Louisiana Considered is made possible with support from our listeners. Thank you!

Adam is responsible for coordinating WRKF's programming and making sure everything you hear on the radio runs smoothly. He is Newscast Editor for the WRKF/WWNO Newsroom. Adam is also the Baton Rouge-based host for Louisiana Considered, our daily regional news program, and is frequently the local voice afternoons on All Things Considered.
Alana Schreiber is the managing producer for the live daily news program, Louisiana Considered. She comes to WRKF from KUNC in Northern Colorado, where she worked as a radio producer for the daily news magazine, Colorado Edition. She has previously interned for Minnesota Public Radio in St. Paul and The Documentary Group in New York City.