Vernon Parish, Louisiana is a beautiful town filled with history and culture, beginning with being part of the “No Man’s Land” area, a strip of disputed territory where the border of Mexico once was. Many lives were fought for, lost, and won on the soil of Vernon Parish, adding to the celebrated rich history.
See the Myths and Legends Byway
Known as Louisiana’s Wild West, Vernon parish was once home to the Coushatta and Atakapa Indians and to outlaws and gun-slingers with names like Leather Britches Smith. The Myths and Legends Byway is a section of the Louisiana Trails and Byways and follows different travelers’ journeys. To find out what life was like as a traveler on the frontier, begin at Burr Ferry and follow the scenic backroads through Vernon and neighboring parishes.
Tour the Leesville Main Street Cultural District in Vernon Parish
One of six in Louisiana’s nationally accredited main streets, Leesville is brimming with history. Visitors can walk at their own pace throughout the well-preserved historical buildings, like the Wingate and Ferguson Houses on display. You can find local goods every Thursday and Saturday at the 3rd Market Street or head to Gallery One Eleven, a co-op of contemporary and traditional local artists that showcase west Louisiana culture.
Have fun at MayFest
This annual festival takes place the first full weekend of May and brings in food vendors, face painters, craftsmen, and artisans from Louisiana and Texas. You can find hand-blown glass, pottery, homemade candles, and many other types of crafts and trinkets. They also showcase local musicians and well-known Louisiana artists like Tab Benoit and the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”, Irma Thomas. Check out this guide to MayFest for more information.
Hike in the Kisatchie National Forest, Vernon Parish
Taking up a portion of Vernon Parish, Kisatchie National Forest actually stretches out through most of central and west Louisiana. Here you can find endangered bird species and natural areas that showoff Louisiana’s backcountry. Make sure to check out Little Cypress Recreation Area if you’re into horseback riding, off-road biking, or boating.
Dine in at the Vernon Parish Restaurants
Get your fill of quality Louisiana-style southern food like gumbo and jambalaya, along with other homestyle dinners. Check out restaurants like The Mustard Seed, BJ’s Diner, BubbaQue’s BBQ, and Wagon Master Steakhouse.
Wander the Talbert-Pierson Cemetery
Cemeteries are no stranger to Louisiana, inspiring many myths and scary stories of Louisiana’s eclectic culture and the Talbert-Pierson Cemetery is no exception. It’s filled with 13 grave houses with tombs as it’s occupants that date back decades.
Learn the history at the Museum of West Louisiana.
The Museum of West Louisiana is filled with artifacts that capture the region’s history, housing everything from railroad memorabilia to Native American artifacts made from stone and clay. This museum also features a series of paintings made by World War II German Prisoners of War during their time at Fort Polk.
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