A visit to these Southwest Louisiana parishes is an early 20th century history lesson. These parishes were part of the disputed “Neutral Ground – No Man’s Land” between what was in 1807 the United States and the Texas territory claimed by Spain. It was then as it is today primarily rural, agricultural, timbered, and sparsely settled. So invite a group of your friends and enjoy the adventure in a mini bus from Riverside Limousines.
Beauregard was used for army training maneuvers prior to the US entry to WWII. To support the troops, citizens in the DeRidder area supported one of the first USO facilities where soldiers could go to for recreation. Today the USO hall is a memorial to men from the area who gave their lives in the war. In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s the timber in area was thoroughly “clear cut” – so much that it resembled a defoliated battleground. Lumber mill towns were set up and once they ran their course became only memories. A particular pattern of wood found it these old forests, ”curly heart pine” has been used to decorate homes in the area. During the Depression, CCC and WPA projects – schools, the airport and murals in the Courthouse and Old Post Office were authorized. The Beauregard Parish Museum, in the old railroad depot built in 1927 houses the area’s history.
The Beauregard Parish Jail was built in 1914. Called the Gothic or Hanging Jail, it is unique in design and notorious for hangings were held in the building’s spiral staircase. If it is open for tours it’s a must see. (Picture from KPLCtv.com) The largest town in this parish, DeRidder – is Dutch for The Knight. The town was named for the sister-in-law of a Dutch railroad financier. The parish was established January 1, 1913. While visiting sites we’ll stop by Two Sister’s Pecan House Restaurant for an unhurried lunch. Highly rated on TripAdvisor for great food this business features regional favorites like gumbo and their special cornbread. After exploring DeRidder we’ll drive to Allen Acres Bed and Breakfast to spend the night. The Allen’s have spent years developing the 26 acre wooded paradise. It is listed as a Louisiana State Natural Area. Gardens grown to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, walking trails and spectacular trees adorn the property. You can even walk to the Ouiska Chitto Creek.
After breakfast the following morning we’ll head for Oakdale to the Leatherwood Museum the home of the Allen Parish Welcome Center. This two story home served as a boarding house, hospital, home and now a museum with exhibits on medicine, Mardi Gras and .
From Oakdale it’s a short drive to Mittee and the Ouiska (Whiskey) Chitto Creek. This waterway is designated as a “Scenic River.” Itis spring fed, clear, cool water and highly regarded. The canoe trip will take about 5 hours. Along the way we can rest on white sand beaches, fish and cool off in the water. Once we take out and shower we’ll load up for the trip home. As always there are numerous sites to see in every Louisiana parish. RLS will be happy to work with you to customize your tour and make it a personal experience. Remember, “we drive … you have fun.” P.S. If you want to enjoy a Christmas Festival schedule your staycation for after Thanksgiving and visit the community of Elizabeth for the Official State designated “Christmas in the Country.” On the first Saturday of December the town has it’s annual Christmas parade which is preceded by a week of events and a 15 mile trail ride. There is primitive camping, concerts, as well as a 5K and fun run.