Fort Polk: the Heart of Vernon Parish

When we say that Fort Polk is the heart of Vernon Parish, we don’t just mean that the base is in the center of the parish. It goes much deeper than that. Fort Polk is intricately connected to the identity of the parish. The people of Vernon Parish are deeply patriotic, with an unmatched sense of duty toward our country and the service men and women who defend it.

Vernon Parish (parishes equate to counties in other states) was named after George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, and was created by an act of the Louisiana legislature on March 30, 1871, from portions of the parishes of Natchitoches, Rapides and Sabine.

The 61,000 residents of Vernon Parish are proud of their close association with the people of Fort Polk.   

As it happens, the terrain of Vernon Parish is excellent for training soldiers for combat in all parts of the world, which led to the Louisiana Maneuvers in the 1940’s. 

Camp Polk came into being in 1941 when the federal government evicted 250 families from their homesteads. Despite the extreme hardship these families endured, many were proud (and their descendents remain so) to have contributed to the largest training maneuvers ever held and to have ultimately been a part of what has become a premier training facility for the United States Army.  

Camp Polk was named for Leonidas Polk, an Episcopal bishop and corps commander in the Confederate Army.

Let us know what you think in the comments! 

Contact Us:
Fort Polk Progress | PO Box 1191 | Leesville, LA 71496

Fort Polk: Where the heck?

Answer: The short, kinda boring answer is that Fort Polk is located in West Central Louisiana, or west Cenla (we’re big on abbreviating place names) or just Cenla. 

The nearest towns are New Llano (5.1 miles away), Leesville (6.8 milies) and DeRidder (16.1 miles), all relatively rural. 

Larger towns that feature more shopping and dining options within an hour and fifteen minutes are Alexandria (we abbreviate it to Alex. No offense, but you’re probably saying it wrong); Natchitoches (we can help you with these place names, I promise), and Lake Charles (one of our larger cities).

Shreveport is located about two hours away from Fort Polk, while Baton Rouge (our capitol) is a good three hours, and New Orleans is about four hours.

Do not fear. Fort Polk is surrounded by lots of interesting culture, great food and very friendly (okay, maybe a little strange, but it’s a good kinda strange) people, if you give it half a chance.

No, the base does not have a bunch of chain (predictable) restaurants right around the corner. No, we do not have a bunch of places to shop (isn’t that what Amazon is for?), and no, we don’t have the most hopping night life you’ve ever experienced. 

At Fort Polk you’ll discover a different kind of cool. We’re a jump in the lake, go fishing, boating, hiking, biking, muddin’, or just sit on the front porch and watch the world go by kinda cool. We are Sunday dinner cool. We are spontaneous get together cool. Crawfish boils, fish fries and backyard barbeques are our specialty. 

If you’re a history buff, at Fort Polk you’ll find that we’re Louisiana Purchase and oldest permanent settlement cool. We are longest-lived socialist utopian colony in the country cool. 

And if partying is your thing, you’ll see that Louisiana has more festivals than you can shake a stick at. And a lot of them are just a day trip away.

Like music? Not to brag, we’re located in the actual birthplace of a LOT of music genres. No kidding.

If you don’t expect what you’re used to, there’s no telling what you’ll discover exploring the food, festivals, historic sites, creeks, bayous, lakes, woods and mom and pop kind of shops surrounding Fort Polk.

Finally, if you’re ready to contemplate housing, let us help you. We’ve compiled some useful information here. 

Let us know what you think by joining one of our social media groups and engaging with us there or send us your questions about Fort Polk and the surrounding communities by commenting below! 

We’ll be happy to answer, and if we don’t know, we’ll find out for you. In the meantime, start planning, because there is so much to do around Fort Polk! We can’t wait to see you!

Contact Us:
Fort Polk Progress | PO Box 1191 | Leesville, LA 71496