Leesville Louisiana Travel and Visitor Information
Leesville is located on U.S. Highway 171 between Shreveport and Lake Charles, as seen on the Leesville map below. It is also about 50 miles west of Alexandria via Louisiana Highway 28, and near the Texas border and Toledo Bend Reservoir.
Leesville Information and Geographic Location
The population of Leesville today is near 7,000 residents. Leesville is located in Area Code 337, and uses Zip Codes 71446 and 71459. The city's elevation is 254 feet. Coordinates are 31° 8′37″ N, 93° 16′16″ W.
Area Attractions and Things to Do in Leesville
The parish seat of Vernon Parish, Leesville is located close to the south end of Toledo Bend Lake and Reservoir, the largest man-made lake in the South.
Nearby communities include DeRidder and Many. Area attractions include North Toledo Bend State Park and Ft. Jesup State Historic Site.
Near Many is Hodges Gardens State Park, which features 40 acres of manicured gardens, trails, RV facilities, and a fishing lake. It was originally developed designed and opened to the public in 1956 by oil and gas businessman A.J. Hodges. Today, this 700-acre masterpiece is operated by the Louisiana Office of State Parks.
The Museum of West Louisiana is located at 803 South Third Street in the old Kansas City Southern (KCS) Railway depot built in 1916. The structure is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The museum was created in 1987 with the purpose of exhibiting and preserving items showing the culture and history of Vernon Parish and the west areas of Louisiana.
Downtown Leesville is the site of parades for Mardi Gras, Veterans Day, Martin Luther King Day, Christmas, and St. Patrick's Day as well as school events and military events. Also downtown next is the Court House and other historic buildings.
Vernon Veterans Memorial Park in downtown has memorials to all those from the area who served over the years from World war I to Korea and World War II. Also, there is information about the War on Terror and the Vietnam War.
Fort Polk Today
Today, Fort Polk is the home of the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), the 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, and the 162nd Infantry Brigade. Fort Polk serves primarily as a training post for units preparing to deploy to fight the nation’s wars.
With the exception of Louisiana state government, Fort Polk is the largest employer in Louisiana, with more than 16,000 military and civilian jobs associated with a U.S. Army installation that generates an estimated annual economic impact of $1.8 billion.
In 2012, the Army is hoping to expand the installation's footprint by 50% with the purchase of an additional 100,000 acres. Fort Polk currently covers more than 194,000 acres. Fort Polk is the only Combat Training Center that also trains and deploys combat units.
Soldiers of Fort Polk have been called to serve around the world in recent history. They fought in Panama during Operation Just Cause and in the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm. Of all brigade combat teams deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, 50% of them initially train at Fort Polk.
Fort Polk is supporting the war on terrorism by providing contingency training for the Army's light infantry and special operations forces and by deploying home station and reserve component forces in support of Operations Enduring Freedom, Noble Eagle, and Iraqi Freedom.
For more information, we recommend a visit to the Official Fort Polk Website.
Fort Polk History
Leesville has long been the home of Fort Polk, a major U.S. Army camp since the 1940s. Originally known as Camp Polk, it began as an army base for the World War II Louisiana Maneuvers. Other nearby facilities in Central Louisiana included Camp Livingston, Camp Claiborne, and Alexandria Army Air Field (England AFB).
Construction of Camp Polk began in 1941. Thousands of wooden barracks sprang up quickly to support an Army preparing to do battle on the North African, European and Pacific fronts. Soldiers at Polk participated in the Louisiana Maneuvers, which were designed to test U.S. troops preparing for World War II.
It was named in honor of the Right Reverend Leonidas Polk, the first Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of Louisiana, and a Confederate general.
Leesville Area Hotels, Motels and Other Lodging
The area features a wide variety of hotels, motels, inns, suites and other lodging.
In addition, only about 60 miles due east of Leesville, Alexandria offers a full-range of hotels and motels.
Leesville Area Airports
The Leesville Municipal Airport is located 4 miles west of town, on LA Highway 8, and features a 3,807 foot runway with pilot-controlled lighting and instrument approaches.
Located to the east of Leesville is Alexandria International Airport (AEX). Rental cars are availableat AEX from Avis, National, Budget and Hertz.
Commercial airline carriers serving AEX include:
- Delta Airlines, which connects to its hub in Atlanta (ATL)
- American Airlines with connections to Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
- United Air Lines with flights to its hub at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
Historic Images of Leesville Louisiana
Business Section, Leesville, Louisiana ... Circa late 1930s or early 1940s
Residence Scene, Leesville, Louisiana
Vernon Parish Courthouse, Leesville, Louisiana
Leesville Louisiana High School
Redwood Motel and Cafe, Leesville, Louisiana ... circa 1960s
Greetings from Fork Polk, Louisiana ... U.S. Army Training Center, Infantry
Courthouse, Leesville, Louisiana
Photo Courtesy of the Louisiana History Museum, Alexandria Louisiana
Railroad depot, Leesville, Louisiana
Bolton-Cowley Company, Leesville, Louisiana
Leesville and Fort Polk Links of Interest