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.
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.
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. In neighboring East Texas, other popular recreational areas include Lake Palestine and Lake Tyler.
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.
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.
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.
The Leesville area offers a number of hotels and motels including the Holiday Inn Express, Comfort Suites, Best Western, and others.
In addition, only about 60 miles due east of Leesville, Alexandria offers a full-range of hotels and motels.
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) offering commercial jet service from several airlines.