Alexandria, LA personal injury lawyer Chris J. Roy, Jr. has nearly three decades of experience helping individuals throughout Louisiana, providing quality representation to those whose lives have been affected by the negligent actions of others.
The beautiful city of Leesville, LA, is home to approximately 6,600 people as well as Fort Polk U.S. Army installation. It is part of the Fort Polk South Micropolitan Statistical Area, and if Fort Polk and Leesville combined, the population would be a staggering 20,000 people!
Leesville is also the parish seat of Vernon Parish, which was formed in 1871 when it was created out of land carved from the parishes of Natchitoches, Rapides, and Sabine. Dr. Edmund E. Smart was the city’s official founder, and his plantation still stands today at the corner of Lula Street and First Street. The city wasn’t incorporated until 1900 and was named by Dr. Smart’s father, Senator John Rowell Smart, to honor General Robert E. Lee.
Local lore circulates four stories about how Vernon parish was named. The first is that it was named in honor of George Washington’s birthplace, Mt. Vernon. The second is that it was named after a particularly fast race horse, with the hope that such a mascot would help the parish grow at a similar speed. The third is that Vernon was named after a popular teacher and Royal Navy officer known as “Mr. Vernon.” It was not a gesture of honor, as much as it was an attempt to avoid a fight among the founders of the parish who each thought it should be named after himself. The fourth story paints a picture of the committee drinking and arguing in a store. Then upon suggestion of the host, the men stop a local man who was outside with his mule and cart with the intent to adopt whatever the man said. According to legend, the man answered, “I calls him Vernon, ’cause he’s the fastes’ mule in de country.” The State, however, recognizes only the first story.
Before the country even officially had the land to name, it was referred to as the “Neutral Strip.” The United States and Spain were in dispute over this land, which for a while made it a perfect hideout for outlaws. It later became a unique Civil War artillery site that utilized a defense element called “tetes de pont.” Called Confederate Breast Works, the site is the only known surviving example of this strategy.
From no-man’s land to a confederate artillery, the area eventually grew to include Fort Polk, one of the Army’s major training camps during World War II. Today, it’s the fifth largest military installation in the country, spanning about 200,000 acres. The constant movement of soldiers and their families from different states and countries made this community a living example of a true melting pot. You can get a better idea of the historical significance of the area through the artifacts and memorabilia on display at the Fort Polk Military Museum at 7881 Mississippi Ave on Fort Polk. Equipment, weapons, uniforms, training aids and more are available to see.
For a different kind of trip down memory lane, visit Holly Grove Methodist Church, which is believed to be the oldest United Methodist Church in continuous operation on this side of the Mississippi River. Architecturally, it embodies classic turn-of-the-century rural Louisiana. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, legend has it that the church was a vital stop on the Underground Railroad. Since any slaves able to get across the Sabine River were free and Methodists were openly opposed to slavery, it’s highly likely the legend is true.
This side of the Mississippi also holds some legendary outdoor experiences. Go horseback riding at Kisatchie National Forest, take a walk through Hodges Gardens, or visit one of the area’s newest additions, Liberty Garden. Created as part of the “Keep America Beautiful” program, this incredible space continues to grow in memory of lives lost to terrorism. You can often find concerts and other community activities on the deck.
If you’re into community activities and want to be a part of something the locals eagerly anticipate each year, the Leesville Lions Club Rodeo is it. Held in early fall, it kicks off with parish-wide trial rides. Participants often find themselves in the Rodeo Parade, and many stay for the Grand Entry. The 4-H club competes before the professional rodeo contestants start showing off their horsemanship skills
The Chris J. Roy, Jr. Law Firm welcomes and celebrates all aspects of Leesville, Fort Polk, and Vernon Parish. During Chris’s time as a legislator, he worked in many parts of Vernon Parish and feels a strong tie to the community. Our firm values relationships with people across the Pelican State and care about every part of our community. Whether this is your home or you are just visiting, it’s our goal to protect your rights and provide counsel if someone has harmed you.
The next time you have a question about car wrecks, pedestrian accidents, truck collisions, motorcycle crashes, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, slip and fall injury, work injury, wrongful death or any personal injury, give us a call.