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New Llano Colony Store and Post Office outside Leesville
The New Llano Colony Store and Post Office building still stands, located outside Leesville.

When someone mentions the Wild Wild West, you probably picture images of cowboys, saloons, boots and spurs. But, did you know that Louisiana had its own Wild, Wild West?

Centuries ago, Spain and the United States had a dispute over a sliver of Western Louisiana between the Calcasieu and Sabine rivers. During this time the two countries came to an agreement to neutralize the land, which became known as “No Man’s Land” for the absence of an established government in the area. This made the area very attractive to many people—some seeking a place to freely practice their beliefs, some wanting to be a part of the lumber boom that was happening and others who were looking for various opportunities, criminal or otherwise. The stories of these individuals can be found along the Myths and Legends Byway, where stops off the highway paint a picture of life in No Man’s Land.

One such group seeking a new start was the New Llano Socialist Colony. After the first colony in California dissolved, the Llano Society moved to Louisiana to begin their second colony to prove to others around the world that the idea of socialism could work. Colonists were given a wage, food and a role. The colony flourished for two decades until the founder Job Harriman’s death in 1937. The colony was sold off, but the town of New Llano stands today as a reminder of the trailblazers who settled there. Today, visitors to Vernon Parish can learn more about the colony at the Museum of the New Llano Colony.

There’s even more to discover along the Myths and Legends byway. With outdoor activities such as hiking and horseback riding in the Kisatchie National Forest and museums along the way, excitement awaits you! What stories will you find in Vernon Parish along the Myths and Legends Byways? Share your #OnlyLouisiana adventure today!

Rosie Lawler
Author: Rosie Lawler
Posted: Tue, 02/27/2018