Marksville was founded by accident. Here, in the 1790s, a Venetian peddler named Marco broke a wagon wheel along his travels, and decided to stay and set up a trading post. The resulting town offers visitors a patchwork of colonial history—and more. The 1820 Hypolite-Bordelon House is a window into the life of early European settlers. Fort De Russy was built during the Civil War to defend the Red River. The first inhabitants of the Marksville area are honored with the annual Fete du Ble Indian Festival. The modern presence of Native Americans is on spectacular display at the 500-room Paragon Casino & Resort, owned by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe. Natural areas, such as Spring Bayou Wildlife Management Area and the Lake Ophelia and Grand Cote National Wildlife Preserves, give hunters, fishermen and nature lovers their due.