Central Louisiana's Red River Region
Has Something for Everyone
Louisiana's Red River region sits in the heart of the South. Interstate
highways I-10, I-20, and I-49 crisscross the area, making it an easy RVing
destination from all over the Southeast, as well as other areas of the U.S. And
with numerous campgrounds and RV parks around, Central Louisiana is a great
place for RVers.
Central Louisiana has something for everyone, from rodeos
to ballet, gumbo to sushi. Spend the morning shopping in unique shops, have a
lunch of great southern BBQ or French cuisine, spend the afternoon at the zoo or
area plantations, browse for antiques and enjoy a dinner filled with flavors
from a diverse blend of cultures. For a little more excitement, visit one of the
area casinos. Or just sit back and enjoy the quiet.
Spain acquired Louisiana
in 1763 and for the next forty years managed a growing number of colonists in
the Red River Valley. Following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, Americans poured
into the region and just two years later, Alexander Fulton laid out the city of
Frogmore Plantation is an 1800-acre working cotton plantation with nineteen
restored buildings that date from the early 1800's.
Cotton and sugar cane made the area the state's commercial hub
before the Civil War. It was a key part of General Sher-man's Red River
Campaign. Between 1863 and early 1864, the area was invaded twice. Plantations
were laid waste, houses burned, fences torn down, trees cut for firewood and
sugarhouses and barns burned. Both armies lived off the land, taking food,
livestock and poultry. The final destruction of Alexandria occurred on May 13,
1864, when Alexandria was burned to the ground.
Alexandria National Cemetery
holds the remains of Union Soldiers killed in the area as well as over 1550
Unknown Soldiers removed from Fort Brown, Texas, when the fort was no longer
deemed necessary. The cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1997.
Following the war, the area recovered slowly with railroads
and the lumber industry being added to the agricultural economy. By the time of
World War I, Alexandria-Pineville had become a crossroads of commerce again and
a significant meeting place between North and South Louisiana.
War II, the U.S. Army used Central Louisiana for military maneuvers. The
training camps and airfields were expanded during the war, and today numerous
historic sites and museums attest to the area's fascinating history.
Alexandria and Pineville sit on opposite banks of the Red River in central
Louisiana. The river, which brought people of many cultures to settle the Red
River area, continues to provide commerce and recreation opportunities. Whether
you want to stroll through the Riverpark, fish the oxbows or ski down to the
sandbars, RVers can find lots to do on the Red.
Alexandria National Cemetery holds the graves of over 1,550 Unknown Soldiers.
The Alexandria Zoo, (3016
Masonic Drive) was awarded a Significant Achievement Award from the American Zoo
and Aquarium Association for their "Louisiana Habitat Exhibit." The Louisiana
Habitat Exhibit, a 3-1/2 acre addition to the Alexandria Zoo, is an interactive
exhibit that features the wildlife, flora, architecture, industry and culture of
Habitats ranging from the coastal marshes to the upland hill areas
of the state are recreated. Over 170 animals, including rare and endangered
species such as the American black bear, red wolves and Louisiana pine snakes
can be seen among the mature shade trees and thousands of native plants. Other
features seen along the shell paths and raised boardwalks are the sawmill
replica, Louisiana lighthouse replica, Cajun cabin, dogtrot house, a 40' shrimp
boat replica and the river estuary exhibit with large aquariums. Large ponds
with fish, turtles and waterfowl create a wetlands environment. Alligators,
otters and turtles can be viewed underwater through large windows, while snakes
of Louisiana are displayed in a unique exhibit resembling a lumber drying shed.
Louisiana's Pecan Festival in Colfax, La., just a few miles northwest of
Alexandria, is held the first full weekend in November. The Festival offers
three days of family fun, live entertainment and great food. A parade, arts and
crafts and carnival provide fun for RVers the whole weekend.
Cotton is the
story told at Frogmore Plantation (11054 HWY 84, Frogmore, LA Phone:
318-757-2453.) This 1800-acre working cotton plantation has nineteen restored
buildings that date from the early 1800s. Along with the history of the early
Natchez planters and their slaves, the Frogmore tour includes a rare
Smithsonian-quality steam cotton gin. RVers can follow the early Natchez
planters and their slaves through an evolution from the wilderness to a thriving
1850's cotton plantation, and then beyond the War Between the States to a
struggling new lifestyle called sharecropping. Then contrast the early days with
today by touring a high-tech, computerized, cotton gin and plantation. Visitors
can pick cotton all months except May and June when the plants are
While at Frogmore, RVers can experience a musical presentation
entitled, "Journey through the South with Song." Live vocalists and a narrator
bring plantation and culture to life intertwined with gospel songs. You can even
be a guest at a slave wedding. The Delta Music Museum, operated by the State of
Louisiana, is nearby and provides RVers with stories about famous Delta
musicians such as Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, Percy Sledge, and Aaron
Poverty Point National Monument is located in northeastern
Louisiana. This park commemorates a culture that thrived during the first and
second millennia B.C. This site, which contains some of the largest prehistoric
earth works in North America, is managed by the state of Louisiana. From I-20,
take the Delhi exit and travel north on LA 17, east on LA 134 and north on LA
577. The Poverty Point inhabitants built a complex array of earthen mounds and
ridges overlooking the Mississippi River flood plain.
This accomplishment is
particularly impressive for a pre- agricultural society. The central rows of six
concentric ridges at one time were five feet high. The outermost ridges measures
three-quarters of a mile around.
Located just a few miles from Alexandria,
Paragon Casino Resort in Marksville is one of Louisiana's largest land-based
casino resorts where guests have the opportunity to enjoy the excitement of
non-stop gaming, world-class golf, and diverse restaurants.
amenities at Paragon Casino RV Park in Marksville (318-253-1946) include an
outdoor swimming pool, children's play area and laundry facilities. Other area
RVing opportunities include River View RV Park (318-336-1401) which sits in a
bluff overlooking the Mississippi in Vidalia, La.; 4-B Ranch (318-659-3332) in
Melder, La., is a working Dude Ranch at the gateway to the Kisatchi National
Forest; Pavilion RV Park (888-322-4216) in West Monroe, La., sits almost midway
between Atlanta and Dallas on I-20. And Land O Pines Family Campground
(800-443-3697) in Covington, La., is just 45 miles from New Orleans.