Book Nooks – Launch Event

On October 14, 2016 the Vernon Parish Book Nook project was launched.  Book Nooks are Vernon Parish’s version of Little Free Libraries and there are 20 of them scattered throughout Vernon Parish with 10 of the them located within the Main Street District in Downtown Leesville.

Each Book Nook was decorated by local artists:

Kenneth Frischkorn
Cheryl Frischkorn
Anat Ronen
Tony McDonald
Leila Pollard
Paula Sche-Baldwin
Isabelle Massart-Bursh
Sam Bursh
Jill Leonard
JaNae Manley
Ne’andrea Hawkins
Stephen Jeane
Kim Wallace
Jerry Keeton
Brittany Arnold
Kenny Pollard
Sandee Burger
Jerry Cook
Amanda Craft
Jamie Armbruster

Book Nooks are located in the following places:

Kiwanis Park – Mechanic and 2nd Street
Sweet Thing Bake Shop
100 Third Street
The Polk Outdoor Theater
Texas Street Pocket Park
Historic Courthouse
Third Street Farmer’s Market
Tony McDonald Art Studio 4th Street
Oak Pointe Aesthetics
Museum of West Louisiana
MLK Neighborhood Center
Magnolia Park at West Elementary
Jubilee Park
Myrtle Park – Lee Hills
Liberty Park – Texas Highway
Anacoco Waling Trail – Anacoco, LA
Slagle Senior Center – Slagle LA
Pitkin Park – Pitkin LA
Evans School – Evans LA
Leesville Country Club Park

The Book Nooks were funded in part by Michelle Mitchell in honor of her late husband, Judge Jim Mitchell, who was an avid reader.  Each Book Nook carries a plate that reads:  In Memory of Judge James “Jim” Mitchell.”

Additional funding for the project was provided by:

Art 4 the Parks
The Vernon Arts Council
The Rapides Foundation
The Vernon Parish Tourism Commission

(click image below to view the gallery)

KALB-TV NBC News Channel 5 out of Alexandria, Louisiana did a story and interviews about the Book Nooks:

SGT Abe Allen Memorial

Project Vernon Parish | Points of Interest

Sergeant Abraham “Abe” Lincoln Allen was a hero of World War I, serving under General John J. Pershing in Company B of the 28th Infantry Division where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal.

Allen was one Pershing’s One Hundred Heroes – soldiers who performed acts of heroism during WWI.  Allen and two companions were injured by an exploding shell and, despite his injuries, Allen carried the two wounded soldiers to safety amid heavy enemy gunfire.

After the war, Allen returned to Leesville, Louisiana where he worked as a Louisiana State Trooper in Vernon Parish.  His final resting place is in the Ferguson-Dennis Cemetery (known locally as the Leesville Cemetery) – there is a walkway named in his honor that leads to his grave.




Ferguson-Dennis Cemetery

Project Vernon Parish | Cemeteries

The Ferguson-Dennis Cemetery (know locally as the Leesville Cemetery) is located off of Louisiana Highway 171 North, just before the 171 roundabout and dates to the early 1900s.

The cemetery, still in use today, is prominently located on the north side of Leesville.  While some of the graves show signs of decay and neglect, the cemetery still maintains much of its beauty – there are large trees that shade many of the older family plots.

The cemetery is the home to the final resting place of Sergeant Abe Allen – on the General Pershing’s One Hundred Heroes of WWI.

Highway 171 Murals & Welcome Signs

Project Vernon Parish | Points of Interest

Highway 171 Murals

Located on Louisiana Highway 171 South in Leesville, Louisiana these murals decorate the underpass created by the Kansas City Southern Railway bridge.  Commissioned in 2013 by the City of Leesville from local artist Les Comeaux.


The mural on the right depicts the Kansas City Southern Railroad with rail cars that showcase Vernon Parish communities and sawmills that helped shape this area.


Welcome Signs

“Leesville Welcomes You” is located on the embankment on Highway 171 South and “God Bless You” is on the embankment on Highway 171 North.  These signs were purchased by local residents and, with the permission of the City of Leesville, installed to welcome people to the city.

1-DSC_9904   1-DSC_9907


Welcome to Vernon Parish

When entering Vernon Parish from Highway 171 South (Hornbeck), Highway 171 North (Rosepine), and Highway 28 West you will see these “Welcome to Vernon Parish” signs.  These signs were installed by the Vernon Parish Police Jury to welcome people to the parish.


Holly Grove Methodist Church & Cemetery

Project Vernon Parish | National Register Properties | Cemeteries


Holly Grove Methodist Church and cemetery are located in Anacoco, Louisiana.  The historic Holly Grove Methodist Church was founded in 1835 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.  There is a marker on the historic church that says that it is a also a Methodist Historic Site.  Services are no longer held in the historic church but take place across the street at the current Holly Grove United Methodist Church.

A nearby historic marker reads:

First church services 1826
Served by Circuit Riders
Founded in 1835 as
Methodist Protestant Church
Never without a pastor or
church superintendent
Still on original location.

Painted Fire Hydrants

Project Vernon Parish | Points of Interest

In 2014, Taylor and Kelsey Anderson painted fire hydrants in the downtown area of Leesville as their Girl Scout Gold Award Project.  The hydrants are primarily located in Leesville Historic District and along US Highway 171; they feature a number of designs and styles.

On 3rd Street, nearly all the hydrants are painted in the patriotic theme (there are quite a few of these) and I came across a couple of dalmatian dogs, one of which is in front of the Leesville Fire Department.  The Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Leesville City Police also have hydrants dedicated to them.

Click the images below for more information on each hydrant.

Benson H. Lyons House

Project Vernon Parish | National Register Properties

This home was built c. 1900 by Dr. E. E. Smart, the founder of Leesville, for his daughter Lula. Located in the Leesville Historic District immediately behind the Historic 1910 Courthouse, it is an impressive example of the Queen Anne Revival style.

For more information on this house, please see its National Register of Historic Places database listing.  This home is privately owned and not open to the public.

Benson H. Lyons House, Leesville

Wreaths Across America | Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery

Project Vernon Parish | Festivals & Events | Cemeteries

Wreaths Across America is an annual event that takes place across America every December and endeavors to teach the “importance of remembering our fallen heroes, honoring those who serve, and teaching our children about the sacrifices made by veterans and their families to preserve our freedoms.”   Wreaths are laid by families and volunteers on graves at Veterans Cemeteries across the nation (and beyond).

In Vernon Parish, this event took place at the Central Louisiana Veterans Cemetery, located at 3348 University Parkway, on December 12, 2015.  After a brief ceremony and moment of silence, families and local volunteers laid wreaths on all the graves in the cemetery.

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Project Vernon Parish | Festivals & Events

MayFest is an annual music festival hosted by the Vernon Parish Tourism Commission in Historic Downtown Leesville.  The festival was awarded the Louey Award for 2012 Festival of the Year by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.

Past performers at MayFest include many local, regional, and national favorites, including:  The Kentucky Headhunters, Frank Foster, Mia Borders, Old Man Band, Marcus Davis, Louisiana Sidemen, Mulligan Brothers, and many more.

In addition to wonderful music, MayFest boasts a large number of arts and crafts vendors, the Leesville Rotary Club Chalk-a-Block, and the Leesville Lions Club Pancake Breakfast and Crawfish Boil.  On Saturday morning, the AUSA Armadillo Stampede kicks off at 8 a.m.

The 39th Annual MayFest took place in Historic Downtown Leesville on May 2 -3 , 2014

The 40th Annual MayFest took place in Historic Downtown Leesville on May 1-2 , 2015