Newcomers to Fort Polk and both Vernon and Beauregard Parishes don't have to look too far to find something to do.
This area has an abundance of outdoor and community activities available year round. It really is a sportsman paradise.
But what about those who love to learn and experience the history of an area? You're in luck: There is something for you too.
For quite a few years after the Louisiana Purchase, the south-western part of Louisiana was known as "No Man's Land".
The actual boundary south of Natchitoches was disputed for many years leaving the area populated by outlaws, squatters and Native Americans who refused to leave.
Eventually, the area was used as a buffer between Louisiana and Spanish Texas until the Adams-Onis Treaty of 1819 that made the Sabine River the western boundary of the territory.
Even then, the area had a reputation for being tough and isolated. Several cultures lived in harmony each respecting the others' desire to preserve their way of life.
Today we have folktales and traditions that are passed on through stories and monuments for visitors.
The Myths & Legends Scenic Byway is a 181-mile drive through Allen, Beauregard and Vernon Parishes that features 22 stops where history, culture and legends come to life.
One stop along this route that offers a look at a very unique tradition is at the Talbert-Pierson Cemetery in Pitkin. Sitting adjacent to the Pine Grove Methodist Church on Victor Martin Road, the cemetery was founded by early settlers of the Talbert and Pierson families.
In this cemetery are thirteen structures called grave houses that cover graves. The origin of the tradition for the grave houses is unclear but it has been traced to European and Native American cultures.
On the day of burial, the grave house was constructed before sundown and the grave decorated with seashells.
It is thought that the purpose of the grave house and decorating was to keep animals away. The tradition died out when cemetery grounds started being maintained.
However, in some places, the tradition is still used.
In 2003 the Talbert-Pierson Cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and visitors can read about its history and about early settlers in the area on the information board provided.