Fort Polk is a 198,000-acre U.S. Military facility that houses a Joint Readiness Training Center, military hospital and National Guard Maintenance Facility. It is 10 miles east of Leesville and 30 miles north of DeRidder. Off-site housing is available to ancillary personnel and for military personnel who are allowed to live off the base in nearby Fort Polk South and Fort Polk North, census-designated communities that combine with Leesville and Deridder to make a major center of population in Central Louisiana.
Combined, these three communities, just west/southwest of Alexandria, represent the best of Louisiana living in multiple ways. The proximity to Alexandria gives both DeRidder and Leesville residents a chance to be both a part of a major metropolitan area and to enjoy the benefits of a relaxed and suburban lifestyle.
Fort Polk sits in Vernon Parish (where Leesville is the parish seat). DeRidder is the parish seat of Beauregard Parish. Leesville and DeRidder each include a vibrant and restored downtown area that both links the cities to the past and drives them toward the future.
Shopping with major retailers and local boutique owners is a popular pastime, along with the chance to enjoy the wonders of the state’s nearby hunting, fishing, boating, biking, hiking and walking venues.
In this part of Central Louisiana, potential homebuyers will find historic properties that have been painstakingly maintained for hundreds of years. At the same time, those in the market for a new home can follow savvy architects and builders who have attached themselves to the creation of new homes in the area’s comfortable family neighborhoods. Properties also offer generous lots, huge front lawns and green expanses that lead to recreational timberlands and waterways. An unusual amount of available land is also ripe for welcome development.
Restored plantation homes, local history museums and national parks are within easy distance of these neighborhoods. Top-rated schools have also made this part of Central Louisiana among the most important geographic zones in the entire state.
Those looking for a new home or business in these communities will find a family-friendly and affordable place to live. These are bedroom communities that combine Southern charm with Louisiana’s flair for an enjoyment of the outdoors.
Fort Polk, DeRidder and Leesville on the Map
The area from DeRidder on the south and Leesville on the north is west/southwest of Alexandria. Geographically, the two parish seats join together to create a distance of about 14 square miles bounded by the Peason Ridge Wildlife Management Area on the northwest, Alexandria Highway on the north, Willow Branch Road on the south, Highways 27 and 467 and Terminal Road on the west, and Highways 469 and 113 on the east.
Fort Polk includes 198,000 acres owned in part by the U.S. Army and in part by the U.S. Forest Service. Fort Polk South, part of the Combined Statistical Area of DeRidder, runs from Exchange Road on the north, Pitkin Highway on the south, between Georgia and California Avenues on the east and Graham Road on the west. Fort Polk North runs from 9th Street, Alexander Street and 11th Avenue on the north, Mill Creek Road on the south, west of Infantry Road and K Avenue on the east and west of Chaffee Road on the west.
Map of Fort Polk, DeRidder and Leesville, LA
Four bedroom home on a large lot - DeRidder, LA
How to get to and from Fort Polk, DeRidder and Leesville, LA
The communities of DeRidder and Leesville are less than a half hour apart and just about an hour from downtown Alexandria. Fort Polk is 10 miles east of Leesville and 30 miles north of DeRidder.
Surrounding byways are dotted with easily accessible state and national highways. Highways 190 and 171 traverse the area. Major roads in both communities, mostly free of congestion, take residents from one part of town to another with relative ease.
The area is also about two hours from Shreveport on the north and 90 minutes to Baton Rouge on the south. New Orleans is three hours to the south, Natchitoches is less than an hour west, and an approximate two-hour drive to the east leads to Natchez, Miss.
Beauregard Regional Airport offers daily flights, and nearby Alexandria International Airport also offers dozens of daily flights to destinations nearby and around the world. A mass transit system, plus major bus and rail lines also traverse the Alexandria area and these bedroom communities.
Three Bedroom home on a one acre lot - Leesville, LA
Fort Polk, DeRidder and Leesville Features
The combination of hardy forests, shallow rivers and rolling plains has always been a draw for residents and visitors in Vernon and Beauregard parishes and to the cities of DeRidder and Leesville. Military personnel have found Fort Polk to be among the most comfortable of bases in the country in which to be stationed, thanks to the surrounding communities.
Historic courthouse buildings are now preserved landmarks with storied pasts in the downtown of both DeRidder and Leesville. This area was one of the first destinations in Louisiana (away from well-populated cities) to be served by railroads at the turn of the 19h century. Immediate growth followed, and has continued to this day.
Unlimited hiking and biking trails surround these tranquil communities, which are also home to some of Louisiana’s most lush and sanctioned National Wildlife Management Areas. Kasatchi National Forest is close by, providing an outdoor haven, picnic grounds, camping and other activities year-round.
Fort Polk served as a military prison for German soldiers in World War II and after a period of closure after that war reopened as a training center for military preparing for the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Louisiana’s Joint Readiness Training Center is now located here, offering secure employment and safety for local residents.
Also popular in this part of the state are fishing tournaments in Toledo Bend, golf courses and tennis courts, guided canoe tours in nearby lakes and rivers and other annual sporting events. Neighborhoods in DeRidder and Leesville are also dotted with city parks, ball-playing fields and walking paths, making these family communities examples of the scenic and serene hometowns for which Louisiana is known. Parish fairs are also popular, along with the Ragley Heritage & Timber Festival (food, music, crafts and a chance to learn about the history of this part of Louisiana), downtown Christmas festivals and more.
Thriving economic development councils also keep this area active with natives, new residents, visitors and businesses. Nearby Alexandria is also home to employment-secure industries (engineering, manufacturing, contracting and the military) as well as the new Hotel & Convention Center at Country Inn & Suites (nearly 20,000 feet of meeting space and 100 deluxe rooms and suites).
Country home on 11 acres with two ponds - DeRidder, LA
Fort Polk, DeRidder and Leesville CombinedDemographics
- DeRidder and Leesville Population combined: 17,000
- DeRidder and Leesville Household combined: 6,800
- Fort Polk South community population: about 9,000
- Fort Polk South community households: nearly 7,000
- Fort Polk North community population: about 3,000
- Fort Polk North community households: more than 1,000
- Schools: Recent figures show a total of nearly 50 public, private and parochial schools in the area, as well nearly 30 pre-schools.
- Healthcare: Beauregard Memorial Hospital and Oceans Behavioral Hospital for Seniors are headquartered in DeRidder, and Leesville is home to Byrd Regional Hospital, Doctors Hospital at Deer Creek and Leesville Rehabilitation Hospital. Separate hospitals and military medical facilities are located at the government’s Fort Polk. The area is also is also about an hour from additional full-service hospitals in Alexandria. The Fort Polk/DeRidder/Leesville area also includes many urgent care centers, doctors’ medical facilities and other clinical health services.
- Churches: Combined, the DeRidder/Leesville area boasts more than 100 churches of every denomination.