- 21 miles (33 km)
- Take one hour to drive this byway.
Take a trip from the border of Texas to historic DeRidder, Louisiana on a portion of the famed El Camino Real, which dates back to the Spanish Colonial times. Discover Native American heritage as you travel along the same road that was once home to the Attakapas tribes and learn about WWII military history in the town of DeRidder. From antique dolls to gothic jails, the Attakapas-Coushatta Scenic Byway provides a glimpse of southern Louisiana history.
Merryville marks the start of your journey. While here, spend some time exploring an old log cabin, a relic of the past in this historic sawmill town. Move on to DeRidder to discover unique historic attractions such as the imposing gothic-style Hanging Jail. Here visitors and residents saw prisoners wave from barred windows in Beauregard Parish from 1914-1982. Though ahead of its time in the amenities it provided, the prison wasn't completely humane. Its design provided a clear view of the hanging apparatus from most of the cells.
For a more whimsical visit in DeRidder, try the Lois Lofton Doll Museum. Located in the Old Kansas City Southern Railroad Depot, the museum has a wide collection of antique dolls. The National Historic District also provides great access for antique shopping. Nearby, DeRidder Army Air Base provides a look at WWII memorabilia and a chance to pay your respects to the soldiers who lost their lives in training accidents during the war.
The byway attributes its name to the Attakapas tribe who once inhabited the coastal and bayou areas of southwestern Louisiana and southeastern Texas. The Sunset and Sunrise tribes, known for their beautiful pottery and mound building, were located at the eastern and western portions of southern Louisiana.
The region is rich with wildflowers and there are abundant opportunities to view birds and other wildlife. Providing many chances for fishing in the nearby Sabine River and abundant streams, the range of outdoor activities in this southwestern portion of Louisiana is wide-ranging and fun for all ages.
Whether your interest lies in learning about the history of the Attakapas, or 'eater of men' tribes, or studying the lifetime work of a pair of doll collectors, this 26-mile road introduces you a variety of stops, views and interests that you won't want to miss.
Points of Interest
Points of Interest Along The Way
Beauregard Parish Jail (LA)
Characteristic of the collegiate Gothic architectural style, this unique jail was first built in 1914 and used until 1982.
Kisatchie National Forest (LA)
Hidden in the bayous underneath the bald cypress groves and old growth pine lies a world of natural beauty, excitement, learning, recreation, resources and wildlife in their purest form.
View over 3,000 rare antiques and collectables from around the world at the Lois Lofton Doll Museum, located at the old Kansas City Southern depot.
War Memorial Civic Center (LA)
Contains a display which commemorates the DeRidder Army Air Base, Camp Polk, the Louisiana Maneuvers and the USO.