Gambling, angling and hunting beckon on the bayou
It's time to take a trip to a place where you can go fishing on lazy rivers, catch crawdads and cook them for supper, go hunting and even gamble in the largest land-based casino in Louisiana. C'mon down to the gateway to Cajun Country, known as Allen Parish, Louisiana.
Coushatta Indian Tribe
One of the primary businesses in Allen Parish is the Coushatta Casino Resort, owned and operated by the Coushatta People, who are incidentally the second-largest employer in Louisiana.
The Coushatta People have called Allen Parish, Louisiana home for about a century. But that wasn't always the case. They started moving from place to place in 1570, when Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto invaded their homelands. Trying to avoid trouble and lead by Chief Stilapihkachatta, also known as "Red Shoes," they continued moving to avoid Spanish, French, Mexican and, ultimately, American populations until they found the area now known as Allen Parish, located between all the other territories.
In 1973, the Coushatta Indian Reservation was recognized by the federal government as a sovereign nation, and that's when they went to work creating a community opened its arms to to visitors for gaming, hunting, fishing and fun. Forty years later, the Coushatta Casino Resort is a testament to the indiginous tribe's perseverance. Guests can play Las Vegas-style table games, including blackjack, roulette, craps and mini-baccarat, in an elegant environment. Guests can play golf on nearby courses or enjoy live entertainment.
Do you like to hunt? Then you should check out Dry Creek Ranch. This 1,500-acre hunting ground specializes in duck and quail, and the staff can tailor a hunt to suit your desires. Guides and hunting dogs are available to help you out. All hunts include cleaning and packaging, as well as skeet shooting and meals while you're on the ranch.
If you'd rather shoot animals with your camera, you can do that at the Dry Creek Ranch, too. Take a ride with the Photo Safari offered by a local guide. You'll ride a specially designed wagon from the prairie to the deep woods, where you'll see birds, waterfowl and big game animals.
If you'd prefer to do things away from the crows, you can hunt at the West Bay Wildlife Management Area. Here, you'll find turkeys, small game and deer. This area is also a perfect place for bird watching, and it's known for its peach orchards and blueberries and grapes.
Allen Parish has five rivers to keep even the most active angler busy for days. Launch your canoe or small motorboat in at one of the many launch areas and do some float fishing. Bass abound in Allen Parish: spotted bass, largemouth bass, striped bass and white bass are all found in the currents. Ask local guides for the tips on getting the right bait and right lures. You also can catch black crappies, channel cats and longear sunfish. If you're really adventurous, stick your bucket in the muck and snag some authentic Louisiana Crawdads.
You don't have to have a fishing rod in your hand to enjoy the river. One of the premier canoeing locations in Louisiana is in Allen Parish on the Ouiska Chitto River. This scenic waterway is accessible from Mittie and will provide you with a relaxing floating experience.
As you drift down the river, you'll experience nature just like the first people did when they discovered this land. Fresh water, old-growth pine, wild flowers, berries and wildlife will greet you. Bring your camera and sunscreen—oh, okay, you can bring your fishing rod too.
Did you bring your clubs? Well that's a good thing because there is golfing in Allen Parish, specifically at Kosati Pines. An 18-hole, par 72 golf course that has a unique gambling hole, six sets of tees and multiple approaches on three holes, coupled with the beauty of the tree-lined thoroughfare will give you an afternoon that you won't forget.
It's time to do a little shopping. In Allen Parish, you'll find something for everyone, but especially for those folks seeking treasure. There are a handful of unique antique shops located around the parish. Plan a day trip to catch them all. Remember, just because it's old doesn't mean it's worn out.
If you're looking for that unique one-of-a-kind item, there are also flea markets and thrift shops dotting the landscape that will really keep you busy for hours. Make sure you leave enough room in the RV to get everything home.
One more place you'll have to see while you're in Allen Parish is the Leatherwood Museum, located in the community of Oakdale. When you walk through the front door, you'll be transported back to a simpler, rougher time. Visitors will see weapons and medical instruments from the Civil War in the war room. Ever wondered what dental care was like before electricity? The old-school dental drill will make you appreciate the discomfort that early-20th-century toothache sufferers must have endured. There's also a pedal-powered sewing machine. Visitors will also be able to find information on other Allen Parish attractions at the welcome center located inside the museum.
If you're visiting Allen Parish in October, you'll want to make a point to visit the Coushatta Pow-Wow in Kinder to experience authentic Native American song and dance.
For More Information:
Allen Parish Tourism
Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism