No Man’s Land - Becoming Louisiana Bicentennial Celebration

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NO MAN’S LAND: BECOMING LOUISIANA BICENTENNIAL CELEBRATION
Continuing until the Fall of 2021, the No Man’s Land – Becoming Louisiana Bicentennial Celebration is a collaborative effort between the eight parishes who are historically tied to the geographic area of No Man’s Land. Big Blend Radio interview features Arlene Gould – Natchitoches CVB, Rebecca Blankenbaker – Cane River National Heritage Area, Linda Curtis-Sparks – Sabine Parish Tourist Commission, and John Crook – Vernon Parish Tourism Commission.


The Neutral Strip region, (a.k.a. No Man’s Land) draws its name from the area’s brief stint as an official buffer zone between Spain and the United States following the Louisiana Purchase. When the United States purchased the territory from France, Spain and the U.S. were in conflict over the boundary south of Natchitoches. In part, this confusion derived from the region’s long history, even before Spanish rule during the 1790s and 1800s, as a contested area with unclear boundaries. Moreover, to a large degree Spain governed the region with a blind eye, issuing land grants and allowing squatters and all manner of self-directed settlers, such as Native Americans who lost lands during the French-Indian War, to settle there in order to thwart American expansion. In lieu of an armed clash to decide the new territory’s borders, both governments agreed to remove all troops from the disputed area until boundaries could be determined, and the official Neutral Strip was born.

The region’s use as an official buffer between Louisiana and Spanish Texas lasted roughly from 1806 until the 1819 Adams-Onis Treaty that established the Sabine River as the territory’s western boundary.

While some may lump the culture of the very western portion of Louisiana into the general culture of Louisiana, others identify it as a separate folk region. Slow to be settled, and marked by a pivotal moment in history, the Neutral Strip region exhibits a culture colored by several pockets of diverse folk groups— like Native Americans, remnants of early Spanish colonies, Scots-Irish pioneers, African-Americans, and others—who fiercely hold on to their traditions and notions of identity. Sometimes described as a place filled with an outlaw culture or as a region with a reputation for a tough and isolated place, the region is better understood as a bastion for those cultural groups who wished to find a home where they could preserve a way of life they cherished.

The hardy pioneers who settled in this area combined elements of Native American, Anglo, Spanish, French, and African cultures and created rugged individuals who developed a strong sense of independence and self-reliance as they made a life for themselves and their families in Louisiana’s final frontier, “No Man’s Land”.

Like our stories of outlaws or buried treasure, our other traditions—legends of circuit riders, running deer with dogs in the woods, and so on—express not only the knowledge that our people found a way to inhabit and thrive in a region known to be sparsely populated, set apart, and perhaps even a little dangerous, but also their pride in having done so.

NO MAN’S LAND CELEBRATION CALENDAR 2019
Celebrate the culture, history, art, folklife, natural resources, cuisine, attractions and events of No Man’s Land.

Feb. 15-16: Historical Kick-off with Lt. Governor at Ft. Jesup State Historic Site

Mar. 29-30: Merryville Heritage Festival in Beauregard Parish

April 6-7: Melrose Arts & Crafts Festival in Natchitoches Parish
Apr. 26-27: Choctaw-Apache Annual Powwow in Sabine Parish

May 2-5: Pirate Festival in Lake Charles
May 3-4: El Camino Real de los Tejas Sale on the Trail in Sabine & Natchitoches Parishes
May 3-4: MayFest in Vernon Parish
May 10-11: Zwolle Loggers & Forestry Festival in Sabine Parish

June 14-15: Coushatta Pow Wow in Allen Parish
June 28-29: Beauregard Watermelon Festival in Beauregard Parish
July 26-27: 40th Annual NSU Folk Festival in Natchitoches Parish
July 26-27: Dry Creek Ranch Skeet Shoot in Allen Parish

Aug. 31: Zwolle Tamale Fiesta in Sabine Parish

Oct. 9: Ragley Heritage & Timber Festival in Beauregard Parish
Oct. 11-13: Fall Tour of Homes in Natchitoches Parish
Oct. 24-26: Sabine Free State Festival in Sabine Parish

Nov. 1-2: LA Native American Art Festival in Sabine Parish  

For full details visit www.VisitNoMansLand.com

Natchitoches, LA

 

 


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