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.
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 in Louisiana's No Man's Land.
This is the place where the pirate met the cowboy, and where Native Americans, French, Spanish, Africans, Creoles, Cajuns, and American pioneers from the South and West met to build communities and a culture like no other. Uncover the legends and experience the places, food, and culture of Louisiana's No Man's Land.
The No Man's Land - Becoming Louisiana Bicentennial Celebration is a collaborative effort between the seven parishes who are historically tied to the geographic area of No Man's Land. Beginning in the Fall of 2018 and continuing into the Winter of 2021, the No Man's Land Bicentennial Committee will jointly promote the culture, history, art, folklife, natural resources, cuisine, attractions and events of No Man's Land.