The setup at Chicot State Park is prime for family campers looking to spend a relaxing week(end) in Louisiana. From an enhanced group campsite to cabin rentals and even a splash pad for the kids – this is it. Looking for a place to camp during Mardi Gras? Chicot State Park can accommodate. We recently spoke with Keith Broussard at Chicot State Park. He spilled the secrets on where to stay, what to do, and how he’d spend his time in the park. Listen to the full interview here:
Chicot State Park Camping
Camp Louisiana: I’m talking with Keith Broussard today. He’s the Assistant Park Manager at Chicot State Park in Louisiana. How’s it going this morning, Keith?
Keith Broussard: It’s going good. Thank you.
CL: So, let’s talk a little bit about how long Chicot State Park has been there and how it got started.
Keith Broussard: Chicot State Park was built by the Civilian Conservation Core. They arrived here in November of 1938. By 1942, early 1942, they were all gone because of the war – WWII. So, within three years, they built the Park. It’s a man-made lake, so they built the roadways, the milled their own lumber and 6500 acres, and it’s quite an amazing feat.
CL: It’s unbelievable. You know, I’ve done so many of these interviews, and just the tales I get to hear about the Civilian Conservation Core. It never seizes to blow my mind the amount of work that they did, especially with the lack of equipment that they had back then.
Keith Broussard: Yeah, that’s true, and they worked eight hours a day, six days a week. They made 25 dollars a month, kept five, and mailed twenty dollars home.
CL: Wow, incredible.
Keith Broussard: Yeah.
CL: So, what are the most popular activities for guests at Chicot State Park?
Keith Broussard: I would have to say the bass fishing. It’s a big bass lake. It’s a popular bass lake. There’s also the cabins are very popular. The deluxe cabins in particular.
CL: Okay, tell me a little bit about those.
Keith Broussard: Well, they sleep a total of eight people. They’re on or close to the lakeshore. The scenery is spectacular. It’s picture postcard. The cabins. The living room has a vaulted ceiling, a fireplace, and eight of them are directly over the water, so they’re very popular. And we also have nearly 200 – I think it’s 198 – campsites with water and electricity. That too is very popular, particularly in the holiday seasons. Like Thanksgiving will be booked solid, but there’s a trail system. We have one main trail that goes around the lake. Completely around the lake. It’s about 20 miles, maybe a little more. It’s great for mountain biking. It’s a little challenging. We do have people who run on them. We have a race every December. It’s a 100-mile race.
Keith Broussard: That they run on. So, it’s a very popular Park.
CL: They run 100 miles in one shot?
Keith Broussard: Yeah.
CL: Like an ultra marathon kind of deal.
Keith Broussard: Yes. Yeah.
CL: That’s alien endurance.
Keith Broussard: It is. I can’t believe. In my younger days, I’d get up every morning and run five miles and thought I was doing something. But yeah, we do have a lot. We have some backpacking sites. Canoers like that.
CL: Cool. How far are the backpack sites? Do they hike in or do they just canoe only?
Keith Broussard: We have backpacking sites that you hike to.
Keith Broussard: Most of them you can get to by canoe also.
CL: Cool. How far is the hike?
Keith Broussard: The closest hike would be about a mile, and it’s very primitive. You have a bench and a fire ring, and that’s about it.
Keith Broussard: But it’s for the traditional campers. We do have a lot of people. And this time of year, the weather is perfect. Ideally, for that type of camping, you want weather that’s 70 degrees in the daytime. 50 at night. That’s the most comfortable.
CL: Perfect. Now, what are some other attractions in the area worth checking out? If I were staying at the campground and I wanted to maybe head out for an afternoon, where would you recommend that I go check out?
Keith Broussard: There’s the Sump Pump Museum , which is about nine miles from the Park, which is interesting.
CL: What kind of museum?
Keith Broussard: Sump Pump. I think, if you’re familiar with Freddy Fender.
Keith Broussard: Yeah, that type of music. Local entertainers. In fact, Freddy Fender was involved the Sump Pump movement in the late ’50s, early ’60s.
Keith Broussard: Yeah. You have, not that far, I’d say about ten/twelve miles, the city of Mamou. There’s some attractions there, all associated with Marti Gras. And if you’d come down here during Mardi Gras, you’d have to stop at Mamou and see that spectacle.
CL: Okay. Just two more questions for you, Keith.
Keith Broussard: Sure.
CL: If you could spend just one hour in the Chicot State Park, how would you spend your time?
Keith Broussard: Really good question. First thing that comes to my head would be to canoe the lake.
Keith Broussard: Take the canoe trail. It’s really beautiful.
CL: Okay. And if you were going to spend just one night in Chicot State Park, which particular campsite would you stay at, Keith, and why?
Keith Broussard: If I had a camper, my favorite campsite is Site 56. It has a deck, but the way it’s situated, when you put out your awning and you open your door, you see a wooded area. You don’t see any other campers or anything like that.
Keith Broussard: Yeah. If I were roughing it, Canoe Campsite 1. Very secluded. Very woodsy. You have access to the lake. It’s a very pretty place.
CL: Okay, perfect. We’ll pass those tips on to our visitors, and thank you so much, Keith, for taking some time out of your morning to chat with us about Chicot State Park in Louisiana.
Keith Broussard: All right, thank you.