from Favorite Recipes from Historic Farmerville Home of Lake D’Arbonne (1966)
Just as the early pioneer settlers of Farmerville and Union Parish conquered a wilderness over a hundred years ago, once again man, through the marvels of engineering, has conquered a wilderness in the creation of Lake D’Arbonne, the largest man-made lake in Louisiana. It is cradled in a canyon surrounded by pine-covered hills and fed by pure hill streams.
Lake D’Arbonne, 80 per cent in Union Parish and 20 per cent in Lincoln, was completed in 1963 at a cost of approximately $3 million. It covers 16,000 acres, is 15 miles in length, and has a shoreline of 100 miles. It is an average of eight feet deep – three miles wide at its widest point with an average width of a mile and a half.
Bayou D’Arbonne is the chief contributing source, but it is also fed by Little Bayou D’Arbonne, Middle Folk Bayou and Bayou Corney. A dam built across Bayou D’Arbonne and a spillway structure provide a means of holding the water in the lake while controlling the level. It makes available a vast source of water for industrial, agricultural, municipal, and recreational purposes.
First to promote the idea of the lake was the Union Parish Development Corporation composed of businessmen and civic leaders. This group was succeeded by the Farmerville Industrial Development Corporation, who in 1956 prevailed upon the legislators to introduce a bill appropriating $1-million to start the project. This bill was signed into law by the late Governor Earl K. Long. A companion bill created the D’Arbonne Lake Commission composed of Armand Rabun and Rannie Terral, Farmerville; Alvin Green, Bernice; Bill Smith, Dubach; and Lamont Phillips, Ruston. This civic-mined group gave freely of their services in securing the necessary tracts of land for the lake. During the administration of Governor Jimmie Davis $2 1/2 million was earmarked for this project.
Stocked with fish by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, the lake is fulfilling all expectations in attracting fishermen. Campsites and commercial landings have been selling briskly and numerous summer homes being constructed. One 900 acre tract has been cleared for a recreation area — for swimming, boating, and skiing. An air strip has been obtained and is now in use near the dam. In fact, the potentialities of the area are unlimited for industry and recreation. Now, more than ever, Farmerville will be an excellent place to visit, live, work or retire.