County Road 11: Lake Tiak-O’Khata - Part 1

Published: Jul. 16, 2020 at 12:06 PM CDT
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Good news for our viewers as Newscenter 11 is re-launching County Road 11 after taking a few months off due to COVID19 precautions. We’re still taking safety measures but excited to once again be spotlighting some of the most interesting people and places across East Mississippi and West Alabama.

This week, in the first of a special two-part series, we go to a resort destination in East Mississippi that a lot of folks are unaware of, or perhaps don’t even think about anymore.

Back in 1954, two sisters-in-law wanted to build a lake here on these grounds so they could fish. “And so the men started coming out to fish and they were hungry when they would fish so they built a little hamburger shack,” said Lake Tiak-O’Khata Co-Owner Carmen White. “They started cooking hamburgers and french fries for the fishermen and it has evolved from that.”

“My older sisters weren’t interested so all the pressure came down on me and I took the challenge and I question it every day.” That’s according to Luke White, owner and operator of the resort in Winston County. “It’s very fulfilling and we’re doing good things.”

Carmen White and her son Luke White are third and fourth generation owners of Lake Tiak-O’Khata, which is Choctaw Indian language means “Lake of the Pines.” In the 1960′s, cabins begin to spring up, followed by a bunkhouse and a restaurant that once sat 500 folks. Over the next couple of decades, a hotel was added, followed by a lodge, a meeting/dining hall, more motel rooms, lakeside villas ,and pretty much everything any resort would offer.

“The nice thing coming to Lake Tiak-O’Khata is once you’re here you don’t have to leave,” says Carmen. “Everything is provided. It’s a very safe environment and we stress safety and wholesome family values here and I think that makes a difference too because we host a lot of churches every year as well as businesses.”

Lake Tiak-O’Khata employs 40 to 50 people year around and adds about 15 more during the peak summer season. It’s open every day except Christmas and New Year’s and gives folks around here a great place to go on vacation without going very far or spending a lot of money.

“You can come here and have your conference,” says Luke. “You can come here and have a day of recreation with your family. There’s something to do for everybody in your family. You can eat here and you don’t even have to leave the property.”

Coming up next week in part two, we’ll take a look at the economic impact Lake Tiak-O’Khata has had in this area and how the COVID19 pandemic almost closed it’s doors

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