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Saturday, 25 June 2011 00:24

Acclaimed by many travel magazines, notable personalities, and locals, historic Natchitoches, Louisiana, is considered to be one of the best places to live in the United States. This quaint and picturesque town brings together...


its history, architecture, preservation and natural landscape to create a beautiful example of the ideal rural American city.

Established by the French in 1714 as a trading post, Natchitoches quickly established itself as a vibrant community on, what was then, the Red River. The city was named for the nearby peaceful Natchitoches Indian tribe that readily accepted the European presence and traded there regularly.

Louis de St. Denis is probably the most significant figure of that time in that he successfully accomplished what France had desired. St. Denis established trade with the local Indians and Spanish in Mexico and with the construction of a fort was able to fend off any attempt the Spain to take possession of that area of Louisiana.

In the 1830’s the Red River changed its course and the town was left with no availability to the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, a 30-mile long stretch of former river, later named Cane River Lake, remained. Today, you’ll find a replica of the 1732 Fort St. Jean Baptiste located just west of the original site. This replica was built in 1979 is based upon careful research and is open for public tours. It includes a church, slave quarters, barracks, guardhouse, powder magazine and other assorted buildings.

Natchitoches is located in the midst of 100 historical homes and buildings (extending over 33-blocks) in its National Historic District. In the 40,000 square foot Natchitoches Events Center you’ll find the Landmarks in Time exhibit reviewing the city and area’s unique history.

The Natchitoches Christmas Festival is held during the first week of December. During this day long celebration you experience a variety of local and statewide arts and crafts, local cuisine (especially the famous Natchitoches’ meat pies), and live entertainment. The event concludes with a sensational fireworks and laser show. Following the fireworks, the lights over the city are turned down as the famous Christmas lights are lit signifying the official beginning of the Christmas season. It’s quite a dramatic sight if you’ve never witnessed the event.

In 1989 the award-winning movie Steel Magnolias was filmed in Natchitoches and the lovely home is part of many historic tours in the area. Shopping includes a visit to Kaffie-Frederick Mercantile, established in 1863 and is the oldest continuously operated business in the city. Visit the website for details of the many musueums, historic homes, and restaurants you’ll find in this remarkable and delightful Central Louisiana city.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 05 July 2011 16:20