Natchitoches Journals

FAMILY FUN and HISTORY in old LA city

A December 2002 trip to Natchitoches by TRAVELPRO guide

Christmas festival Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana More Photos
Quote: This Louisiana city predates New Orleans by four years. It was founded in 1714. We visited this historic town during the holidays when it was aglow with Christmas festivities for all the family. We had a wonderful time, and we want to visit again.

FAMILY FUN and HISTORY in old LA city

Overview

Christmas festival Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Quote:
This town, the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase, was a prosperous trading center until the river changed its course in 1832 and left Natchitoches without a water route to market. Today, the historic town, with its 33-block downtown National Historic Landmark, draws tourists to its many festivals. Many visitors stay overnight in 18th century plantations now transformed into luxury bed and breakfasts.

Quick Tips:

Visit during the holiday season to enjoy a wonderful family festival, including fireworks.

Best Way To Get Around:

It's walkable. Plenty of free parking in lots.

Old Courthouse Museum

Attraction | "Old Court House State Museum"

Old Courthouse Museum Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Quote:
In 2003, the musuem will celebrate the bicentennial of the Lousiana Purchase with special exhibits.

The museum houses a large collection of outstanding paintings of Clementine Hunter, a slave woman, who has remarkable talent. Her wonderful bright paintings tell of life on the 19th-century plantations of the South.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 26, 2003

Old Courthouse Museum
600 2nd Street
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457
(318) 357-2270

Bishop Martin Museum

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Attraction

Bishop Martin Museum Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Quote:
You won't think this is a museum. This old Catholic Seminary Building is now a museum and is located next to the rectory across the street from the Immaculate Conception Church.

The structure is a significant example of 19th-century architecture with Creole influence.

Th museum has a wealth of early religious artifacts from French and Spanish churches, vestments worn by Bishop Martin (1853-1875) in Nathitoches, a statue of St. Francis carved from cypress in 1840. Many artifacts were donated by plantation owners who had chapels in their homes.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 26, 2003

Bishop Martin Museum
Church Street
Natchitoches, Louisiana

Festival of Lights

Attraction | "Festival of the Lights"

Festival of Lights Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Quote:
This annual festival draws thousands each year. It starts in late November and runs till early January.

Fireworks on the river open and close the festival. Activities include a parade, tour of historic homes, arts and crafts show, and live entertainment on the riverbank stage. During the celebration, the town lights up with over 300,000 lights.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 26, 2003

Festival of Lights
781 Front Street
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457
(318) 352-8072

Melrose Plantation Farm

Attraction | "Melrose Plantation"

Melrose Plantation Farm Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Quote:
Melrose is one of the unique plantations of the old South. Its career is measured, not by years, but by generations who have lived and worked this plantation, which was founded in 1796. The six-acre site includes the Yucca House, the main house and the African House, the only structure of Congo-like architecture on the North American continent. Melrose was the home of Clementine Hunter, Louisiana's celebrated primitive artist.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 26, 2003

Melrose Plantation Farm
3524 Highway 119
Natchitoches, Louisiana 71456
(318) 379-0171

Beau Fort Plantation Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Quote:
This is one of the most important houses of Creole design in this Cane River area. This antebellum structure reflects back to a time when life's pace was much slower. It is a working 265-acre cotton plantation owned by Jack and Ann Brittain.

Ann Brittain showed us beautiful dresses that were worn in the movie Steel Magnolias that was filmed in this area.

This plantation is built on the site of historic Fort Charles. It is furnished with lovely antiques.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 26, 2003

Beau Fort Plantation

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Prudhomme House Photo, Natchitoches, Louisiana
Quote:
It's one of the largest mud and moss structures in the U.S. It was built before 1800 and recently restored. We attended a reception in this gracious mansion.

For more information, call 318 352 6723

Cajun and Creole cuisine

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Story/Tip

Quote:
Cajun and Creole cuisine, a food fusion in South Louisiana What’s Cajun food? What’s Creole food? When you are dining out in New Orleans, Lafayette, Alexandria or small towns in south Louisiana, it may be hard for a visitor to distinguish between the two cuisines. "Creole and Cajun cuisines continue to evolve and even merge into what might be called South Louisiana cuisine," according to the Lafayette Convention and Visitors Commission. When we dine in south Louisiana, we find this subtle fusion of Creole and Cajun flavors to be delightful—a real treat. There's a myth about south Louisiana food being loaded with too much pepper, but it's not true. "Cajun cooking is not hot...Read More