Celebrate Fall in Historic Downtown Natchitoches, LA

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Louisiana’s Oldest City

Founded in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, Natchitoches is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana, and celebrates a vibrant blend of French, Spanish, African, Native American and Creole cultures. Home to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, it is part of the Cane River National Heritage Area, and is the final destination on the El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail.

The downtown National Historic Landmark District is a 33-block area that runs along the beautiful banks of Cane River Lake, welcoming visitors into a charming mecca of historic sites and museums, art galleries and specialty shops, restaurants and quaint Bed & Breakfast lodgings. Along with experiencing the city’s popular and festive seasonal events, one of the best ways to explore the district is on foot, whether self-guided (maps are available at Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau), or on one of the self-guided tours hosted by the Cane River National Heritage Area. Buildings in the district are constructed in several architectural styles that range from French Creole to Queen Anne, Italianate to Spanish Revival, Art Deco to Victorian.  

Nine Distinct Experiences in Historic Downtown Natchitoches

– Taste a famous Natchitoches meat pie. A Natchitoches tradition since 1967, Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant is an authentic soulful Creole Cuisine experience not to be missed – and their famous meat pies are simply scrumptious!

– Start your holiday shopping at Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile. Established in 1863, it is the oldest general store in Louisiana, and the oldest business in downtown Natchitoches. From hardware to kitchenware, folk art to toys and holiday décor, this general store truly has something for everyone!

– Get your Louisiana sports fix on! Be wowed at the achievements of over 300 legendary Louisiana athletes, coaches and sports figures at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. This $23-million museum complex is also home to the Northwest Louisiana History Museum.

– Get your motor running at the 11th Annual Natchitoches Car Show. Held Sept. 29-30, Friday’s events include a poker run, and then a fish fry with live music. Saturday features the car show in downtown, along with live music on three stages.

– Explore the historic American Cemetery. Established around 1737, the cemetery is said to be the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase. Legend has it, that St. Denis, the town’s founder, is buried somewhere on the grounds. Oct. 7, 2017 is the “History Among the Tombstones: Stories from the American Cemetery” event, where guides dressed in period costumes will share the history of the cemetery.

– Step into history at the 63rd Annual Fall Tour of Homes. Held Oct. 13-15, this popular event features three incredible themed tours of historic Natchitoches homes, buildings, and plantations, along with a Saturday full of special presentations centered around “Natchitoches Underground,” the cellars and tunnels beneath the city streets.

– Tour some of the filming sites of ‘Steel Magnolias’. Robert Harling grew up in Natchitoches, and lost his sister to diabetes in 1985. He turned that experience into the iconic stage play ‘Steel Magnolias’. The 1989 film adaption directed by Herbert Ross was filmed in and around Natchitoches. The Steel Magnolia House (now a B&B) is part of the Christmas Tour of Homes this year!

– Delight in flowers, waterfalls and twinkly lights. The Beau Jardin Water Feature & Garden overlooks beautiful Cane River Lake and along with being a wonderful area to take a romantic stroll, it’s also a popular wedding and event venue.  

Celebrate Christmas at the 91st Annual Christmas Festival of Lights. Held from Nov. 18-Jan. 6, this 45 night celebration of lights, fun and festivities is set along the backdrop of downtown Historic Natchitoches and Cane River Lake. Cane River is illuminated by more than 300,000 twinkling lights and 100 set pieces. Highlights of the Natchitoches Christmas season include the 91st Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival Day – always held on the first Saturday in December, The Holiday Tour of Homes, Natchitoches-NSU Christmas Gala, and spectacular fireworks displays over Cane River Lake.


To learn more about the greater Natchitoches area’s attractions and events, lodging establishments, shops and restaurants, visit www.Natchitoches.com.

Natchitoches, LA
Sustainable Destinations with a Sense of Place


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