A Visit to the Historic American Cemetery in Natchitoches


Recorded onsite at the historic American Cemetery, this episode of Big Blend Radio’s 3rd Tuesday “Go to Natchitoches” Show features Scotty Williams with the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest LA History Museum in downtown Natchitoches, Louisiana. Every first Friday, Scotty leads a free and incredibly fascinating walking tour of the American Cemetery where he shares the life stories of those who are laid to rest there. Hear about some of the notable individuals buried there such as Dr. John Sibley, Jean Pierre Emmanuel Prudhomme, Mayor Theodore Edward Poleman, Claude Thomas Pierre Metoyer and Marie Thérèse Coincoin, Alexander Sompayrac, Leopold “Leopole” Caspari, Carmelite “Cammie” Henry, and John Gideon Lewis, Sr.


Established around 1737, the cemetery is said to be the oldest cemetery in the Louisiana Purchase. Over the years, planters, businessman, politicians, and educators have all made their mark on Natchitoches and the surrounding area. The markers in the cemetery tell stories of the region’s people and act as an outdoor museum dedicated to their legacy.  Legend has it, that St. Denis, the town’s founder, is buried somewhere on the grounds.

The 1989 movie “Steel Magnolias” was filmed in and around Natchitoches. The story comes from Robert Harling who grew up in Natchitoches and lost his sister to diabetes in 1985. He turned that experience into the iconic stage play “Steel Magnolias,” which was then adapted into the famous film directed by Herbert Ross, starring A-list actors Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Shirley MacLaine, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, and Daryl Hannah. The filming locations are part of the Natchitoches Film Trail, and one of those noteworthy sites is the American Cemetery, where the scene of Shelby’s Funeral was filmed.

Founded in 1714, Natchitoches is the original French Colony and oldest city in Louisiana. 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. More: https://natchitoches.com/

To hear our initial and more in depth interview about The American Cemetery with Scotty (2022), please visit this page on BlendRadioandTV.com


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