Celebrate Fall in Historic Downtown Natchitoches, LA


Explore Louisiana’s Oldest City


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Arlene Gould – Director of the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Jill Leto – Director of Promotions & Events – Natchitoches Historic District Business Association and Natchitoches Main Street, discuss the fall and upcoming Christmas events and activities in downtown Natchitoches. Listen here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, PodBean, SoundCloud, or Facebook.

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! Don’t miss the Annual Natchitoches Meat Pie Festival held Sept. 16-17 in downtown Natchitoches.

Start your holiday shopping! Established in 1863, Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile 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! The Art Guild is another downtown highlight and is a unique shopping destination, along with the other antique shops and boutique stores.

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 Annual Natchitoches Car Show. Held Sept. 30-Oct 1, 2022, more than 400 classic cars line the streets of Downtown Natchitoches, plus there’s food, live music, shopping, dancing, and kids’ activities.

Explore the historic American Cemetery. 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. Free cemetery tours are held on Sept. 2, Oct 7, and Nov 4, 2022 at 11:30am.

– 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.

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.

Cruise beautiful Cane River Lake aboard the new Cane River Queen, a wonderful experience for the whole family!

– Celebrate Christmas at the 96th Annual Christmas Festival of Lights. Held from November 19th, 2022 – January 6th, 2023, this 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 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.



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