Celebrate Fall in Historic Downtown Natchitoches, LA


Explore 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. 


On this episode of Big Blend Radio, hear about Nancy & Lisa’s Love Your Parks Tour visit to Natchitoches, the oldest city in Louisiana that’s home to the Cane River National Heritage Area. 



Ten 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! 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 13th Annual Natchitoches Car Show. Held Oct. 4-5, 2019, The event features a poker run, fish fry with live music, a car show in downtown, and even more live music.

– 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. 11 is the American Cemetery Tour 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. 12-13, 2019, this popular event features themed tours of historic Natchitoches homes, buildings, and plantations.

– 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. On Nov. 7-10, celebrates Steel Magnolias 30th Anniversary with the Blush & Bashful Weekend.

– 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 93rd Annual Christmas Festival of Lights. Held from Nov. 23-Jan. 6, 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 93rd 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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