Natchitoches, Louisiana




The local insider scoop on Big Blend Radio, on what it’s like to live, work and play in Natchitoches, the oldest city in Louisiana. Featured locals include: Arlene Gould – Executive Director of Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, Randy Ziegler – The Landing Restaurant & Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission, Corey Poole – Editor of Natchitoches Parish Journal, and musician Ed Huey.


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.

Natchitoches is home to the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, is part of the Cane River National Heritage Area, and is at the end of El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail. Centrally located in Natchitoches Parish, this historic city is just 145 miles from Poverty Point National Monument, 120 miles from the Atchafalaya National Heritage Area, and 275 miles from New Orleans, which is home to Jean Lafitte National Historical Park & Preserve and New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park. Natchitoches is just and 255 miles from Dallas, Texas and 290 miles from Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Cane River National Heritage Area encompasses the charming downtown Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District, Cane River Creole National Historical Park, as well as the Cane River National Heritage Trail, a Louisiana Scenic Byway that runs along Cane River Lake, and links to the Isle Brevelle Trail and El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail, with Longleaf Trail and Kisatchie National Forest on the outskirts. Along with Cane River National Historical Park, another popular historic site to visit is Melrose Plantation. Built in 1796, Melrose Plantation is a National Historic Landmark, and shares the story of slave Marie Thérèse Coincoin and her ten Franco-African children with Thomas Pierre Metoyer, as well as the Isle Brevelle Creole community, the Civil War, plantation history, and Louisiana folk art.

The downtown National Historic Landmark District area runs along the banks of Cane River Lake, and features historic sites and buildings, museums, art galleries, specialty boutique shops, restaurants and Bed & Breakfast Inns. Of movie history interest, 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.

Noteworthy Natchitoches Parish sites include: Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, Northwest Louisiana History Museum, Kisatchie National Forest, St. Augustine Catholic Church & Cemetery, NSU Creole Heritage Center and The Williamson Museum at the Northwestern State University Campus, historic Kaffie Frederick General Mercantile – the oldest general store in Louisiana, and Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant – famous for their meat pies!  

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

visitor bureaus, chamber of commerce, national park travel information, tour operators, tours, roadside help
Attractions and activities near to National Parks and public lands.

Restaurants, bars, clubs, gourmet food, coffee shops, eateries that are near to National Parks & Public Lands.
hotels, motels, campgrounds, RV parks, where to stay in national parks
Shopping in and around National Parks and public lands

Natchitoches, LA

State Travel Guide Visit Link Here
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About the Author:

In summer 2014, Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith visited Natchitoches and Cane River Creole National Historical Park, as part of the Big Blend Spirit of America Tour, their quest to visit and cover all 400+ national park units. Nancy and Lisa are a mother-daughter travel, radio and publishing team who publish Big Blend Radio & TV Magazine and Spirit of America Magazine, and produce Big Blend Radio and videos. Their recommendations for lodging include Natchitoches Hampton Inn and Sweet Cane Inn; restaurants include Lasyone’s Meat Pie Restaurant, Maglieaux’s on the Cane, and Grayson’s Barbecue; and shopping, Kaffie Frederick General Mercantile.

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