|The Bishop Martin house, which sits across from the church and a block from the courthouse, was built in the 1850s.
|Links about and around Natchitoches
Cane River Heritage Area
City of Natchitoches
|Natchitoches: Pronounced Naka-dish
|Whenever you visit a town, always try to get away from the Main Street - it
pays off to wander. I found this brick building, with iron shutter doors and
French iron work along a side street off of Front Street. I don't know much
about the building, but it definitely stood out as vintage Natchitoches
|If Front Street looks familiar, that might be because you've seen the famous
movie Steel Magnolias, which was filmed in Natchitoches. The author of the
play lives in a restored Creole plantation house along the Cane River Lake.
|How to get there
Natchitoches is about an hour south of Shreveport on
Louisiana State Highway 1, or US Interstate 49. It also sits
directly on the Camino Real, the ancient Spanish Colonial
Road, which parallels LA 6.
|Questions or comments?
|The American Cemetery is one of Louisiana's oldest graveyards. It
sits on the original site of Fort St. Jean Baptiste, which burned in
an Indian raid. After the fort was rebuilt, the old site became the
city's burial ground for non-Catholics, fallen Catholics, and
Anglos. Soon, however, most "movers and shakers" of
Natchitoches were buried at the cemetery, including Dr. John
Sibley (first Caddoan Indian Agent, grave pictured), members of
the prominent Prudhomme and Metoyer families, and several men
who fought on the American side in the revolutionary war.
|The oldest grave in the American Cemetery is that of a French noble woman
who, for reasons known only to her confessor, left her home country to seek
opportunity in the New World.
|This now-defunct rooming house, remnant of segregated
Natchitoches, exists just west of downtown on 5th Street.
|This 1927 Texas & Pacific Depot is on the National Register of
Historic Places. The local historical society is currently restoring it.
|The Church of the Immaculate Conception was built in the 1850s, though
the dome was completed in the 1890s.
|I guess it doesn't matter if you're the founder of the oldest town in
Louisiana or not - when development comes, it'll be built right on
top of you. Louis Jucherau de St. Denis, the intrepid
French-Canadian explorer, trader, governor, and original French
patent holder for Natchitoches, was buried in a crypt inside the
city's original Catholic church. When the church burnt, St. Denis
remained buried, and the downtown area expanded on top of him.
According to lore, St. Denis' new eternal home lies beneath this
pub (circled) at the corner of Church and Front Streets.*
* Not sure if this information is accurate, though, as St. Denis died
in 1744 and the basilica at Church & Front Street was built during
the 1780s. But it's a good story!
|Natchitoches is the "jewel" of the Cane River Creole National Historic
Area, as the city served as the center of the French and Spanish
Louisiana life for almost a century. After the Americans purchased
Louisiana in 1803, cotton became the region's staple crop, and the
American plantation system merged with the Creole culture to form
unique homes and lifestyles. Oakland (pictured here), Melrose, and
Magnolia plantations have been preserved through the efforts of families,
historical societies, parish officials, and the National Park System.