Discover the History
Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, a French Canadian and envoy of the French Militia was enroute from Mobile Alabama to Mexico on a trade mission. Due to a massive log jam he could get only so far up the Red River. He then had to make the rest of the journey overland. The area where he landed was occupied by the Natchitoches (nak-a-tish) Indians. St. Denis continued on to Mexico, but the French built a small Military Post in 1714 that became Fort St. Jean Baptiste of Natchitoches, the oldest permanent settlement in the entire Louisiana Purchase Territory.
Hear the Stories
Natchitoches is a “story formed community”, defined culturally by the stories of its people and the legacies they have left us. Coin Coin the enslaved woman, Pierre Metoyer the French plantation master, Suzanne, Augustine and Louis, their children, Cammie Henry a plantation super woman, Clementine Hunter a folk artist. They have all left us a story. And of course, the filming sites of the movie STEEL MAGNOLIAS, a true story of a Natchitoches family.
Cane River Creole National Historical Park tells the story of the Prudhomme family who is the only family to have owned and lived on the Oakland Plantation since the late 1700’s. Every house, every building has its own story.
Savor the Food
Natchitoches talks as much about its food as it does about its scenery or sites. Visitors have a hard time deciding what they want to tell their friends about their visit to Natchitoches. Will it be the Seafood Gumbo, Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya, Red Beans and Rice, Oyster Po-Boys or the famous Natchitoches Meat Pies? All are local specialties.
Meet the People
Past and Present, they all have a history and a legacy.In Natchitoches, cultures met, sometime clashed, but melded into a fascinating people with a rich cultural heritage. Barbara’s grandfather, Francois Dion Duprez d’Herbanne, a French Canadian nine generations back, was posted at the French Fort, Fort St. Jean Baptiste. His commission from King Louis XV of France read “Keeper of the King’s Store House and Paymaster of the Militia”. His descendents are still here in this French Colonial City as are the Native Americans, French Creoles, Cane River Creoles, decendents of the Enslaved Peoples and after 1803 those known as “Americans”. Now we are all proud citizens of an “All American” Community. People greet you on the streets; talk to you in the stores. You will not be a stranger in Natchitoches. Enjoy true Southern hospitality.
What happens in Natchitoches stays not in Natchitoches, but in your heart.