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A Cultural Journey

For nearly 300 years, Natchitoches has been welcoming visitors to the heart of the Cane River region. Its history is also the story of the development of our nation, of the challenges and successes of democracy and of ever evolving American values.

With its picturesque location on the banks of the 36-mile long Cane River, Natchitoches was established in 1714 and is the oldest permanent settlement within the territory of the Louisiana Purchase. Named for the Caddo Indian tribe that lived in a nearby village, Natchitoches was originally founded as a French outpost on the Red River for trade with Spanish controlled Mexico.

Today, Creole townhouses and other centuries-old buildings comprise Natchitoches’ 33-block National Historic Landmark District, one of only three such districts in the state of Louisiana. The district is anchored by Front Street, paved with weathered brick and lined with wrought-iron-laced buildings, stately Live Oaks, Magnolia trees, shops and restaurants.

The City’s Historic District is located within Cane River National Heritage Area, a region known for historic landscapes, Creole architecture, and multi-cultural legacy. Historically, this region lay at the boundary of French and Spanish realms in the New World. Today, it is home to a unique blend of cultures, including French, Spanish, African, American Indian, Creole and American.

Located within the National Heritage Area is the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, comprised of Oakland Plantation, the most complete Creole plantation in the South, and the outbuildings at Magnolia Plantation. These outbuildings include the plantation store, the quarters, the overseer’s house, the blacksmith shop, and the cotton press, which tell the stories of the working life of a plantation.


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