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Best things to do in Natchitoches

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Where in the world: USA  /  Louisiana  /  Natchitoches

Top 15 things to do in Natchitoches

2. Historic District Shopping

Natchitoches Historic District, also known as Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District, is a historic district encompassing the heart of Natchitoches, Louisiana, the oldest permanent European settlement in what is now Louisiana, and the oldest permanent European settlement in the wider geographic area involved in the Louisiana Purchase. It was founded by the French in 1714. "Natchitoches" is pronounced /'nækətəʃ/ (NAK-ə-təsh); the name was for the indigenous people of the area. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1984.
The city of Natchitoches, when founded, was located on the banks at the head of navigation of the Red River in northern Louisiana, roughly midway between Alexandria and Shreveport. It was founded in 1714 by French explorers, who were seeking to firmly establish French claims to the territory against those of New Spain. As such, it eventually developed into a significant trading center, with goods flowing among the French, Spanish, and area Native American tribes. The city's oldest streets are laid out parallel to the river, and the long-distance road network was expanded after French Louisiana was ceded to Spain in 1763. The city remained an important regional trading center until the second quarter of the 19th century, when the Red River's course shifted eastward, leaving the downtown flanking the old channel, now known as the Cane River. This put an end to major development in the city, and helped preserve much of its 18th-century character.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Historic District Shopping

3. Cane River National Heritage Trail

Cane River National Heritage Area in northwestern Louisiana is a largely rural, agricultural landscape known for its historic plantations, Creole architecture and multicultural legacy. Historically, this 116,000-acre region lay at the intersection of French and Spanish colonial realms. Today it is home to a unique blend of cultures, including French, Spanish, African, American Indian and Creole.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Cane River National Heritage Trail
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4. Fort St. Jean Baptiste

Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, or Fort des Natchitoches, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA, is a replica of an early French fort based upon the original blueprints of 1716 by Sieur Charles Claude Dutisné and company. The settlement which became the town of Natchitoches was founded in 1714 by French Canadian Louis Antoine Juchereau de St. Denis as the first permanent European settlement in the lands later encompassed by the Louisiana Purchase. In 1722, Juchereau de St. Denis in 1722 became commandant of Fort St. Jean Baptiste des Natchitoches. The fort was devised as a trading and military outpost to counter any Spanish incursions into French territory. Soon it became a center of economic significance, particularly with neighboring Caddo tribes.After 1764, Fort St. Jean was abandoned, with the transfer of Louisiana (New France) to Spain. It was rebuilt, but its actual location is unknown.Today Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site is a point of interest within the Cane River National Heritage Area. It is also host to living history re-enactments of what Life in the fort was like in the 1750s
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Fort St. Jean Baptiste

5. Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum

Stay up-to-date with all of the latest news on Louisiana's greatest athletes from past and present generations! From inductions, awards and recognitions, the LSHOF aspires to ensure that the state's greatest athletes will be remembered for their impact on his or her sport.

Stay tuned to the LSHOF Facebook page for links to news articles, videos, interviews, trivia questions with the chance to win prizes, and all other information regarding Louisiana sports and athletes!
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum

6. American Cemetery

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about American Cemetery

7. The Minor Basilica Of The Immaculate Conception

The Pope's Church in Natchitoches. Dedicated to excellence in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy and the Instruction of all those seeking the Truth.

A Minor Basilica exists to be a source of special grace in a community and in the the broader region. It's two purposes are to educate the faithful, especially as regards the teachings of the Popes, and to celebrate the Sacred Liturgy with excellence, reverence and evangelical fervor. We also sponsor the only Catholic school in the region, St. Mary's School.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about The Minor Basilica Of The Immaculate Conception

9. Prudhomme-Rouquier House

Architectural details uncovered during restoration indicate the Prud'homme-Rouquier Home was built in 1806. It is located on property belonging to Francois Rouquier of North Carolina, acquired through a Spanish land grant between 1764 and 1800. In 1778, Rouquier married Marie Louise Prud'homme, daugher of Jean Baptiste Prud'homme, "Doctor of the King", and an important figure in Natchitoches history. Francois Rouquier was a very wealthy landowner, and his home was considered a showplace of its time, containing more elaborate architectural details than other structures in the area.

After Rouquier's death in 1811, the home was sold to his daughter, Marie Louise Henrietta Rouquier, and her husband, Judge John C. Carr, a wealthy plantation owner and prominent citizen. During the decade following 1835, they extensively remodeled the house. The staircase and more ornate wood molding throughout were probably added at that time.

The League restored the house to this 1825 to 1840 period, the earliest documented period of architectural significance. Extreme care has been taken to preserve all original architectural details, including the cypress doors throughout. The pegged cypress beams and exposed bousillage designate the structure of the walls in the rear rooms.

The Prud'homme-Rouquier House was purchased by the League in 1976. The major restoration of the home is possible with several sources of funding. The service oriented organization has initiated a major fundraising campaign to solicit individuals, businesses and corporations for contributions. Additionally, several grants have been awarded from local, state, and national sources. Among them is the prestigious Save America's Treasures Historic Preservation Fund, through the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Save America's Treasures is a public-private initiative between the White House Millennium Council, the National Park Service and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Matching funds for grants are obtained from the sale of the League's award winning cookbooks, Cane River Cuisine and Louisiana Living.

Originally the house consisted of two main rooms and a central hall with front and rear galleries on each of the two floors. A cook-house and carriage-house were located behind the main house. As part of the restoration, the League erected a rear wall enclosing the galleries to provide more interior space.

This beautiful national treasure has also been the venue of many wonderful occasions: weddings, anniversaries, conferences, parties and more parties. We hope that you will consider our beautiful House for your next very special occasion!
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Prudhomme-Rouquier House

10. National Fish Hatchery & Aquarium

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about National Fish Hatchery & Aquarium

11. Alexandria Zoological Park, Alexandria

The Alexandria Zoological Park is a 33-acre (13 ha) zoo located in Alexandria, Louisiana, United States. First opened to the public in 1926, it is owned by the City of Alexandria and operated by the Division of Public Works. It is home to about 500 animals.
The zoo was started in 1926 in Bringhurst Park as a row of cages. When the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) threatened to close the zoo in the 1960s, the city created the committee that is now Friends of the Alexandria Zoo (FOTAZ), the support organization for the zoo.

The zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and takes part in about 20 Species Survival Plans (SSP).

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Alexandria Zoological Park

12. Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge, Monroe

Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of five refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuge Complex and one of 545 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. It was established in 1997 through a unique partnership with the city of Monroe, Louisiana. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a free 99-year lease to manage the city-owned lake.

Suggested duration: 8 hours
Learn more about Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge

13. Los Adaes State Historic Site

The mission of Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc (CRNHA). is to engage in community partnerships to fulfill our mission to preserve and promote the historic character and sustainability of the Cane River National Heritage Area region.

This is done through our vision to implement programs that engage community partnerships and provide leadership in heritage tourism, cultural resource management, and planning.

We have put that into practice at Los Adaes State Historic Site by entering into a collaborative agreement with the Los Adaes Foundation and Louisiana State Parks to reopen the site with new interpretive and educational programming as of the Spring of 2017. CRNHA, now offers scheduled interpretive programming, School and Group Tours, and is developing and implementing new exhibits and visitor infrastructure to help present the rich Spanish, Native, and American history which resides at Los Adaes.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Learn more about Los Adaes State Historic Site

14. Biedenharn Museum & Gardens, Monroe

The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens is a home museum and botanical garden located beside the Ouachita River at 2006 Riverside Drive in Monroe in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, United States. It has three exhibits: the historic home and botanical gardens, Coca-Cola museum, and Bible museum.
The Coca-Cola Museum opened in 2008 and holds Coca-Cola memorabilia and historical items. Emma Louise Biedenharn collected bibles and religious artwork and gardened, leading to the establishment of the Bible museum and botanical gardens.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Biedenharn Museum & Gardens

15. Kent Plantation House, Alexandria

Kent Plantation House is the oldest standing structure in Central Louisiana. Listed since 1971 in the National Register of Historic Places, Kent House is located in Alexandria in Rapides Parish. The plantation house is a representation of southern plantation life between 1795 and 1855. The main structure was erected in 1800 with the labor of people enslaved by Pierre Baillio. The bousillage Creole house and restored period outbuildings are now a showcase for tourists.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about Kent Plantation House

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