There are many places to visit in Natchitoches, Louisiana. The city is home to a National Historic Landmark district, including French Creole townhouses and the Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile. To the south, the Cane River runs through plantations of the Creole National Historical Park, including Oakland Plantation.
Grand Ecore Visitor Center
Located in the Cane River National Heritage Area, the Grand Ecore Visitor Center in Natchitches, Louisiana, is an excellent place to learn about the history of the area. You’ll be able to explore colonial forts, plantations, cemeteries, and homes that were built in the 18th century. The city was historically located at the intersection of the French and Spanish Realms, and it grew into a prominent trade center of the period. It’s now the primary hub for land trade and a travel and transportation hub for settlers from Texas.
Located on a bluff over the Red River, the Grand Ecore Visitor Center offers cultural and historical exhibits. It also provides helpful information about recreational activities along the waterway. Visitors can find local lodging, boat tours, and more at the center.
The Grand Ecore Visitor Center is an excellent place to learn about the water resources in the region and about the history of the Civil War. You’ll also learn about the role of the Corps of Engineers in protecting the river and the native American cultures in the area. There’s also a walking trail that provides a first-hand view of a Civil War entrenchment.
Cane River National Heritage Trail
If you are traveling in Northwest Louisiana, you’ll want to take in the sights along the Cane River National Heritage Trail. This scenic route is full of historic sites and a spectacular backdrop. Driving along the Cane River, you’ll notice numerous plantations dotting the landscape. However, only three of them are open to the public.
If you are visiting the area, make sure to visit the historic town of Natchitoches. The town is rich with history and is a favorite destination for shopping, culture, and recreation. Founded in 1714, Natchitoches is the oldest town in the Louisiana Purchase territory. It’s also home to the Magnolia and Oakland plantations, which are now part of the Cane River Creole National Historic Park. You’ll find plenty of shopping opportunities in this area, and bed-and-breakfast lovers will love the historic district.
The town’s history is steeped in the history of the region. The Cane River was once a primary channel of the Red River, but it’s now a peaceful oxbow lake bordered by corn and soybean fields, thick sugar cane stands, and pecan orchards. The town’s main street is lined with historic structures, including a circa 1900 bank and St. John’s Catholic Church. There are also several historic tenant homes from the 1880s and 1930s.
Melrose Plantation, built in 1796, is an important part of the history of the area. It was home to the descendants of a former slave named Marie-Therese Coincoin. Her descendants are still living along the Cane River. The town is also home to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the Northwest History Museum.
The Northwest Louisiana History Museum includes displays, photos, and memorabilia from the local sports scene. Over 300 famous Louisiana athletes have been honored in the museum’s displays, including Shaquille O’Neal, Terry Bradshaw, and Karl Malone.
The city of Natchitoches is known for its Creole and Cajun cuisine. The town’s meat pies are legendary. The city hosts a meat pie festival in September. Other festivals take place throughout the year, so you’re sure to find something to enjoy in the city.
Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
If you love sports, you can learn more about Louisiana’s past with a visit to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. It is a museum of sports history located in the historic downtown area of Natchitoches, Louisiana. The hall was officially opened on June 28, 2013 and is free to the public.
This year’s Induction Class includes five former LSU players: Paul Byrd, Walter Davis, Wendell Davis, and Paul Mainieri. This year’s Hall of Fame class also includes 42 College Football Hall of Famers and 25 Pro Football Hall of Famers. The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductees will be honored in July during the 64th Annual Induction Celebration.
In the past, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame has been housed in Northwestern State University’s Prather Coliseum. In 2003, the Louisiana State Museums system decided to create a new museum, and construction began in 2010. The new building was designed by Trahan Architects and was completed in 2013.
The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is located in Natchitoches and is part of the Louisiana State Museums. It is a two-story, 27,500 square-foot building overlooking Cane River Lake in the Historic District of Natchitoches. The Hall of Fame opened its doors to the public during the Hall of Fame induction weekend of 2013.
The Hall of Fame/Museum is housed in the first floor of a new museum that focuses on sports and Louisiana culture. There are color portraits of Hall of Fame members and a large collection of sports memorabilia. The Hall of Fame is also home to a renowned hunting collection donated by Grits Gresham.
The Hall of Fame also recognizes the achievements of a Louisiana athlete who was not inducted into the Hall of Fame. For example, the cross-country team of Episcopal High School won 25 straight state championships in November. Other Louisiana sports hall of famers include Pete Duplechin and Catholic’s Pete Boudreaux.
Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site
If you’re in Louisiana, you might want to visit the Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site in Natchitoches. The site is a replica of a 1716 French fort. The replica is based on original blueprints. The site is open to the public for guided tours.
The site dates back to the French occupation of Natchitoches. The fort was originally built on an island in the Red River. Later, it was moved several times, but it finally settled on the land. After the French lost the French & Indian War, the fort was handed over to the Spanish. The fort was abandoned in 1819. The site now contains a commandant’s house, barracks, a guardhouse, bastions, and a powder magazine.
The fort was built to keep Spanish soldiers from entering French territory. Eventually, it became an important trading center for the Lower Mississippi Valley. The fort was also important for France’s relations with the local Caddo Indian tribe. The tribe formed a communication network with the French and Spanish settlers in the area.
The site is an accurate recreation of a 1732 French fort. It was built to prevent Spanish encroachment from east Texas into French-held Louisiana. The fort was reconstructed in the 1970s using original prints. Besides the fort, it also features a museum, chapel, and commandant’s house.
In 1714, French Canadian Louis Antoine Juchereau de St. Denis was on a trade mission. He encountered a huge logjam. Despite this, he and his crew constructed two huts in a Natchitoches Indian village and became the first European settlement in Louisiana Purchase territory. The settlement grew and thrived until Louis Juchereau de St. Denis died in 1744.