Natchitoches the original French Colony in Louisiana retains its European flavor through its architecture, heritage and lifestyle. At the heart of this National Historic Landmark District lies Front Street, a brick thoroughfare where wrought iron balconies, restaurants and shops face the beautiful Cane River Lake. The City of Natchitoches was established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, making it the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory. The French settlement had two purposes; to establish trade with the Spanish in Texas, and at the same time, to deter Spanish advances into Louisiana. Natchitoches soon became a flourishing river port and crossroads, giving rise to vast cotton kingdoms along the river. Planters built magnificent plantations down river and built fine homes in town for social events.

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The City’s Historic Landmark District, which fronts Cane River Lake and encompasses a 33-block area, includes many historic homes, churches and commercial structures. A mixture of Queen Anne and Victorian architecture, along with Creole style cottages can be seen throughout the district.

Whether for a weekend or a lifetime, you’ll enjoy everything Natchitoches has to offer. The natural sensations of a clear, fresh southern morning of an invitation to life like no other.

Particularly when it’s drawn in the heart of the southland. Here, in a area steeped with tradition, sunrise signals the awakening of a particularly unique community spirit. A spirit that embraced people and potential with a quality of life unmatched in America.

Explore Natchitoches, the original French Colony in Louisiana, with its perfect blend of heritage, tradition, culture, natural resources and innovation and discover why Natchitoches has been the destination of travelers and

Steel Magnolias the movie is based on a true story. Filmed entirely in Natchitoches and released in 1989. This enduring movie for all ages is now a classic. Writer, Robert Harling, Jr., is a native and resident of Natchitoches.

National Historic Landmark District, only one outside of the Vieux Carre in New Orleans

Shopping, Antiques & Kaffie-Frederick Mercantile established 1863. Oldest continuously operated business in Natchitoches.

Museums, Historic Homes, Restaurants

Art Galleries & walking tours.

The Dozen Distinctive Destinations list recognizes communities that offer enjoyable and often unique recreational and cultural experiences for visitors. Destinations are chosen by the National Historic Trust for Preservation because their historic sites, scenic and cultural attractions, and commitment to preservation will appeal to travelers seeking an off-the-beaten-path getaway.

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