Natchitoches City Hall
Natchitoches ( ) is a city
in and the parish seat of Natchitoches
Parish, Louisiana, United
Memory Lawn Cemetery in Natchitoches
Established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis
part of French Louisiana
community was named after the Natchitoches Indian tribe. The City
of Natchitoches was first incorporated on February 5, 1819. It is
the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase
. Natchitoches's sister
city is Nacogdoches,
The population was 17,865 at the 2000 census
. It is the home of
State University, founding as a normal
school in 1884.
Natchitoches is the principal city of the Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area
which includes all of Natchitoches Parish.
Natchitoches was established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis
It is the oldest permanent settlement within the borders of the
1803 Louisiana Purchase
Natchitoches was founded as a French outpost
on the Red River for trade with Spanish-controlled Mexico, with the
French presence beginning as early as 1699.
site was established near a village of Natchitoches Indians
which give the
city its name.
Louisiana Purchase, Natchitoches experienced a population boom, and
several plantations were built along the
However, the course of the river shifted,
bypassing Natchitoches and cutting off its lucrative connection
with the Mississippi River. A lake was left in the river's previous
known as Cane River
The lake runs through the city’s downtown
historic district and Plantation Country. It serves as the
spring break training location for numerous crew teams, such as Kansas State
University, University of Kansas, Wichita State University, Murray State University, and Washington University.
Natchitoches was the site of the 1973 plane crash that claimed the
life of singer Jim
. Croce had just performed a concert on campus
for Northwestern State University students at Prather Coliseum but
was killed less than an hour later in a plane crash headed to
pilot was unable to climb over a pecan tree, possibly due to a
fatal heart attack
since he had
the cartoonist and historian Pap Dean
published Historic Natchitoches: Beauty of the Cane, a
study of the history, people, and attractions of the historic city,
considered the first or second oldest in the state, with Harrisonburg, the seat of Catahoula Parish, being the other original settlement.
Natchitoches is located at (31.754123, -93.095085) and has an
elevation of .
According to the United
States Census Bureau
, the city has a total area of
25.1 square miles (65.1 km²), of which, 21.6 square
miles (55.8 km²) of it is land and 3.6 square miles
(9.2 km²) of it (14.21%) is water.
lake was formed from a portion of the Red
River when it changed course, which is now known as
Natchitoches is located about:
- Alexandria 50 Miles
- Shreveport 70 Miles
- New Orleans, LA 250 Miles
- Houston, TX 230 Miles
- Dallas, TX 255 Miles
- Little Rock, AR 260 Miles
- Jackson, MS 230 Miles
- Monroe, Louisiana 109 Miles
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 435 Miles
Soils in this area are a combination of leaf mold and red clays,
sand and sediments. The area is part of the Chestnut Salt
Weather-wise, Natchitoches lies in a
boundary region that separates the plains of Texas from the
consistently humid Gulf Coast.
This gives Natchitoches summers a heavy dose of both heat and
humidity. Winters in Natchitoches are relatively mild, with
measurable snowfall once every 5–10 years.Natchitoches averages of
rain per year. The City is also in the area of producing severe
thunderstorms, hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes Natchitoches has
installed some Whelen Sirens
City Bank and Trust Company is one of several financial
institutions in downtown Natchitoches.
In the 1970s, Natchitoches experienced an economic downturn that
resulted in a sixty-five percent vacancy in the commercial
district. However, because of efforts to revitalize the city,
vacancy is now about 1 percent.
of Natchitoches—a river port on the Red
River--is located off of the east bound part of U.S. Route
just outside Natchitoches. The port exports lumber from
stockyards onsite, as Forestry
is a large
industry in the area as well.
Regional Airport serves cities (via FBO) such as Baton Rouge,
Dallas, Houston, Little Rock, New Orleans, Monroe, and
Shreveport. It is also adjacent to Northwestern
State University; together they offer state-of-the-art flight
Currently the airport is being renovated to become
one of the country's most advanced non-towered airports.
The Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery is also based here. They
handle over 6 species of fish and other wildlife.
The city has to do little to promote its tourism industry, which
brings a host of business during the holiday seasons of Christmas
. The Natchitoches Christmas
is a well known celebration of the holidays for
Since completion of Interstate 49
many business have either moved or have been built outside the
city's central area. Gas stations and hotels have developed in this
area and serve many of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival
Pecans are a staple of the area with a pecan orchard located on the
old Little Eva Plantation.
Natchitoches is an economic hub for the entire parish of the same
In 1998, Natchitoches was named one of the top six places in the
United States to retire by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Natchitoches is the home of the oldest general store
in Louisiana, the still
operating Kaffie-Frederick, Inc., General Mercantile, located on
Front Street. The store was co-founded by an ancestor of
Alexandria businessman and former city commissioner Arnold
Sign detailing background of Church of the Immaculate Conception in
The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Natchitoches is located
across from the old Courthouse Museum.
Overall look at the riverwalk
Restored Fort Saint Jean Baptiste museum on Jefferson Street in
Lasoyne's Meat Pie Restaurant
is located near the Natchitoches City Hall.
Antoon's Restaurant is located on the Cane River across from the
Bank of Montgomery in Natchitoches.
Downtown Natchitoches with historic buildings, stores, and shops,
maintains brick streets.
Natchitoches Riverwalk facing
up to Front Street
Natchitoches Arts Center on
Second Street near City Hall
Construction is underway in Natchitoches on the Louisiana Museum
and Sports Hall of Fame.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 17,865
people, 6,113 households, and 3,631 families residing in the city.
The population density
people per square mile (319.9/km²). There were 6,731 housing units
at an average density of 312.2/sq mi (120.5/km²). The racial
makeup of the city was 43.72% White
, 53.00% African American
, 0.02% Pacific Islander
, 0.68% from
, and 1.09%
from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race was 1.30% of the
There were 6,113 households out of which 30.4% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 34.3% were married couples
living together, 21.5% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 40.6% were non-families.
30.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.18.
In the city the population was spread out with 23.6% under the age
of 18, 27.2% from 18 to 24, 21.8% from 25 to 44, 16.0% from 45 to
64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was
24.5 years. For every 100 females there were 85.0 males. For every
100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.2 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $23,111, and the
median income for a family was $30,396. Males had a median income
of $28,601 versus $17,859 for females. The per capita income
for the city was
$12,642. About 26.7% of families and 34.8% of the population were
below the poverty line
, including 45.0%
of those under age 18 and 19.2% of those age 65 or over.
The Natchitoches Meat Pie is one of the official state foods of
Louisiana. It is known as a regional delicacy of North Louisiana.
(See List of U.S. state foods.)
Natchitoches has long been known for its popular Christmas lighting
festival which is held the first Saturday in December. The lights
continue to brighten the Cane River
after New Year's Day. In 2009 the festival celebrated its 83rd
Several motion pictures have been filmed in Natchitoches, including
Man in the Moon
, The Horse
's The Year Without a
, The American Standard
, as well as a
Lifetime Television's series Scarlett
Though Natchitoches has few multi-story buildings, it has retained
much of its historic European-style architecture. The city is a
mesh of wrought iron
and red brick
The city still has one of the original brick streets (Front Street)
which the historical society protects from alterations. The city of
Natchitoches recently completed a restoration project to repair the
century plus old brick Front Street. During this process workers
removed each brick one by one, numbered them, cleaned them, and
then replaced them after utilities, drainage, and foundation were
Cane River National
Heritage Area is a 116,000-acre area which includes many sites
such as Oakland Plantation, Melrose Plantation, Badin-Roque
House, Magnolia Plantation, Kate Chopin
House, Cherokee Plantation, Cane River Heritage Scenic Byway,
Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, National Historic Landmark
District (Old Courthouse Museum, Bishop Martin Museum, Landmarks in
Time Exhibit), and the Los
Adaes State Historic Site.
Because of this richness of
culture, the area is one of the destinations on the Louisiana African
American Heritage Trail
newly designated by the state.
Natchitoches, a popular tourism area of the state, is equipped to
serve visitors with eleven national chain hotels, and nearly fifty
bed and breakfast inns, including the Steel
Natchitoches attracts over one million visitors annually. The city
is known as a retiree-friendly city. In 2006 Natchitoches was
awarded the Great
American Main Street Award
for the effort the community has put
into revitalizing and restoring much of the historic
The Natchitoches meat pie
regional dish from northern Louisiana. It is one of the official
state foods of Louisiana.
The city's tourism center is the downtown river walk. This includes
Front Street, which becomes Jefferson at the Northwestern State
University end. Front Street is the jewel of the city. It overlooks
the river walk and is bordered by an assortment of shops and
boutiques. The city has identified this area as the Historical
District. The Historical Society
maintains the area through regulations on changes and restorations.
Natchitoches has a mini "Walk of Fame" located in the Historical District
of the city.
While visiting the area, tourists may notice many unusual
structures; these are many of the Natchitoches Christmas
lights. The city recently built a small Convention
center located on Second Street, which holds many city
The Bayou Pierre Alligator
is a major tourist attraction where tourists may feed the
alligators, and dine and shop. The park also teaches school
children how to respect nature and the conservation of nature
through its many habitats.
Natchitoches is also home to a branch of the Kisatchie National
Forest, a project promoted by the naturalist Caroline Dormon
to preserve regional natural
Opened December 2005, the Natchitoches Events Center
National Historic Landmark District
. Located at 750 Second
Street. The facility boasts a meeting facility, a exhibit hall with
three meeting rooms, a board room and full-size catering
- Fireworks (1st at 12:00 AM)
- Mardi Gras Parade
- Mardi Gras Magic Festival
- Blooming on the Bricks Festival
- Art Along the Bricks Festival
- Ashland Spring Festival - Ashland
- Sacred Places Tour
- Brown Bag Concerts
- Steak & Burger- benefiting local Boys & Girls Club
- Jazz/R&B Festival
- Rebel State Spring Festival
- American Cemetery Tour
- State Historic Area
- Brown Bag Concerts
- Green Market Festival
- Cane River Festival
- Brown Bag Concerts
- Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival
- Cane River Green Market
- Natchez Heritage Festival - Natchez
- Cane River Green Market
- Celebration on the Cane
- Natchitoches / NSU Folk Festival
- Fourth Of July Fireworks
- Cane River Zydeco Festival
- Marthaville Good Ole Days
- Meat Pie Festival & Triathlon
- Boogie on the Bricks - Follows every NSU home game
- River Run- Motorcycle poker run sponsored by Indepenent
Motorcycle Riders Association benefiting local Boys & Girls
- Annual Natchitoches Pilgrimage
- Smokin’ on the Red
- Witch Way to Main Street
- Boogie on the Bricks
- Celebrity Chef- featuring native cruisine, local eateries and
LA chefs, benefiting local Boys & Girls Club
- Marathon Rowing
- Festival of Lights (Premiere of the Natchitoches Christmas
Festival lights.) (Fest. Est. 1927)
- Holiday Open House
- Fireworks Every Saturday Night
- Barge Parade
- Christmas Festival
- Holiday Tour of Homes
- “Fete Hiver”
- Christmas in the Park - Rebel State Historic Area
- New Year's Eve
Health care and medicine
Regional Medical Center
is a 78-bed facility that includes 45
medical/surgical beds and a 112-bed skilled nursing
home.Rehabilitation treatment is at the PRISM Center for physical,
occupational and speech therapy, sports medicine, industrial
medicine, wound care and more.
Colleges and universities
The Northwestern Campus is also home to the Louisiana Scholars' College
state's designated honors college for the study of the liberal arts
NCPTT | National Center for Preservation Technology and
Primary and secondary schools
operates many public schools. They include:
Central High School
- NSU Middle Laboratory School
- Weaver Elementary
- East Natchitoches Elementary
- George L. Parks Elementary
- L.P. Vaughn Elementary
- Natchitoches Magnet School
St. Mary's High School is in Natchitoches.
Parish Library (Matt DeFord art display on the second
and third floors, an art exhibit in the
back entrance foyer from the Natchitoches Art Guild
- Cammie G. Henry Research Center (Louisiana Books, rare books, NSU Archives, microfims, maps, oral history tapes, archival
- Natchitoches Genealogy
Library ( French records
dating from 1776, conveyances, mortgages, marriages.
Census records from 1820 to 1920. International Genealogical
Index (IGI) records Natchitoches Times microfilm records from
March 1903 to October 1996.
Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts
The Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts was named a
Public Elite by Newsweek. * See Article
The State of Louisiana administers to the
School for Math, Science, and the Arts
. The Louisiana
School for Math, Science, and the Arts
, a boarding school for
academically gifted high school students from Louisiana, is located
in Natchitoches on the campus of Northwestern State University of
- Victor Bussie, president of the
Louisiana AFL-CIO from 1956-1997, was born
near Natchitoches in 1919.
- Kate Chopin, a short story writer
and novelist, managed a plantation in Cloutierville south of
Natchitoches in the late 19th century for a time after the death of
- George Doherty was a former
professional football player who
was the head coach of the Northwestern State University Demons from
1972-1974. The athletic offices are named in his honor.
- Sylvan Friedman, a farmer and rancher was a
member of the Natchitoches Parish Police Jury from 1932-1944, the
state House of Representatives from 1944-1952, and the Louisiana
State Senate from 1952-1972. NSU named its student union building
in his honor.
Harling, a playwright and Hollywood screenwriter (born 1951), is a Natchitoches
native. His Steel
Magnolias is based on the life and death of his sister.
Harling has also written First Wives Club, Evening
Star, and Laws of Attraction.
- Rickey L. Nowlin and Gerald Long are the first Republicans
to represent Natchitoches Parish in the Louisiana House and
Louisiana Senate since Reconstruction. They
assumed their legislative seats on January 14, 2008. In 2007,
Nowlin defeated Joe Sampite, a Democrat
who served as mayor of Natchitoches from
1980-2000, for the right to succeed Representative Taylor Townsend, who failed in a Senate race
against Gerald Long.
- W. Ray
Scott (1923-2008) served as mayor of Natchitoches from
1960-1976, during which time he worked to expand and procure
university status for Northwestern State University. He also
expanded the city water supply from Sibley Lake.
- Thomas Taylor
Townsend (born 1963). an attorney, served as the Natchitoches
Parish state representative from 2000-2008.
- Arthur C. Watson (1909-1984) was a Natchitoches
attorney who served in the state House of Representatives from
1940-1944 and later as chairman of the Louisiana Democratic State
Joe Dumars http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Dumars
Rex Reed http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rex_Reed
Joanna Cassidy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joanna_Cassidy
The Steel Magnolias Bed and Breakfast on Jefferson Street is among
some fifty such lodgings in Natchitoches.
Natchitoches received numerous New Orleans evacuees due to Hurricane Katrina. Many college students
Orleans were transferred to Northwestern
State University to continue their education.
The Violet Hill Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches
here, starring Julia Roberts
, Sally Field
, Shirley MacLaine
, and Olympia Dukakis
, and The Horse Soldiers
and John Wayne
In 1973, singer-songwriter Jim Croce
killed when his plane crashed as he was leaving the city.
Natchitoches, LA Gas Pipeline Explosion, Mar 1965 |
3. Visitor's Guide of Natchitoches, Louisiana