"Oldest Settlement in the Lousiana Purchase" Top 5 Page for this destination Natchitoches by atufft

Natchitoches Travel Guide: 80 reviews and 160 photos

Rich in History and Restored for the Visitor

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. The nearby newer Natchitoches isn't much of a gem for tourists, but the old town is worth a day or two, and the lake area recreation could be worth much longer. We boarded up in a Super 8 Motel, but there are many fine old houses that serve as bed and breakfast retreats for those wanting romatic luxury. The shops and waterfront area are a pleasant stroll for half a day.

Lights along the waterfront

From Christmas to New Year the Cane River waterfront is lit up with many local contributions. Unfortunately, we found a lot of businesses closed for the holiday. But, there is a concession down at the waterfront with long hours that sells a power sugar covered confection known as a waffle cone. It's actually flat and very warm and nice to eat for dessert. The concession also sells local Louisiana dishes to-go. Rental of paddle boats during the day may be a pleasant way to tour the river, although the city also has horse carriage rides that tour the old town.

Right on the water front...

An original Louisiana creole style home was moved to the water front, providing a glimpse in the early period of the city's settlement, and nearby is a reconstructed fort. The home used in the film Steel Magnolias is also here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Pleasant northern Louisiana town to stay in
  • Cons:Businesses close on Holidays when tourists are in town
  • In a nutshell:Has a rich history and provides a good base for further exploration
  • Last visit to Natchitoches: Jan 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (16)

Comments (8)

  • ffpulley77's Profile Photo
    Jan 30, 2010 at 8:39 PM

    Chuckwagon closed down in December of '09. But it was good while it lasted.

  • Jul 9, 2009 at 7:37 AM

    Tragically the Kate Chopin House burned recently with almost all of the historical artifacts lost.

  • Camping_Girl's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2008 at 8:21 PM


  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    May 3, 2008 at 10:10 PM

    Historic place with the plantation tours. I remember Hilary was chided for using the word "plantation". Nice well written page.

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Jan 25, 2008 at 10:05 PM

    Thanks for pointing me in this direction - I have to confess I've not heard of Kate Chopin but the plantations reminded me of those I visited when last in New Orleans. leyle

  • calcaf38's Profile Photo
    Oct 10, 2006 at 4:17 PM

    Ola Alan: I just took a goofy online test: findyourspot.com, and it recommended Natchitoches as THE spot for me! I'd never heard of it... and you, my buddy, have a dynamite page for it! Small world.

  • Barbie2138's Profile Photo
    May 20, 2006 at 7:17 AM

    Thanks for that pic of Kate Chopin's home. As an English teacher, it's always a treat to get a glimpse of the authors we teach and read about in the classroom. Looks like old Kate had quite a few "Benjamins."

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Feb 4, 2006 at 10:03 PM

    Thanks for the info! We eat in Nackaditch every Christmas Eve!


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