History & Heritage in Natchitoches Louisiana
One facet of Louisiana that makes it such an appealing visitor destination is its deep and colorful history. European explorers found their way to the region and inhabited the area very early relative to settlement of much of the rest of the continent. As a result, some communities in Louisiana are among the oldest in the United States. Before those explorers arrived, of course, people we now know as Native Americans populated the region. Reaching still farther back in time, ancient peoples left their mark on the area thousands of years ago. The state of Louisiana offers many ways to explore the region’s rich history, in hundreds of museums, historic structures, landmarks, artifacts and works of art. The careful preservation and restoration of these sites and artifacts has created many rare opportunities for visitors to experience Louisiana’s history and gain insights into the diverse cultures that continue to influence the state today.
The City of Natchitoches is the heart of Natchitoches Parish. Founded in 1714 the site was established near a village of Natchitoches Indians. As the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase territory, its history is also a story of the development of our nation.
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.
People settled in the Natchitoches area in large numbers after the Louisiana Purchase. Eventually, however, the river changed its course, bypassing Natchitoches. What was once known as the Red River is now Cane River Lake.
Nationally recognized as a Preserve America Community, a Distinctive Destination and a Great American Main Street, Natchitoches is a genuine heritage destination.