Natchitoches was founded in 1715 as part of French Louisiana. It was named after the local Indian tribe and is the oldest permanent settlement in Louisiana. It was founded as a French outpost on the Red River. Once a popular stop along the Red River, it lost its importance after the Red River changed course, bypassing this town. But the remains of many plantations still remain along the Cane River National Heritage Trail, leaving behind its legacy.
Just 12 miles away, across the border in Texas, is its sister city, Nacogdoches. Following the Lousiana Purchase and during the immigration boom of Texas (when it still belonged to Mexico), both Natchitoches and Nacogdoches were important stops on the trail.
I guess here both Mom and Pop got their way.
The Rogue house was built in 1803 by a freed man of color (as they phrase it). This is not the original location, but was moved here.
Oakland Planation, built in 1821, is now open for visitors. It is run by the National Park Service and is located about 10 miles south of Natchitoches on the Cane River National Scenic Trail.
Built by the Prudhomme's, it sits today on a bend of Cane River Lake, once the main stream of the Red River. They had their own cotton gin, and a river port for sending their cotton, tobacco and indigo down river. Notice the big kettle for boiling down the cane for sugar.
The stand of live oak trees in front of the house are close to 200 years old.
This general store was built about 1886 and operated until sometime in the 1960s, at the end of the plantation era.
Inside the store.
The rangers try to show how it was to live on a plantation, and even grow a garden.
The farm flourished and was the site of the Bermuda Post Office for many years. J. Alphonse Prudhomme I won the gold medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis for growing the best high-grade cotton in the south.