[graphic] National Park Service arrowhead and link to nps.gov [graphic] National Park Service arrowhead and link to nps.gov
  [graphic] Cane River National Heritage Area: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary
 [graphic] Link to Cane River Home  [graphic] Link to List of Sites  [graphic] Link to Maps  [graphic] Link to Essays  [graphic] Link to Learn More  [graphic] Link to Itineraries Home  [graphic] Link to National Register of Historic Places Home

Oaklawn Plantation
Photo by Philip Gould

The National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places and the Cane River National Heritage Area Commission, in partnership with the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, proudly invite you to explore the Cane River National Heritage Area. Located in northwestern Louisiana, the national heritage area is a largely rural, agricultural landscape along 35 miles of the Cane River—at the heart of which is the town of Natchitoches. The Cane River, which forms an oxbow lake, was once the main channel of the Red River. The region is well known for its historic plantations, its distinctive Creole architecture and its multi-cultural legacy. This travel itinerary highlights 32 places listed in the National Register of Historic Places located in the heritage area that tell the rich stories of the region's past. Historically this region lay at the intersection of French and Spanish realms in the New World. It is a place where many cultures came together to create a way of life dependent on the land, the river, and each other. The French and the Spanish came to this region because of the overland and river trade routes controlled by the Caddo Indians here.

[photo] Oakland Plantation
Photo by Jack Boucher
Courtesy of Historic American Buildings Survey

The city of Natchitoches, at the heart of the region, is the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. While much of the roughly 116,000-acre national heritage area is privately owned, many sites are open to the public. Places such as Oakland and Yucca (Melrose) Plantations depict life on large plantations for all who once lived here. The history of local French Creole architecture is reflected in such places as Badin-Roque House; the Prudhomme-Rouquier House and the Roque House. The U.S. presence is reflected in Fort Jesup, which guarded the American frontier with Spanish Texas. African-American history is reflected in a number of sites, including the St. Matthew High School; which was the only high school in Natchitoches Parish to cater to rural areas. Today, the Cane River region is home to a unique blend of cultures, including French, Spanish, African, American Indian and Creole American.

Cane River National Heritage Area offers several ways to discover the places that reflect this region's history. Each highlighted place features a brief description of its historic significance, color photographs and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find links to three essays: History of the Region, Creole Culture and Art and Architecture. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local websites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed if you plan to visit the Cane River region in person.

Slave Cabins on Magnolia Plantation
Photo by Candice Pauley, courtesy of Cane River National Heritage Area

Cane River National Heritage Area is part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage visits to historic places throughout the Nation. The National Register of Historic Places partners with communities, regions and heritage areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan trips by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and providing public accessibility information for each featured site. Cane River National Heritage Area is the 43rd National Register travel itinerary in this ongoing series. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual tour. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.

[graphic] Cane River with link to essays [graphic] Link to Creole Culture Essay
 [graphic] Link to Art and Architecture Essay
 [graphic] Link to History Essay

Cane River Home | List of Sites | Maps| Learn More | Itineraries | NR Home |
Essays: Creole Culture | Art and Architecture| History|

Comments or Questions