Cane River, an oxbow lake that once was the primary channel of the mighty Red River, defines the region today, just as it has for centuries. The stories of Cane River’s people are brimming with the contrasts that comprise our nation’s history-conquest and colonialism, militarism and peace, wealth and poverty, slavery and freedom.
As countries came together in this place, so did cultures. American Indians were joined by European settlers who imported many enslaved Africans to farm the land. The interaction of these groups led to the development of a distinctive Creole culture. This culture cut across racial categories and drew from many traditions but remained grounded in French colonialism and Catholicism.
This is the complex past that is etched indelibly on the landscape, in the architecture, and in the myriad cultural traditions that have been passed down through generations.
This Heritage Area Includes the following sites:
- Cane River Creole National Historical Park
- Melrose Plantation
- El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail
- Kisatchie National Forest
- Los Adaes State Historic Site
- Fort Saint Jean Baptiste State Historic Site
- City of Natchitoches, National Historic Landmark District
- St. Augustine Catholic Church and Cemetery
- Grand Ecore Visitor Center
- Fort Jesup
- No Man’s Land Bicentennial Celebration
A project through the Save America's Treasures Grant Program, which helps preserve nationally significant historic properties and collections, funded work to restore three properties on plantations within the Cane River National Heritage Area (the African House, Yucca House, and Prudhomme-Rouquier House) in 2000.