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Traveling alongside the Cane River for about 35 miles, the Cane River National Heritage Area preserves and commemorates significant landmarks to the creole culture dating back 300 years.
The Cane River National Heritage Area centers on the central Louisiana city of Natchitoches – reaches Fort Jesup to the west – and continues south along the Cane River roughly to the communities of Derry and Cloutierville.
Given its designation as a National Heritage Area, the site is comprised of about 67 individual sites, each with their own operating hours and location.
The best place for beginning your creole-inspired journey is at the Natchitoches Convention & Visitor Bureau in downtown Natchitoches. Here, you’ll find more detailed information about the individual sites.
The communities near the Cane River in central LA serve as some of the greatest cultural and historic destinations in the state. Generally, they are broken up into three regions: the Natchitoches Heritage Sites, Down River Heritage Sites, and West Side Heritage Sites.
If you’ve begun your journey in Natchitoches – you’re in luck. The Natchitoches National Historic Landmark District is home to over 30 heritage sites. All along the Historic District Trail, landmarks like the Fort St. Jean Baptiste Historic Site, Prud’homme Building, and the American Cemetery are must-sees.
About 30 miles to the west following the El Camino Real National Heritage Trail, the West Side Heritage Sites, including Fort Jesup State Historic Site, Los Adae State Historic Site, and the St. Anne Catholic Church offer up hundreds of years of tradition and history all their own.
Finally, the Down River Heritage Sites – found along the Cane River National Heritage and Isle Brevelle Trails – include some of the region’s most iconic plantations. For instance, the Magnolia Plantation features the only wooden cotton press still in its original location.
With all that begin said, there is still so much more to be discovered. For more detailed and upfront discovery, check out one of the many private guided tours available, or visit any of heritage sites for more information.