The Cane River National Heritage Area is a United States National Heritage Area in the state of Louisiana. The heritage area is known for plantations featuring Creole architecture, as well as numerous other sites that preserve the multi-cultural history of the area. The heritage area includes the town of Natchitoches, Louisiana and its national historic district. Founded in 1714, it is the oldest community in the territory covered by the Louisiana Purchase. Cane River Creole National Historical Park, including areas of Magnolia and Oakland plantations, also is within the heritage area.
The park and the St. Augustine Catholic Church in Natchez have been included as featured destinations on the state's Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.
The roughly 116,000 acres (470 km2) Cane River National Heritage Area begins just south of Natchitoches and extends south and west for about 35 miles (56 kilometers along Cane River Lake and Interstate 49 to Monette's Ferry. Other sites in the heritage area include the Kate Chopin House and the state historic sites of Los Adaes State Historic Site, Fort Jesup, and Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site.
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Natchitoches Parish is a parish located in the U.S. state of Louisiana. As of the 2010 census, the population was 39,566. The parish seat is Natchitoches. The parish was formed in 1805.
Natchez is a village in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 597 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area. The village and parish are part of the Cane River National Heritage Area.
Natchitoches is a small city and the parish seat of Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. Established in 1714 by Louis Juchereau de St. Denis as part of French Louisiana, the community was named after the indigenous Natchitoches people.
Established in 1994, the Cane River Creole National Historical Park serves to preserve the resources and cultural landscapes of the Cane River region in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Located along the Cane River Lake, the park is approximately 63 acres and includes two French Creole cotton plantations, Oakland and Magnolia. Both plantations are complete in their historic settings, including landscapes, outbuildings, structures, furnishings, and artifacts; and they are the most intact French Creole cotton plantations in the United States. In total, 65 historic structures and over a million artifacts enhance the National Park Service mission as it strives to tell the story of the evolution of plantation agriculture through the perspective of the land owners, enslaved workers, overseers, skilled workers, and tenant farmers who resided along the Cane River for over two hundred years. This park is included as a site on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.
Louisiana Creoles are people descended from the inhabitants of colonial Louisiana before it became a part of the U.S. during the period of both French and Spanish rule. As an ethnic group, their ancestry is mainly of African, French, Spanish and Native American origin. German, Irish, and Italian immigrants also married in to these groups. Louisiana Creoles share cultural ties such as the traditional use of the French, Spanish, and Louisiana Creole languages and predominant practice of Catholicism.
Marie Thérèse Coincoin, born as Coincoin, also known as Marie Thérèse dite Coincoin, and Marie Thérèse Métoyer, she was a planter, slave owner, and businesswoman at the colonial Louisiana outpost of Natchitoches.
Melrose is an unincorporated community in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States, including the Melrose Plantation and surrounding area, on Louisiana Highway 119. In addition to the historic plantation, the Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Heritage Area encompass the Melrose area.
Fort Jesup, also known as Fort Jesup State Historic Site or Fort Jesup or Fort Jesup State Monument, was built in 1822, 22 miles (35 km) west of Natchitoches, Louisiana, to protect the United States border with New Spain and to return order to the Neutral Strip. Originally named Cantonment Jesup, the fort operated from 1822 until 1846. After the abandonment of the fort in 1846, the United States federal government continued to own the abandoned fort site until the privatization of the site in 1869.
Isle of Canes (ISBN 1-59331-306-3), a novel by Elizabeth Shown Mills, follows an African family from its importation and enslavement in 1735 through four generations of freedom in Creole Louisiana to its re-subjugation by Jim Crow at the close of the nineteenth century. Mills explores the family's "struggle to find a place in [a] tightly defined world of black and white" — a world made more complex by the larger struggle of Louisiana's native ancien regime to preserve its culture amid the Anglo-Protestant "invasion" that followed the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the resulting battle for political and social hegemony. Isle's central theme is the ambiguous lives of those who escaped colonial slavery only to find they could not survive as free without complicity in the slave regime.
Cloutierville is an unincorporated community in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, United States. It lies approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of the city of Natchitoches on the Cane River. The community is part of the Natchitoches Micropolitan Statistical Area, off exit 119 of Interstate 49.
Evergreen Plantation is a plantation located on the west side of the Mississippi River in St. John the Baptist Parish, near Wallace, Louisiana, and along Louisiana Highway 18. The main house was constructed mostly in 1790, and renovated to its current Greek Revival style in 1832. The plantation's historical commodity crop was sugarcane, cultivated by enslaved African Americans until emancipation.
Oakland Plantation, originally known as the Jean Pierre Emmanuel Prud'homme Plantation, and also known as Bermuda, is a historic plantation in unincorporated Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. Founded as a forced-labor farm worked by enslaved Black people for White owners, it is one of the nation's best and most intact examples of a French Creole cotton plantation complex. The Oakland Plantation is now owned by the National Park Service as part of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park.
Magnolia Plantation is a former cotton plantation in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. The site was declared a National Historic Landmark in 2001, significant as one of the most intact 19th-century plantation complexes in the nation, as it is complete with a suite of slave cabins and numerous outbuildings and period technology. Included in the Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Magnolia Plantation is also a destination on the Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. It is one of two plantations in the park; the other is Oakland Plantation.
Melrose Plantation, also known as Yucca Plantation, is a National Historic Landmark located in the unincorporated community of Melrose in Natchitoches Parish in north central Louisiana. This is one of the largest plantations in the United States built by and for free blacks. The land was granted to Louis Metoyer, who had the "Big House" built beginning about 1832. He was a son of Marie Therese Coincoin, a former slave who became a wealthy businesswoman in the area, and Claude Thomas Pierre Métoyer. The house was completed in 1833 after Louis' death by his son Jean Baptiste Louis Metoyer. The Metoyers were free people of color for four generations before the American Civil War.
Louisiana African American Heritage Trail is a cultural heritage trail with 26 sites designated in 2008 by the state of Louisiana, from New Orleans along the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge and Shreveport, with sites in small towns and plantations also included. In New Orleans several sites are within a walking area. Auto travel is required to reach sites outside the city.
St. Augustine Catholic Church and Cemetery, or the Isle Brevelle church, is a historic Roman Catholic church and cemetery located in Melrose, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. It is the cultural center of Cane River's historic Créoles of color community.
Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, or Fort des Natchitoches, in Natchitoches, Louisiana, US, is a replica of an early French fort based upon the original blueprints of 1716 by Sieur Charles Claude Dutisné and company. The settlement which became the town of Natchitoches was founded in 1714 by French Canadian Louis Antoine Juchereau de St. Denis as the first permanent European settlement in the lands later encompassed by the Louisiana Purchase. In 1722, Juchereau de St. Denis in 1722 became commandant of Fort St. Jean Baptiste des Natchitoches. The fort was devised as a trading and military outpost to counter any Spanish incursions into French territory. Soon it became a center of economic significance, particularly with neighboring Caddo tribes. After 1764, Fort St. Jean was abandoned, with the transfer of Louisiana to Spain. The exact location of the fort has since been lost. In 1979, the fort was reconstructed in the vicinity of where the fort is believed to have been located. Today, the fort is an attraction within the Cane River National Heritage Area. The site is also host to living history re-enactments of what life in the fort was like in the 1750s.
Rural African American Museum is a museum in Opelousas that focuses on the history of African Americans living in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, United States, from the American Civil War to the present. It was inaugurated in late 2018 and is free to tour, although its operations rely primarily on donations. The museum's creator and president is Wilken Jones, a retired social studies school teacher who grew up in the nearby town of Plaisance. The permanent exposition showcases books, objects and press clippings that pertain to the economic, religious and political history of the region. The items on display include antique bedroom furniture, kitchen utensils and farm tools, among other things. The exposition illustrates the conditions of life of many Black sharecroppers in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Cherokee Plantation, also known as Emile Sompayrac Place and Murphy Place, is a former plantation and historic plantation house located in Natchez, Louisiana, near the city of Natchitoches. For many years this site was worked and maintained by enslaved African Americans. This location was part of the Côte Joyeuse area which was home to the earliest French planters in Louisiana.