Cane River Creole National Historical Park will host a free screening of the John Ford movie “The Horse Soldiers” at Oakland Plantation Saturday, Oct. 13 as part of the 64th Annual Fall Tour of Homes. Filmed at and around Oakland the movie, starring John Wayne, William Holden and Constance Towers, included many members of the community who appear as extras. The park would like to invite people who were a part of the filming or have stories about the experience to share them prior to the showing of the film. Participates interested in volunteering to briefly share their memories are encouraged to contact Barbara Justice at 318-352-0383, ext. 200 or by email at Barbara_justice@nps.gov. The program will start at 6:45 p.m. with the community remembrances followed by the movie at 7 p.m. Bring blankets, lawn chairs, picnic baskets, bug spray and flashlights.
The park will join with other historic sites within the Cane River National Heritage Area for this year’s Fall Tour of Homes on Saturday, Oct. 13 and Sunday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oakland Plantation welcomed visitors long before the National Park Service acquired the property in 1997. Oakland has been featured in the annual Fall Tour since 1954. On a typical day, park rangers provide guided tours, but during the Fall Tour, the Prud’homme family returns to their ancestral home. Several generations of Prud’hommes will be giving tours, and talking with the public.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to visit with other former Oakland residents. Elvin Shields and his family were sharecroppers at Oakland in the 1950s. Today, Shields is a locally renowned folk artist, known for his “Plantation Toys.” He will be at Oakland to talk about his childhood memories and show off examples of the toys he and his brother would have played with. Mary Metoyer’s father and grandfather were employed as yardmen or overseers at Oakland. Visitors will have the opportunity to talk with Mary about life on the plantation in the creole cottage that was home to three generations of the Metoyer family.
There is no entrance fee at Oakland Plantation. All tours and activities are free. Oakland Plantation is located at 4386 Highway 494, Natchez La 71456.