Festival planning back on track after winter weather occurrence

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This column, at left, on the corner of Front and Lafayette Streets was damaged Aug. 29. At right, a rendering of the new island on Front Street to help prevent accidents.

Island approved to protect condos, businesses

The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) met briefly Thursday, Feb. 25. After dealing with the record-breaking winter weather last week, members are getting back into the swing of things and getting together details for upcoming events, including Natchitoches Young Professional’s Pub Crawl kicking off Spring festivities this weekend.

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One notable announcement was when Hannah Wenninger with the City of Natchitoches said the Historic District Commission has approved plans for the island in front of the Sports Hall of Fame on Front Street to improve traffic flow and avoid future vehicular accidents that occur to the condos on the curb. Wenninger said a timeline for the project is not yet available.

Chair Van Erikson, shared that NSU is back up and running after the freezing temps last week caused the campus to shut down for several days. The NSU Shreveport campus is still having virtual classes due to being hit a little harder by the weather, and is still without water. March 6 is the next N-Side View Day, with nearly 250 students signed up. They can be accompanied by two guests.

Since no tailgating is allowed, guests are encouraged to enjoy the downtown historic district before the first home football game at 6 p.m. There are also men and women basketball games and a baseball game to attend. Arlene Gould with Natchitoches Tourism said their office on Front Street has reopened to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The most updated visitor’s guide is available at natchitoches.com and will soon be printed.

Sale on the Trail will occur the first weekend in May, which is also National Tourism Week.

Editors Note: Another upcoming event in Natchitoches is the Women’s Resource Center’s Run Baby Run, set for May 1.

Rebecca Blankenbaker of the Cane River National Heritage Area (CRNHA) shared that Los Adaes Historic Site is currently closed due to burst pipes after last week’s weather event, but there has been no damage to the building’s interior. The CRNHA is continuing their walking tours in the historic district: Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; Thursdays at 10 a.m.; Fridays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; and Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Decisions have been made on their grant awardees, which will be announced soon.

Carrie Mardorf of the Cane River Creole National Heritage Park (CRCNHP) is still hard at work on the move to their new eagle building and Blankenbaker shared that the building is top-of-the-line.

Jill Leo with the Main Street program and the Historic District Business Association (HDBA) went over a few spring/summer events in the city. March will see the Service League’s Reading on the River event, Bloomin’ on the Bricks (no Art Along the Bricks) accompanied by concerts throughout the day on the riverbank for CAPA on the Cane and an event still in the works by the Mayor’s Fitness Council set tentatively for March 20.

In April, expect to attend a concert from the NSU Steel Band Friday, April 16 and a concert from the NSU band on April 25 on the riverbank. The Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony, which will play during CAPA on the Cane, is also planning another concert for April. The Farmers Market will return Saturday, April 24 and will run through July 31. Vendors are also encouraged to participate in Sale on the Trail in May. Jazz Fest is still on the books for May 21-22.

The Natchitoches Parish Library is also planning to bring activities for their Summer Reading Program to the riverbank stage Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays in June and July. The Lady Bass Anglers will host their tournament June 17-19 and the Sports Hall of Fame Induction Week is June 23-26. There are already tentative plans in motion for fall events, with Car Show registration to open in the next few weeks and there are possibly some meetings on the horizon for Christmas Festival.

Maggie Matuschka with the Natchitoches Area Chamber of Commerce shared that even though numbers are lower for the annual Pub Crawl due to the pandemic and the ice storm, a little over 200 have signed up, which is a great number despite the circumstances. Downtown businesses and restaurants are also participants and part of Front Street will close for safety.

The Chamber monthly luncheon will now be at City Park, the next being March 10, so participants can be safely distanced. The new executive NCA Mike Ferdinand has arrived in Natchitoches and is stationed in the City Municipal Building.

According to Wenninger, Parc Natchitoches is booked for a good while for games and tournaments.

In the weekend, Feb. 27-28, 2021, print edition