Hannah Richardson | Lifestyle Editor
The Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC) had a brief meeting Thursday, Oct. 21 in the City Council Chambers to discuss events in the city for the remainder of 2021. Members of the commission touched base on the already established upcoming events, while also mentioning a few new items on the horizon.
Northwestern State University has been busy this week prepping for their homecoming activities this weekend. A parade and pep rally Friday, Oct. 23 kicked off a weekend full of events. Boogie on the Bricks will take place at the corner of Church and Front streets in downtown Natchitoches at 7 p.m. The concert event is free and open to the public. The football game versus Southeastern Louisiana University will kick off at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The halftime presentation of the Honor Court will be at approximately 5 p.m. Information on NSU’s Homecoming is available at www.northwesternstatealumni.com.
Laura Lyles with the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce mentioned their last monthly luncheon for the year will be Nov. 10 with State Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain at Lasyone’s. The Chamber will also host their upcoming gala, the Thrive Gala, Dec. 9 at the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. This Gala will serve as a fundraiser for the Chamber’s initiatives. Dec. 12 will see the annual Light the Way 5k return to the riverbank, with warm-up beginning at 6 p.m. Kelli West of the Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau said they were expecting many groups to visit Natchitoches in the upcoming weeks.
The Louisiana Parish Engineers and Supervisors Association (LPESA) will come Nov. 3-4. The King Kat Fishing Tournament is Nov. 4-6 on Red River, with a drive-up check-in occurring on the downtown riverbank. A fishing derby for children will be that Saturday. The Louisiana Association Convention and Visitors Bureau will attend a meeting in Natchitoches Nov. 9-10. Several media entities will attend the Turn on the Holidays event Saturday, Nov. 20.
Rebecca Blankenbaker, Executive Director of the Cane River National Heritage Area (CRNHA), shared the Go Natchitoches app downloads have increased to 4,425 after signage promoting the application were placed at several locations and events. The CRNHA offices will be closed this coming week as they move to their new location at 4115 University Parkway. Oakland Plantation Homecoming demonstrations will be hosted throughout Saturday, Oct. 23. 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of the plantation. The tools of the enslaved carpenters, masons, and blacksmiths who built the house are in a commemorative exhibit. Visitors will learn how to make bousillage, a traditional Creole building material, watch a blacksmith and experience the clang of the hammer on hot iron, view a carpentry display, and visit the enslaved nanny’s room on the lower level of the Main House. The owners of the big house at Magnolia Plantation have recently approached the National Park Service to incorporate that piece of property into the national park. Senator Bill Cassidy and Representative Mike Johnson introduced bills to the senate and house in September. Their result will be announced in the coming months.
Blankenbaker also introduced an exciting new art initiative coming soon to Natchitoches. With assistance from NSU Professor of Sculpture Corbin Covher, plans are underway for a public art sculpture program. Inspired by Natchitoches’ bounty of flora and fauna, a poinsettia sculpture will be unveiled in late November to mark the 95th anniversary of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. The initiative could see more floral sculptures coming to the city, becoming an annual unveiling event. More information is to be released soon.
Chair Jill Leo shared went over several events occurring in the coming weeks. The homecoming parade for NSU on Friday will travel along Second Street, turn onto Touline and enter the riverbank for the pep rally. The NSU Alumni Association will host Boogie on the Bricks Saturday on the Riverbank starting at 7 p.m., with the roadways closing at 1 p.m. to prepare.
The first Farmers Market of the season saw approximately 40 vendors Saturday, Oct. 16. Pumpkin Glow is Oct. 28 and will host performances by the NSU Middle Lab Orchestra and several dance groups. The NSU Steel Band Concert will now take place Friday evening, Oct. 29 on the riverbank. In conjunction with the Farmer’s Market Saturday, Oct. 30, Witch Way to Main Street will be from 10 a.m. – noon.
A new event, Clash on the Cane, will be Nov. 13 on the riverbank. This is a U.S.-sanctioned boxing match, and more information is to be released soon.
Natchitoches Mayor Ronnie Williams mentioned they will host a “new resident brunch” at the Farmer’s Market Nov. 6 at 9 a.m., welcoming new residents of Natchitoches Parish.
A homeowners workshop will also take place on Nov. 6 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the MLK Center. Other items discussed at the meeting include: The Christmas Tour of Homes is for Dec. 9-11, 16-18. Tickets are avaliable at www.natchitocheshf.com.
The first Folk Art Festival at Melrose Oct. 9-10 was successful, with 28 vendors setting up their shops.
The Classic Car Show Oct. 1-2 saw a tremendous spectator turnout. Although rain that weekend had approximately 20 car show participants not turn in their cars, they attended anyway to enjoy the show.