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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

.....and More Southern History

~Monday, December 28, 2020~

Day 197

Since it’s our last day in the Natchitoches area, we wanted to get out the door a little earlier to fit in 3 places today. The first goal was to get to Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site. We’re not sure if the operating hours have changed due to COVID, but we didn’t pick the right day to visit after all, as we found out on the way there, they were closed. 😩 Note to selves: When we arrive in a new city, call and arrange visits right away to make sure you can work around the sporadic schedules, especially these days. Our next stop was the Oakland Plantation in the Cane River Creole National Historical Park.

A Spanish land grant in 1785 helped Jean Pierre Prud’homme establish Oakland Plantation. This working plantation was operated by enslaved African American workers to craftsmen such as carpenters, masons and blacksmiths.

The main crop was cotton and as textile mills had increasing demand, the enslaved labor increased. Mechanization after WWII brought an end to plantation agriculture. After its 200 year existence, about 10 buildings remain, which we were only able to observe on the outside.

Last stop was going to downtown Natchitoches before dark. But before that, we wanted to stop by a brewery that Jeff saw while we were out and about today called Cane River Brewing Company.... a really cool place where they refurbished a 100 year-old cotton gin building. With a full moon and a twilight backdrop, the downtown was not as energetic as the Christmas Festival night, but still lively. Sadie enjoyed walking along the river and saying “hi” to everyone she met. We had dinner reservations at Maglieaux’s Riverfront Restaurant for indoor seating. This would be our first experience eating Southern fare of cornmeal battered Fried Catfish with fries and a side of tartar sauce. Our waitress turned out to also be the head bartender. She came up with the Holiday Margarita that was on the menu, so decided to try it. It was a nice change with a twist of tangy and sweet.

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