The Natchitoches Historic Foundation (NHF) will offer its Characters, Customs and Crypts Cemetery Tour Saturday, Oct. 1 from 4-7 p.m. at the American Cemetery on Second Street. There will be Mourning exhibits on display throughout the tour.
Visitors will be greeted by historic characters who played a role in the history of Natchitoches. They include Louis Juchereau de St. Denis, founder of Natchitoches, Dame D’Artigue, John Sibley, James Metoyer, and John Gideon Lewis. The tour includes a showcase of mourning memorabilia with commentary on the pre-Civil War traditions surrounding death and burial, interspersed between the “characters” sharing their life stories within the cemetery. Students from the Louisiana School For Math, Science and the Arts will assist with stories and entertainment during the tour.
The tour begins at the American Cemetery entrance, located just to the north of Holy Cross Church and parking is available across the street from the Cemetery. The tour is $10 for adults and $5 for students.
The American Cemetery is one of the cornerstones of the Natchitoches community. Established around 1737, the cemetery is only a few years younger than the town itself.
In addition to the annual cemetery tour Natchitoches Historic Foundation developed units aligned with the Louisiana State Social Studies Standards that will be given to participating teachers for use in 8th grade classrooms. Eighth grade Louisiana History students from schools in Natchitoches Parish participate in a similar tour Oct. 5. Unit topics include the Great Raft, women in Natchitoches, the arts, and the history of the American Cemetery and the persons interred there.
Last year’s program for 8th graders was named the Outstanding Education Program for 2015 by the Louisiana Office of History and Culture in the Office of the Lt. Governor.
Proceeds raised from the tour will be used for historic preservation, restoration, and educational projects in Natchitoches.