Fall Tour of Homes: This Weekend


The 62nd Annual Natchitoches Fall Pilgrimage of Homes already had a twist planned for this year’s three-day event, and now a double twist has been added.

Scheduled for Oct. 14-16, the tour planned to display the largest exhibit of Clementine Hunter paintings in history. This would include many rare pieces from several families’ private collections. However, that plan was expanded to include two newly restored Clementine Hunter panels that haven’t been displayed in many years.

The panels were in poor condition in storage. Two anonymous contributions totaling $30,000 made their restoration a reality. They were transported to Houston where a conservator firm worked on them for nearly two months.

Restoration of the panels, entitled “Wash Day Scene” and “Sunday Scene,” is complete, and the paintings should return to Melrose in time for the tour.

Yet another twist is the world premier of “Clementine Hunter’s World,” a new documentary produced by Art Shiver, a well-known artist, author and former television broadcast newscaster and station manager. Shiver will be the featured speaker at the premier Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. in the David Treen Auditorium of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA). Refreshments will follow.

The tour includes 12 homes, churches and plantations throughout the City and Parish. Tour sites will feature rare CH paintings as part of “The Clementine Hunter Biennial,” organized by Tommy Whitehead. Shiver and Whitehead collaborated several years ago to write, “Clementine Hunter, Her Life and Art.”

The tour begins Friday, Oct. 14, with visits to three sites in the City: Fair Woods Cottage, Cunningham Law Office, and Trinity Episcopal Church.

The event continues Saturday, Oct. 15 with tours of several plantation homes, a unique chapel, the Lemee House, Jeanne’s Country Garden, the Soldini House and the Jefferson Street Townhouse. The evening ends with Shiver’s presentation of “Clementine Hunter’s World” at LSMSA. The plantation home tours will be available Saturday and Sunday.

Sunday’s tour, Oct. 16, features four plantation homes and the St. Charles Borromeo Chapel.

One of the sites, the Murphy-Pratt Place, is a 1911 river house. Framed by live oaks, it is recognizable as the setting for the 1991 movie The Man in the Moon which featured a new star at that time: Reese Witherspoon.

The Fall Pilgrimage also offers lagniappe in the form of free admission to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum on Saturday. Each Pilgrimage Tour ticket serves as admission to the hall and museum.

For more information call the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau at
(800) 259-1714 or go online at melroseplantation.org