History of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival Exhibit at NSU

By Kevin Shannahan


Did you know that painting the windows of the then new Friedman Memorial Student Union and student-faculty Christmas caroling were once traditions at Northwestern State University? Monday, Nov. 28 marked the opening of an exhibit at NSU’s Cammie G. Henry Research Center chronicling the history of the Natchitoches Christmas Festival. In addition to items from earlier festivals, the exhibit also highlights NSU Christmas traditions from the past as well as those from Melrose Plantation.

The exhibit’s display cases house paraphernalia from years past such as NSU yearbooks, cards, letters and keepsakes from the past. The Natchitoches Christmas Festival was first held in 1926, with 1929 being the first year in which archavists were able to document the festival’s signature light display. The evolution of the light display and fireworks show into today’s thousands of lights and massive fireworks show can be seen through historical photographs and items.

The Cammie G. Henry Research Center is on the third floor of NSU’s Watson Library. It is open from 8-5 Monday through Thursday and from 8-noon on Friday.  Admission is free. Come over and see a unique collection that shows our region’s history.