The Association for the Preservation Historic Natchitoches (APHN) Fall Tour brings a large number of tourists to Natchitoches. Arlene Gould, Executive Director of the Natchitoches Convention and Visitors Bureau, presented APHN with a $500 donation to assist in covering the cost of publicity for the tour.
“Melrose Plantation attracts the largest number of visitors to any site in our Parish. The APHN Fall Tour brings visitors from around the state and country to Melrose and other historic sites. We wanted to help them get the word out about what we have to offer,” said Gould.
Tour Weekend begins Friday, Oct. 12 at 4 pm with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Clementine Hunter House at Melrose Plantation. The APHN has preserved the house and has added informative exhibit panels giving the narrative of Hunter’s work and life.
“Many thousands of school children visit Melrose each year. They see the Big House with its rare antiques and beautiful furnishings. Now they will be able to tour Clementine’s modest home. Many of those children may live in similar modest conditions. This tour will show them that the most famous person ever to live or work at Melrose lived in the small wood frame house. She can be a true inspiration to those children to show them that they do not have to come from the biggest house with the finest things to make their mark on the world,” said Gary Cathey, Fall Tour Chair.
This year marks the Third Clementine Hunter Biennial with the largest exhibition of Hunter’s work in history. Each location will show off important originals.
Friday night will continue with the Natchitoches Historic Foundation’s American Cemetery and Mourning Tour at American Cemetery from 5:30-8 pm. A number of characters will portray the famous people buried there.
Also Friday night, the Candlelight Tour will feature the Northwestern State University National Historic District. Visitors will tour the Old President’s Home, Varnado Hall and Russell Hall where a complimentary meal will be served. At Russell Hall, Cane River Ladies, a play by Dr. Vicki Parrish, will be performed at 7:30 pm and again at 8:30. It focuses on the lives of Marie Therese Coin-Coin, Kate Chopin, Cammie Henry and Clementine Hunter. At Nelson Hall, a Dessert Reception will honor Gitter Gallery and the Cane River Art Corporation for their donations that made the preservation of the Clementine Hunter House possible.
The Town Tour on Saturday, Oct. 13 will run from 9 am – 4 pm. There will be a Morning Speaker Series at the Lemee House where selections from the Ann and Jack Brittain Collection will be on display. Lunch will be available in the Lemee Garden. Prudhomme-Rouquier, Cunningham Law Office, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, and Hill Haven complete the Town Tour.
The Cane River Country Tour on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 13 and 14 will run from 9 am – 4 pm. At 12:30 there will be a Reenactment of the Last Duel at Cherokee Plantation. An Afternoon Speaker Series will be held in the Barn at Melrose Plantation including an exclusive screening of Clementine Hunter’s World, a documentary by Art Shiver. Oakland Plantation, Badin-Roque and St. Augustine Church are also on the tour. St. Augustine Church Fair will be underway with lots of good food and activities, and visitors can also visit the graves of Clementine Hunter and Francois Mignon.
Mourning Tour tickets are $20, with 13 and under free. Call 318-471-7489. Tickets will also be available at the entrance to American Cemetery the night of the Tour.
For more information about all other tours: Call 318-379-0055. Tickets may be purchased at the Old President’s Home, Lemee House and Melrose Plantation. Adults: One tour ticket $25; Two Tour Package $40; Three Tour Package $50. Children 6 – 12, $5 discount per ticket. Under 6 free.