By Kevin Shannahan
The Natchitoches Historical Foundation hosted a long standing and beloved community tradition at Natchitoches’ American Cemetery October 12th. Over 150 history fans from around the area came to see some of the interesting and well known people buried in the cemetery brought to life by volunteers dressed in period costume. Notables ranging from Susan Harling, the real life inspiration for Steel Magnolias, Cammie Henry, Louis Juchereau de St. Denis and John Gideon Lewis, a pioneer of African American Freemasonry were just a few of the people buried in the American Cemetery brought to life.
Northwestern State University’s Department of Dance returned for a third year to present a hauntingly beautiful original dance piece in the cemetery. NSU Theater and Dance majors Adele Herbert, John Jefferson, Alphonse Engram, Mary Scott Pourciau, Vilma Castro Lopez, Anna Birbiglia and Jhalon Thomas are superb performers and choreographer Rebecca Morgan’s piece brought out their talents beautifully.
There were also stops along the tour in which “widows” dressed in black mourning costumes spoke about Victorian era customs surrounding death and mourning.
The last stop of the tour featured drinks and light snacks.
In keeping with the NHF’s mission of education as well as preservation and advocacy, over 200 students throughout Natchitoches Parish toured the cemetery prior to the evening’s tour. The groups learned about their community’s history, burial and mourning traditions.