Rebecca Blankenbaker, Executive Director of the Cake River National Heritage Area, unveiled a new interpretive plaque to members of the Jefferson Highway Association on April 27 at Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site.
The plaque will be installed at a new green space and walking trail next to the Fort on Jefferson Street, which represents a portion of the original Jefferson Highway route.
The Jefferson Highway was first formed in New Orleans in 1915 and once traversed from Winnipeg, Manitoba to New Orleans as part of the “Good Roads Movement” of this time period.
In 2011, the Jefferson Highway Association was reformed as a historical, heritage organization to preserve the history of the historic route and promote tourism and travel on the historic roadbed which goes through seven states (Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Louisiana) and one Province (Manitoba) in Canada. This will be the 8th annual conference for this group and the first to be held in Louisiana.
The new green space and walking trail, which is scheduled for completion within the next two weeks, is a joint beautification project between the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the City of Natchitoches, and the Cane River National Heritage Area.
Pictured above are Mike Curtis, newly inducted president of the Jefferson highway Association; Assistant Secretary of Tourism Doug Bourgeois; and Blakenbaker.