The City has good news for fans of the Walk of Fame plaques that previously resided on the sidewalk in front of City Bank on St. Denis Street in downtown Natchitoches. Some of them have found new homes!
Seven were installed in the pocket park on the corner of Pine and Cypress, which is funded by the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission (NHDDC). This park is dedicated to Susan Harling, so it was a natural fit for the six main ladies from the Steel magnolia movie that Natchitoches is famous for. Granite plaques honoring Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Daryl Hannah, and Dolly Parton were set onto raised concrete slabs and surrounded by a brick border. The seventh plaque for Bobby Harling is located on the Cypress Street side of park beside the interpretive plaque for Susan Harling.
Community development and maintenance crews built forms in the shop, poured concrete slabs at a slight angle for easy viewing.
The plaques were removed from the bank’s sidewalk when the City redid St. Denis Street. The plaques became an issue over many years as a slip hazard and when the City had the opportunity to remove them they did. The plaques went into storage for the short term, but different people came forward expressing their desire for the plaques to be on display once more.
There’s ongoing discussion to install the plaques for Producer Ray Stark, Gene Callahan and Director Herbert Ross at the Steel Magnolia house location. Callahan was instrumental in bringing the movie to Natchitoches.
There’s also talk about installing the plaques for Cammie Henry, Clementine Hunter, Kate Chopin, Caroline Dormon, and Luis Juchereau De St. Denis at the Jefferson Street Pocket Park, which would happen as soon as they complete landscaping at the park.
The City has spoken with the National Park Service about installing the plaques for John Wayne and John Ford at one of its properties south of Natchitoches.
No further comments have been made about the other plaques, which include Pat Listach, Jackie Smith, Natchitoches Dixie Debs, Grits Gresham, Bobby Hebert, Stan Humphries, Nettles Brown, Ray Stark, Herbert Ross, Gary Reasons, Gene Callahan, and Joe Dumars.
The reinstallation of plaques which relate to movies filmed in Natchitoches is happening at the perfect time according to Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Arlene Gould. The Natchitoches Film Trail will launch on Nov. 9 with a special Blush and Bashful event to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Steel Magnolias and a new brochure to outline Steel Magnolias and other movies filmed in the area. This comes in the wake of Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser launching the Louisiana Film Trail last year, on the 100 year anniversary of the filming of the original Tarzan movie, which was filmed in 1918 in Morgan City.