By Holly Penta
The Association of the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) hosted Shelby’s Wedding Reception at the Steel Magnolia House on Oct. 12 to commemorate the 30th Anniversary of the movie’s filming. The band featured in “Steel Magnolias” returned to the venue to play once again. The backyard was decorated to resemble the movie scene, with lots of lights and pink flowers.
Guests, many dressed in shades of blush and bashful, danced and participated in a trivia contest to showcase their extensive knowledge of the movie. Members of Northwestern State University’s theater department served as Shelby’s maids of honor and served meat pies, jambalya, and of course armadillo cake. Grace Cummings, who played the character Shelby’s niece, named Shelbi (with an “i”), said being involved in the history was very cool.
Guests came from miles away to attend the event. Some came from as far as Arkansas, Texas, and Oklahoma. Dr. Vicki Parrish, the president of APHN, said she hoped people who had never been to Natchitoches enjoyed visiting “small town America” and got to experience a bit of the history that Natchitoches has to offer. Although people were there to celebrate the movie, they were really there to celebrate friendship. Ultimately, that’s what the movie is about, finding “solace in good friends” and Parrish believes that Natchitoches embodies that strong friendship, saying that there is, “A lot of love here, just a whole lot of love.”
Parish credits Robert Harling, the playwright and screen writer of “Steel Magnolias” with “saving this town” and bringing in tourists and a new life to Natchitoches.
“It is important for people to appreciate our history and to understand that without people and organizations like the APHN, who talk and teach people about the past, it will be forgotten,” said Parrish, who hopes that by hosting events like this, that help to support Melrose Plantation, the APHN will be able to foster interest in Natchitoches’ fascinating history, while also bringing friends and family together.