Natchitoches Events/Attractions

Melrose Arts and Crafts Fest set for May 3-4: NATCHITOCHES — The 40th annual Melrose Plantation Arts and Crafts Festival will be celebrated on Saturday and Sunday, May 3-4, according to Harry Thompson of Natchitoches, chairman for the event. The festival is sponsored by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN), and attracts more than 2,000 visitors during the two-day event, according to a press release. The festival will feature more than 100 artists and vendors from several states. Among the items available to visitors are original art works, stained glass, gourmet pickles and jellies, hand-made jewelry, clothing, photographs, plants, toys, woodworking products, pottery and other arts and crafts. Melrose Plantation, located on La. 119 in southern Natchitoches Parish, is a National Historic Landmark featuring eight historic structures. Tours of two of the buildings, the "Big House" and the African House, will be available. The Melrose Arts and crafts Festival will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 3, and at 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 4. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 6-12. Self-guided tours of the grounds and viewing of all the historic buildings are free. Additional information about Melrose Plantation and the annual Arts and Crafts Festival may be found at

Swim classes will resume at Rec Complex pool, Classes for kids, adults available: NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University Aquatics will offer several swim classes this summer at the NSU Recreation Complex. A lifeguard course will be offered May 6-16 that is open to the community for new certification and renewals. Individuals interested can e-mail Cindy Davis at for an application and pertinent information. The pool will open May 20. Hours of operation are 1-7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. Call (318) 357-6301 or e-mail for membership information. A parent/child swim program will be offered June 3-6 and June 10-13 from 11-11:30 a.m. for $40 per week. An adult learn-to-swim program will be June 3-6 and June 10-13 from 11-11:45 a.m. and 6-6:45 p.m. for $40 per week. A two-week Junior Lifeguard Course will be June 17-20 and June 24-27 from 10 a.m.-noon for $100. Learn to swim classes are $50 per week and will be offered at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. June 3-6, June 20-13, June 17-20 and June 24-27. Classes are 50 minutes long. During the month of July, private lessons can be schedule with an instructor for $75 per week. Water exercise or fitness swim classes are Tuesday-Friday beginning June 3 and are $50 per month. Water exercise meets from 5:30-6:30 p.m. with an instructor. Fitness swim (lifeguard on duty, no instruction) is from 7-9 a.m. Tuesday-Friday. For more information or to set up an appointment with the aquatics director, e-mail

Booths open for Summer Splash: The City of Natchitoches will host Summer Splash Thursday, May 1 from 4-6 p.m. at the Events Center. Summer Splash is an informational fair that highlights summer activities throughout the city and parish for children of all ages. It is free and open to the public. Summer Splash showcases educational, recreational and social youth programs taking place in Natchitoches this summer. Local groups will distribute information and registration forms for a variety of summer programs including vacation Bible school, sports camps, art camps, science camps and more. All groups and organizations planning activities for children this summer are encouraged to sign up for a free booth space at the event. Contact the City of Natchitoches Main Street Office at (318) 352-2746 or email Samantha Bonnette at

Annual "Ride for the Bear" to benefit children with special needs: A charity motorcycle ride benefitting children with special needs will take place in May. The Lindsay Foundation is hosting "Ride for the Bear" on Saturday, May 10. Registration will begin at 8 a.m., with kickstands up at 9 a.m. Participants will leave from the Park Terrace parking lot on North Pine Street in DeRidder, taking a 180-mile route and finishing at Christway Church, 207 Lawlis Rd., DeRidder. The pre-registration deadline is April 30. Packages start at $35 and include an entry in prize drawings, a "Ride for the Bear" patch, a T-shirt, drinks and snacks and a meal ticket. Only pre-registered riders are guaranteed a patch and shirt. For more information, visit, e-mail or call (337) 353-3400.

U.S. Fish Hatchery, Monday through Friday from 8AM until 3PM * Closed Federal Holidays, 615 South Drive Natchitoches, LA. 71457. Tel: (318)352-5324: The newly remodeled Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery features sixteen tanks of native fish species highlighting river habitats from the South Eastern United States. The station is involved in spawning, hatching, and rearing young fish to restore natural populations. The Hatchery is a warm water center concerned with spawning, hatching, and rearing young fish, called fingerlings. The fingerlings are raised to a size and age which offers them the best chance at survival in the wild. Operations began in 1931 under the authority of the White Act. The Hatchery currently houses: catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass, striped bass, pallid sturgeon, and paddlefish. The Hatchery houses an aquarium, the Harold B. Wales Environmental Education Classroom, a holding house, ponds and the Hatchery office. The aquarium holds 16 tanks filled with a variety of warm water fish, alligators and turtles, including the rare albino snapping turtle. The classroom is used for grades K-12 and is equipped with microscopes, video teaching capabilities, and several hands-on items. The holding house is used to spawn and hatch eggs, to raise newly hatched fish, and to prepare newly harvested fingerlings for distribution. There are 53 ponds on the Hatchery grounds, averaging 0.8 acres in size.

Rotary Club announces date of Annual Bob Sewell Golf Tournament: The DeRidder Rotary Club has announced the date of their upcoming annual Bob Sewell Golf Tournament on Thursday, May 8 at the Beauregard Country Club. Funds from the tournament support local and international Rotary service projects. If interested please contact Kevin Aycock at (337) 462-8337 or Mike Luttrell at (337) 462-8315 for mor information.

Oliphant Golf Scramble May 10: NATCHITOCHES – The 6th Annual James L. Oliphant Memorial Golf Scramble is set for Saturday, May 10, at the Northwestern State University Recreation Complex and Demon Hills Golf Course. Proceeds benefit the NSU Athletic Association Endowed Scholarship Fund. The shotgun start will begin at 8 a.m., and will include a 4-person scramble, followed by an awards reception and luncheon. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place teams. Featured events will include longest drive and closest to the hole contests. Registration is $65 for individuals and $250 per four-man team. Participants can register at the golf course or request registration information via email from event organizer Nicole Gray at or call Odell Oliphant at (318) 228-4431. Sponsorships are available and donations appreciated. Checks should be made payable to the James L. Oliphant Memorial Scholarship and can be mailed to 1241 Highway 504, Natchitoches, LA 71457. The James L. Oliphant Endowed NSU Football Scholarship was established on Oct. 25, 2008, in memory of the beloved high school teacher and coach, who passed away on Oct. 19, 1988, at the age of 33 from complications of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. "Jimmy" was a student scholar and all-star athlete at Natchitoches Central High School, as well as a model student and leader while attending Northwestern State University, where he sought to serve humanity both socially and intellectually. He was a charter member of the Theta Lambda Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. After receiving a B.S. degree in physical education from Northwestern in 1977, he taught in the Natchitoches Parish school system until his retirement in 1987. For more information, please call Hall Adams at (318) 357-6300 at the Northwestern Hill Golf Course or Nicole Gray at (972) 897-5357.

NATCHITOCHES – Here is a look at the week of April 20 - 26 at Northwestern State University.

April 20 – 26 – Early registration for summer and fall semesters

April 25 -- Phi Beta Delta Honor Society potluck dinner, Natchitoches Room, Russell Hall, 6 p.m.

April 25 – Baseball vs. Central Arkansas, Brown-Stroud Field, 6:30 p.m.

April 25 – 26 -- Northwestern Theatre and Dance performs “The Four Elements” A.A. Fredericks Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.

April 26 – Men’s and women’s track and field in Leon Johnson NSU Invitational, Walter P. Ledet Track Complex

April 26 – Baseball vs. Central Arkansas, Brown-Stroud Field, 2 p.m.

April 26 -- Northwestern Theatre and Dance performs “The Four Elements” A.A. Fredericks Auditorium, 2 p.m.

MLK Center offers bounty of summer programs: The mission of the City of Natchitoches Recreation and Parks Department is to provide all Natchitoches residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy a diverse mix of well-maintained, safe, accessible areas and facilities within the City’s park system. The department also seeks to offer a variety of indoor/outdoor recreational opportunities and innovative programming, which may benefit and enhance an individual quality of life and well being. City league registration for 11-14 year old boys and girls will be held May 1-16. Registration costs $25 and games will be on Sunday. Spring football drills are offered by the Recreation Center free for 2013 returning participants and $25 for new participants, with a $10 fee for t-shirts. Drills for children ages 11-12 will be held Monday and Wednesday, May 5 and 7. Drills for children 7-10 will be held Tuesday and Thursday, May 6 and 8. Youth summer camp and youth swimming lesson registration begins Monday, May 12. Children must be registered no later than the Friday before the swimming lesson begins in order to participate. Adult men’s and co-ed softball league registration will be held May 19-30 with a cost of $250 per team. Speed and conditioning camp registration for 7-14 year olds will be held May 21-30 with a cost of $35. The Recreation Center will be closed Monday, May 26 for Memorial Day. For information about programming, please call 318-357-3892 or visit our Facebook page "Natchitoches Recreation and Parks Programs."

Northwestern Philharmonic to perform Monday: NATCHITOCHES – The Northwestern State University Philharmonic will perform Monday, April 28 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Dr. Douglas Bakenhus will conduct the Philharmonic. The program will be "Concerto for 2 Trumpets in D major" by Francesco Manfredini, featuring NSU Associate Professor of Music Galindo Rodriguez and student Joseph Morrow, a music performance major who is principal trumpet of Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Orchestra, "October" by Eric Whitacre and arranged by Paul Lavender, "Concerto Grosso in D major Op. 6 No. 1" by Arcangelo Corelli, "Rhosymedre" by Ralph Vaughan Williams and orchestrated by Stephen Foster, "Suite in A minor" by Georg Philip Telemann and "St. Anthony Chorale Divertimento" by Joseph Haydn and arranged by David Stone.

Clarinetist presents recital: Clarinetist David Steele will present a recital Sunday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Magale Recital Hall. Admission is free. The public is invited to attend. Steele, an adjunct faculty member at NSU, will present "Soliloquies" which will include modern music for the clarinet by composers Leslie Basset, Gregory Wanamaker, Shulamit Ran, Arne Norheim, Philippe Leduc and Maria Bonzangio. "In drama, a soliloquy is often used as a language device to disclose a character’s inner thoughts," said Steele. "The music on this program acts in the same way by conveying an emotional experience, such as death, fear or excitement through sound. These experiences are often intensely personal and unique to each individual. This music is about the human experience on an emotional level, therefore making it relevant to anyone in the audience." Steele will be joined by saxophonist Ashley Kelly, a D.M.A. student at LSU. He will perform as part of the contemporary music ensemble Katsachie Sound with Matthew Perry on trombone and Les Clarinettes, a faculty/student clarinet quartet including faculty member Dr. Malena McLaren, Steele, graduate student Jessica Shuler and senior Jaime Cisneros. Les Clarinettes will play music from Cirque du Soleil’s "Corteo" arranged by Dr. Adam Hudlow, an adjunct music theory instructor at NSU. For more information please call (318) 357-5802.

Alligator Park: April - Mid-August Open Daily, Mid-August - October, Open Weekends Only Park Hours 10AM - 5PM, 380 Old Bayou Pierre Road, Toll-Free: (877) 354-7001, Tel: (318) 354-0001, Explore the unique, mysterious, and exciting world of the American Alligator. This five-acre park is the largest of its kind in Louisiana, complete with Cajun music, Cajun cuisine, and LOTS of hungry alligators. From covered, protected walkways and platforms you’ll see hundreds of alligators in their natural environment. The whole family will enjoy watching and feeding these big gators. Children also love the Feeding Zoo, the Bird Sanctuary, the Reptile Habitat, the Jungle, Turtle Town, Rocky Raccoon Resort and much more. You can have your picture made with a gator, enjoy tasty dishes of all kinds at our Gator Bites Snack Shop, and shop for the unusual in our Gift Shop. One thing is certain, it will be an adventure your family won’t soon forget — a real Louisiana experience at the Bayou Pierre Alligator Park.

Natchitoches Humane Society celebrates the ASPCA's second annual "Help a Horse Day" with a special event on Saturday, April 26, 2014 at Tractor Supply. The event entitled "People Helping Horses, Horses Helping People" will offer education for the public on the needs of horses, raise awareness of the ways in which horses enrich the lives of humans, and link trainers, law enforcement, young adults and children together to create a network for rescue and rehabilitation of horses in need.

What: Celebrate Help A Horse Day with the Natchitoches Humane Society
When: Saturday, April 26 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Where: Tractor Supply, 345 South Drive, Natchitoches, LA
More Info: Please visit

Any questions call Shannon at 318-471-1642

Sandstone multi-use trail opens: NATCHITOCHES – The Sandstone multi-use trail, a popular motorized route located in Natchitoches Parish within the Kisatchie Ranger District, will open on Saturday. The trail is seasonally closed, but forest rangers planned an early opening so riders can take advantage of the spring weather, said ranger Mike Dawson. Winding through hardwood and pine hills, the multi-use trails are most popular for ATV riding although motorcycles, bicycles, horses and hiking are also allowed. Although the trail is drying, some wet areas remain. Visitors should ride slowly in those areas, avoiding damage to the soil and vegetation, Dawson said. For more information, call the Kisatchie Ranger District at (318) 472-1840, the forest supervisors at (318) 473-7160 or visit the Kisatchie National Forest website





















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