Fish Hatchery and Regional Archaeologist Jeff Girard Friday, Nov 13 2009 

Regional Archaeologist Jeff Girard will likely speak to our class on the Regional Archaeology program, as well as his fieldwork at the Fish Hatchery (16NA70).  A pdf of his paper provided by Dr. Haley would not load in Blackboard, but I found an untitled paper for background at the CRT website. After hearing about the excavations, we will visit the hatchery.


The Regional Archaeology program now includes four regional archeologists for the state, plus one for Greater New Orleans and another for Poverty Point. The program once had additional station archaeologists. The program is part of the Louisiana Division of Archaeology, CRT (department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism), and a map of the regions is available at their website

See also


Resources consulted include the hatchery’s website , Randall Hart’s “Caddo Heritage Day”, prior participation at heritage education events at the Fish Hatchery, and an untitled report by Jeff Girard: Girard, Jeff.  Untitled Report on Fish Hatchery.

The location of the fish hatchery is 615 South Drive in Natchitoches, not far from Northwestern State University. It is owned by the US Government and managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service. The phone number is (318) 352-5324. The site is a working fish hatchery that includes an aquarium and limited interpretation of Native Americans that once occupied the site. The hatchery realizes that this is considered a sacred burial ground of  the Natchitoches band of Caddo, therefore, the Fish Hatchery management tries to cultivate a meaningful relationship with the Caddo Nation.

I don’t know what to expect of this visit.

Heritage Resources Pilgrimage Friday, Oct 30 2009 

This weekend, our cohort will visit the Military Maneuvers Museum, White Sulphur Springs, Jena Band of Choctaw, and Poverty Point.

A previous post contains the pre-site report on the Military Maneuvers Museum.

I consulted a number of websites for our visit. Little was available on White Sulphur Springs ( ,,ftc,3,fid,1630396,n,white%20sulphur%20springs%20post%20office.cfm, and )

The Jena Band of Choctaws’ website was the best source of information on them, but NSU’s Folklife Center also offers a good resource:

There are dozens of web-based resources on Poverty Point, but of various scientific integrity and detail:

Our cohort will do a trek throughout Central and Northwest Louisiana moving between I-49 and I-20 in a loop Northeast of Natchitoches, south to Pineville, then to White Sulphur Springs and Trout (in the Jena area), then to Poverty Point (near Epps). A potential route is in this Google travel plan.

I recently visited the Jena Band at powwow and look forward to this visit. My guess is that White Sulphur Springs will be a natural spring and perhaps an archaeology site, yet I sincerely look forward to it. I have high expectations of Poverty Point. I have been waiting my whole life to go there.

Anticipating Grand Ecore Visitors Center and St. Savior Cemetery Thursday, Oct 15 2009 

St. Savior Cemetery, Natchitoches Parish

I know from Dr. Tommy Hailey’s update that the site is “just outside of Natchitoches”, and that it is Ashley Constance’s thesis project site. There is little available  online regarding the site, and I didn’t have adequate lead time to chat with Ashley about the site. From RootsWeb, readers learn that the cemetery is African American Baptist

There are at least two St. Savior Baptist Churches in Natchitoches. One is located on the east bank of the Cane River at 137 John Gains Rd off of 494, but because of context clues (that we are combining this visit with one to the Grand Ecore Visitors Center), I assume that this Cemetery is associated with the St. Savior located at 161 Saint Savior Church Rd (Parish Road 427,) just off of Grand Ecore Road (US 84/ LA 6). The latter is also sometimes referred to as St. Savior Church (Grand) in telephone directories (see below).

Assuming the latter church is the one associated with the cemetery, I tried to identify a cemetery from Google Satellite, but didn’t find conclusive evidence. If the site is near the church, it is wedged somewhere between Grand Ecore Road and Plywood Plant Road. I found a number of directories that included a phone number for the church (318) 357-8000. (eg-

With almost no information available online, I have to rate information as poor to nonexistent. I expect a cemetery associated with a church with little extant written interpretation on-site. However, I hope for good interpretation from Ashley, the church pastor, a cemetery groundskeeper, or a church member.

The Grand Ecore Visitor Center had much more of an online presence. The Center is a US Corps of Engineers site and seems to be a noteworthy attraction for Natchitoches tourists as well as for Civil War buffs and Other online sites include Louisiana Travel website and a tour guide’s blog The sites have a wealth of information, including photos.

The Grand Ecore Visitor Center is located about 4 miles north of Natchitoches on the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway (ie Red River) at 106 Tauzin Island Road Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457. The site is free of charge. It is open 8 a.m. – 6 p.m daily and is closed on New Year’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas. For more information, would-be visitors can contact the U.S. Corp of Engineers at 318-354-8770.

The center includes a wood structure built on top of a bluff on the Red River. It houses a museum focusing on the history of Grand Ecore and its relationship to Red River and the surrounding area. The museum  includes references to geology, paleontology, and Native American cultures of the region as well as the place of Grand Ecore in the Civil War.

I have high expectations for the visit. For me, a combination historical site with a museum and recreation site on a waterway is tops. I love waterways and waterway transportation. I hope to attend the Waterway Awareness Tour, departing from the contemporary Port of Natchitoches on October 28, just across the bridge from Grand Ecore. One of my dreams is to one day navigate the Red River from Cross Bayou in Shreveport (where my dad has his boat) to New Orleans.

The visitor center is located on the high bluff. That’s a good thing: Grand Ecore is currently at flood stage, which means there may be minor lowland flooding in the vicinity.

Pre site: Magnolia Plantation unit of Cane River Creole NHP Monday, Oct 12 2009 

My expectations of this site visit to Magnolia Plantation stem from discussions with Dustin Fuqua at the curation facility and the following websites:

We will be visiting the Magnolia Plantation at  5487 Highway 119 Natchez, LA (near Derry) in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. It is owned by the National Parks Service and part of the Cane River Creole National Heritage Park.  To get there, follow these directions from the National Parks Service. If you need to contact the facility, call (318) 379-2221.

DO NOT CONFUSE it with the Magnolia Plantation and Gardens of Charleston, SC ( or the Private wedding hall in the New Orleans area (, the one on the Mississippi Gulf Coast ( or the plantation or condo development in Florida or any other Magnolia Plantation elsewhere.

Dustin Fuqua will lead our exploration of the site, which is a unit of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park. Based on the information available, I expect an interpretation of colonization, paid and unpaid work, architecture, artifacts and other material culture heavily skewed toward Cane River “creolization.” That is, an explanation of how cross-cultural influences produced a new synthetic local culture.  Jeff Guin of NPN and NCPTT will meet us to facilitate the completion of our podcast and video projects.

Finding information about “our” Magnolia was not difficult, but actually much harder than expected.  A simple search for Magnolia Plantation yields poor results.  Cane River National Historical Park and Cane River Creole yield good results. Magnolia Plantation + Cane River yields better results for the general public.  I found over 100 links, perhaps half of academic nature using Magnolia + CARI.

Interestingly, both Magnolia Plantation (CARI) and the Magnolia in SC pose a number of interesting questions regarding period of significance. In “our” Magnolia, I believe  the site is interpreted to “late plantation use,” perhaps the 1960s, which can encompass the entire working history of the site.  The site in Charleston restored five slave cabins to different periods of significance:

Fort Jesup State Historic Site and Rebel Historic Site (pre-visit report) Monday, Oct 12 2009 

A wealth of information is available online about the Ft. Jesup State Historic Site. I consulted with the following web resources:

The site is located at 32 Geoghagan Rd., Many, LA 71449 (just off Hwy 6, slightly closer to Many than Robeline), Sabine Parish, about 22 miles (30 minutes) from NSU. Its GPS coordinates are N 31 36.7346, W 93 24.1103.

The site is owned and managed by Louisiana State Parks, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. The phone number is 318-256-4117 or 888-677-5378 toll free. They can be reached by email at

The facilities include a museum, restroom and a picnic area. Good information on the site is easy to find.

I expect to find interpretation of the site focused on the strategic military importance of the region from 1820s-1840s, and the fort within that context. Likely points will include an explanation of historical geography including the US/ Mexico borders, the Republic of Texas, and “No Man’s Land”.  Military interpretation may include Texas War of Independence, The Mexican War of 1845 and perhaps a listing of famous men and Civil War officers that once stationed or visited the fort.
I have been driving by the site most of my life, but have never been there.  I really look forward to the visit.

Rebel State Historical Site

is located three miles northwest of Marthaville on LA 1221, also near Many. It is 10 miles from Robeline and about 25 miles west of the Natchitoches/ NSU. Its GPS coordinates are: N 31 44.978, W 93 25.231.

It is also managed by Louisiana State Parks, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. The Park can be contacted at 318-472-6255 or 888-677-3600 or by email at

Like most state museums in the area there is a $2 admission, but children and seniors can visit free of charge.  The site includes an amphitheater,the grave of the unknown Confederate soldier, and the Louisiana Country Music Museum. Reliable information is easily available online.

I am unsure of what to expect. Is the site primarily a Country Music Museum or a monument to the Confederacy? What, if any, relation do the two have?

My gut instinct is that the state should do more to emphasize music aspects of site and link with other music sites (especially sites of Country Music interest) of the state (Louisiana Hayride, etc), Delta Museum in Ferriday. But once again, I’ve passed the exit most of my life and never visited

Ft. St. Jean Baptiste (pre-site) Wednesday, Oct 7 2009 

Ft. St. Jean Baptiste is a replica of an 18th Century fort located at 155 Rue Jefferson, Natchitoches, LA 71457. It is a State Historic Site, therefore operated by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of State Parks.

The CRT website gives detailed directions:  From I-49, head east on Hwy. 6 into Natchitoches. Hwy. 6 becomes  College Drive. Follow College Drive for approximately 2 miles and take a left onto rue Jefferson. The site will be on the right. GPS Coordinates: N 31 45.1436, W 93 5.2781. The facility is open 9-5 daily, except holidays and charges $2 per person (free for seniors and children).

The park can be reached at 318-357-3101 or 1-888-677-7853, or by email at

I consulted with the following websites:

Natchitoches Courthouse and Parish Tax Assessor (pre-site visit) Wednesday, Oct 7 2009 

Preparing to visit the Natchitoches Courthouse, I drove by for a look. I also consulted the Clerk of Court’s website and the NPS website on the history of the building

The courthouse is located in the 200 block of Church Street in the Historical District of Natchitoches, a 25 minute walk down College and 2nd Streets to Church Street.

This courthouse is not to to be confused with the Old Courthouse (see previous entry) or the City Court at 314 Amulet Street.If you need to pay traffic tickets issued outside of city limits, skip both courthouses and make payment to the Sheriff.

The WPA Art Deco style building was commissioned by the Police Jury in the late 1930s and is owned by Natchitoches Parish. It is managed by the Parish Court;  Louie Bernard is Clerk of Court. The Clerk of Court’s contact information is: 200 Church St # 104, Natchitoches – (318) 352-8152.  The District Judge also maintains an office at the Court. The judge’s contact is (318) 357-2209‎ or (318) 357-2210.

Little information is available online, but the Clerk of Court’s website is commendable for its functionality and easy of navigation. The NPS page is useful for an historical overview.

Based on FAQs from Clerk of Court, I expect to see, “court records, marriage records and land records date[ing] back to approximately 1732”.  Hopefully we’ll get a “crash course” in doing research there.

The Natchitoches Parish Tax Assessor is also housed in the Courthouse. The Assessor sets tax valuations of properties, and keeps property tax a nd assessment records. Researchers can search Tax Assessor records by parcel number, owner’s name, section, township and range, or most conveniently, street address. The researcher can take one piece of information (such as street address) and get all other relevant information, allowing them to utilize Clerk of Court records.

The Assessor’s website was useful but should be updated. The FAQs were in the tiny left margin and ran into the footline, rendering the last FAQs unreadable.  This could be corrected by placing the FAQs in the center as content.

I expect that our class will get an introduction to doing research at the Assessor’s office.

Badin-Roque House (pre-site visit) Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

The Badin-Roque House is a rare example of post-in-ground construction built on flat land. It is about 16 miles (29 minutes) south-southeast of Natchitoches, off Highway 484 ( ). It is on the west bank of the Cane River.

St. Augustine Historical Society purchased the house in 1979, and restoration began in 1999. The house is open to the public by appointment with the Creole Heritage Center at 318-357-6685.

Online sources were easy to find (see links below) and of good quality. There was less information than I expected for such a rare example of the construction type.

I have high expectations of the house and interpretation, based on the video. I do have a question: does bousillage include horse hair (as per NPS website), or not?

Historic Markers

MAHR Heritage Ed Day

Our cohort also watched the video and had a brief discussion of the MAHR Heritage Day.

Maps & Architecture

HABS Cross-Section

Melrose Plantation (pre-site visit) Thursday, Oct 1 2009 

Melrose plantation (also known as Yucca Plantation) is 16.8 miles South Southeast of NSU Campus, at the junction of Highway 119 and 493 in Melrose on the east bank of the Cane River.

It is owned by the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (318-379-0055 )  and is open noon until 4 PM Tue-Sun.

APHN’s website located at is not functioning. Aside from that, information was freely available online, but occasionally contradictory. Why is the place interpreted as the home of Marie Therese Coincoin? Why (and how) is that interpretation contested?

I expect to hear more about Coincoin, the Hertzogs, Cammie Henry and perhaps Clementine Hunter. I expect to hear the histories of the structures. I hope to hear about construction methods and something on the owners’ plans for the Kate Chopin (Alexis Cloutier) House.

The following web pages were easy to find and yielded useful information:

Note that Melrose Plantation in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana is not to be confused with in Virginia or in Adams County Mississippi.

NPN and Cane River Creole National Historical Park Curation Facility (Pre site) Friday, Sep 25 2009 

The Natchitoches Preservation Network, seems to be primarily a free social networking site for people interested in preserving the heritage of Natchitoches Parish. I am unsure if there is a physical location of the network, per se. Jeff Guin runs the website. He also makes video documentaries, some of which are available at and is a guest column (with Natchitoches Preservation Network byline) in the Natchitoches Times. Joining NPN is easy. The site even has a group for Heritage Resources. I have no idea what to expect from the visit with Mr. Guin, but look forward to it.

Cane River Creole National Historic Park Curation Facility

Most websites featuring the Cane River Creole National Historic Park exclude information on curation or the facility.  I found the following information, each of which has at least a snippet of information on the Curation Facility:

Additionally, I found a video of Rodney Meziere on Guin’s Preservation Network TV, talking about collections conservation (part of curation) using the  poster he presented at the “Preservation in Your Community” event in August 2009.
The Curation Facility is located at 400 Rapides Dr. Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457, about a mile from campus

It is a mysterious and unassuming building owned by the National Parks Service. The phone number is (318) 352-0383.

Little information is available online about the facility. I am unsure if it is open to the public. I expect to find a working curation facility, minimal interpretation, and a small lab.

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