Explore the Magic of Natchitoches, Louisiana and Its Alluring History Thursday, Dec 29 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN

Bust of Louis Juchereau de St. Denis

“The Renomee, Frigate of King Louis XIV’s navy, floated ghostlike through veils of fog toward the mysterious, broken shore line.  The captain, Pierre La Moyne, Sieur d’Iberville, called a junior officer to his side at starboard. The younger officer was the captain’s cousin and uncle-in-law–a man who, like himself, bore a distinguished Canadian name–Louis Juchereau de St. Denis. The captain pointed a bold hand landward: ‘Louisiana!’, he announced with a ring in his voice. This was a magical word to Frenchmen, a will-o,-the wisp name that had become alluring but not quite real.”
{Ross Phares: “Cavalier in the Wilderness”,Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, 1976}
Louisiana retains its magical and alluring quality that attracted these adventurous French Canadians. We who live here may venture out to others places but there is something that beckons us to come home to Louisiana. St Denis found Louisiana to be a playground for brave and romantic hearts. He planted his life and destiny firmly in the rich soil of Louisiana. Except for brief periods, he was never to leave again. (“Cavalier in the Wilderness).
St. Denis found one place in Louisiana that has proven to be uniquely magical and attractive. It is the French Colonial City of Natchitoches. The founder of Natchitoches, St Denis first met the Natchitoches Indians in 1701. Flooding of the Red River in 1705 destroyed their crops. St Denis invited the tribe to move to an area he controlled near Lake Pontchartrain. The Natchitoches Indians returned his kindness by giving him tattoos from the tribe that permitted him to cultivate strong trade ties and also to summon numerous Indian warriors in times of great need.
The year 2012 marks the Bi-Centennial of the State of Louisiana. In future posts I will share some of the dates and events to be celebrated throughout the entire year.
Speaking of Natchitoches, Kathleen M. Byrd entitled her excellent book “Colonial Natchitoches: Outpost of Empires” (Xlibris Corporation, 2008). Indeed it was!
In 2014, this old French Indian trading post will celebrate its Tri-Centennial year. It promises to be a great opportunity to hear the story, live the magic of its diversity and celebrate the promise of an even greater future for this enchanted “City of Lights”. As the saying goes; “the rest is history”.

Bust of St. Denis, Red River in background


Stories of Old Natchitoches: “Carrie Campbell Butler Remembered” Friday, May 6 2011 

Posted by Doyle Bailey for

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Natchitoches, Louisiana

“Carrie Campbell Butler Remembered” was written as a tribute to a rather remarkable lady. The dedication of the book clarifies that it was written:

“For my mother, Annie Laurie, who loved her Grandmother and collected this material as a tribute. Thank you for passing down the love for fun. I love you.  (from) another Carrie in another time”.

Carrie Campbell married W.B. Butler on July 21, 1887. Speaking of her husband Captain Butler, she called him “Captain Butler” until she died. (Marriage Records, Natchitoches Parish).

A devout Catholic, Carrie Campbell Butler went to daily Mass.

“She didn’t just go to church, she sorta took it around with her”.

She lived out on Red River (Valverda) all of her married life. Here, no one had likely heard of a Catholic. Captain Butler was a Methodist.  It would appear that any one who knew her would soon come to know what a real Catholic looked like and how they lived.

Captain Butler spent more than fifty years married to his wife. He writes about their relationship:

“We had many trials and deprivations, but not once did either regret our wedding…A few years after celebrating our Golden Wedding my dear wife left me to go to her reward. Life is now lonely for me and I await the call”.

What a beautiful story; a love story, and a  story of lives well lived.

Carrie Campbell Butler