See What You Have Been Missing Saturday, Feb 2 2013 

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

The Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches (APHN) holds strongly to a vision and not just  meeting as an organization. It’s stewardship is a commitment to keeping a heritage and culture alive for present visitors and future generations.

Begun in 1941 and chartered as a non-profit organization in 1944, theAPHN is a volunteer organization. At present, APHN operates two historic properties: Melrose Plantation and the Lemee House. The organization provides educational opportunities to children and adults through the Children’s Walking Tour of Natchitoches, the Fall Tour of Historic Homes and daily 10am-5pm (closed on Mondays)  guided tours of Melrose Plantation, which include the Big House and the African House.

Melrose Hours of Operation:

Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday: Closed

 Tours of the Historic House begin at the Melrose Bindery Every 15 minutes past the Hour (First Tour: 10:15, Last Tour begins at 4:15)

 Gift Shop closes at 5pm

Admission Prices:


Adults $10.00

*Students (6-17 or with University ID) $5.00

 GROUNDS ONLY TOUR (does not include house tour)

Adults $5.00

*Students $ 3.00

 GROUPS OF 15 OR MORE (by reservation)

Adult Group: $10.00

Tour Operator Group: $8.00

*Student Group: $5.00

*(Now includes University students)
Contact Information: 318-379-0055 or 


Economic Impact of Fall Tour of Homes on Natchitoches Tuesday, Dec 4 2012 

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

Northwestern (State University, Natchitoches, La.)  completed an economic impact study for the APHN (Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches) Fall Tour of Homes. Here are the results: They may shock you!

Using the average ticket price of $37.66; approximately 536 tickets were purchased for the Tour of Homes.
“New Money” is defined as money introduced into the community that would not be available to the area (over 30 miles). $27,278 of new money was spent (ticket sale not included). In other words, each visitor who came to Natchitoches only for Tour of Homes spent $357.82. The total money (people coming just for Fall Tour and people who would be in Natchitoches anyway) was $27,820.
The impact multiplier for Natchitoches is 2.8 which makes the economic impact of Fall Tour of Homes approximately $509,037.73.

One problem with this study is that ticket sales are roughly estimated and the data is self-reported. But These numbers shocked me just as much as they have shocked you. Fall Tour has an enormous impact on the local economy with 57% spent on food and lodging; hotels, B&Bs, and restaurants benefit most from the event.  What we discovered during this project is that primarily “new money” is generated. This is money that would not have been spent in Natchitoches without Fall Tour of Homes. We have a “tangible opportunity to increase the local economy,” and APHN is proud to have such an impact on the vitality of the community.

Adam Foreman

Executive Director APHN

APHN Newsletter 
December 2012 e-Calico Courier Issue 13

Meet On the Corner of Yesteryear and Merriment Monday, Oct 8 2012 

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

See the Prudhomme-Rouquier House, 1782, on this year’s Fall Pilgrimage Tour of Homes, October 12-14, 2012. We will meet you on the corner of Yesteryear and Merriment in Natchitoches.Visit historic homes and stroll along lovely Cane River Lake as you enjoy the Candlelight Tour. For more information and advance tickets contact: Natchitoches Parish Tourist Commission 800-259-1714 or 318-581-8042


Los Adaes State Historic Site Included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program Thursday, Sep 13 2012 

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

 Los Adaes State Historic Site Included in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program

Natchitoches, LA, September 13, 2012 –

 Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc. (CRNHA) announced today that anthropologist Rolonda Teal, co-founder of the heritage organization Cultural Lore, Inc. was successful in nominating Los Adaes State Historic Site to the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program.

Teal began researching this project as part of an undergraduate class assignment. While delving through research materials, she ran across a story about freedom seekers who left plantations from the southern portion of Natchitoches Parish in route to Nacogdoches, TX. “This one story compelled me to want to know more. Was this a one-time occurrence? Did they just go to Nacogdoches?” remarked Teal. “As I attempted to find answers to those questions, a larger story unfolded that included many escape attempts – some of which were successful while others were not.”

 Los Adaes State Historic Site’s successful nomination for inclusion in the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program (NURNF) is a result of more than seven years of research by Teal. The NURNF is a subsidiary of the National Park Service whose involvement with the Underground Railroad began in response to Public Law 101-628, enacted in November 1990, which directed the agency to study alternatives for commemorating and interpreting the Underground Railroad. The National Park Service’s mission is to promote programs and partnerships to commemorate, preserve sites and other resources associated with, and educate the public about the historical significance of the Underground Railroad.

 Currently, there are only three sites in the state that hold this designation, one in South Louisiana known as the River Road African American Museum and the other two are located in Natchitoches Parish. In 2008, Cammie G. Henry Research Center located on the campus of Northwestern State University received honors from NURNF for its collection of archival material that supports research on slavery and attempts at freedom. The inclusion of Los Adaes SHS offers the second site in the region.

 Having these two sites located within Cane River National Heritage Area offers a way to interpret the multicultural legacy of the colonial Spanish fort. In addition, residents of the parish will benefit from a better understanding of our unique – and at times difficult to understand – history of slavery in the region. Educators, the tourism industry, and state park officials can all benefit from this new perspective when discussing African American and American history in the state.

Anthropologist Rolanda Teal








A Servant Girl Who Became a Famous Artist Wednesday, Apr 4 2012 

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

Clementine Hunter  (pronounced Clementeen)

Possibly Louisiana’s most famous artist, Clementine Hunter, was born in 1886 at Hidden Hill Plantation. At the age of fifteen, Clementine and her father moved to the financially successful Melrose Plantation. Melrose had been acquired in 1898 by John and Carmelite (“Miss Cammie”) Henry. Miss Cammie turned Melrose into an artist colony that was a haven where artists and writers came to live and work. Clementine worked in the cotton fields and the pecan orchards.  When she was middle-aged, Miss Cammie brought Clementine into the Big House to cook and clean. Here she met a New Orleans artist, Alberta Kinsey, who inspired Clementine to paint. With no formal training, she produced colorful and from memory paintings. She depicted every day life on Melrose Plantation. In 1939, Francois Mignon arrived at Melrose.  Mignon  began a life-long encouragement and promotion of Clementine Hunter. Today the story of the servant girl who became a famous artist is known around the world.

Clementines’ paintings are:

  • recognized as a narrative of plantation life during the time before grueling labor in the fields was replaced by mechanization. 
  • considered the works of one the most important self-taught American artists of the 20th century.
  • shown at the Smithsonian Institution, The Museum of American Folk Art and countless other museums and private collections around the world.

Clementine Hunter died on January 1, 1988 at the age of 101


  • She was the first African-American artist to have a solo exhibition at the Delgado Museum (now the New Orleans Museum of Art)  achieved a significant amount of success during her lifetime, including 
  • an invitation to the White House from U.S. President Jimmy Carter (which she declined).
  • Radcliffe College included Hunter in its “Black Women Oral History Project, published in 1980.
  • Northwestern State University of Louisiana granted her an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree in 1986.
One of the more well-known displays of Hunter’s artwork is located in a storage building called “African House” on the grounds of Melrose Plantation. (African House is often referred to as slave quarters, however the building was built for, and always used for storage.) The walls are covered in a mural Hunter painted.
Visit Melrose Plantation and see examples of Clementine’s art, including the murals in the African House.

Clementine Hunter, lived and painted at Melrose

Melrose Plantation Big House

Please take note of change in Melrose Festival dates for 2012.

Sat. April 21 and Sun. April 22, 2012.

Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival Vendor Information. 

Begun in 1941 and chartered as a non-profit organization in 1944, the APHN is a volunteer organization. At present, APHN operates two historic properties: Melrose Plantation and the Lemee House. The organization provides educational opportunities to children and adults through the Children’s Walking Tour of Natchitoches, the Fall Tour of Historic Homes and daily 12pm-4pm (closed on Mondays)  guided tours of Melrose Plantation, which includes the Big House, Yucca House and the African House. 

     Customer Service Information:
Phone: 318-379-0055

New Hours At Melrose Give You More FlexibilityTo Plan Your Fun Excursion Friday, Mar 2 2012 

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

Melrose Plantation

New Hours of Operation Starting March 1, 2012

Tuesday-Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Monday: Closed

 Tours of the Historic House begin at the Melrose Bindery Every 15 minutes Past the Hour (First Tour: 10:15, Last Tour begins at 4:15).

 Gift Shop closes at 5pm.

Gift Shop/ Bindery

Admission Prices:


 Adults (18-64) $10.00

*Students (6-17 or with University ID) $5.00

GROUNDS ONLY TOUR (does not include house tour)

 Adults $5.00

*Students $ 3.00

 GROUPS OF 15 OR MORE (by reservation)

 Adult Group: $10.00

Tour Operator: $8.00

*Student Group: $5.00

*(Now includes University students)

For more information regarding year-round tours please call: 318-379-0055.
(Bus tours by reservation only)

Plan a Tour of the Melrose Historic Home and Out-Buildings of the Metoyer “Gens de Colour Libre”.
Miss Cammie Henry’s collection of hand woven pieces.
the Clementine Hunter Murals in the African House.
the lovely Gardens
‘Take photos at the almost 400 year old Live Oak Tree. 
‘Shop in the Book Store Bindery for books and gift items.

A NEW cooler DATE! APRIL 21- 22, 2021 Thursday, Jan 19 2012 

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




at 318.581.8042

WHO Melrose Plantation

WHERE 3533 Hwy 119, Melrose LA

WHAT Melrose Arts and Crafts Festival

WHEN Saturday and Sunday April 21-22 8am-4pm



 DATE! APRIL 21- 22, 2021

The famous annual Melrose Plantation Arts and Crafts Festival will be hosted on the grounds on Saturday April 21 and Sunday April 22 from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Hundreds of vendors from around the state will exhibit and sell their original work.

Admission to the festival is $5.00 per person and your arm band gets you in all day! Raffle tickets will be sold to win items donated by the vendors. In addition to the arts & crafts, food and desert vendors will be on hand to satisfy your hungry side! Come enjoy the day with your family and friends while supporting local artist, craftsmen and the beautiful Melrose Plantation

Melrose Plantation is located just 14 miles south of Natchitoches at 3533 Hwy 119, Melrose LA.

Tours of this historic plantation home will be given throughout the weekend for an additional cost. Unwind with a weekend in the Melrose gardens at the Arts and Crafts Festival! All funds raised will be used for the continued preservation and maintenance of Melrose Plantation.


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


I Should Have Bought Two While I was At Melrose Tuesday, Oct 11 2011 

Chance Harvey Chats With "Lyle Saxon" At Melrose

Posted by Doyle Bailey for The Association For The Preservation Of Historic Natchitoches (APHN)

Sunday, October 9, 2011 was a remarkable day at Melrose Plantation (owned and operated by APHN). What made it a special day was the Fall Tour of Homes and delightful guests coming to revel in the sights and saga of this French Creole Plantation. Something extra was added however, or as we say in Louisiana there was laigniappe (something extra given to a customer).

The something extra was Chance Harvey, (click here for another post about Harvey)  author of “The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon”. What can I say about Chance, besides the fact she is a delightful person. Lets just deal with the problem first. How was I to know that I should have bought two copies of her book. She autographed our copy:

“for Barbara and Doyle-for the love of the Cane River Country, best,              Chance”.

The problem began when we both started the book and neither one of us wanted to share (very adult conduct). There are two book marks in the book. Here is where the problem lies:

  • the book is the first full biography of the legendary writer, Lyle Saxon, known as Mr. Louisiana and Mr. New Orleans. He spent years at Melrose Plantation in his solitary cabin.
  • Lyle Saxon was a writer of imminent skills, even though he demeaned his writing skills.  He could only be pleased that his biographer is a skilled communicator as well. Scholarly, well-researched and most readable, Chance breaks new ground and answer questions about Saxon I have not found elsewhere. (eg. where he was born).

I have always thought he looked sad in his photographs.   In speaking of his letters, Harvey writes that “they reveal the images of Saxon as a Southern  gentleman, genial host, and raconteur were self-created ones, designed to disguise his deep sense of alienation.”  

We will work out our little problem (buy another book, accede to my wife’s desire to read it first, or catch her sleeping and slink off with it).

Dr. Chance Harvey received her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Millsaps, Duke, and Tulane respectively.

It is a good day when you can visit Melrose Plantation, make a new friend and discover a remarkable book.

The Life and Selected Letters of Lyle Saxon by Chance Harvey

Visit and tour Melrose Plantation and you can purchase the book at the gift shop. Unless you are single, you might want to get two copies.


Melrose began life as The Louis Metoyer Plantation in 1796 and was named Melrose in 1884 when Joseph Henry bought the plantation. It is one of the first and is one of the best surviving examples of a Creole plantation built by former enslaved persons known as “free people of color.” There are out- buildings from the late 1700’s, one of which houses the 1955 murals painted by the internationally known African-American Folk Artist, Clementine Hunter, who lived and worked at Melrose.

For more information regarding year-round tours please call: 318-379-0055.
(Bus tours by reservation only)


Endangered Places and Fragile Artifacts Thursday, Jun 30 2011 

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

The following message from Jean Carter expresses so well our sense of loss, as members of APHN, when the Kate Chopin House burned on October 1, 2008.

“I am sending you (the Kate Chopin International Society) several of my photos of the tragic fire that destroyed this wonderful residence and all of its contents. The entire Cloutierville community has suffered a tremendous loss much akin to the death of a beloved family member.

“The historical and cultural heritage of this region will never be the same, and because this tragedy is so fresh, not much has been directed toward the future of the remaining structures on the Kate Chopin property. I hope that you will be able to share my photos with those who value Kate Chopin the person and the author. Thanks for caring about the Kate Chopin House and                                                                                                                                  Bayou Folk Museum”.

Jean Carter is the Heritage Ranger for the Cane River National Heritage Area and has a heart for preserving endangered places and fragile artifacts.

Kate Chopin House before fire

Photos by Jean Carter, courtesy Cane River National Heritage Area

The following message from Susie Chopin and Annette Chopin Lare:

(Greatgrandaughters of Kate Chopin)

“While our family has never placed great emphasis on material things, there was a collective gasp and profound sadness when it was learned that Kate’s home in Cloutierville, Louisiana, had burned. The Kate Chopin House in Cloutierville was our grandfather’s boyhood home. For those of us who were fortunate enough to visit The Bayou Folk Museum, walking through the rooms where Kate and Oscar lived with their children and seeing the bayou country that inspired so much of Kate’s best work, was an inspiring and unforgettable experience”.

As you travel around Natchitoches Parish, or the city where you live, do you see historical sites and structures that are endangered? Artifacts that are not being preserved properly?

  • Civil War battlefields that are scheduled to become another strip mall or shopping center
  • Historic structures that are falling into ruin
  • Priceless articles of clothing, paintings, jewelry, documents, books, sculptures, and more
Find out how you can help by being a good steward of our cultural heritage and help preserve endangered places and fragile artifacts.
For information about membership, events and tours please contact us:

Phone: 318-379-0055We will be happy to answer questions and address any concerns you may have.

Also you may contact the Kate Chopin International Society for information

Next Page »