NATCHITOCHES, LA-Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site in Natchitoches will have its annual spring re-enactment ‘Gathering of the Marines’ this weekend.
On March 7-9, visitors can enjoy interpretive daily programs and interpretive museum. You will experience French Colonial life as you are guided through the fort by costumed interpreters. The fort has dioramas, interactive displays and displayed artifacts and costumes.
On Saturday, more special events will take place for the entire families. The Gathering of the Marines will feature re-enactors from all over the United States portraying 18th century French Militia. Costumed staff will be firing the sites 6 pound cannon at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, and 3:30pm.
For those looking for a place to have a picnic lunch, stop by our visitors center at 155 Jefferson Street in Natchitoches. A local Natchitoches friends group will be onsite selling and serving jambalaya plates for $10 per plate beginning at 11:30am.
‘Gathering of the Marines’ event is open for tours on March 7-9 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, senior citizens, kids 12 and under and school groups get in FREE. School administrators are encouraged to call the park in advance.
For more information call 318-357-3101 or 888-677-7853. Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Park is located at 155 Rue Jefferson in Natchitoches.
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.
History: The site obtained for the replication of Fort St. Jean Baptiste is located on Cane River Lake (formerly the Red River) a few hundred yards from the original fort site. The fort replication was based upon Broutin’s plans and on extensive archival research in Louisiana, Canada and France. Construction began in 1979 under the direction of the late Samuel Wilson, Jr. and the Louisiana Office of State Parks. Building materials were obtained locally, and many 18th-century techniques were employed in the replication. Nearly 2,000 treated pine logs form the palisade and approximately 250,000 board feet of treated lumber went into the construction of the buildings. All of the hinges and latches were handmade at a nearby foundry. Further historical research is ongoing.