Natchitoches, LA


December 31 - January 1, 2008

Webpage by Paul Ridenour

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I've been wanting the Daniel family to go to Natchitoches during December for quite some time and finally got them to go on New Year's Eve.

My wife had plans on New Year's Eve with her mom and my mom.  Therefore, I decided to go with the Daniel family on New Year's Eve.  Chris Daniel could not go because of work at the last minute so the Daniel girls invited a couple of guy friends.  Teresa Daniel, Paige Daniel, Melanie Daniel, Justin Butler, Rhett Hanscom, and myself left the Daniel's house at 6 AM on New Year's Eve.  After driving done the road a few miles, I realized that I did not have my cell phone.  Oh well, we were only going to be gone for one day.

Our plans were to drive 4 hours to Natchitoches, have lunch, visit some plantations, visit some Steal Magnolia movie sites, eat dinner, shop a little, watch the fireworks at 7 PM and then drive home, arriving near midnight.  That would be a long day but should be a fun one.

We arrived in Natchitoches just about 10 or so and went to the American Cemetery where the funeral scene was filmed, the Steal Magnolia's Bed and breakfast, and had Melanie and Rhett walk down the street by the large Oak trees where Darryl Hanna walked in the opening scene of the movie.

Being New Year's Eve, several of the restaurants were closed including Lasyone's [famous meat pies].  I really wanted everyone to try a meat pie.  We ate seafood at Mama's instead.  Some of the kids were eating things for the first time in their lives - alligator, frog legs, calamari, and perhaps even oysters.

We shopped a little bit and then we went to the Melrose Plantation, where the Steal Magnolia's groom's mother [Mrs. Latcherie Sr.] actress Lori Tate gives tours.  None of the kids had seen the movie but Rhett said that his mother watched the movie all of the time.  I decided to do a webpage of just Rhett and Steal Magnolia sites for his mom.


We visited the church where the wedding scene took place and then the Oaklawn Plantation, owned by the writer of the movie, Robert Harling.  We drove by two more plantations but they were already closed.

In the late afternoon, we decided to get a snack at Antoon's Riverfront Restaurant [www.antoonsrestaurant.com].  To my surprise, Antoon's serves Lasyone's meat pies and we ordered them along with virgin strawberry daiquiris and other virgin drinks.  The kids loved the meat pies.

We ate dinner at Mama's again mainly because they had the room and also a small jazz band.  The singer had a drink cup and a plastic water pitcher [the tip jar] taped to his microphone stand.  Even though we ordered regular meals, the kids ordered more meat pies as appetizers. 

After dinner, we shopped a little while and had learned that although they have fireworks every Saturday in December at 7 PM, New Year's Eve fireworks would be at midnight.  I decided that I will drive us home after the fireworks even though that meant we might not get home until 4:30 AM.

Rhett called his dad and told him the situation and his dad asked "If I can get rooms, will you spend the night?" He travels a lot for business and had a lot of free nights so we said that would spent the night.  The good news is that the town is not crowded on New Year's Eve, so the hotels/motels were mostly empty.  Rhett's dad got us four rooms at the Holiday Inn Express.  We only needed two but Rhett wanted one by himself, so we used three rooms.  We were pretty excited about spending the night because we knew we would be tired.  We checked into our rooms before the fireworks.  Very nice rooms and very nice of Rhett's father.

It was a bit cold and we tried to stay as warm as we could before the fireworks show, even going back to the car for a few minutes.  Rhett and Melanie went looking for more meat pies.  Apparently, they wanted to get an alligator meat pie, but they were sold out.

The fireworks show was short but awesome.  It was like they threw everything up all at once.  Instead of a 20 to 30 minute show, it was closer to only 5 minutes, but one of the best I've seen.  We were standing right under them at the downtown Cane River bridge.

We slept late and got home in the late afternoon, after eating burgers at the World Famous Dairy Palace in Canton, Texas.

Photo by Rhett Hanscom

Mama's [Photo by Teresa Daniel]

Paige, Rhett, actress and tour guide Lori Tate, Melanie, and Justin

Natchitoches ghosts

Yeah, hotel rooms!

"We're on our way home"