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Magnolias & Meat Pies: New Exhibit Shines Spotlight on Natchitoches

meat pie 1
Photo: City of Natchitoches

Anyone who’s ever been to Natchitoches knows it’s the home of the famous Meat Pie. It’s also filled with Magnolia trees. Those two elements are featured in a new Tri-Centennial exhibit aptly titled “Magnolias & Meat Pies.”

The exhibit focuses on the contributions that Natchitoches has made to the heritage and history of Louisiana and beyond.

Here’s a little background on the city from the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches, which sponsors the event:

From the founding of the original fort in 1714, Natchitoches has made an indelible mark on shaping the growth of our state. The exhibit will trace the importance of the El Camino Real on the early trade and commerce of the French colony and the impact of the indigo crop to the success of early plantation economy. Generations before King Cotton was ever planted west of the Mississippi, Natchitoches indigo was being exported far and wide.

World famous Natchitoches Meat Pies, the official Louisiana State Meat Pie, are a food tradition introduced to the early Natchitoches settlers by their neighbors from the Spanish fort at Los Adaes. Visitors will receive their own copy of a recipe for Natchitoches Meat Pies that appeared in an APHN publication in 1958.

The local impact on the film industry will be noted with behind-the-scenes, never-before-seen images of the filming of “Steel Magnolias,” a movie that has become one of the most beloved films in history. Other movies to be featured include “The Horse Soldiers” starring John Wayne and “Man In The Moon” starring Reese Witherspoon.

“Natchitoches was home to The Faithful Servant, the first statue ever erected to honor of an African American on the North American Continent. And Saint Augustine Church is the first church built by African Americans for an African American congregation in the nation,” said APHN Tri-Centennial Chairman Gary Cathey. “These are but two examples of the importance of our community to African American history.”

Visitors will learn the story of the Prudhomme boys holding down General Patton’s army during the Louisiana Maneuvers in 1940, a story that became part of Paul Harvey’s”The Rest of the Story” series.

“We will highlight former Natchitoches natives like Rex Reed, the famous movie critic, and current young people representing Natchitoches on the world stage today like Max Moran, musician, Steven Rose, violinist, Colin O’Con artist, and Michael Snowden, cigar box guitar maker,” said exhibit co-chairwoman Dr. Susan Dollar.

The exhibit is open to the public and there’s no cost for admission. It’s open Saturday, July 12, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Lemee House. It’s located at 310 Jefferson in downtown Natchitoches.

CLICK HERE for a map of the area.

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