Known as the "City of Lights," Natchitoches has served as a backdrop for numerous iconic films, captivating audiences with its charming architecture, scenic landscapes, and vibrant culture. Journey through time, discovering the locations that have graced the silver screen and learning about the movies that have left an indelible mark on this picturesque town.
In 1988, the serene town of Natchitoches experienced a profound transformation when a film crew arrived, leaving an indelible mark. Accompanying the cameras were renowned stars Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Shirley MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, and Julia Roberts. As the production unfolded, local residents found themselves in the company of Dolly, sharing moments at the neighborhood cafe. Historic homes in the charming neighborhood took on new roles as the onscreen residences of M’Lynn and Truvy. Remarkably, a Natchitoches local even crafted the infamous armadillo-shaped red velvet cake featured in the movie’s wedding reception scene. Natchitoches underwent a metamorphosis into the fictional Chinquapin parish, serving as the perfect backdrop for the cinematic adaptation of Steel Magnolias. Not only was this quaint and
picturesque town an ideal setting for the Southern tale, but it also held a special significance as the hometown of Steel Magnolias playwright and screenwriter, Robert Harling. Harling penned the play as tribute to his sister Susan, who tragically passed away in 1985 due to complications from diabetes. Drawing inspiration from the real-life women who engaged in gossip and camaraderie at the local Natchitoches beauty salon, he fashioned the characters in the story. The film’s enduring message about the resilience and enduring strength of female friendships in the face of adversity continues to resonate with audiences, standing the test of time.
Click the links below to explore each scene
The Horse Soldier
Directed by John Ford and starring John Wayne and William Holden, this film tells the true story of a Union cavalry unit led by Colonel John Marlowe (John Wayne), who is tasked with destroying a vital Confederate railroad supply line in Newton Station, Mississippi. Natchitoches served as a primary filming location, with many iconic scenes captured in and around the city. The film showcased the architectural beauty of Natchitoches' historic district, with its cobblestone streets, charming homes, and Spanish moss-draped trees, providing a visually stunning backdrop for the story. The Horse Soldiers' filming in Natchitoches not only brought attention to the town's unique appeal but also contributed to the establishment of Natchitoches as a desirable filming location for future movies, cementing its place in the history of cinema.
Man in the Moon
This 1991 coming-of-age drama film directed by Robert Mulligan, starred Reese Witherspoon in her film debut. Set in the 1950s in rural Louisiana, the film follows the story of Dani Trant (Reese Witherspoon), a young girl who experiences her first love and the challenges of adolescence. The Cane River area served as the primary filming location, and many iconic scenes were shot within its picturesque surroundings. The film beautifully showcases the town's charming architecture, the scenic beauty of Cane River Lake, and the unique Southern atmosphere.
A Year Without Santa Claus
"A Year Without Santa Claus" is a 2006 made-for-television animated film based on the 1974 Rankin/Bass stop-motion special of the same name. In this heartwarming holiday tale, Santa Claus (voiced by John Goodman) decides to take a break from delivering presents after feeling discouraged by the world's lack of belief in him. As a result, Christmas spirit begins to wane. It is up to Mrs. Claus (voiced by Delta Burke) and a group of determined elves to convince Santa to reconsider and save Christmas. The film takes viewers on a delightful journey as they encounter memorable characters, encounter obstacles, and ultimately rediscover the true meaning of Christmas.
Other Films Shot in Natchitoches
Clementine Hunter’s World – 2016
For Sale By Owner – 2009
The Garden Club – 2008