Beau Jardin…An Oasis in Historic Natchitoches

It had been several years since I visited the riverbank area behind the Roque House.  What I remembered as a grassy hill that housed a gargantuan metal swing set and not much else has been absolutely transformed into a breathtaking garden area stretching from the banks of Cane River right up to Front Street!  It is difficult to say which was more delightful—the spring flowers blooming in profusion on every side, a small stream gurgling its way under a wrought iron footbridge, the waterfall cascading over mammoth rock formations, or the brick staircase that gracefully winds its way upward.  Apparently Beau Jardin was constructed as a wedding venue, but I found it to be a perfect “get-away” spot for reading, contemplating, strolling along the riverbank, or capturing the perfect photographic moment!  Definitely worth checking out…

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Cane River Country…Natchitoches, Louisiana

Cane River Lake

This fountain is situated in the middle of beautiful Cane River Lake where it flows through Historic downtown Natchitoches.

Having grown up mere steps from the banks of scenic Cane River Lake, I feel a kinship with the 35-mile long oxbow-shaped waterway.  It meanders past the downtown historic district, creating a unique focal point that sets the city apart from all others in charm and appeal.  At the founding of Natchitoches in 1714, Cane River Lake was indeed a river–part of the Red River to be specific.  Sometime during the early 1800s, the temperamental Red forged a new channel across a bend about four miles upstream at Grand Ecore.  Suddenly, Natchitoches found itself cut off from the main river channel; steamboat access became sporadic at first and then an impossibility.  Within the last century or so, dams were built at either end of what is now Cane River Lake, separating it completely from Red River.  Though no longer technically a river, the lake possesses characteristics of a stream and “flows” through Natchitoches, effectively slicing the town in half.  Residents and visitors alike appreciate the river’s recreational possibilities…boats and barges can be seen along its length most any day as folks enjoy fishing, skiing, or just tooling along taking in the scenery.  The river is  regulated and maintained by the Cane River Waterway Commission.  For more information, visit its web site at http://www.caneriverwaterway.com/default.aspx.

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