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Event Details

THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT. A waitlist has been created. In order to join, choose the waitlist option for either the Saturday and Sunday Conference or the Conference PLUS the Sunday Tour and Picnic. Enter code 'WAIT' to avoid any fees. Cancellations made by February 24 will be eligible for a full refund. Those registered on the waitlist will be notified by February 26 regarding availability in order of registration. The waitlist is available online only.

Welcome to charming Natchitoches (Nak-o-tish,) the oldest European settlement in the Louisiana Purchase. France established a military post on the Red River in 1714, before the founding of New Orleans. Still remote, this land of cotton farms and pecan orchards retains its natural beauty, Creole-French-African culture, and historic homes and out-buildings. We’ll explore it on foot and by bus.

Friday’s talks and walking tours focus on the city made famous by the 1989 film Steel Magnolias. Starring Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Julia Roberts, and a remarkable cast of stars, the movie was entirely filmed on location in Natchitoches. It was based on a play by local playwright Robert Harling. Tour a dozen sites including Fort St. Jean Baptiste, the American Cemetery, Olive’s Garden at the Samuel Guy House, Northwestern State University, historic churches, and antique houses.

Saturday’s talks and field trips take attendees out of town into the plantation country of the Cane River: Isle Brevelle Church, Oakland, Cherokee, and Melrose. An optional tour on Sunday includes a picnic at Briarwood Nature Preserve, the home of author, naturalist, and first female forester Caroline Dormon.


8:30 am till 2:00 pm

Conference Registration

Chateau Saint Denis Hotel

8:30 am till 12:00 Noon

Self-guided Walking Tour of Natchitoches Historic District. Maps provided.

Lunch on your own. Many good restaurants nearby.

12:30 till 4:00 pm

Natchitoches Events Center

750 Second Street

Welcome and Introductions

Brief Business Meeting

Indigenous People and Geology of the Red and Cane Rivers

Jeffrey Girard, Archeologist, Author, and Teacher

Cane River’s Cultural Landscape

Suzanne Turner FASLA, Landscape Architect, Historian, Author

New Technologies for Preserving the Cultural Landscape

Jason Church, Chief of Technical Services, NCPTT

Integrating Culture, Art, and Science in Contemporary Landscape Design

Jeffrey Carbo PLA, FASLA, Landscape Architect

4:30 pm till 5:30 pm

American Cemetery Guided Tour

5:30 pm till 6:30 pm

Drinks on the Cane River Riverfront Pavilion

6:30 pm

Buffet Dinner at Merci Beaucoup

127 Church St.


8:30 am till 11:00 am

Natchitoches Events Center, across from the hotel

Cane River’s Place in Louisiana's Historic Preservation

Nicole Hobson-Morris, Executive Director, Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation

Oakland and Magnolia

Dustin Fuqua, Anthropologist; Cultural Resource Program Manager, Cane River Creole NHP

Clementine Hunter and Melrose

Tom Whitehead, Author and Collector, Professor Emeritus, Journalism, Northwestern State University

Early Camellias in Louisiana

Wayne Stromeyer MD, Author, Preservationist

Chene Vert, Baton Rouge

Plant Talk: The Friendship of Caroline Dormon and Elizabeth Lawrence

Andrea Sprott, Garden Curator, Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden

11:15, 11:30, 11:45 am

Buses depart for lunch

St. Augustine Church, Isle Brevelle

1:15 pm till 3:30 pm

Oakland Plantation, Cane River Creole National Historical Park

Cherokee Plantation Home (private)


4:30 pm

Board buses for Drinks at Private Home and Garden on Cane River

6:00 pm till 9:00 pm

Dinner at Melrose Plantation

Tours of house, African House, and Yucca

Sunset 7:24pm


*Additional $125

11:00 am till 4:00 pm

Trip to Briarwood Nature Preserve

Home of Caroline Dormon

Picnic Lunch

1:00 pm

Guided Walks

Bayli Quick, Briarwood Curator

Greg Grant, Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service

Charles Perilloux, Society for Louisiana Irises

Andrea Sprott, Elizabeth Lawrence House and Garden

FEES Friday & Saturday conference fee | $450 per person.Optional Sunday tour & picnic | $125 per person.*Cancellations made by Friday Feb. 24 will be eligible for a full refund. Refunds for cancellations after Feb. 25 will be determined by available funds after all conference expenses have been paid.CONTACTS

Meeting and Program Info: Randy Harelson

(225) 240-3421

[email protected]

Registration Info: Aimee Moreau

(318) 421-9144

[email protected]

SGHS Membership Info: Rebecca Hodson

(336) 298-6938

[email protected]

For more information about our society, visit www.southerngardenhistory.org

ACCOMMODATIONS AND TRANSPORTATIONHost Hotel (directly across Second Street from the Event Center where lectures will be held)Chateau Saint Denis Hotel

751 Second Street

Natchitoches, LA 71457

Call (318) 951-4105 for reservations. Mention that you are with SGHS for our group rate.


Inns in historic buildings are also plentiful nearby:

• Church Street Inn

• Judge Porter House B&B

• Rusca House B&B

• Samuel Guy House

• Steel Magnolia House B&B

• Sweet Cane Inn


Two airports are located about an hour’s drive from Natchitoches.

Alexandria International Airport (AEX)

Served by Delta (Atlanta) and American (Dallas/Ft. Worth and Charlotte)

Avis, Budget, and National Car Rentals.

Shreveport Regional Airport (SHV)

Served by Delta (Atlanta) American (Dallas/Ft. Worth and Charlotte) United (Houston and Denver) and Allegiant (Asheville). Avis, Enterprise, and Royalty Car Rentals.

New Orleans (MSY) is about four-and-a-half hours’ drive.

Baton Rouge (BTR) is about three hours and fifteen minutes.

Venue Information

Chateau Saint Denis Hotel
751 2nd Street
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Organizer Information

Southern Garden History Society

507 East Main Street
New Roads, LA 70760

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