Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site

Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site Natchitoches was founded by a French Canadian, Louis Antoine Juchereau de St. This strategic outpost was named Fort St. Jean Baptiste des Natchitoches.
(43)

Denis, in 1714 while he was en route to Mexico from Mobile, Alabama, on a trade mission. When he reached the village of the Natchitoches Indians on the Red River, he had two huts constructed within the village and left a small detachment there to guard the stores and trade with the inhabitants. This became the first permanent European settlement in the territory later known as the Louisiana Purcha

se. In 1716, Sieur Charles Claude Dutisnรฉ was sent to Natchitoches with a small company of colonial troops to build and garrison an outpost that would prevent the Spanish forces in the province of Texas from advancing across the border of French Louisiane. Economically, Natchitoches evolved into a primary French trade center in the Lower Mississippi Valley. Native American tribes of the three Caddo Confederacies played a vital role in establishing trade and communication links among the French, the Spanish and the Native Americans of the region. The trade that developed with the Caddos forever changed the material culture of the tribes, and by the mid-18th century they were almost completely dependent upon French trade goods. The diplomatic success of the fort was assured when St. Denis was named commandant in 1722. His influence would thrive in the colony until his death in 1744. The fort continued to serve as a military outpost and commercial trade center until 1762, when France's defeat by England in the French and Indian War forced her to cede the Louisiana colony to Spain. Under Spanish authority, the fort served as a trade center and a link in Spain's intracolonial communications network. But since its original purpose of protecting a territorial boundary no longer applied, the Spanish eventually abandoned the fort. The fort was in such ruins by the time the United States acquired the area in the Louisiana Purchase (1803) that the Americans could no longer use it, so they built Fort Claiborne nearby. The site obtained for the replication of Fort St. Jean Baptiste is located on Cane River Lake (formerly the Red River) a few hundred yards from the original fort site. The fort replication was based upon Broutin's plans and on extensive archival research in Louisiana, Canada and France. Construction began in 1979 under the direction of the late Samuel Wilson, Jr. and the Louisiana Office of State Parks. Building materials were obtained locally, and many 18th-century techniques were employed in the replication. Nearly 2,000 treated pine logs form the palisade and approximately 250,000 board feet of treated lumber went into the construction of the buildings. All of the hinges and latches were handmade at a nearby foundry. Further historical research is ongoing.

Calling all Girl Scouts.  Join us next Saturday.
09/01/2023

Calling all Girl Scouts. Join us next Saturday.



Are you looking for something to due to finish out the summer?  Join us for these 3 great upcoming programs!
07/26/2023

Are you looking for something to due to finish out the summer? Join us for these 3 great upcoming programs!

Join us Saturday!
06/21/2023

Join us Saturday!

Enjoy ice cream making with us Saturday from 1pm-2pm!
06/08/2023

Enjoy ice cream making with us Saturday from 1pm-2pm!

Get ready to Bug Out with us!
05/12/2023

Get ready to Bug Out with us!

Are you looking for something historical and different to do this Saturday?  Put on some old clothes and come play in th...
04/27/2023

Are you looking for something historical and different to do this Saturday? Put on some old clothes and come play in the mud with us!

Clean up this week was a success and it is great to see the positive impact on nature from all of this week's activities...
04/22/2023

Clean up this week was a success and it is great to see the positive impact on nature from all of this week's activities. We were even able to save a crawfish like Brian and Maria saved Harry the Snakebird!



Taking time after our clean up efforts to learn about the effects of litter on our environment by reading Harry the Snak...
04/20/2023

Taking time after our clean up efforts to learn about the effects of litter on our environment by reading Harry the Snakebird.


Photos from our clean up event this morning!  We gathered two bags of trash from Jefferson and Mill Streets, and then co...
04/20/2023

Photos from our clean up event this morning! We gathered two bags of trash from Jefferson and Mill Streets, and then collected 5 more bags from Cane River Lake and Moreau Pond.


Letโ€™s Love the BootJoin Fort St. Jean Baptiste staff as we do our part to clean up Natchitoches! On April 20, 2023 from ...
04/19/2023

Letโ€™s Love the Boot

Join Fort St. Jean Baptiste staff as we do our part to clean up Natchitoches! On April 20, 2023 from 9am until 12pm noon. We will meet at the museum parking lot at 155 Jefferson Street at 9am to begin picking up litter from the Keyser Street Bridge to the Jefferson Highway pocket park where we will stop and clean up the park then we continue to Mill Street to the back of our property line. From there we will continue onto the park and clean up our portion of riverbank and Moreau Pond. We hope you join us so we can clean up and show our love for the boot! Gloves and trash bags will be available for use. For more information call us at 318-357-3101.



We are so excited to celebrate Love the Boot Week with "Harry the Snakebird."   Thank you to our visitors and Magnolia B...
04/19/2023

We are so excited to celebrate Love the Boot Week with "Harry the Snakebird." Thank you to our visitors and Magnolia Bend Academy for helping us kick off the week at our site. Celebrate Love the Boot Week April 17th-23rd. Keep an eye out for information on our Love the Boot clean up event that's happening tomorrow!


Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers and visitors yesterday for our Then & Now program!NWLA Basket MakersPioneer...
03/26/2023

Thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers and visitors yesterday for our Then & Now program!

NWLA Basket Makers
Pioneer Heritage Center - LSUS
Christy's Tatting & Sewing
Pioneers & Trailblazers

Don't forget to join us this Saturday!  Here are our featured guests.
03/23/2023

Don't forget to join us this Saturday! Here are our featured guests.

Join us Saturday March 25th.
03/02/2023

Join us Saturday March 25th.

Come join us on February 11th for our Candies & Candles program.
02/01/2023

Come join us on February 11th for our Candies & Candles program.

01/12/2023

Learn about the Green Death January 21, from noon until 2pm!

Two of our newest completed projects are ready for display.   A wampum belt and tambour stitching on a crochet hat.  The...
01/11/2023

Two of our newest completed projects are ready for display. A wampum belt and tambour stitching on a crochet hat. The wampum belt is 6 ft long and composed of over 13,000 beads. If the beads were placed end to end they would be over 448 ft. Tambour is an embroidery technique that uses a crochet hook to make the stitches instead of a traditional needle.

These are just two of the many items we produce during our daily demonstrations. Come visit and see what we are working on next!

On Saturday, December 17 we will be having a Holiday Stitching program. Anyone new to cross stitching or interested in l...
12/08/2022

On Saturday, December 17 we will be having a Holiday Stitching program. Anyone new to cross stitching or interested in learning the art are encouraged to join us between 1pm and 3pm as long as supplies last! Ornaments made are yours to keep. Regular entrance fees apply.

We want to take a moment to thank all the reenactors who joined us for our annual Christmas on the Cane event this past ...
12/07/2022

We want to take a moment to thank all the reenactors who joined us for our annual Christmas on the Cane event this past Saturday! Without them our event would not be nearly as fun and exciting. To everyone who spent their weekend helping us bring the fort to life: Thank you!! We can't wait for the next event!

Come visit us this Saturday Dec 3, 2022 from 10am to 4 pm, we are hosting Christmas on the Cane.  Visitors to the site a...
12/01/2022

Come visit us this Saturday Dec 3, 2022 from 10am to 4 pm, we are hosting Christmas on the Cane. Visitors to the site are welcome to tour the site, watch the morning Natchitoches Christmas parade, visit with 18th century re-enactors, and view a variety of demonstrations throughout the day. Regular site fees apply.
For more information call Fort St. Jean Baptiste 318-357-3101 or toll free 1-888-677-7853.

Last week, we had the privilege of hosting 5th graders from Word of Academy, 3rd graders from Provencal Elementary and 8...
10/31/2022

Last week, we had the privilege of hosting 5th graders from Word of Academy, 3rd graders from Provencal Elementary and 8th graders from Donnie Bickham Middle School. The students were treated to a guided tour of the fort, learned about flint and steel, woodworking and event got in a little ๐ŸŽƒtrick-or-treating. To schedule a school field trip or for more information, call 318-357-3101 or go to www.LAStateParks.com.
Billy Nungesser Lt. Governor of Louisiana

08/12/2022

๐˜พ๐™๐™š๐™˜๐™  ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ฉ ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ฅ๐™ง๐™ค๐™œ๐™ง๐™–๐™ข๐™จ ๐™จ๐™˜๐™๐™š๐™™๐™ช๐™ก๐™š๐™™ ๐™›๐™ค๐™ง ๐™ฉ๐™๐™ž๐™จ ๐™Ž๐™–๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™™๐™–๐™ฎ.
๐ŸŒฑ๐๐ข๐ซ๐ ๐‡๐ข๐ค๐ž at Louisiana State Arboretum
๐ŸŒฑ๐…๐จ๐ซ๐š๐ ๐ž๐ซ ๐‡๐ข๐ค๐ž at Poverty Point World Heritage Site
๐ŸŒฑ๐๐ข๐ซ๐๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐š ๐‘๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž๐ซ at Port Hudson State Historic Site
๐ŸŒฑ๐“๐ž๐š & ๐“๐ž๐ฑ๐ญ๐ข๐ฅ๐ž๐ฌ at Fort Jesup State Historic Site
๐ŸŒฑ๐๐š๐ญ๐ฎ๐ซ๐š๐ฅ ๐ƒ๐ฒ๐ž๐ฌ at Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site

Louisiana Travel Billy Nungesser Lt. Governor of Louisiana

Happy early Thanksgiving! Just a reminder - state historic sites are closed on Thanksgiving day
11/25/2020

Happy early Thanksgiving! Just a reminder - state historic sites are closed on Thanksgiving day

Weโ€™re thankful for our park employees, our campers, and for the wildlife that call our parks home. What are you thankful for?

11/20/2020

We have exciting news! Reserve your virtual school tour at 318-357-3101 and we'll bring history to life in your classroom

10/08/2020

HURRICANE DELTA CLOSURES: Multiple Louisiana State Parks and Historic Sites are being evacuated and closed ahead of the storm. If you had reservations at one of these parks, you will receive a full refund because they are closed.

All other parks remain open and reservations unchanged. Watch this page for another storm announcement on Tues., 10/13 when we reevaluate reopenings. Stay safe out there, y'all!

Closed through Sun., 10/11:
Grand Isle State Park,
Palmetto Island State Park,
Chicot State Park,
Cypremort Point State Park,
Lake Fausse Pointe State Park,
Jimmie Davis State Park,
South Toledo Bend State Park,
Longfellow Evangeline State Historic Site,
Forts Randolph & Buhlow State Historic Site,
Audubon State Historic Site
Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site,
Fort Jesup,
Rebel SHS,
Rosedown Plantation SHS,
Mansfield State Historic Site,
Port Hudson State Historic Site

10/01/2020

In early October 1731, Saint Denis received word that the Natchez Tribe were heading to Natchitoches to attack. For more information be sure to stop by the Fort!

**note** we are currently unable to view our Facebook messenger, if you wish to contact us through private messaging please email [email protected]

The first known official census for Natchitoches was taken in 1722. From our research, until this roster there were only...
09/24/2020

The first known official census for Natchitoches was taken in 1722. From our research, until this roster there were only letters and general accounts of who was here.

The staff at Fort St. Jean are excited to announce our virtual school field trip! You can โ€œbringโ€ your class/school grou...
09/16/2020

The staff at Fort St. Jean are excited to announce our virtual school field trip! You can โ€œbringโ€ your class/school group through the fort virtually! Enjoy the same field trip you would usually experience from the safety of your classroom. Interpretive rangers will virtually โ€œwalkโ€ and talk you through the fort as well as showcase our musket demonstration! Tours for non-school are available, for more information contact us to schedule your group at 318-357-3101.

08/19/2020
On the 18th century frontier instead of adding weight on thier travels.  They would simply make tools they needed on sit...
08/12/2020

On the 18th century frontier instead of adding weight on thier travels. They would simply make tools they needed on site. The mallet, used for hammering wooden wedges, pegs, or froes, was once such tool. Here we have the process of a mallet being made by park staff.

Whether itโ€™s the 18th century or modern day one thing stays the absolute same, the palisade walls of Fort St. Jean have ...
08/05/2020

Whether itโ€™s the 18th century or modern day one thing stays the absolute same, the palisade walls of Fort St. Jean have to be maintained or even replaced periodically. Our records show at least five requests for repairs in 1719, 1722, 1725, 1731, and 1747. So over the last few months weโ€™ve done just that! We had two spots of our walls replaced using the same length of logs they would have used in the 1700s. The exterior layer being 12 feet tall and the interior layer being 9 feet tall, with them all being fixed 3 feet into the ground to keep them supported and stable. Of course with modern building regulations to follow, the portions of logs that were fixed underground had to be wrapped in tar paper and secured with concrete before covered with dirt again.

Fort St. Jean fun fact: the Fort would have had a two layer palisade wall like this to protect from light artillery!

While Fort St. Jean Baptiste was a military establishment that provided security along the French and Spanish Border. Th...
07/31/2020

While Fort St. Jean Baptiste was a military establishment that provided security along the French and Spanish Border. The main role it would develop into was as a Trade Center. The early fur trade was in full swing through out the forts life. Not only was this trade with Native Americans, but also with professional hunters as seen here.

If youโ€™re looking for something to do in town, be sure to stop by Fort St. Jean and see all the changes weโ€™re making. Ne...
07/22/2020

If youโ€™re looking for something to do in town, be sure to stop by Fort St. Jean and see all the changes weโ€™re making. New exhibits, social distancing demonstrations, and even a digital twist to a variety of features! Including a downloadable guide book and some digitally interactive exhibits, all youโ€™ll need is a smartphone and the staff here can talk you through the rest. We hope to see yโ€™all soon!

In the 18th century trading and barter were very common.  Here is an example of a trade blanket set out at the Fort last...
07/15/2020

In the 18th century trading and barter were very common. Here is an example of a trade blanket set out at the Fort last December.
For something a little extra, we've made it into a puzzle you can cut out.

301 years ago, in June 1719, the โ€œChicken Warโ€ occurred between Los Adaes and Fort St Jean Baptiste! At the time, Blonde...
07/08/2020

301 years ago, in June 1719, the โ€œChicken Warโ€ occurred between Los Adaes and Fort St Jean Baptiste! At the time, Blondel rode to Los Adaes to warn the priests there that Spain and France were at war and that the French were going to be heading towards Spanish Texas. Blondel suggested that for the priestsโ€™ safety, they should retreat further into Texas. One account states that one of the priests made it to Mission Dolores, told this story and shortly after a revised story went out claiming Blondel attacked Los Adaes and went so far as to steal their chickens! Creating the โ€œChicken Warโ€ of 1719!

Our Osage Oranges are in seed bloom.How many Bois-D'arc seed balls do you see?
07/01/2020

Our Osage Oranges are in seed bloom.
How many Bois-D'arc seed balls do you see?

The current scene of our โ€œhome maintenanceโ€ throughout the Fort! Can anyone guess which building is currently being re-b...
06/24/2020

The current scene of our โ€œhome maintenanceโ€ throughout the Fort! Can anyone guess which building is currently being re-bousillaged?

06/17/2020

Our little otter buddy has still been visiting us off and on this week. With much care as to not disturb it since it was getting ready for it's afternoon nap. We managed to sneak up and catch this video.

The other day a young otter came to visit the site on his Stay-cation.
06/10/2020

The other day a young otter came to visit the site on his Stay-cation.

Address

155 Jefferson Street
Natchitoches, LA
71457

Alerts

Be the first to know and let us send you an email when Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site posts news and promotions. Your email address will not be used for any other purpose, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Contact The Museum

Send a message to Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site:

Videos

Share

Category


Other Museums in Natchitoches

Show All

Comments

Louisiana State Parks Chief of Interpretative Services Raymond Berthelot discussed "Remnants of Spain's Heritage in Louisiana" and touched upon Louisiana State Historic Sites you can visit such as Los Adaes State Historic Site and Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site.

Baton Rouge Community College
East Baton Rouge Parish Library

Here is the video:
"A Moment in History": Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site is a replica of an early French fort based upon the original blueprints of 1716 by Sieur Charles Claude Dutisnรฉ and company. The settlement which became the town of Natchitoches was founded in 1714 by French Canadian Louis Antoine Juchereau de St. Denis as the first permanent European settlement in the lands later encompassed by the Louisiana Purchase. The fort was devised as a trading and military outpost to counter any Spanish incursions into French territory. Soon it became a center of economic significance, particularly with neighboring Caddo tribes. Now you can visit Fort St. Jean Baptiste Wednesday - Sunday from 9AM-5PM.
While Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site was a military establishment that provided security along the French and Spanish Border. The main role it would develop into was as a Trade Center. The early fur trade was in full swing through out the forts life. Not only was this trade with Native Americans, but also with professional hunters as seen here.

Book your stay with us TODAY and discover more Natchitoches history: 1(866) 352-1714
Will there be a winter encampment this year?
If you are looking for trick-or-treat plans, join our friends at Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site, Fort Jesup State Historic Site, and Rebel State Historic Site for a Trunk or Treat from 6:30 until 8:30 this Saturday!
There's always room for improvement, or reinforcements in the case of a historic fort. Preserving historic sites is crucial to retain our heritage and history. Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site in Natchitoches is a replica of the original 1716 military outpost based on extensive archival research. Recent repairs to the palisades wall were done in painstaking detail. Come by for a tour or call to schedule a VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP, 318-357-3101
Book your stay with us know and add Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site to your schedule!

Park and museum hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

The site obtained for the replication of Fort St. Jean Baptiste is located on Cane River Lake (formerly the Red River) a few hundred yards from the original fort site. The fort replication was based upon Broutin's plans and on extensive archival research in Louisiana, Canada and France. Construction began in 1979 under the direction of the late Samuel Wilson, Jr. and the Louisiana Office of State Parks. Building materials were obtained locally, and many 18th-century techniques were employed in the replication. Nearly 2,000 treated pine logs form the palisade and approximately 250,000 board feet of treated lumber went into the construction of the buildings. All of the hinges and latches were handmade at a nearby foundry.
If you're staying home (thank you!), you can still 'visit' Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site...thanks to Natchitoches Tourism!
does anyone know where they buried their dead when the fort was active or before it was built?
Saturday, October 19, 2019, will see the historic area of Fort Rosalie, Natchez, MS, hosting an all day living history program. This is a historic timeline event covering from 1700 to 1815. Military, civilian, tradespeople impressions are needed.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Fort-Rosalie-Living-History-Program-2269227760059558/posts/?ref=page_internal
Just a few pics from this past weekend.
Living history at Fort