Steel Magnolias and the Natchitoches Film Trail

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The Natchitoches Film Trail winds its way throughout downtown Natchitoches, a national historic landmark district, as well as through the parish. This region of Louisiana offers a unique blend of history and Hollywood. After all, it is Louisiana’s oldest settlement lending it that historic vibe.

Horse Drawn Carriage Ride Natchitoches

It’s also home to the filming location of the ever-popular Steel Magnolias. This classic movie is just as popular today as it was 35 years ago. Yes, 2024 will be 35 years since the filming of the movie. I know, it’s hard to believe!

It’s never a hardship to visit Natchitoches. Plus, it’s our favorite Christmas destination in Louisiana, they throw one heck of a party for the holidays.

Steel Magnolia House in Natchitches, LA.

Follow The Film Trail To These Popular Hollywood Films

Steel Magnolias – 1989

Natchitoches was the filming location for the fictitious town in “Steel Magnolias”, starring Julia Roberts, Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Daryl Hannah, Shirley MacLaine, and Olympia Dukakis. I mean, what a star-studded film. And, lucky for you, you can walk in the footsteps of these amazing women throughout Natchitoches.

When Steel Magnolias arrived in Natchitoches to start filming, they took great effort to involve many locals in the filming of the movie. Many of the secondary characters are folks that lived in or still live in Natchitoches today. Ask any long time, older resident if they were part of the movie and there’s a good chance, they might have a story or two to share.

The Steel Magnolias film trail will take you to iconic spots like the city’s historic district, St. Augustine Catholic Church, Steel Magnolia house (which is also a B&B), American cemetery, and a dozen other places.

American Cemetery a Steel Magnolias filming location.

Steel Magnolias filming spots:

  1. Shelby’s wedding – St. Augustine Catholic Church, LA Hwy. 493, Melrose.
  2. Post-game interviews – Northwestern State University Field House, NSU-468 Caspari Street
  3. Shelby’s Funeral – American Cemetery, 2nd Street between Demeziere and railroad tracks
  4. Ouiser’s House – Lemee House, 310 Rue Jefferson
  5. Steel Magnolia’s House – Eatenton home (Also a Bed & Breakfast), 320 Jefferson
  6. Truvy’s church – Trinity Episcopal Church, 533 2nd Street
  7. Mrs. Robeline’s boarding house — Private Home, 301 Rue Touline
  8. Aunt Fern’s home – Chaplin House (Private Home), 434 2nd Street
  9. Susan Harling Robinson Memorial Park – Corner of Cypress Avenue and Pine Street
  10. Truvy’s No. 2 – Blanchard Building, 700 block of Front Street adjacent to Ducournau Square
  11. Easter egg hunt – Beau Jardin, 800 block of Washington Street
  12. Annelle and Sammy’s home – Private Home, 515 St. Maurice Lane
  13. Truvy’s home – Private Home, 453 Henry Boulevard
  14. Shopping with Clairee and Ouiser — Super One, 318 Dixie Plaza on Keyser Avenue
  15. Baby’s birth – Natchitoches Regional Medical Center, 501 Keyser Avenue
  16. Clairee’s home – Tauzin Plantation Home (Private Home), 1950 Williams Avenue
  17. Shelby and Jackson’s home – Odalie Lambre-Gwinn House (Private Home), 1972 Williams Avenue

You can download a film trail map here.

Where to watch: Amazon ($3.59 rent), Apple TV, You Tube ($3.99 rent)

NATCHITOCHES CHRISTMAS FESTIVAL HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE
(c)Natchitoches Tourism

Steel Magnolias Girlfriend Getaway Trip Idea

Book a girlfriend getaway to Natchitoches to explore the film trail and book your stay at the Steel Magnolia House. This lovely B&B is one of the main filming sites for the movie. You can enjoy a peaceful stay and watch Steel Magnolias while sitting in the living room of the Steel Magnolia house. Epic.

After Steel Magnolias, a number of film makers started arriving in Natchitoches to take advantage of the beautiful filming locations and favorable business climate.

The Man in the Moon – 1991

The Man in the Moon, based on a true story, is an American coming-of-age drama, Reese Witherspoon’s film debut and director, Robert Mulligan’s final film.

The film’s story, set in rural 1950s Louisiana, centers around Dani, a 14-year-old tomboy who experiences first love and heartbreak when older boy Court moves next door.

Man in the Moon filming sites include:

  1. Old Robeline Methodist Church – 9110 Texas Street, Robeline
  2. Robeline Cemetery – LA Hwy 6, Robeline
  3. Bob Welch Farm – LA Hwy 6, Robeline
  4. Trant House (Private) – Along Cane River across Pratt’s Bridge, near Point Place
  5. Kisatchie Falls – Just off Hwy 118, Robeline

Where to watch: Amazon ($3.99), Apple TV, You Tube ($3,99)

natchitoches

The Year Without a Santa Claus – 2006

John Goodman, a discouraged Santa, decides to skip a year of delivering presents, until he rediscovers the true meaning of Christmas. This is a classic, but charming movie and you can stand in the same spot as John Goodman while you’re in town.

The Year Without a Santa Claus filming site:

  1. Front Street

Where to watch: Amazon (purchase DVD $8)

The Garden Club – 2008

Based on the book by former Natchitoches Mayor and Historian, Robert “Bobby” DeBlieux.

His family ruined by the actions of The Garden Club, Bart Summerville secretly returns to Cane Lake, Louisiana, to seek his revenge.

The Garden Club filming locations:

  1. Tante Huppé House (Author’s Home) — 424 Jefferson Street
  2. City Park — 314 Amulet Street

Where to watch: unavailable

Cane River Creole National Heritage

 For Sale By Owner – 2009

This horror film, about a fixer-upper home not being all it seems, stars Kris Kristofferson, Scott Cooper, Joanna Cassidy, and Tom Skerritt.

For Sale by Owner filming locations:

  1. Cane River Creole National Historical Park, Magnolia Plantation Complex – 5549 Hwy 119, Derry
  2. Magnolia Plantation Home (Private) – Hwy 119, Derry

Where to watch: Amazon (buy DVD $3.32)

Clementine Hunter art work.

Clementine Hunter’s World – 2016

This award-winning short documentary features life along the banks of the Cane River and colorful paintings of self-taught, primitive artist Clementine Hunter.

Clementine Hunter‘s World filming locations:

  1. Melrose Plantation — 3533 LA Hwy 119, Melroyse
  2. Artwork Displays — Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, 800 Front Street

If you love and/or appreciate art, you’ll want to visit these filming locations even if you haven’t watched the film. Clementine Hunter’s art and story is simply incredible. More about the film can be found here.

Where to watch: unavailable

The Horse Soldiers – 1959

Of course, Steel Magnolias wasn’t the first time Hollywood visited Natchitoches. Natchitoches started its Hollywood journey all the way back in 1959.

That’s when popular leading man, John Wayne, arrived on the scene to film Horse Soldiers, a historic fact-based story about a Union mission to destroy a railroad junction deep within Confederate territory set in 1863.

Filming sites include:

  1. Oakland Plantation (Cane River Creole NHP) – 4386 LA Hwy 494, Natchez
  2. Oaklawn Plantation (Private) – LA Hwy 494, Natchez

Where to watch: Amazon (free with Prime), Apple TV, YouTube ($3.99)

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