NPS - National Park Service

06/05/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/05/2021 11:01

Cane River Creole Invites Public to Coffee and Conversation Open House at the Texas and Pacific Railway Depot

News Release Date:
June 5, 2021

Contact:Carrie Mardorf, 318-652-0141

Contact:Barbara Justice, 318-352-0383 x200

Cane River Creole National Historical Park and Cane River National Heritage Area invite the public to a coffee and conversation open house next Saturday, June 12, 2021, from 8:00 am to 11:00 am at the Texas & Pacific Railway Depot (Depot) located at 607 Trudeau Street. Visitors to the open house are encouraged to share their stories and tour the Texas and Pacific Railway Depot. In addition, contractors will be on hand to record memories and identify key themes from the Depot's past.

The event is part of a public input and interpretive project between the park and heritage area to identify stories, memories, and messages from community members that should be presented to visitors at the Depot. The Depot, owned by the City of Natchitoches, has been leased to the National Park Service and will serve as the primary visitor center for Cane River Creole National Historical Park, providing visitors with information about African American history along Cane River and Oakland and Magnolia Plantations. In addition, visitors will be able to tour the Depot and visualize future construction plans. This meeting is a follow-up to conversations held in May at the Ben Johnson Auditorium.

The Depot was constructed in 1927 during the height of the Jim Crow era and was segregated with separate black and white entrances leading to two separate waiting rooms of vastly different quality. The structure was continuously used as a passenger station and later freight station until 1982 when it was abandoned. Today, the structure remains one of Louisiana's last segregated train stations and has a deep connection to the City's African American community. Early efforts by the Cane River National Heritage Area in 2001, 2007, and 2015 stabilized the structure until a future use could be determined. In 2019, the City of Natchitoches signed a lease with the National Park Service granting the park use of the building.

If you cannot attend the open house in person but would like to share stories or opinions, please contact the park by email or call 318-352-0383, ext. 316.