Fort St. Jean Baptiste State Historic Site

The original Fort St. Jean Baptiste dates back to 1714. A full-scale replica of the fort has been constructed a few hundred yards from its original location on Cane River Lake in Natchitoches, the first town established in the Louisiana Purchase Territory in 1716. With its marshy lake edge and mixed pine-hardwood forest, this five-acre site is an excellent "leg-stretcher" for historically-minded traveling birders. 

Typical woodland birds include Mississippi Kite, Gray Catbird, and Pine Warbler. In winter, the year-round community is joined by nearctic species such as Eastern Phoebe, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, and Cedar Waxwing.

Expect a good showing of wading birds around the marshy edges of Cane River Lake, an old oxbow of the nearby Red River. Commonly observed species include Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy Egrets, and White Ibis. In the summer, look for the shy Green Heron nesting within the dense brushy growth along the lake's edge.

A museum provides historical information and context for the fort. Additional amenities include paved parking, restrooms, and a gravel nature trail. The museum is fully handicapped-accessible.

Drinking Fountains
Gravel Trails
Parks & Nature