Natchitoches’ Festival of Lights


Annual Festival of Lights results in great Christmas photography

Natchitoches Festival of Lights

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My daughter was set to receive a marriage proposal last weekend (more on that later) in the small town of Natchitoches, La., so my wife and I headed up to the little city on Cane River the previous night to get the lay of the land and enjoy the annual Festival of Lights for our first time.

For most of the year, Natchitoches (incorporated in 1819 and the oldest city that was part of the Louisiana Purchase) is a small hamlet that features beautiful bed and breakfasts, great history, wonderful dining and a relatively relaxing life. But that all changes when the town decorates for its Christmas Festival of Lights celebration; each weekend, the population explodes as folks from hundreds of miles jam the city’s downtown to enjoy the beautiful Christmas lights, food and music.

Of course, I dragged my camera and tripod along to capture a few images. The first place I headed was right to the banks of Cane River, and set up for a panoramic image of the lighted decorations on the far side of the lazy waterway. The reflections on the water were just beautiful.

Festival of Lights fleur de lis

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Next I moved to the city square, where a wagon had been set up to hold a Christmas tree. Tree and wagon were festooned with lights and reflective decorations. And the entire square was topped by a canopy of string lights leading to a lighted fleur de lis that paid homage to the city’s origins as a French settlement in the 1700s.

We didn’t stay long because we had an hour’s drive to where we were staying the night, and the crowds were incredible. But I plan to make reservations at a B&B at some point so I will have more time to fully capture the wonders of the city’s Festival of Lights.


About Andy Crawford

Andy Crawford has been a photographer and writer for more than 20 years, with thousands of images and articles published in magazines and newspapers around the country. He now focuses on Louisiana photography, landscapes, HDR photography, urban prints and other fine art photography. He also is a portrait photographer.