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Visiting Central Louisiana

In the heart of Louisiana, travelers discover Alexandria on the south bank of the Red River. The region, known as Cenla, comprises greater Alexandria - the geographic center of the state. Opposite the river from Pineville, the area’s natural gifts can be seen from the Creole Nature Trail All-American Road. Events like Labor Day’s Cenlabration draw residents and visitors out to celebrate the heritage of Alexandria and Pineville. Northwest on Interstate 49, Louisiana’s oldest town – Natchitoches makes a delightful destination - visit between Thanksgiving and New Year's for the Christmas Festival of Lights. To the south DeRidder is a wonderful example of a traditional Louisiana Parish seat.

Spot Louisiana wildlife as you paddle down Bayou Rapides in Alexandria, or visit Alexandria Zoological Park – Louisiana Habitat is a must see either way. The Zoo located on Masonic Drive is the sure bet to see all Central Louisiana's wildlife. Alexandria Zoo celebrates its 85th anniversary in 2011. Zoo Fest on September 25th honors the 85th anniversary with historic displays, fun and entertainment.

Experience authentic Louisiana in October at the Beauregard Parish Fair. Hosted in DeRidder at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds, this is one of Louisiana’s oldest agricultural fairs. Along with exhibits of central Louisiana's best agriculture and livestock, enjoy live entertainment, carnival and amusement rides and plenty of Louisiana home cooking.

Natchitoches is a must see destination in Central Louisiana. Home of Northwestern State University, Cane River National Heritage Area and Fort St Jean Baptists – the calendar is filled with events and activities. Travel back in time visiting Oakland Plantation or the Magnolia Plantation Complex, two exquisite examples of Creole-style plantation life and architecture. Join the Natchitoches community mid-September to celebrate its heritage at the 2011 Meat Pie Festival.Hop on your motorcycle - the annual Natchitoches River Run is held the same dates.

Up for a Halloween adventure? Visit Natchitoches American Cemetery on Second Street, Saturday October 22nd. The Natchitoches Historical Foundation hosts guided tours of the cemetery and its most colorful residents. Perhaps Isabella, the Ghost of Louisiana Normal will greet you, and stay out of the path of US General Napoleon McLaughlin – he is looking for his murderer.

Athletes have a wide selection of events in Central Louisiana for 2011. Natchitoches, famous for the chant “Hotta meat pies”, hosts the Meat Pie Tri September 25th. This 9th annual sprint triathlon features the ½-mile swim, 20-mile bike and 3.1-mile run – a great beginners event. Komen Alexandria Race for the Cure 5K is mid-October – a fun run for a good cause. Alexandria also hosts the Tom Peyton Memorial Arts Festival 5K and Family Fun Run, November 5th and the Run Wilds Night Life 5K, on November 11th. Woodworth, south of Alexandria, is the site of the Run Wilds Half Marathon and 10K of Central Louisiana, November 20th. By now you'll be set for some wonderful holiday cheer at the Cenla’s Festival of Lights.

Best Western Rewards

6 Best Western Hotels
in Central Louisiana

  • Best Western of Alexandria Inn & Suites & Conference Center

  • Best Western Plus DeRidder Inn & Suites


  • Best Western Natchitoches Inn


  • Best Western Oakdale Inn


  • Best Western St. Francisville Hotel

    Saint Francisville

  • Best Western Ville Platte

    Ville Platte

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