I had no idea where I was going to stay when I got to the Northwest Louisiana town of Natchitoches (pronounced “Nack-a-dish.”) I just knew that I was ready to leave Shreveport, and I wanted to see the little town where “Steel Magnolias” was filmed. I drove to Nakatosh Campground #1, right off I-49, but it was situated right behind a truck stop. Nakatosh #2 was on the edge of Sibley Lake, but close to a busy road. The third place had a sign at the bottom of a windy road that I was not willing to risk driving up without a little more information, and my calls were not returned.
Driving around aimlessly, I saw a sign for the Natchitoches Parish Fairgrounds; maybe they had camping there! I pulled into a gas station, Googled the fairgrounds, and made the call.
The gentleman who answered the phone told me they did in fact have RV parking at the fairgrounds, with only power and water hook ups, for $20 a night. He recited directions, saying at the end, “When you pass the Armory you’ll see a chain-link fence gate that looks like it’s locked. It isn’t. The padlock is open. Let yourself in and take a spot. We’ll come by to collect your money before you leave.”
I drove to the fairgrounds, directly behind the National Guard and next door to the dog pound, as described. Letting myself in through the chain-link gate, I found an area with four RV hook ups, directly across from what appeared to be a main stage used during the fair.
The location was great. It was only a short drive to downtown.
It was very quiet out there all by myself at night, except for the dogs barking at the pound. The fairgrounds were full of wide-open spaces and fenced all around, and I was excited to let the dogs run, but they kept finding and eating little icky morsels of food, especially near the food booths, from the fair held the month before.
A couple of days later, someone from the parish called and came out to pick up the fee. When she found out I had been unable to use the water (which was fine because my fresh water tank was full), she reduced the fee to $10 per day.
I would like to return to Natchitoches to see the Christmas lights, and if I do, I would stay at the fairgrounds again.