Emergencies – (318) 357-3880
The City of Natchitoches owns its own utility system and purchases bulk power which is resold through the City’s electrical distribution system.
The Utility Department is made up of the following divisions:
* Electrical Generation/Power Plant
* Electrical Distribution
* Metering Department
* Water Treatment
* Water Distribution
* Sewer Treatment
* Sewer Collection
* Administration/GIS /Technical
Any communications cable being buried in the right of way within the City of Natchitoches must receive a no-cost permit from the Utility Department. To obtain a permit, please call GIS Manager Renee Bennett at (318) 357-3850.
Louisiana One Call
The Louisiana One Call program is a free service to help locate buried utility lines and help excavators and demolishers dig safely.
The Louisiana Damage Prevention Law requires excavators and demolishers to call at least 48 hours before they begin their work. The law also requires owner/operators of underground facilities to mark locations or supply information that will enable excavators and demolishers to locate underground utilities and facilities.
Call 811 or (800) 272-3020 before you dig or visit:
Louisiana Energy and Power Authority (LEPA)
The City of Natchitoches is a member of LEPA, consisting of 18 Louisiana cities and towns, each maintaining its own independent municipal power system.
Natchitoches Christmas Lights and the Natchitoches Christmas Festival
The City of Natchitoches Utility Department is responsible for transforming Natchitoches into the “City of Lights” each holiday season. Beginning in October each year, utility crews begin installing more than 300,000 Christmas lights in the Natchitoches Historic District, which serves as the heart of the Annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival and Festival of Lights.
Utility crews install thousands of lights throughout the Historic District, downtown riverbank and Church Street Bridge. The Christmas lights are officially turned on for the very first time that season in November before Thanksgiving. The lights remain on every night through the first week of January.
The Natchitoches Christmas Festival began in 1927 when Max Burgdorf, superintendent of utilities for the City of Natchitoches, decided there was a need in the community for something to better express the Christmas feeling. Burgdorf decided a street and riverbank lighting program were just what the community needed. He discovered a 10-watt Christmas tree bulb that had just been placed on the market. He obtained enough of these bulbs to get his lighting program underway.
No one is certain why Burgdorf began the lighting program, but some residents said it was simply his way of saying “thank you” to a community he had grown to love. He is credited with building the first Christmas set piece, a structure of metal twisted into a star and lit with Christmas lights, which was placed on the banks of Cane River Lake. The “Star of the East” was approximately six feet across and was expanded to 21 feet across by City Utility employee Charles Solomon, who came to be known as “Mr. Christmas Lights.” Solomon built approximately 40 set pieces that stood on the east bank of Cane River Lake, which were built from sketches designed by Solomon and submitted by local artists.
Solomon’s widow, Vera Solomon, said her husband began working for the City of Natchitoches Power and Light Department in 1931. He along with fellow employee Charles Maggio created bells, reindeers, sleighs and other Christmas images to light up the downtown area. Before General Electric offered the colored bulb, Solomon and Maggio dyed their light strings until they had enough to complete each set piece. Both men continued to volunteer their services to the City well after their retirement in the mid 1970s.
For more information on the Christmas Festival, please visit www.christmasfestival.com.