Community Development Office
The City of Natchitoches Office of Community Development oversees capital projects that enhance the community. Such projects include the oversight of the recent rehabilitation of Rue Beauport, street sign installation and maintenance and the renovation of City Park. The department is responsible for preparing and tracking annual Capital Outlay Budget requests to the State of Louisiana for infrastructure improvements.
The Office of Community Development serves as the City’s economic development liaison, helping developers find suitable properties, infrastructure and incentives for their projects. Community Development works directly with the Natchitoches Community Alliance (NCA) to foster development opportunities in the area. To learn more about such opportunities, please visit www.nca-la.com.
The City’s beautification crew, maintenance crew and carpentry shop fall within the department’s responsibility. A licensed horticulturist and assistant are responsible for the landscaping and upkeep of City properties including the Natchitoches Events Center, gateway entrance signs, Front Street, the Rue Beauport Riverfront, and hanging flower baskets found in the Natchitoches Historic District. All of the annuals used to beautify the City are grown by the Beautification crew at their nursery, and are rotated seasonally. Maintenance staff members are responsible for making repairs to City-owned buildings and properties. The Maintenance staff has also constructed all of the pavilions and restrooms at the City parks. The department is routinely assisted in their efforts through an inmate crew from the LaSalle Correctional Center and Work Release crew from the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center.
The City of Natchitoches Office of Community Development is open Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The Natchitoches Arts Council is housed within the Office of Community Development. The Arts Council is a volunteer organization whose objective is to enhance the arts and promote Natchitoches as a cultural and artistic center of high quality.
One of the main functions of the Natchitoches Arts Council is the selection and sale of the annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival Poster, which first began in 1980. One poster is selected annually and sold in celebration of the annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival and Festival of Lights.
Posters are on sale for $35 each and miniature versions of the poster are sold for $3 each. Through the years, proceeds from the poster sales have benefited such groups as the Natchitoches Art Guild, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony and community theater. Funds that are raised also provide scholarships to students at Northwestern State University pursuing a degree in creative and performing arts. Scholarships are awarded on a yearly basis to upper-level students who are pursuing a degree in Fine Arts, Music or Theater.
Previous year posters are still available for purchase in limited quantities. For more information or to purchase a Natchitoches Christmas Festival Poster, please call the Office of Community Development at (318) 357-3838 or complete a poster order form and return to the Natchitoches Arts Council. To view a poster order form, click here.
Since 2014, the City of Natchitoches has set in place an Early Childhood Education & Development-ECED, program for Type III childcare facilities in Natchitoches Parish. ECED’s mission is to offer support to the educators who care for young children in Child Care facilities and to be an advocate for the parents seeking quality education for their children. Assistance for Childcare Directors, educators, and parents in the community is as followed:
Support for Child Care Directors: ECED meets monthly with all contracted Directors, Head Start and Natchitoches Parish School Board personnel, and Northwestern State University Child and Family Network at the Natchitoches Parish Early Child Care and Education Network ensuring program sites are meeting all Louisiana Department of Education, LDOE Academic Approvals requirements. Additional individual site visits are available to every site as needed. In addition to meeting Academic Approval all program site personnel in contact with children receive an extensive background check, at the ECED office, which will include Louisiana and Federal criminal records, several registry checks, and state checks for any residences in the past five years; all are new requirements from BESE.
Support for Educators and Students: ECED works with contracted Type III Childcare directors, teachers, students, and the Natchitoches Parish School Board-NPSB to ensure children between the ages of birth and five years old become Kindergarten ready, by offering unified training to all Child Care, Head Start, and NPSB Pre-K educators based upon CLASS observations, TIER I Curriculums and student assessment programs such as Teaching Strategies Gold.
Support for Parents in the community: LDOE offers tuition assistance for low-income families seeking to enroll in one of these high-quality Child Care Facilities known as Child Care Assistance (CCAP). Parents are welcome to visit the ECED office for CCAP application assistance, to complete CCAP-required Finger Imaging, known as TOTS, and/or to learn more about the centers in this community.
ECED is located at 420 Fourth Street with assistance available Monday – Friday between 10:30 am – 2:30 pm. Please contact Amy T. Metoyer, Early Childhood Coordinator at 318-238-7505 or visit the Natchitoches Parish Early Child Care and Education Network website www.TeachingTomorrowNow.com.
The first farmers market in Natchitoches was the Cane River Green Market, founded in 1999. In 2017, the market changed its name to the Natchitoches Farmers Market; however, the market’s vision remains the same – to promote healthy behaviors. The NFM makes fresh, local produce accessible to all. At the market you can eat healthy, connect with the community, and learn about nutrition, gardening and cooking.
The Natchitoches Farmers Market is open seasonally on Saturdays from 8am-12pm. It is located in downtown Natchitoches. The spring market takes place in April to July and the fall market runs October and November. The NFM features locally grown produce, meats, food products, plants, herbs, flowers, crafts, jewelry and much more!
The market offers Kids Club which consists of $5.00 of tokens given to the first 200 kids ages 2-13, to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables of their choice. The market accepts cash, Senior & WIC Nutrition Program vouchers, SNAP benefit cards, debit, and credit cards.
The Natchitoches Farmers Market office is housed within The Office of Community Development, located at 420 Fourth Street. Please contact Valerie Balthazar, Farmers Market Coordinator, at 318-663-5190 or visit the Ready Set Go Natchitoches website for more information www.readysetgonatchitoches.com.
The Community Garden is a collaborative project led by the City of Natchitoches. The garden is just over 10 acres and is located on city property near the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center. We use the land to plant and harvest spring and fall crops including but not limited to: tomatoes, peppers, peas, greens and more.
The garden is an important educational community building tool. It offers a space to dig in and learn about gardening with your neighbors. We encourage individuals and organizations to get involved by signing up to volunteer. Organizations that contribute to planting, weeding, and harvesting can sell the produce at our community table.
The Community Garden office is housed within The Office of Community Development, located at 420 Fourth Street. Please contact Valerie Balthazar, Farmers Market Coordinator, at 318-663-5190 or visit the Ready Set Go Natchitoches website for more information www.readysetgonatchitoches.com.
The Mobile Market provides fresh, local fruits and vegetables from our Community Garden. Kids Club, a free program for children ages 2-13, is offered to the first 50 youth. Kids Club provides free tokens equivalent to $5.00 to spend on fruits and vegetables.
The Natchitoches Mobile Market office is housed within The Office of Community Development, located at 420 Fourth Street. Please contact Valerie Balthazar, Farmers Market Coordinator, at 318-663-5190 or visit the Ready Set Go Natchitoches website for more information www.readysetgonatchitoches.com.
The Portable Park is a mobile recreation unit with activities, games and exercise equipment. It is free to participate for all ages. Come and meet your neighbors and learn new games while getting exercise.
We have equipment for traditional sports such as: basketball, football, volleyball and soccer. You can also join us in non-traditional activities such as: chalk, hula hoops, and group games. For adults, we have a variety of weights, yoga mats and balance balls. Bring your family and participate in field day games, sack races, tug-o-war and relays. On hot days cool off with water activities and on occasion, a waterslide.
The Natchitoches Portable Park office located at 420 Fourth Street. Please contact the Recreation Department at 318-357-3892 or visit the Ready Set Go Natchitoches website for more information www.readysetgonatchitoches.com.