Natchitoches Louisiana is a small town, a former French outpost located on the Red River. But it is the oldest permanent settlement, established in 1714, left over from the Louisiana purchase. That history alone is enough to make anyone want to visit.
This little village has more than a few claims to fame. Natchitoches is the quaint town referenced in the movie Steel Magnolias. It’s also the location of the oldest general store in the state, Kaffie-Frederick, Inc, established in 1814. And, it’s where you’ll find the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Natural History Museum – all in the same building.
The architecture in this building is unique for several reasons. First, the purpose had to combine history and sports, a unique proposition in itself. Second the design that leads visitors through the museum is beyond unusual. The twisting, curvy paths and walls are a nod to the natural elements previously used in the area for building and the river that runs nearby. The exhibits show the history of the area and how athletics is intertwined with history.
Inductees to the Sports Hall of Fame include: Terry Bradshaw, Shaquille O’Neal and Mel Ott. The museum itself has earned a spot in the top 100 projects over the last decade from Arch Daily.
Crystal Structures (commercial division of Sunshine Rooms Inc) provided the skylight that adds the dramatic lighting found through the curving museum paths. The skylight is an odd shape as well, 29′ x 25′ x 18′ x 17′ – which presents it’s own challenges in engineering and installation. The overall effect is awe inspiring.