The Choctaw Indians began moving into Louisiana soon after New Orleans was settled. Their relocation from Mississippi was to be a temporary flight from their disease-riddled reservations, but while they were away, their homelands were surrendered to Great Britain, and many Choctaw chose to stay in Louisiana. Some groups settled in the northern region of Lake Pontchartrain, and other bands colonized in the Nezpique, Red River and the Bayou Boeuf areas. Louisiana offers many places to visit and experience Choctaw Indian traditions and history.
The Choctaw Plantation is a large antebellum sugar plantation in the Choctaw Nation, and it is a museum rich with history. Visitors will see the original train used to haul sugar to the mill. This Choctaw attraction includes the plantation home, built in 1830, the locomotive depot and the scale house. Visitors can also see a miniature train collection, caboose whistles and other memorabilia from the sugar plantation. Choctaw Plantation is in Brusly, La., and is open to the public. Tours for groups can be arranged by appointment.
The French Market
The French Market in Louisiana (frenchmarket.org) is America's oldest community market. Before French garrisons moved into the area, the Choctaw Indians used this site as a trading post and tribal meeting place. In 1771, the Spanish settled in New Orleans and erected the first permanent structures, which were later destroyed by a hurricane. In 1812, soon after the natural disaster, the original buildings were replaced and continue standing in 2011. The French market primarily deals in meat and produce, but on the weekends the French Market is transformed into a flea market where many Choctaw tribal wares can be found. The French Market is located on Esplanade and Decatur Street in New Orleans.
Choctaw-Apache Pow Wow
The Choctaw-Apache Pow Wow is a celebration of Native Indian culture. The first weekend in May, the Choctaw Indians invite the general public to visit their traditional pow wow and enjoy tribal dancing and foods, craft items, jewelry, textiles and Indian fellowship. This Choctaw Tribe is made up of 21 families, and according to historical records, 13 of these families were the original settlers. The Choctaw-Apache Tribal Pow Wow celebrates the tribe members roots and is held in the Zwolle Intermediate Gym, West Noble St., Zwolle, La.
The town of Abita Springs, La., (townofabitasprings.com) was settled by the Choctaw Indians. The Abita Springs area is famous for its spring waters, but the town is rich with Choctaw history and culture. Trail Head Museum is open to the public, and it often features Indian art and artifacts. In Abita Springs, you can enjoy lunch at the Abita Brew Pub or a scenic hike or bike ride on the St. Tammany Trace. If you're looking for a great family outing, Abita Springs has a water fountain play area for kids, and the pubic access gazebo offers plenty of room for a family picnic. The Albita Springs Trailhead is a popular tourist destination with the Choctaw Trading Post Playground recently added. There are many play sets for the kids, and all have a Choctaw theme.
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