There is New Orleans, and there is the rest of Louisiana. And then there is Natchitoches ("nack-a-tish"), settled four years before New Orleans and thus the only city in the state that can claim "we did it first" with the cast-iron-lined balconies to prove it. As Louisiana's original French settlement, it is home to the only three examples of authentic French Creole townhouses outside of New Orleans. There are also examples of Spanish Revival, Victorian, and Art Deco architecture throughout the Historic District. Southern-history enthusiasts will enjoy touring the Oakland, Magnolia, and Melrose Plantations, all National Historic Landmarks significant for their antebellum architecture. The colorful buildings of Downtown can be seen from the meandering Cane River, which is lined with live oaks and pecan trees. And if the photos look familiar to you, that's probably because Natchitoches was the filming location for the 1989 armadillo-cake classic, Steel Magnolias. If it's a much, MUCH slower-paced New Orleans that you want, look no further than Natchitoches.