Steel Magnolias is definitely a favorite movie of just about every good cowgirl. Have you ever thought about visiting the Steel Magnolias house from the movie?
“If walls could talk, the Steel Magnolia Bed & Breakfast in Natchitoches would have hundreds of stories to tell.
“The home is located on a portion of a land grant given by the Spanish Government to Athanese De Meziere prior to the completion of the Louisiana Purchase transaction. The first mention of this home was found in the Courthouse records in 1841 but it was built prior to this date.
“Built by two Italian architects, Trizini and Soldini, the owner Louis Dupleix had bricks imported from France to use in the construction of the building. He intended to use the structure as a store since it was in a prime location on the Cane River. Some say during the Civil War, the building was used as a hospital and was rumored to have played a part in the Underground Railroad.
“In the early 1900’s, Mr. Jackson L. Bryan moved it from next to the sidewalk to where it now stands. The round columns made of pie-shaped bricks were carefully removed, the original bricks were used in the rebuilding process and the architectural design basically was preserved. “Pilgrim’s Rest,” a name given it by the Bryan family, was sold to the family of Herman Taylor, Sr. in the early 1940’s. The four-story home, including the cellar and attic, was restored and modernized to fit the needs of a family of three boys. Grillwork, brick posts, a veranda and a family room were added, eight fireplaces were closed and replaced with gas logs.
“However, its actual claim to fame is that many scenes from the 1989 movie, “Steel Magnolias,” was filmed in and around the home. Today, the bed and breakfast boasts 5,900 square feet of living space, featuring its six bedrooms and baths, original wood floors, and a grand staircase. Live oak trees dot the landscape, which is set off with multi-colored blooming wisterias, azaleas, camellias and magnolias each spring. There is also an 800 square foot guesthouse. The home is furnished with crystal chandeliers, marble mantels over eight gas lit fireplaces, and many of the original antiques have decorated the home for years.
“The home’s second owner was Jackson L. Bryan, who moved the home back away from the busy street, using the original bricks in the process. The Herman Taylor, Sr. family purchased the home in the early 1940’s. The four story home, which included a cellar and attic, was restored and modernized, a large family room was added. In the later years of the 20th century, the home was owned by Henry Cook Taylor, and it became known as the Cook-Taylor house.
In 1989, the movie, “Steel Magnolias” was filmed in Natchitoches with the home becoming the centerpiece of many scenes. The comedy drama, a film adaptation of a play penned by Robert Harling of Natchitoches, was a story of his family’s experiences during the life and death of his sister, Susan Harling Robinson. At 33, the young mother died from diabetic complications and a failed kidney transplant following the birth of her son. Starring roles were played by Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Shirley McLaine, Julia Roberts, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah, and Tom Skerritt.
“Steel Magnolia Bed & Breakfast opened in mid-November 2014, offering the traditional bed and breakfast experience with a full breakfast and true Southern hospitality.” -Steel Magnolia Bed & Breakfast