I loved this classic tear jerker/funny movie in 1989 and still love it in 2011. During our month-long stay in Natchitoches, Louisiana I learned that Steel Magnolias was not only filmed in Natchitoches but the story comes from the real life of author Robert Harling’s sister and mother’s life in his hometown, called Chinquapin in the movie. (Robert Harling also appears in the movie as the preacher.)
After reading an article in little tourist newspaper “Historic Natchitoches” I grabbed my camera and set out to photograph as many filming locations as possible. As with the tree sculptures (1-11-11 Blog) in Galveston and “Cars” (9-19-10 Blog) on Route 66 I like taking on a project like this in order to learn more about a community.
The Steel Magnolias house, now a B & B. Do you remember the chaotic opening scene where Drum (Tom Skerritt) is shooting at noisy birds up in these tall oak trees?
Cantankerous Ouiser (Shirley MacLaine) lived next door at 310 Rue Jefferson and, in real life, Lemee House is also next door.
Front Street in Natchitoches, oops Chinquapin in the movie.
House seen at the beginning of the movie.
Bandstand on the banks of Cane River Lake.
Mrs. Robeline’s boarding house at 301 Rue Touline. I don’t remember seeing this in the movie but its where Annelle (Daryl Hannah) lived. Love the white rocking chairs on the porch!
Aunt Fern’s (Ann Wedgeworth) home is the Chaplin House at 434 Second Street
Truvy (Dolly Parton) and Spud’s (Sam Shepard) home - the beauty shop around which the story revolves. I read that when director Herbert Ross reprimanded Dolly Parton and asked her if she could act she replied "No, but it's your job to make me look like I can!" Looks more conservative now than it did in the movie doesn’t it (especially without the Christmas decorations!)
Shelby (Julia Roberts) and Jackson’s (Dylan McDermott) home in the movie. It is the Odalie Lambre-Gwinn House located outside of the town of Natchitoches.
Location of baby Jack’s birth. Since the movie was filmed a large regional hospital has been built adjacent to the small parish hospital.
Interior of Trinity Episcopal Church, location of the funeral.
I walked through the American Cemetery location of Shelby’s funeral and found this photo on a plaque.
Annelle and Sammy’s (Kevin J. O’Connor) home. Updated and remodeled since 1989.
Riverfront area where the Easter Egg scene was filmed.
Spud’s surprise for Truvy: Truvy’s 2 on Front Street. Truvy is excited and exclaims that she is now a chain!
And who can forget the ending scene with the Steel Magnolia ladies: M’Lynn (Sally Field,) Clairee (Olympia Dukakis), Truvy, Annelle, and Ouiser? The little park and fountain were not on my list of filming places; I just happened to see it near the Steel Magnolias house.
Other movies filmed in and around Natchitoches are The Horse Soldiers, (John Wayne) filmed here in 1958 and The Man in the Moon (Sam Waterston, Tess Harper, Reese Witherspoon and Emily Warfield) in 1996. The Natchitoches Walk of Honor includes fleur de lies tiles for many of these actors.