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Alexandria Attractions and Things to See
Alexandria is the parish seat of Rapides
Parish, Louisiana, sitting alongside the Red River's south bank,
in close to the exact geographic center of the state, with a
fabulous history that started in the late 18th century. It
wouldn't be that way in the Civil War, when Yankee invaders, led
by an admiral and general, would strip the city and the area of
anything valuable, and eventually burn it down; leaving
thousands of old men, women and children to fend for themselves
in the woods. The main religion of the area is Southern Baptist,
so the majority of the churches in the city belong to that
faith, but do have a good sized congregation of Pentecostals,
Methodists and Episcopalians, along with other Protestant
denominations; and a small Jewish community.
Alexandria celebrates Mardi Gras, and many other festivals and cultural events, that includes the Cenlabration, which is one of the biggest festivals in central Louisiana, that started in the late 1980s, and is similar to the rest of the nation's Labor Day's celebration that signifies the end of summer. This outstanding event has three stages that showcase different styles of music, and includes country, jazz and blues and the local favorite, Cajun and zydeco. In 2002, the city would begin RiverFest: Heritage and Arts on the Red, that is held in downtown with artworks of visual artists from around the South, a literary event with readings and panel discussions by state authors and scholars, food booths that feature the finest southern cuisine you could ever taste, the three stages and a number of children's activities.
The Alexandria Museum of Art began in 1977 when it occupied the historic Rapides Bank Building that was constructed in 1898 and rests alongside the Red River offering beautiful views of the river's area, and listed on the National Historic Register. Downtown has the Louisiana History Museum that features the history of the state, with more emphasis on the region in the heart of the state, the city and Rapides Parish. Their major displays showcase Native Americans, health care, the impacts of war, the state's geography, farming and politics. The city has an excellent performing arts center that was donated by the town's newspaper, and the Arna Bontemps African American museum has a great musical festival each spring in April, with a lively jazz concert on the banks of the Red River. Each fall, the Rapides Symphony holds its yearly fall concert series called Pops in the Park, and the spring and fall seasons blossom the Downtown Rocks outdoor concert series. The Coughlin-Saunders Performing Arts Center is the home of the symphony, and the Red River Chorale, and the city's arts council hosts an annual Performing Arts series in the center.
The city has sports venues as well that include the Alexandria Aces, a summer college baseball league team, a roller derby team, golf courses that has Bringhurst Golf Course, which is the country's oldest par three course, a minor league ice hockey team and a semi-pro football team. Their little league team won the state championships in 1974 and is great sport for the children that live in the area.
Other exciting and interesting attractions include the Alexandria Zoological Park, the Kisatchie National Forest, the Cotile Lake Recreation area and the Indian Creek Lake and Recreation area. The city is home to many gorgeous parks, convention center, malls, restaurants, the Inglewood Plantation, Kent Plantation House, the Masonic Home and the Rapides Parish Coliseum.