30 years later, “Steel Magnolias” still drawing fans to Natchitoches

You can watch it Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22, in Bossier City, Shreveport, Longview
Updated: May. 20, 2019 at 11:11 PM CDT
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NATCHITOCHES, La. (KSLA) - This year marks 30 years since “Steel Magnolias” was released.

The iconic 1989 film starring Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Sally Fields and Olympia Dukakis is back on the big screen for a few short days to celebrate the occasion.

On a trip to Natchitoches, a stop to see the “Steel Magnolias” filming locations remains a popular activity after all these years.

Mari Jane Browne, in town from Boston to visit family, experienced that.

“I was just looking across the river where they did the egg roll. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see the house where the wedding took place and birds went up everywhere."

Inside the Natchitoches Convention & Visitors Bureau, hundreds of the film’s tour brochures each month.

“We still see people even today, even without the anniversary but especially this year with the anniversary, flocking to Natchitoches and coming to experience what little bit they can from that story," said Kelli West, the bureau’s marketing and communications director.

Gifts and souvenirs about the film remain hot sellers inside Georgia’s Gift Shop on Front Street. It’s also where you can hear customers talking about their love of the film.

Inside Simply Chic Boutique, shirts dedicated to the film are close to sold out.

The Convention & Visitors Bureau says the film brought in $1.7 million in media mentions alone in the past year, not to mention the money pumped into local businesses.

“For people to still recognize the name of the film, recognize the city for it and to come visit is huge," West said. "It brings in tons of people each year. It brings in people who stay the night, who go see the filming sites, who go shop on Front Street, who eat at our restaurants. The economic impact from it is just huge.”

Three decades after its release, the film’s legacy lives on not just through the fans it brings to this city, but through the locals who were part of the film and welcomed its stars with open arms.

“Steel Magnolias” remains deeply embedded into the identity of Natchitoches.

The movie returns to the big screen for a just a few days in honor of its 30th anniversary.

You can catch it Tuesday, May 21, and Wednesday, May 22, at the Regal Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City, Cinemark Tinseltown in Shreveport and Regal Longview & RPX at 7 p.m.

Then mark your calendars for Nov. 8-10 in Natchitoches, where the “Blush and Bashful Weekend” is being planned to celebrate the film’s anniversary. The event will include a screening of the movie, an Easter egg hunt, an armadillo cake bake-off, look-alike contests and more.

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