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In Pictures: Shopping at Louisiana’s oldest general story in Natchitoches
By Tom Adkinson
June 9, 2023

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NATCHITOCHES, La. – Many reasons exist to swing through Natchitoches (which inexplicably is pronounced Nack-a-tish) other than the fact it is Louisiana’s oldest city (established in 1714). The most unusual is to visit a hardware store, Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile. Located on the main street, Kaffie-Frederick is simultaneously a relic from two centuries ago and a vibrant, modern, service-oriented retail establishment. Its unlikely founding was in 1863, when two Prussian Jewish immigrants named Adolph and Harris Kaffie saw the business prospects in the midst of the American Civil War more appealing than the climate of religious persecution in Europe. They began by peddling needles, linens and cookware and by 1893 began building the two-story establishment you can explore today. Whether you are seeking nuts and bolts, 8-foot fluorescent light bulbs, dishtowels, designer pajamas, jigsaw puzzles or a new grill, Kaffie-Frederick likely has what you want. There’s even a bridal registry.

In business since 1863

Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile
Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile is not only a landmark in Natchitoches, it is famous as Louisiana’s oldest general store. Generations of residents and visitors have walked on the store’s well-worn wooden floors. Image by Tom Adkinson

Just keep looking

general store louisiana
Housewares, garden supplies, dishpans, aluminum buckets and hundreds of other items fill the first floor at Kaffie-Frederick. The second level features softer goods such as decorator dishtowels, sporty t-shirts, aprons, candles, gift items, dishes and the store’s bridal registry. Image by Tom Adkinson

Ringing up sales for more than a century

kaffie frederick 1917 cash register
When you buy good equipment, it lasts a long time. Witness this heavy-duty cash register that became part of the store in 1917. It was the store’s first cash register and rings up sales today. Image by Tom Adkinson

Nuts and bolts

kaffie frederick hardware
A Kaffie-Frederick hardware specialist knows exactly what customers need to find in the sturdy bins in a back corner of the store. Building engineers at the nearby Chateau Saint Denis Hotel practically are on speed dial with Kaffie-Frederick. Image by Tom Adkinson

Just what the kids want

Radio Flyer wagons
Among the many brand-name lines you’ll find at Kaffie-Frederick are classic Radio Flyer wagons and other wheeled toys. Image by Tom Adkinson

Louisiana souvenirs

kaffie frederick gifts
Plenty of items at Kaffie-Frederick qualify as legitimate Louisiana souvenirs. Examples include crawfish-themed plates, dishtowels, cutting boards and wall hangings. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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