ST. LANDRY PARISH, La. — The third oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase marks a milestone this year. 

The Advocate reports the bayou trading post that would ultimately become the town of Washington dates back to 1720 and local leaders are hoping to use that fact to their advantage as they prepare to celebrate its tricentennial. 

Local leaders say about 80% of the town's buildings are of historical or architectural significance. Many homes, live oaks and cemeteries are listed on historic registers. 

Historian Jim Bradshaw, who lives in the town, says those facts could help draw folks to the area and in the process boost tourism, much like Natchitoches, the oldest permanent settlement in the state, has done.  

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