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Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana Convention and Visitors Bureau
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Upcoming Events
51st Annual Juried Competition
02/27/2014 to 06/14/2014
The Masur Museum of Art’s Annual Juried Competition (February 27th – June 14th, 2013) showcases contemporary artists throughout the United States of America working in any medium.

Bottles and Brushes Painting Class with Rene Hatten
04/17/2014
The Masur Museum of Art is proud to announce the return of Bottles and Brushes Painting Class with teacher René Hatten! Students are welcome to bring a bottle of wine or other preferred beverage. You must be 18 or older to attend the class, and 21 or older to drink alcoholic beverages. Bottles and Brushes will be held on a regular monthly basis: the third Thursday of every month from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Masur Museum of Art Carriage House. A new painting will be offered every month. No prior painting knowledge is needed.

Biedenharn Museum and Gardens presents: Photo Day with the Easter Bunny
04/19/2014
Many people make an annual visit to ELsong Gardens at Monroe's Biedenharn Museum for spring and Easter photographs. Biedenharn is offering a special $3.00 admission for persons who only want to visit the garden for photographs. A variety of Easter props will be available in the garden and the Easter Bunny will visit Saturday April 19 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

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History

Ouachita Parish was established March 31, 1807 when the Territory of Orleans was divided. The original Ouachita Parish was later divided into the nine parishes that currently makeup Northeast Louisiana (Morehouse, Union, Caldwell, Franklin, Tensas, Madison, and East and West Carroll). The name Ouachita originated from the Indian tribe who inhabited the area at the time of settlement. The city of Monroe is the parish seat for Ouachita. The twin cities of Monroe-West Monroe began when Don Juan Filhiol was hired to establish Fort Miro as a Spanish presence on the north Ouachita River. Fort Miro became Monroe in May of 1819 to honor President James Monroe and the first steamboat to travel up the Ouachita to North Louisiana. West Monroe received its name in 1880 from railroad workers who needed to name a new city just west of Monroe. In 1914, Joseph Biedenharn, the first bottler of Coca-Cola, built his home in Monroe and was actively involved in the city’s development until his death in 1952. His daughter, Emy-Lou established the Emy-Lou Biedenharn foundation in 1971 to support the cultural and artistic life of Northeast Louisiana.

Monroe got its first zoo in 1924, at what is now Forsythe Park. The small zoo originally housed fifteen animals. Since the 1935 move to an 80 acre facility in southern Monroe, the zoo has grown to hold over 500 animals in naturalistic habitats and features the only boat ride in the United States that takes visitors on a tour of naturalistic island habitats.

Historically, the twin cities and the surrounding parish have been known as small farming communities; in 1925, the world’s first aerial crop dusting organization, Huff Daland Dusters was formed in Monroe. That company later became Delta Airlines.

One little known fact about Monroe is the role it played in World War II. During the war, Monroe’s Selman Field served as the largest flight navigator school in the nation. Monroe was also home to General Claire Chennault, founder of the Flying Tigers, which played an integral part in the war. You can view memorabilia of Selman Field, General Chennault, and aviation history at the Chennault Aviation & Military Museum.

In 1978, Monroe became home to one of Louisiana’s seven nationally registered castles, Layton Castle or Mulberry Grove. Although it was remodeled in the early 1900s, much of the original 19th century décor remains.

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