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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.

Holy Kiroli: It's A Zoobilation Celebration!
04/24/2014 to 04/25/2014
Ryan Treecrest is back and bringing you this year's Kiroli Park performance! Join Ryan as the dancing park animals return (including last year's "Dawg" winners), challenge the animals from Louisiana Purchase Garden and Zoo to a dance off! This high energy performance will also bring back those hilarious judges, as well as the zany zookeeper, Zane. Children and adults alike will enjoy this fun, interactive performance based on everyone's favorite dance and singing competitions, "So You Think You Can Dance" and "American Idol."

Biedenharn and Museums and Gardens presents: Garden Symposium and Plant Sale
04/25/2014 to 04/26/2014
Friday's Symposium features three programs and early access to the Plant Sale. There will also be a Saturday lecture along with the Second Annual Plant Sale. Biedenharn Museum and Gardens is excited to offer a variety of unusual and hard to get plants from last year's supplier Heidi Sheesley of Treesearch Farms, Houston, TX. These include Bletilla strata the ground orchid , Stokesia laevis 'Peachie's Pick,' Hiromi Cherry, Byzantine Gladiolas and the much requested Peggy Martin Rose. The Biedenharn Museum will offer Staghorn Ferns, Walking Iris, night blooming ceres, bromeliads and more from cuttings and plants from ELsong Garden.

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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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