Monroe, Louisiana

Monroe, Louisiana
City of Monroe
Monroe City Hall
Motto: One City, One Future
Nickname: Twin City
Country United States
State Louisiana
Parish Ouachita
Elevation 72 ft (21.9 m)
Coordinates 32°30′37″N 92°05′42″W / 32.51028°N 92.095°W / 32.51028; -92.095
Area 31.6 sq mi (81.8 km2)
 - land 28.7 sq mi (74 km2)
 - water 3.7 sq mi (10 km2), 11.71%
 - metro 1,538 sq mi (3,983 km2)
Population 48,815 (2000)
 - metro 170,053 (2010)
Density 1,851.8 / sq mi (715 / km2)
Mayor James E. "Jamie" Mayo
Timezone CST (UTC-6)
 - summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 71201-03
Area code 318
Location of Monroe in Louisiana
Location of Louisiana in the United States

Monroe (historically French: Poste-du-Ouachita[1]) is a city in and the parish seat of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 53,107, making it the eighth largest city in Louisiana. A July 1, 2007, United States Census Bureau estimate placed the population at 51,208,[2] but 51,636 in 2009.[3] It is the principal city of the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the parishes of Ouachita and Union. The two-parish area had a total population of 170,053 in 2000 and an estimated population of 172,275 as of July 1, 2007.[4] The larger Monroe-Bastrop Combined Statistical Area is composed of both the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Bastrop Micropolitan Statistical Area. The CSA had a population of 201,074 in 2000.

Monroe and the neighboring city of West Monroe (pop. 13,250), which sits just across the Ouachita River, are often referred to as the Twin Cities of northeast Louisiana.

Washington Plaza in downtown Monroe



Monroe Convention Hall across from City Hall
St. Matthews Catholic Church in downtown Monroe

The settlement formerly known as Fort Miro adopted the name Monroe in honor of the steam powered paddle-wheeler James Monroe. The arrival of the ship had a profound effect on the settlers. It was the singular event that transformed the outpost into a town, in the minds of local residents. The ship is depicted in a mural at the main branch of the Monroe Library on North 18th Street. Therefore, credit is given to James Monroe of Virginia, the fifth President of the United States and, with Robert R. Livingston, one of the negotiators of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase from France, for whom the ship was named.

During the American Civil War, Monroe and Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry ParishFile:Downtownmonroela.jpg in south Louisiana, had Confederate training camps. They were established after the fall of New Orleans to the Union in 1862. Conscripts were soon sent to both camps.[5]

In 1862, Monroe and Delhi in Richland Parish became overcrowded with unwelcome refugees from rural areas to the east. They had fled the forces of Union General U.S. Grant, who moved into northeastern Louisiana and spent the winter of 1862-1863 at Winter Quarters south of Newellton in Tensas Parish. He was preparing for the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, not completed until July 4, 1863. Historian John D. Winters reported "strong Union sympathy" in both Delhi and Monroe. As the refugees moved further west toward Minden in Webster Parish, many of the existing inhabitants, themselves very poor, refused to sell them food or shelter and treated them with contempt.[6]

Union boats came up the Ouachita River to Monroe to trade coffee, liquor, dry goods, and money for cotton. "Confederate officers were accused by a citizen of encouraging the trade and of fraternizing with the enemy, eating their oysters, and drinking their liquor."[7] As the war continued, deserters and stragglers about Monroe became "so plentiful that the Union Army sent a special detachment" from Alexandria to apprehend them.[8]

In 1913, Joseph A. Biedenharn, the first bottler of Coca-Cola, moved to Monroe from Vicksburg, Mississippi. His home and gardens at 2006 Riverside Drive in Monroe now operates as a house museum.[9] Until Biedenharn's breakthrough, Coca-Cola had been available only when individually mixed at the soda fountain. Biedenharn was also one of the founders of Delta Air Lines, originally Delta Air Service.

Collett E. Woolman, the Ouachita Parish agent originally from Indiana, pioneered crop dusting to eradicate the boll weevil, which destroyed cotton in the Mississippi River delta country in the early 20th century. Woolman originated the first crop-dusting service in the world.[10] The collapse of cotton production contributed to the Great Migration of the early 20th century, when hundreds of thousands of African Americans left the rural South for jobs in northern and midwestern cities.


First Baptist Church in downtown Monroe
Frank "Buddy" Flowers Chapel at Louisiana Baptist Children's Home orphanage in Monroe

Monroe is located at 32°30′37″N 92°05′42″W / 32.51028°N 92.095°W / 32.51028; -92.095 (32.510343, -92.094895)[11] and has an elevation of 72 feet (21.9 m)[12].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 31.6 square miles (83.9 km²), of which, 28.7 square miles (74.3 km²) of it is land and 3.7 square miles (9.6 km²) of it is water. The total area is 11.46% water.


St. Francis North Hospital is located off U.S. Highway 165 in north Monroe.

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 53,107 people, 19,421 households, and 12,157 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,851.8 people per square mile (714.9/km²). There were 21,278 housing units at an average density of 741.9 per square mile (286.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.13% African American, 36.78% White, 0.13% Native American, 1.05% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.01% of the population.

There were 19,421 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.4% were married couples living together, 25.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54, and the average family size was 3.26.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.7% under the age of 18, 15.0% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 17.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 29 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,864, and the median income for a family was $33,263. Males had a median income of $31,840 versus $22,352 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,933. About 26.3% of families and 32.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.3% of those under the age of 18 and 21.6% of those 65 and older.


Monroe was the headquarters of Delta Air Lines during the second half of the 1920s. As it expanded, it moved. Monroe Regional Airport serves the city. The airport has three main runways and is served by American Airlines, Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines.

Greyhound Bus Lines provides transportation from Monroe to many cities across the nation. The city of Monroe has the oldest municipally owned transit system in the nation. Created in 1906 as a four-line street railroad, the Monroe Transit System ( now provides 13 fixed bus routes covering most areas of the city, and 3 demand-response buses serving the disabled.

Monroe can be accessed from I-20, U.S. Highway 165, L.A. Highway 15, U.S. Highway 80,and I-420 (proposed).

Monroe has two main railroads: the Kansas City Southern Railway runs from east to west, and the Union Pacific that runs from North to South. Other railroads include:


The Monroe Civic Center has multiple facilities. The main complex is the Civic Center Arena. This arena provides 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) of exhibit space along with 5,600 seats. The arena may have larger capacities up to 7,200 seats. The arena houses events such as banquets, circuses, and rodeos. The civic center also has the B.D. Robinson conference hall, Monroe Convention Center, equestrian pavilion, and the W.L. "Jack" Howard Theatre.

Monroe features the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, which collectively maintains over 500 animals. The zoo also offers boat rides and a catwalk, in addition to other seasonal activities.

The Monroe area is home to several museums, including the Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum, The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, Aviation Military Museum, the Masur Museum of Arts, and the Northeast Louisiana Delta African-American Heritage Museum, one of the 26 site recently identified for the state's African American Heritage Trail.

Monroe is home to the Louisiana Motor Speedway, located near Interstate 20, and Twin City Dragway.

Monroe hosts Deltafest.

Bayou Desiard flows though parts of Monroe.


  • Chennault Golf Course
  • Frenchman's Bend Country Club
  • The Links at Muny
  • Bayou Desiard Country Club


  • Pecanland Mall has major anchor stores: Belk, Dillard's, JC Penney, Sears, and Burlington Coat Factory. The largest mall in North Louisiana, it has 100 other specialty stores. The mall also has a Cinemark 10-Movie Complex, Food Court and a Center Court. In mid-town Monroe, The Shoppes on Tower shopping center, Twin City Plaza, Twin City Shopping Center and Eastgate Shopping Center provide a range of stores and amenities.

National Guard

Monroe is home to the 528th Engineer Battalion of the Louisiana Army National Guard. This unit is part of the 225th Engineer Brigade which is headquartered in Pineville, Louisiana at Camp Beauregard.


Southern Monroe (south of U.S. Highway 80) This area contains the Pecanland Mall and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.

  • Burg Jones Lane
  • Parkview
  • Robinson Place
  • Richwood
  • Pine Bayou#1
  • Pine Bayou#2
  • Lamyville
  • Renwick's Addition
  • Oregon Trail
  • West Parkview
  • Oak Manor
  • Bryant's Addition
  • Grayling Bend
  • Tanglewood
  • Charmingdale
  • New Town
  • Atkinson Quarters
  • King Oaks
  • Hollywood Heights
Standifer Ave SAC Town

lincoln ParkNorth and East Monroe Metro Area (north of U.S. Highway 80) The University of Louisiana at Monroe and the headquarters for CenturyLink can be found in this area. This list includes communities located outside Monroe City limits.

  • Betin Heights
  • Oakmont
  • Westminister
  • Garden District
  • Marie Place Addition
  • Sholar's Addition
  • Pargoud Place
  • Plantation Park
  • Point Place
  • Westwood
  • Forsythe Park
  • Brierfield
  • River Oaks
  • Town & Country
  • Northside Terrace
  • Cypress Point
  • Lakeshore
  • Bayou Oaks
  • Parkview Heights Subdivision
  • North Pointe Plantation
  • Booker T
  • Treasure Island
  • Northgate Estates
  • Village North
  • Pecan Bayou
  • Swartz


Post-secondary education


The City of Monroe has its own department of education that is set off from the larger Ouachita Parish School System. It is known as the Monroe City School System. The department consists of three high schools, three junior high schools, and 18 elementary schools.

  • Lexington Elementary
  • Berg Jones Elementary
  • Carver Elementary
  • Clara Hall Elementary
  • J.S. Clark Magnet School
  • Cypress Point Elementary
  • Jack Hayes Elemnentary
  • Jefferson Upper Elementary
  • Lincoln Elementary
  • Minnie Ruffin Elementary
  • Madison James Foster Elementary
  • Barkdull Faulk Elementary
  • New Vision Learning Academy
  • Sallie Humble Elementary
  • Swayze Elementary
  • Robinson Elementary
  • Swartz Upper Elementary
  • Swartz Lower Elementary
  • Lakeshore Elementary

Junior high

  • Robert E. Lee Junior High (Lee)
  • Carroll Junior High
  • Martin Luther King Junior High (MLK)
  • Ouachita Parish Junior High School (OJHS)
  • Richwood Junior High School (RJHS)

High school

  • Neville High School
  • Carroll High School
  • Wossman High School
  • Ouachita Parish High School
  • Richwood High School
  • River Oaks School
  • St. Frederick High School


Monroe is served by a Gannett newspaper, the Monroe News Star, formerly an afternoon daily owned and operated by the late father-son team of publishers, Robert Wilson Ewing, I, and John D. Ewing. When the Ewing's Monroe Morning World ceased publication, the sister publication, the News Star, became the city's morning-only newspaper.

Monroe is also served by two African-American weekly newspapers: The Monroe Free Press and the Monroe Dispatch. The Free Press was founded in 1969 by Roosevelt Wright, Jr.; its web presence began in 1996 and is located at The Dispatch was founded in 1975 by Irma and Frank Detiege.

The Ouachita Citizen, based in West Monroe, is a weekly newspaper that provides all-local coverage of events in Ouachita Parish, including Monroe, West Monroe, Sterlington and Richwood. Locally owned, the newspaper has been in operation since 1924. The Ouachita Citizen can be found online at It was purchased in 1996 by the late Sam Hanna, Sr., and his son, Sam Hanna, Jr., who remains the publisher.


  • KNOE 8 (CBS) & 8.2 (CW)
  • KTVE 10 (NBC)
  • KAQY 11 (ABC)
  • KLTM 13 (PBS)
  • KARD 14 (FOX)
  • KMCT 39 (TBN)
  • KEJB 43 (My Network TV)




Emergency alert stations:

Notable people



  • Hamid Drake -- Jazz drummer and percussionist
  • Carl Fontana -- Jazz trombonist
  • Kevin Griffin-- Lead Singer of Better Than Ezra
  • Andy Griggs -- Country music singer
  • Frank Ticheli -- Internationally known composer, conductor, Professor of Music, University of Southern California
  • Leon "Pee Wee" Whittaker -- African American trombonist who played with the Rabbit's Foot Minstrels from Monroe between 1935 and 1950
  • Rickey Minor -- African American music director, composer, music producer, and music director and bandleader for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno


  • Jamie Mayo, Democratic mayor of Monroe since 2001
  • Edwards Barham, former member of the Louisiana State Senate from Morehouse Parish
  • Robert J. Barham, Director of the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission; former Louisiana state senator from Morehouse Parish
  • William R. Boles, Sr., attorney and former Democratic member of the Louisiana State Senate
  • Marcus R. Clark (born 1956), associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court; former district court judge
  • James L. Dennis (born 1936), Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • Jimmy Dimos, former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives and retired judge
  • John C. Ensminger (born 1934), Monroe businessman, state representative (1972–1991) and state senator (1991–1992) from Ouachita Parish
  • William C. Feazel (1895–1965), interim U.S. Senator in 1948; member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1932–1936; father-in-law of Shady R. Wall
  • Lee Fletcher (1966–2009), Republican political consultant
  • H. Lawrence Gibbs (1919–1993), member of both houses of the Louisiana Legislature
  • John S. Hunt, III (1928–2001), Monroe attorney and former member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission
  • Neal Lane "Lanny" Johnson (born 1940), former Ouachita Parish school superintendent and member of the Louisiana House from 1976-1980 from Franklin and Tensas parishes; first All-American in basketball at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, then NLSC
  • Kay Katz, member of the Louisiana House of Representatives and former Republican National Committeewoman from Louisiana
  • Robert Kostelka, Republican state senator and former judge
  • Scott Leehy, Republican judge of the Fourth Judicial District
  • Sam Little, Republican state representative from Morehouse Parish and portions of Ouachita, West Carroll, and East Carroll parishes
  • James A. Noe, Governor of Louisiana, founder of WNOE & KNOE radio & TV stations
  • Lawson Swearingen, former Louisiana state senator and president of ULM
  • Chet D. Traylor, Associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, 1997–2009; Republican primary candidate for U.S. Senate, 2010
  • Shady R. Wall (1922–1985), state representative from 1948–1956 and 1968–1984
  • Mike Walsworth, Louisiana state senator from Ouachita and Morehouse parishes
  • W.E. Whetstone, former member of the Louisiana State Board of Education
  • Aubrey W. Young (1922–2010), Drug and alcohol abuse coordinator within the Department of Health and Hospitals, 1965–1999; aide-de-camp to Governor John McKeithen


  • Edmund Graves Brown (1921–2008), executive of the Monroe News Star from 1952–1977; member of the Ewing newspaper family
  • Grady A. Dugas (1923–2007), inventor of the "Safer Automatic Wheelchair Wheel Locks"
  • Robert Ewing, III (1935–2007), Monroe newspaper executive and photographer
  • Lloyd E. Lenard, author, originally advertising manager of KNOE Radio, later in the insurance business in Shreveport, former Caddo Parish commissioner
  • Philip Nelson, Technical Emmy nominee for NewTek TriCaster, San Antonio Business Journal 40 under 40
  • Sol Rosenberg (1926–2009), steel industrialist; philanthropist; Holocaust survivor
  • Collett E. Woolman, one of the original directors of Delta Air Service. The founders were Collett Woolman, C.H. McHenry, Travis Oliver, and M.S. Biedenharn.
  • Ryan Harvey, Thriving Entrepeneur and 2010 Delta Style Top 30 Under 30.



  • Huey P. Newton, Black Panthers founder
  • Clayton Broyles, NORML regional director



  • Frank McGee, television journalist



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  2. ^ "Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in Louisiana, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000, to July 1, 2007" (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  3. ^ Monroe at City Data
  4. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (CBSA-EST2007-01)" (CSV). 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. 2008-03-27. Retrieved 2008-10-03. 
  5. ^ John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 149
  6. ^ Winters, pp. 307-308
  7. ^ Winters, p. 406
  8. ^ Winters, p. 416
  9. ^ "Biedenharn Museum and Gardens". Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Delta Heritage Museum". Retrieved August 18, 2010. 
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  12. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  14. ^ Oakland Athletics (2010). "Ben Sheets Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights". MLB Advanced Media, L.P.. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  15. ^ PGA TOUR, Inc. (2010). " - Brian Bateman's Official Profile". Turner Sports Interactive, Inc.. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  16. ^ Sports Reference LLC (2010). "Benoit Benjamin NBA & ABA Statistics". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  17. ^ NFL Enterprises LLC (2010). "Bubby Brister". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  18. ^ NFL Enterprises LLC (2010). "Billy Joe DuPree". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  19. ^ Sports Reference LLC (2010). "Lenny Fant Coaching Record". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  20. ^ MLB Advanced Media, L.P. (2010). "Ralph Garr Stats, Bio, Photos, Highlights". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  21. ^ NFL Enterprises LLC (2010). "Stan Humphries". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  22. ^ University of Louisiana at Monroe (2010). "Cardia Jackson - ULM Warhawks Athletics". College Sports Direct. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  23. ^ Dallas Cowboys (2010). " - Official Site of the Dallas Cowboys". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  24. ^ NFL Enterprises LLC (2010). "Shawn King". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  25. ^ NBA Media Ventures, LLC (2010). " : Paul Millsap Bio Page". Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital Network. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  26. ^ "Kansas City Chiefs: Rudy Niswanger". 2010. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  27. ^ NFL Enterprises, LLC (2010). "Joe Profit". Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  28. ^ "Biography of Henry Edward Chambers". Retrieved March 15, 2011. 

29. 30. 31.

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