Seniors Head For Monroe
Monroe, the eighth-largest city in Louisiana, is the parish seat of Ouachita Parish with a population right at 50,000. Ouachita Parish, seniors learn, was occupied for many years by various Indian tribes including some from “The Mound Builders”.
Europeans arrived as early as 1541. Ouachita Parish was named for the Ouachita River. The settlement formerly known as Fort Miro adopted the name Monroe during the first half of the 19th century, in recognition of the steam-powered paddle-wheeler James Monroe.
The arrival of the paddle-wheeler had a profound effect on the settlers; it was the single event, in the minds of local residents, that transformed the outpost into a town and thus the name of the city.
Downtown Monroe is an increasingly growing district anchored by the beautiful Ouachita River. Conveniently located just off Interstate 20— it is the central business district of Monroe. Downtown Monroe is also the home of several restaurants, a collection of museums, and a variety of art galleries and shopping destinations.
Seniors Eye The Downtown River Market
The Downtown River Market, Northeast Louisiana’s premier event destination, is located in a Louisiana Cultural District along the Ouachita River in historic downtown Monroe, providing a great setting for seniors to shop, play, eat and celebrate.
This French-style market showcases artisans, fine crafts, produce, food, live music, street performers and numerous heavily-attended special events. The annual event weekends are recognized in the state as a leading Louisiana Festival that continues to generate a “buzz” throughout the region.
The Masur Museum of Art was built as a private residence in 1929. A lumberman by the name of Clarence Edward Slagle had the modified Tudor estate built for his wife Mabel.
The Indiana limestone and Pennsylvania blue slate used to build the home were transported on various waterways to the scenic Ouachita River, which runs behind the estate. The name Masur caught my eye as I am half Czech. My grandfather’s name was Masur and it was changed to Mizaur when he came through Ellis Island in NYC.
Delta Airlines And Coke Start In Monroe
Delta Airlines got its start in 1926 as a crop dusting service, and Coca-Cola opened its first bottling plant in Monroe. Today, those legacies provide unique attractions for senior visitors. Biedenharn Home and Gardens, the estate of that first Coke bottler, is open to the public as a museum and sculpture garden.
The Chennault Aviation and Military Museum of Louisiana has exhibits on Delta Airlines, the local World War II flight school at Selman Field and the volunteer combat unit called the Flying Tigers commanded by one-time Monroe resident, General Chennault.
The 1,800-acre, cypress-studded waters and trails of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge is highly popular with senior visitors. This is one of five refuges managed in the North Louisiana Refuge Complex and one of 545 refuges in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Enjoy your stay in Monroe. -jeb