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HISTORICAL WALKING TOUR a look at the

Future P utting us

ON THE MAP

& Entertainment Arts

HUB


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Credits DIRECTOR Myra Gatling-Akers

MARKETING COORDINATOR Kendyl Stubleski COPY EDITOR Caroline E. Smalling CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Caroline E. Smalling Kathy Spurlock Rachel Niblett Megan Henderson Sheena Burbridge Myra Gatling-Akers

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Aurora Photography Megan Henderson Jeremy Bostlemann Jeremy Thornhill ADVERTISING SALES Myra Gatling-Akers Kendyl Stubleski Caroline E. Smalling PUBLISHED BY Downtown Monroe Alliance P.O. Box 2082 Monroe, LA 71201 LIKE US ON FACEBOOK ° Downtown Monroe Alliance ° Downtown RiverMarket ° Downtown Economic Development District ° Downtown Monroe ° Downtown River Jam

Contents

7 Arts & Culture 71 Working Downtown 13 Downtown Gallery Crawl 72 Downtown Business Owners 15 Downtown Monroe Historical Walking Tour 73 Trail Blazers of Downtown 27 Outdoor Recreation 78 A Look at the Future 28 Attractions 80 Downtown Economic Development District 48 Do it in DoMo – Events 82 Downtown Monroe Alliance 37 Quick Glance Calendar of Events

50 Dining 57 Night Life 65 Origin Bank RiverMarket 4

86 Monroe Chamber of Commerce

90 Major Employers 91 Putting us on the Map DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Welcome Myra Gatling-Akers

The Holiday and Christmas season is my favorite time of year. I love how it brings out the best in all of us. When driving in Downtown Monroe you will see that it is bustling. Many have been working to get up the Christmas decorations, construction workers are working on renovating buildings, and people are walking to the coffee shop, restaurants, stores, and food trucks. At night during the holiday season, you will find downtown to be a magical and festive place. On other nights you may find a Downtown River Jam, piano bar party, Art Crawl, or a block party. Downtown development has been on going at a fast pace in the past 8 years. The Downtown Economic Development District, Downtown Monroe Alliance, Mayor Jamie Mayo, and the city of Monroe have worked together to create an environment for development to occur. Partnerships, private development, business owners, volunteers, organizations, and the city of Monroe have all worked to revitalize the area. Historic tax credits have also contributed to the development. A study was commissioned by the Lieutenant Governor’s office to assess the true value of the State Commercial Tax Credit program. The State Commercial Tax Credit has generated over $9.6 million investment in Monroe. Looking forward to a new year is exciting! There is so much happening now and there is so much more on the way. The heart of our city has developed into an Arts & Entertainment Hub. We have 14 restaurants with 5 more on the way. It is great to be home to many award winning restaurants and chefs. We also have 7 art galleries, 7 bars, 4 attractions, 1 brewery, an awesome coffee shop, and a bakery on the way. DEDD is working on the expansion of the Riverwalk and there are many other things on the way. We have approximately 5800 employees working out of downtown, over 280 businesses and 360 residents. More and more businesses are coming while others are moving in the downtown area. The Origin Bank RiverMarket has been a great anchor and catalyst for development. We are hosting a minimum of 9 festivals each year, and they are bringing in people from Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and other parts of Louisiana. It has also been a great launching pad for new successful businesses. You will also find many people utilizing the Riverwalk for photography, eating lunch, hosting events, date nights, or the whole family coming to view our greatest asset the beautiful Ouachita River. Hundreds of companies across the United States are moving to and investing in walkable downtown locations. People young and old enjoy Downtown. Come downtown and enjoy all it has to offer. Do It In DoMo! If you would like to get involved contact me at 329-4947 or MyraGatling@ci.monroe.la.us Myra Gatling-Akers Director

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Behind the Scenes

There is a small group of amazing people who make the Origin Bank RiverMarket what it is. The staff plans and hosts at least ten Downtown RiverMarket events per year, puts on six Downtown River Jam concerts, and manages many other projects. They do everything from planning to cleaning bathrooms, cleaning up after events, to decorating, and working to make sure each event runs smoothly. The staff at the Downtown RiverMarket & Development Division is dedicated to marketing downtown’s assets and making Downtown Monroe and the RiverMarket the best it can be. They work alongside vendors, local leaders, volunteers, and downtown business people to aid in revitalization.

Caroline Smalling, Program Coordinator Caroline joined the Downtown RiverMarket & Development team in October 2015 as a part time Event Coordinator in charge of various downtown events. In January 2016, she was promoted to Program Coordinator and wears many hats in that role. She continues to plan events such as Geeks Along the River, Downtown River Jam, and the Louisiana Food & Music Festival. She works alongside the director on various programs and projects, writes grants for downtown beautification and projects, and oversees day to day operations in the office such as payroll, accounts payable, and more.

Sheena Burbridge, RiverMarket Coordinator Over the past 16 years, Sheena has worked in different areas of catering, event planning, and management. She believes every job she’s had has prepared her for her position at the Origin Bank RiverMarket. At the Art Institute of Atlanta, she studied graphic design and advertising. This led her to Los Angeles where she worked in film as a production and travel coordinator. Now, Sheena’s job is to plan events for the Origin Bank RiverMarket, vendor relations and recruitment, and downtown park rental.

Kendyl Stubleski, Marketing Coordinator Kendyl Stubleski started with the Downtown RiverMarket & Development Division as an intern in May 2017 and joined the staff full-time as the Marketing Coordinator in August 2017 after finishing her degree in communications at ULM. She loves working for the RiverMarket because her job is versatile. Each day has new tasks at hand, and developing strategies to complete the tasks is exciting for her. Being a part of the growth and development of Downtown and the RiverMarket is another reason Kendyl enjoys working for the city. She plans all the marketing for the different events held at the RiverMarket, does interviews to promote the events, develops marketing materials, composes the weekly Downtown newsletter, and more. 6

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Your Premier

Arts & Entertainment Destination

Downtown Monroe is the place to be, whether you’re looking for delicious cuisine or a fun night out! From the beautiful Anna Gray Noe Park, named after a first lady of Louisiana and wife of former Governor James A. Noe, to the variety of bars, restaurants, art galleries, and more, you’ll find something fun to do for everyone in the family. The Origin Bank Riverwalk is located in the heart of Downtown across the street from the Ouachita Parish Courthouse overlooking the stunning Ouachita River. The Riverwalk is known to many residents as a peaceful and serene spot for an afternoon stroll or a romantic evening. It also serves as host for a variety of riverfront events like the Origin Bank RiverMarket, a great opportunity for locals to showcase their businesses. Other events like Food Fight on the ‘Front and The Turkey Trot are also hosted at the Riverwalk. There are always enjoyable events going on in the area. The Northeast Louisiana Arts Council hosts the Brown Bag Concert Series every Wednesday at noon at Anna Gray Noe Park during the months of April and October. The Downtown Monroe Alliance hosts the Downtown River Jam concert series five to six times each year bringing national touring acts to Bry Park. The Downtown Gallery Crawl is a local favorite on the first Thursday of each even numbered month. Other events that can be enjoyed by the whole family are peppered throughout the year. Every night of the week, each month of the year, the downtown nightlife is impressive. From pizza and pub fare to fine dining, DoMo restaurants always impress. Live music is a downtown staple. The venues and events have welcomed Grammy award winning artists to their stages as well as local rising stars. There’s something for everyone including open mic nights, charity quiz competitions, free concerts, and gallery crawls. And if you like a nice, cold beverage to wind down the night, DoMo has that covered, too. Visiting downtown Monroe is an adventure. There are always great bars and restaurants to count on, but you never know what other forms of entertainment you may find. No matter the season, the whole family can do it in DoMo. DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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ART GALLERIES

ARENDER Studio + Gallery // 131 Art Alley // (318) 791-5115 “ARENDER studio is always seeking to bring in something fresh that might push the envelope at one Crawl or uphold traditional artistic ideals the next.” – Brad Arender, curator and director of ARENDER studio + gallery.

The Garrett House // 520 South Grand St. “I personally seek artists that are either local or regional to bring in for shows. I want artists at every venue I see them at to inspire me, to engage me, to remind me why I love art. I hope my artists and all of our artists for the Crawls are doing just that.” - Brooke Foy, curator of The Garrett House.

Big Room Gallery // 135 Art Alley // (318) 381-2110 “Selecting artists and work for showings at the Big Room Gallery is based on the mission of promoting local art and artists, and showing our area a little something different than what they may have come to expect.” – Anna Rowan, curator of the Big Room Gallery

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The Outside Gallery // North end of Art Alley // Facebook @outsidegallery // Instagram @outsidegallery318. Outside Gallery is an experimental outdoor exhibition venue that shows artists working throughout the U.S. This gallery’s exhibitions are outdoors, huge, and open for viewing 24/7.

Sugar Gallery // 135 Art Alley // (318) 322-1632 “Sugar Gallery consists of six regular artists. Rather than curating the shows, each artist creates new work for each Crawl…The gallery artists love participating in a positive community event that promotes downtown development and provides support and opportunities to local surrounding businesses.” - Melanie Douthit, Sugar Gallery resident artist.

The Palace Gallery // 220 DeSiard St. // (318) 376-3952 or (318) 347-7888 “We wanted The Palace to be a hub for things going on downtown and wanted to bring awesome cultural and artistic influences to the Downtown community.” Jarod Stokes, curator.

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The Downtown Gallery // Art Alley // (318) 547-7473 One of the Crawl’s newest member galleries. Rick Sikes, curator, brings in artists from all walks of life, hanging large and small scale works on the walls of his light-filled space. This gallery is bringing a fresh feel to its corner space in the Crawl, with food, drink and art that will surprise the viewer each time.

UPSTAIRS Gallery // 135 Art Alley // (318) 381-2110 “UPSTAIRS shows are totally different for each crawl… Shows include a mix of painting, drawing, sculpture, and installation pieces ranging from abstract to representational work.” - Emily Caldwell, curator of the UPSTAIRS.

MASUR Museum Located in the former home of the Masur family, the Masur Museum of Art is the largest collecting and exhibiting visual arts museum in Northeast Louisiana. The Masur Museum of Art is dedicated to providing our community with a dynamic visual arts experience through exhibitions, public programming, and collections management.

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Downtown

Gallery Crawl

by Megan Henderson

The Downtown Arts Alliance is a non-profit comprised of a working board of volunteers. These folks ensure that the Downtown Gallery Crawl shows new fine art from local, regional and national artists six times a year. The board members are involved in many other community organizations and are arts advocates for both visual and performing mediums. The board is dedicated to ensuring that the Crawls stay free and open to the public, while keeping exposure to and education about fine art at the heart of the event. Crawlers can visit nine galleries, eight of which are in Downtown Monroe and one in Antique Alley. These galleries include The Garrett House, The Downtown Gallery, Arender studio + gallery, Sugar Gallery, The Palace Gallery, The Outside Gallery, The Upstairs Gallery, The Big Room Gallery, and RUMOS Gallery. The arts are a uniting force. This can be seen in the Crawlers and in the diversity found in Downtown Monroe and West Monroe with every Crawl the DAA hosts. The galleries provide a free and fun environment for the community and surrounding areas to interact with, observe, and learn about fine art. The totally volunteer-led DAA does this purely to enhance the culture of the area and to allow Northeast Louisiana artists to grow, prosper, and connect with each other. Along the way, they continue revitalizing our downtowns. For more information about the Downtown Gallery Crawl and the Downtown Arts Alliance, visit their website at www.DowntownGalleryCrawl.com.

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

2018 DOWNTOWN GALLERY CRAWL SCHEDULE February 1 April 5 June 7 August 2 October 4 December 6

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Downtown Monroe Historical Walking Tour

The best way to discover the dynamic culture and diverse attractions that Monroe has to offer is to tour it on foot. Inside these pages, you’ll find a treasure of authentic and immersive areas from exclusive boutiques and outsider galleries to restaurants that will have your mouth watering before ever being seated.

Designed especially for individual travelers or small groups of friends, this tour is both historically and culturally significant (and fun). If you are among a group of friends or would like even more information, the tour can be accessed online at downtownmonroe.org/tour. Follow the path. Immerse yourself in the charm of our amazing city. Have a hushpuppy, ask about the pink house that’s no longer pink, buy something to remember your visit. And lastly, come back and do it all again. BEFORE RAILROAD TRACKS (Tour 1) Gunby House, 1705 N. 3rd St. This 1855 Greek Revival Style house has a low pitch roof, full gallery, square columns, front door with narrow sidelights, and a transom. Formerly owned by Andrew Augustus Gunby, judge for the Louisiana Court of Appeals from 1881 until 1892. St. Matthew’s Cemetery 1207 Washington St. Buried here are Gergaud, the pastor for St. Matthews’s Church from 1856-1873, and Father Enaut, the pastor of St. Matthew’s from 1873- 1896 who also founded the St. Francis Hospital in 1895. smcmonroe.org Cemetery of Congregation B’nai Israel 180 Manassas St. The earliest recorded burial was in 1861, the year the civil war began. Mayor Arnold Bernstein is buried in this cemetery. During his administration, the Louisiana Purchase Gardens & Zoo was founded, and the Monroe school system started with one school and increased to six! The Temple B’nai Israel is still in use today.


Neat Mural, 515 N. 3rd St. Located in the alley on the southern wall of Neat Bar & Night Club, this unconventional expression of dictionary-inspired art is a great place to take a selfie. Tipitina’s Music Co-Op Monroe, 502 N. 2nd St. Tipitina’s began in 1977 in New Orleans by a group of music fans hoping to provide musicians with a local place to perform. The venue was named after Professor Longhair’s famous recording “Tipitina.” Now sponsoring musical Co-Ops throughout the state, Tipitina’s continues to provide up-andcoming artists with a place to perform. facebook.com/ tipitinasmusicofficecoopmonroe

Warehouse No. 1, 1 Olive St. Warehouse No. 1 has been a warehouse for over 100 years, but what it has stored has changed over time. During the steamboat era, it held bales of cotton that were being transported down the Ouachita River from Arkansas down to New Orleans. Once the steamboat era ended and the railroad era started, the Warehouse was used to store wholesale groceries and hardware. Today, it is a casual fine dining restaurant in downtown that serves delicious Louisiana inspired dishes. warehouseno1.com The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, 323 Walnut St. The Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum is a handson learning place which hosts a variety of family focused events throughout the year. So, grab your kids and head to the BIG purple box of fun in downtown Monroe. Hours are Tuesdays-Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the summer, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 per person for ages 1 and up. Group rates are available. nelcm.org

Chef Hans Mural, 310 Walnut St. Chef Hans discovered Creole food on a vacation to New Orleans in the 1970s. He moved to West Monroe and opened a restaurant in 1986. In 1990, he established Chef Han’s Gourmet Foods, Inc. A mural was painted on the side of the building featuring his likeness that is sure to impress.


Postcard Mural, 309 Walnut St. The Monroe portion of the postcard mural project depicts different scenes of Monroe attractions. These wonderful works were created by ARROW Public Art and were completed in the summer of 2017.

Ouachita Coca-Cola Bottling & Candy Co Mural 215 Walnut St. Joseph Biedenharn is well known in the South as the first person to bottle Coca-Cola. Biedenharn moved his manufacturing and bottling operations to Monroe in 1913. Though no longer in operation, locals and visitors can still see the faint words Wholesale Ouachita Candy Co. imprinted on the brick. You can find a Coca-Cola mural on the southern wall. SQ’s on the Ouachita, 209 Walnut St. The Ouachita Riverhouse building was originally built as a meat packing facility circa 1915. It was first operated as the Swift Meat Packing company, which is named for its founder Gustavus Franklin Swift. Swift invented the first rail car with refrigeration for shipment cross country. In 2012, the building was renovated for use as a restaurant, complete with covered deck and a garden courtyard area. The bricks for the courtyard were salvaged from the Howard Griffin/Kokinos Ice Cream Factory fire. The old brick walls, original elevator, meat hanging hooks and wood floors remain in the building, and the bar is made of beams salvaged from the mezzanine. It is one of the only restaurants in Monroe with panoramic views of downtown Monroe and of the Ouachita River. sqsontheouachita.com Morning Star Sculpture, N. 3rd & DeSiard St. In the mid 1990s, this beautiful sculpture was added to downtown Monroe. It was created by Jack Lewis, a former Louisiana Tech University art professor. It is made of Brazilian marble, and the premise of the piece was to embody the rebirth of downtown. AFTER RAILROAD TRACKS, (Tour 2) Southern Hardware, 108 Walnut St. Southern Hardware has a history that belies its newer façade. The Marx family founded the company in 1889 across from what was then the original railway station. A couple years later, the store became the Sugar Opera House. In the 1920s, Southern Hardware became well-known to locals and visitor as the corner of South Grand, a spot famous for gambling and “red light” activities. Restaurant Cotton, 101 N. Grand St. Now a popular restaurant serving fine southern cuisine, the J. S. Bloch Building was built in 1893. The Italianate building features the original corner entrance, arch fenestrations, and elaborate cast-iron shop front. Though recently renovated, the interior still has the original cast iron Corinthian support columns and original window frames. The building was listed on the National Register in 1980. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 5 – 10 p.m.; and Sundays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. restaurantcotton.com


Austin’s by the River, 100 S. Grand St. Also an 1890s Italianate commercial building, Austin’s by the River features a stuccoed rock face stone patterned with arches. The original windows were replaced with the current stained glass. A popular special event center, Austin’s is capable of hosting weddings, receptions, parties, trade shows and business meetings. The attached courtyard provides a lovely backdrop for any pictures. austins-by-the-river.com

Henry Bry Park, 110 DeSiard St. Before the turn of the 19th century, the park was originally a store called General Merchandise and Cotton Buyer. It was owned by the Breard brothers and located on one of the busiest streets in downtown. Henry Bry Park offers a peaceful retreat from the everyday general hubbub of the city. It is the perfect place to sit and relax after walking throughout the city. Old Monroe Hotel, 223 S. Grand St. Built in 1900, this three-story Italianate stuccoed commercial building contains the same popular shallow window arches as its neighbors, but differs in its small central gable parapet located above the third door. Originally the Old Monroe Hotel, the building was bought by the Kidd family in 1978. It has now become a favorite downtown building known for its brightly colored doors and history. Riverscape, 223 S. Grand St. The Penn Hotel started off as an expansion to the Old Hotel Monroe in 1924. It expanded the Old Monroe Hotel from 56 rooms to 240. Over the years, it was handed off to many other owners, becoming known as the Penn Hotel. Eventually, the building was sold to the Ouachita Parish Police Jury where it was used for storage until 2004. The hotel was then renovated into the beautiful condos that are there today. Ouachita Parish Courthouse, 301 S. Grand St. Built in 1924, the four-story neo-classical structure features imposing columns and limestone facing. The wings were seamlessly added in 1950. opclerkofcourt.com Origin Bank, 316 S. Grand St. Located in the middle of downtown and abutting the historic Ouachita River, the RiverWalk is the optimal place for spotting aquatic life, snapping iconic river pictures, or taking an evening stroll. Each of the six pavilions is named after local plantations. For example, the Logtown Pavilion was named after the Filhiol’s country plantation. The RiverWalk is a great spot to sit and soak in the sunlight in this historic city. You will find a quaint, community garden south of the RiverWalk.


Fort Miro Monument, S. Grand St. (beside theOrigin Bank Riverwalk) Going back to the very roots of Monroe, Fort Miro was finished in February of 1791 with the sole purpose of protecting early settlers from the Choctaw, Ouachita, and Natchez tribes. Fort Miro was primarily used by women and children of the area as men would travel miles away to hunt and fish for the colony. Named Miro after one of the Spanish governors, the Fort was sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

downtownrivermarket.com Ouachita Grand Plaza 501 S. Grand St.

Jack Hayes Memorial Monument, S. Grand St. (beside RiverWalk) Jack Hayes was known by many as a strict educator who wanted to see his students succeed in academics and life. He was an early principal of Ouachita High School and later served as its superintendent. When he died in 1961, his beloved students decided to work together and build a memorial across the street from the school, so he could continue to watch over the students. Arrow Public Art, 20 S. Grand St. This one story brick building was built in 1840 as the Isaiah Garrett Law Office. It has survived countless floods, fires, hurricanes, ice storms, and neglect. It is now home to Arrow Public Art. arrowpublicart.com Anna Gray Noe Park, 251 Oak St. Located in the heart of downtown, this beautiful park was named after Anna Gray Noe, once the first lady of Louisiana and wife of former Governor James A. Noe. Dedicated to Mrs. Noe because of her work on local beautification projects and participation in the garden club. It was the former site of the Monroe City High School.

This historical 1924 building is unique with its Jacobean brick style and cement trim. Once the home of Ouachita Parish High School, it has expansive windows, soaring ceilings and hallways lined with antiques showcasing the Plaza’s historic past. Now converted into a retirement home, residents and guests can enjoy the beautifully landscaped gardens and an enclosed courtyard in addition to the stunning architecture.


First Baptist Church, 201 St. John St. Built in 1911, the handsome two-story church is a neo- Palladian style building with the original octagonal dome, columns & pediments. firstmonroe.com

Vantage State Building

141 Lofts

122 St. John St.

141 DeSiard St.

Built in 1925, the Virginia Hotel boasted three ballrooms, including one on the roof. Guests enjoyed dancing under the stars to the sounds of the big bands of the day. The ground floor was home to a variety of retail and service establishments including a coffee shop, barbershop, beauty shop, cigar stand, bar, and drug store. In the late 1960s, the State purchased the then closed hotel to serve as the local State Office Facility. The building is now the home of Vantage Health Plan and was totally restored in 2016.

Built in 1925, this eight story brick building has a low-key Chicago style that features beautiful molding at the top of the building. Now used as an apartment building, the apartments feature Energy Star black appliances, granite counter tops, a washer dryer in each unit, linen closets and a pantry. Not only do the apartments have individual amenities, but they offer community amenities such as: a fitness center, business center, clubroom with kitchen, swimming pool and playground.

Ouachita National Bank The Original Ouachita National Bank opened in 1906 and continued printing money up until its closing in 1933. During those 27 years—a normal lifespan for a national bank—the Ouachita National Bank issued six different types of national currency and moved location three times. 1906, 112 St. John St. - This beautiful neoclassical limestone temple was the site for the original Ouachita National Bank in 1906. The building now is home to Saint John Pharmacy. 1920, 130 DeSiard St. - In 1920, the Ouachita National Bank moved to this location, which is now home to Vantage Health Plan, Inc. The eleven-story brick and limestone building has the words Ouachita National Bank inscribed above the second-story and has colossal Doric pilasters on the top and bottom floors. 1925, 141 DeSiard St. - The bank moved for a third time in 1925 to this eight-story Chicago style brick office building. Now it is home to the 141 Lofts.

141lofts.net


The Palace, 220 DeSiard St. In 1924, the six floor Palace Department store was built. For over 50 years, it brought customers from all over Northeast Louisiana to shop for anything they needed. Portico Church bought the Palace in 2009 for the purpose of giving back to downtown and bringing life back to the grand building. facebook.com/ThePalaceMonroe Central Bank & Trust Building, 300 DeSiard St. This building was completed in 1925. In 1927, Delta Airlines was created in the bank’s boardroom. Since the establishment of Delta Airlines, the annual stockholders meetings were held in the “Delta board room” until July, 1999. Because of the influence of Delta Airlines, the table in the boardroom was made to resemble an airplane wing. In 2009, Vantage Health Plan bought the building and restored it.

Frances Tower, 300 Harrison St. This gorgeous, eleven story skyscraper was built in 1934. Hotel Frances, as it was then known, was designed as a terra-cotta Modernistic building with vertical shafts between the windows, roof finials, and an elaborate two-stage water tower on the roof. Converted into a living center for senior citizens, the Tower features a lobby that will transport you back in time. monroehousing.com St. Matthew’s Catholic Church & Rectory 121 Jackson St. In 1897, construction began on one of the oldest churches in Monroe. With a large frontal tower that echoes those in Europe and a mid-Victorian gothic revival feel, this beautiful Catholic Church is unique to Monroe. The church is befittingly famous for its stunning stained glass windows and dramatic arched ceilings, hand painted by Glen Kennedy and dubbed The Blue Heavens.Mass held: Tuesday through Friday: 7 a.m.; Saturday: 4 p.m. and Sunday: 8 a.m. stmatthewofmonroe.com


United States Courthouse & Post Office 201 Jackson St. This United States Courthouse and Post Office was built in 1932. The three-story Modernistic building houses a post office on the ground floor, marble facing, fluted window slits and decorative teas relief located between the windows on the first and second floors.

Finding Home Mural 428 DeSiard St. Based off an original painting by local artist Nicholas Bustamante titled Finding Home, the mural explores the beauty of Louisiana by referencing images of Louisiana. Specifically, it references images of Black Bayou and celebrates the rich culture of the region. Bustamante painted the mural and was assisted by a group of art students from Louisiana Tech University.

SOUTH OF DOWNTOWN (Tour 3) Cooley House, 1011 S. Grand St. The Cooley House was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Walter Burley Griffin in 1908, but wasn’t built until 1925. One of the last surviving examples of Prairie School architecture in the south, the Cooley House is Griffin’s last structure to be completed in the United States. The house features the horizontal lines, hipped roof and windows assembled in horizontal bands that deem it a Prairie School. Now a museum, visitors can see the original central vacuum system, central steam heating, incinerator, steam shower, sunken tub, and cork flooring. cooleyhouse.org


Layton Castle, 1133 S. Grand St.

Masur Museum, 1400 S. Grand St.

Originally built in 1814 as a two-story plantation home by Judge Henry Bry, the façade underwent a dramatic change in 1910. The house was expanded in the late 19th century by Bry’s daughter Melinda and her husband Robert Layton. It wasn’t until 1910 when their son’s widow—after spending several years in Europe— began the extensive makeover that is visible today. Inspired by European architecture, Eugenia designed a red tile roof, twostory-high arches and the stunning round tower at the corner of the building. Though the ground floor is now divided into apartments, this unconventional castle can be reserved for group tours, weddings and special events.

This Tudor style estate was built in 1929 by Clarence Edward Slagle for his wife Mabel. Acquired by the Masur family in the 1930s, the house was inhabited until the early 60’s. The Masur children donated the house to the City of Monroe with the intention of it becoming a fine art museum. With the help of the city and the Twin City Art Foundation, the home became the Masur Museum of Art. Its hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Saturday from 12 - 5 p.m. masurmuseum.org

Thomas Leigh House, 1401 S. Grand St. This Bungalow Style house was built in 1940. The style traits feature group windows, an asymmetrical front with various wings, and no porch. Bancroft House, 1200 St. John Dr. Built by Toby Bancroft in 1927, this Neoclassical style house features grand classical columns; a majestic full height porch; symmetrical windows; and the original arch, which is called a curved transom, above the front door. Herbert Land, Sr. House, 1204 St. John Dr.

Governor Luther Hall House

This unusual house is beautiful, if not out of place in the south. Built in 1927, it has all the characteristics of a Spanish Eclectic building with it’s low pitched roof with traditional red tiles, asymmetrical stucco façade, arched wall, and a balcony that doubles as a door cover.

1515 Jackson St.

Julia Wossman House, 1205 St. John Dr. One of the oldest homes in the neighborhood, with the exception of Layton Castle, the Julia Wossman house is circa 1890. It’s a Queen Anne style, with traits including an irregular shaped roof, bracket trim on the half porch, and cutaway bay windows.

Designed by one of Monroe’s most outstanding architects, William Drago, the Hall House was built in 1906 for Luther E. Hall and his family. The family lived there until 1912, when Hall was elected Governor of Louisiana. Featuring aspects of Georgian Revival, Beaux Arts Classicism, and Queen Anne detail; the two-story home is a mishmash of design that makes it unique. The home was entered into the National Register of Historic places in 1979. A full restoration was completed in 1994. The house is now home to The Wellspring, a non-profit organization centered on strengthening and valuing individuals and families through professional services and community leadership. wellspringofnela.org


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Open Tuesday-Friday 9am-2pm Saturday 10am-5pm

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323 Walnut St.

318.361.9611 DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Downtown Attractions Evil Visions Evil Visions is an intense haunted house located on 501 DeSiard St. in Downtown Monroe. You’ve heard the stories. You’ve felt the fear. Now experience the evil like never before. What unspeakable atrocities occurred within these walls? That’s for you to find out. Can you survive Evil Visions Haunted House’s House of Nightmares? With over 13,000 square feet and 36 rooms, Evil Visions Haunted House is sure to give you nightmares! Visit their website at www.evilvisionsmonroe.com.

Fitness Route The one-mile fitness route in Downtown Monroe begins and ends in front of the Downtown Riverwalk on South Grand Street. Anyone looking for a quick workout can follow the vibrant green and white signs that lead walkers and joggers on the track through downtown Monroe. Forsythe Park Mountain Bike Trail This four-mile mountain bike trail on the river side of the levee offers wooden features, tight turns, and plenty of fun for beginning to advanced riders. The trail starts with a faster, almost flowing section with a nice view of the Ouachita River along the way. This tight and twisty trail also provides a quirky bike art section that adds a touch of local charm.

—one CUSTOMER at a time!

318.362.0036

Large enough to be progressive, small enough to be personal.

sharingthecaring.com DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

Member FDIC

ProgressiveBank.com

Monroe • West Monroe • Winnsboro • Bossier City • Shreveport

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Events for the Whole Family By Caroline E. Smalling

Whether you’re looking for a good competition, a fun race, or a way to unwind with the family, the events in downtown Monroe have you covered. There is always something happening somewhere downtown. Many organizations and businesses host events at the various parks, event facilities, and more each year. The Downtown Monroe Alliance offers up Cocktails & Conversations each year. Cocktails & Conversations is a networking event that invites Monroe professionals to meet others like them while learning about the revitalization of downtown. Everyone is invited to attend this casual cocktail party at the Skent-N-Dent Pavilion and enjoy complimentary appetizers, beer, and great conversation. The Origin Bank RiverMarket spring season features different competitions including the Coffee & Tea Festival and River Rumble. In 2017, thirteen coffee and tea companies from North Louisiana and beyond competed for a trophy

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and bragging rights in several different categories at the Coffee & Tea Festival. The winners were Rhino Coffee for “Best Roaster” and “Best Cold Brew,” Boona Bean for “Best Coffee,” and Southern Shivers for “Best Tea.” for River Rumble, Corner Bar won “Most Creative” and “Best Dressed,” and Chili’s Grill & Bar won “Best Classic.” Both of these events annually feature different activities, shopping, and food trucks for ticket holders and other attendees to enjoy while tasting the competitors’ samples The whole family can come downtown for events such as Food Fight on the ‘Front, Downtown Cinema, or the Donut Dash. Food Fight on the ‘Front sees food trucks duking it out for the title of “Best Food Truck” in Monroe with all proceeds benefiting a charity. The Downtown Cinema shows free family friendly movies at the corner of Jackson and DeSiard the last Friday of May through August. The Donut Dash, hosted by Dirty South Racing, is a three-mile race with racers grabbing and eating a donut at each mile market.

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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ons i t o p d A ant e g a P Pet

Ven

d Foo ors d

March 17, 2018

10am-4pm

Trainin g & Ag Classes ility Co urse

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DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Animal Advocacy Award

WINNERS by Kendyl Stubleski Woofstock is a celebration of pets held at the RiverMarket to bring awareness about animals in the local shelters and other advocacy initiatives. There are vendors who sell pet related items, dog races, and local shelters that bring out animals available for adoption, but that is not everything that happens at the event. The Animal Advocacy Award is awarded annually to specific individuals who are dedicated to the wellbeing of the animals of Ouachita Parish.

Cherie King Left Karen White Right

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

Ginger Padgett

The first winner of the Animal Advocacy Award was Ginger Hubenthal Padgett in 2016. Ginger uses social media to get the word about all the animals in need. In 2017, two outstanding individuals, Cherie Carpenter King and Karen White, tied for the Animal Advocacy Award. Cherie King is a promoter for adopting, fostering, and rescuing animals. Eighteen animals have had a temporary home over the 3 years Cherie has been fostering for PAWS. Karen White not only volunteers at the Ouachita Parish Animal Shelter but also is a part of coordinating rescues in Louisiana and all over the United States.

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DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


&

present

Food Trucks Beer Tastings Live Music DOMOBREWFEST.COM DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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Brewfest by Megan Henderson and Caroline E. Smalling In Louisiana, we love our beer. Our state has some of the best beer in the world. Luckily, there is an annual event locally that celebrates everything we love about it! DoMo BrewFest is an annual beer festival presented by the Downtown Monroe Alliance at the Origin Bank Riverwalk. Ticketholders can sample over 150 beers from big companies, smaller local breweries, and homebrewers alike. Beer is provided by Choice Brands, International Wine & Spirits, Marsala Beverage Company, Flying Tiger Brewery, Ouachita Brewing Company, and local homebrewers. This is a great event for a girls’ or guys’ night out, or to just have a little fun with family and friends. Tickets to Brewfest can also make a great gift! Attendees won’t just be drinking beer the whole time though. Local food trucks come out to the event to give ticket holders a taste of local cuisine. Musicians grace the clock tower at the Riverwalk to give the perfect soundtrack as the sun sets and the beer flows. As the event winds down, attendees make plans to enjoy the local bars, restaurants, and entertainment that downtown has to offer that night. Proceeds of BrewFest go to the ongoing efforts of the Downtown Monroe Alliance to better and promote the downtown economic district in Monroe through projects, events, and promotions every year. Past projects of the Downtown Monroe Alliance include crosswalks and the medallion on South Grand and DeSiard St, assistance for downtown businesses with grant applications to received $10,000 in redevelopment grant funding, and planters on Art Alley. DMA is also responsible for beautification efforts annually in Bry Park and on South Grand. With so many awesome breweries in our area, it makes perfect sense to have an event that appreciates and showcases them. So, if you’re looking for a new beer to try (we know you are), then come to the Origin Bank Riverwalk in June each year for Brewfest and have your choice of 150!

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DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


FREE Concert

Series Henry

BRY Park

Family Friendly

LIVE 5:30-9

2018 February

April

May

October

December

Downtown River Jam DowntownMonroe.org DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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Downtown River Jam

by Caroline E. Smalling

Downtown continues to expand and grow due to the vision and dedication of residents, business people, volunteers, and other community members. The Downtown Monroe Alliance and Downtown Economic Developement‘s vision of downtown has always been one of an arts and entertainment destination. In 2010, DMA decided to increase the live entertainment after 5:00 PM in downtown by establishing the Downtown River Jam concert series.

Currently, Downtown River Jam puts a spotlight on downtown and local artists as well as talent from out of town. When asked about the future he sees for the Downtown River Jam concert series, Chairman Dustin Underwood said, “I see the future of Downtown River Jam as a venue that attracts big name artists and brings in people from the whole ArkLaMiss and possibly beyond. We hope to grow into a festival featuring top name artists as headliners while still honoring the local talent that made the series possible.” Downtown River Jam annually features four to six concerts in the Spring, Fall, and Winter. These events are primarily held in Henry Bry Park and are typically free to the public. Community partners and a committee of volunteers come together to bring music, food trucks, spirits, and more for a jam packed evening each event. The committee’s goal is to expand this series to be one of the area’s leading event and tourism attractions. The committee includes Dustin Underwood, Caroline Smalling, Melinda Robinson, Chris McBroom, Delia Simpson, Jeremy Bostelmann, Melissa Touchet, Puneet Sharma, and Catherine Champ. 36

COMMIT TEE 2017

The backdrop of Downtown River Jam varies depending on the season. Spectacular firework shows during Christmas time or in celebration of the Fourth of July have punctuated past events headlined by bands like Buddy Flett & the Bluebirds and the Matthew Davidson Band. Come Mardi Gras time, residents and visitors of the Twin Cities flock to downtown to enjoy the party, sometimes led by Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, while they wait for the Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras parade to pass. During other less festive times of the year, the events continue and have featured artists like Jonathan “Boogie” Long and The Lost Bayou Ramblers. Special stand-alone events like Josh Madden as Elton John and the annual dueling piano bar have brought large crowds downtown.

Jeremy Bostelmann, Melissa Touchet, Delia Simpson, Melinda Robinson, Chris McBroom,

Melinda Robinson, Caroline Smalling, Dustin Underwood, Chris McBroom, Melissa Touchet

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Annual Events &Celebrations

Fourth of July

i

n

4th,

Independence Day is a special holiday for all Americans. We love to celebrate our independence in many ways, but the mainstays of July 4th seem to be barbeques, great music, spending time with family and friends, and fireworks. Every year, anyone the Monroe area can enjoy the annual CenturyLink Star-Spangled Spectacular fireworks, but the best seat in town is at the Downtown Riverwalk. So, the next July grab a blanket and your family and friends and head Downtown for the show! Geeks Along the River hosted by the Origin Bank RiverMarket What does it mean to be a geek? Geeks Along the River answers that question. The annual event gives local nerds and fanatics a chance to showcase what they love. Attendees can participate in adult, child, and pet cosplay contests, gaming tournaments, shopping from special vendors, and much more. Bulls in the Streets hosted by Flying Tiger Brewery

Bulls in the Streets is just like the Running of the Bulls, except that the bulls are roller derby women, and you’re running through the streets of Downtown Monroe instead of Spain. Participants run, walk, or crawl for one mile while being chased by bat-wielding women on skates. Not to worry, though! The entire event is family-friendly and includes activities for the kiddos, along with food trucks, shopping, and live music. Don’t feel like running for your life? Feel free to spectate. All the proceeds from the event go to the Chennault Aviation Museum. Brown Bag Concert hosted by Northeast Louisiana Arts Council Who doesn’t love a free concert? That’s what you’ll get at the Brown Bag Concert in Downtown Monroe. Held at Anna Grey Noe Park, this concert provides a mix of country, soul, blues, and rock & roll. It takes place every Wednesday at noon from in April and October. KCS Holiday Express The Kansas City Southern Holiday Express is a festive, six-car train that brings Santa Claus and his elves to communities throughout the company’s U.S. rail network, and Monroe is one of the stops on that route! For this free event, guests can visit with Santa and walk through three cars filled with holiday displays. 37


Oct. 6, 2018

10am-4pm Bloody Mary Tastings Shopping Food Vendors Entertainment DowntownRiverMarket.com 38

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Bloody Mary Fest The Origin Bank RiverMarket’s annual Bloody Mary Fest is sure to be a riot! Local bars and restaurants come together at this event to see who can mix, shake, and dress it the best. Last year, Club Pink won “Best Bloody Mary” and “People’s Choice,” while Warehouse No. 1 Restaurant won “Best Dressed.” Each year, attendees vote for “People’s Choice” while they enjoy samples, shopping, food, and more at the RiverMarket!

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

‘Ritas on the River ‘Ritas on the River is yet another fun-filled event at the Origin Bank RiverMarket! Local bars and restaurants duke it out for the title of “Best Margarita” while ticket holders enjoy the great samples, shopping, music, and food! In 2017, “Best Dressed” and “Best Classic Margarita” went to Brass Monkey.

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Nov. Nov. 3,3, 2018 2018 10am-5pm 10am-5pm

The The best best one one stop stopshop shopfor for all all your your Thanksgiving Thanksgivingand and Christmas Christmas needs! needs!Stop Stopby by and and shop shop local! local! IShopHolidayMarket.com IShopHolidayMarket.com

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DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


October 20, 2018 10am - 4pm Live Music Louisiana Cuisine Shopping

DowntownRiverMarket.com DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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ORIGIN BANK RIVERMARKET Margarita Samplings

Food Trucks Shopping www.DowntownRiverMarket.com

For additional information, contact the RiverMarket Coordinator @ River.market@ci.monroe.la.us or 318.807.1735

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DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


You’re invited to the first annual

Volunteer Appreciation Awards April 10, 2018

In the B.D. Robinson Conference Room At the Monroe Civic Center Reception: 6pm Dinner: 7pm

Individual Tickets: $35 Table for 8: $350

DowntownMonroe.org

It’s time to stop to recog�ize, thank, and show appreciation to the volunteers, businesses, and organizations that make a difference in our lives and Ouachita Parish.

If you know an individual, business, or organization that has made a positive impact in our communit�, please fill out a nomination for� to submit them for the award in their respective categor�.

Nomination for�s for the Love Your Communit� Volunteer Appreciation Awards for Ouachita Parish will be available on DowntownMonroe.org from Januar� 5th-March 3rd. Email the nomination for� to Caroline.Smalling@ci.Monroe.LA.US. The recipients of each award will be chosen by a panel of people involved in the communit�. DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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Community LOVE YOUR

Volunteer Appreciation Awards for Ouachita Parish

by Caroline E. Smalling

Sometimes it takes a catastrophe to see what a community is really made of. When Northeast Louisiana found itself pounded with rains no one could have ever prepared for in March 2015, Ouachita Parish learned exactly what it could withstand. The volunteers and organizations that rallied together to rescue, help, and love their neighbors during this time gave the community so much of themselves and still do to this day. Those particular volunteers aren’t the only hard-working, selfless, neighbor-loving people we have here locally, but they made the Downtown Monroe Alliance realize that recognition of such people and organizations is long over-due.

It’s time for all of us to stop, recognize, and show appreciation to the individuals, businesses, and organizations that make a difference in our lives and Ouachita Parish as a whole. Downtown Monroe Alliance will host a banquet to do just that on April 10, 2018 in the B.D. Robinson Conference Hall at the Monroe Civic Center. Nominees in a variety of award categories will come together to enjoy the event as they are celebrated by our community. Categories cover individual, business, and non-profit levels in categories including, but not

limited to, animal advocacy, healthcare, arts and culture, education, and emergency volunteers. Members of the community are invited to not only participate in the ceremony celebrating these volunteers, but to take an active role in naming those who should be honored. Nominations will be accepted from the community until March 3, 2018. Anyone can submit an individual, business, or organization utilizing a form that will be available on downtownmonroe.org on January 5th. All nominations and other inquiries can be sent to Caroline.Smalling@ ci.Monroe.LA.US. A committee of volunteers will choose from all those nominated who should be awarded in each category. With such a diverse community, it takes everyone coming together to make sure nothing and nobody falls through the cracks. We all try to accomplish that on our own in partnership with our government, schools, and other community resources, but there will always be gaps. Volunteers help fill those gaps every year. The Downtown Monroe Alliance is excited to join hands with the community to honor them finally.

3.5” x 2”

Bowman’s Wood Crafts Richard & Amanda Bowman Ruston, LA Ph. 337-852-8468

Wynn Lawrence Financial Advisor .

1601 North 18th Street Monroe, LA 71201 318-325-8557

Email: rtb566@yahoo.com

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DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Perfect at capturing the precious moments of your special occasions.

AuroraPhotographyLLC

318.871.7811

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Join our DoMo text club &

RECEIVE $5 OFF tickets to these events:

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Text DOMO to 51660 You may receive up to 4 messages per week. Message and data rates may apply when sending & receiving text messages. Messages send from automated system. Consent not requires to purchase goos and services. Text STOP to 51660 to opt-out. Text HELP to 51660 for assistance or call 800-211-2001. To view our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy, please visit www.sentextsoulutions.com/privacypolicy

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45


Christmas

on the River Each holiday season, Christmas on the River is a celebration of the holiday season through various events. It’s also an opportunity for the city to be lit up and for the season. City employees work together to trim buildings with lights, hang holiday banners, and set up lighted displays. Various city departments also create their own life-sized Christmas cards for display in front of city hall. Downtown businesses decorate their store fronts. Everything is tied together by a thirty-two foot tall Christmas tree at the Monroe Civic Center.

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The Christmas on the River festivities kick off with Christmas in DoMo. Throughout the day you can hear the jolly sounds of Christmas music sung by local choirs while you prepare for battle in the Ugly Sweater Contest. Be sure to dress up your fur baby for the Christmas pet pageant. Hear the joyful noise of kids entertained by activities. It’s a fun day for the whole family! There is also plenty of handmade and healthy shopping opportunities for those who need to buy last-minute gifts. Santa is always on site ready to pose for holiday photos. After Christmas in DoMo comes to a close, the annual Origin Bank

Christmas Fireworks, hosted by Monroe Renaissance, kicks off. The spectacular display is viewable from the Riverwalk and free to the public making it a fun tradition for the whole family. Santa’s Christmas Village is a holiday wonderland at the NELA Children’s Museum in Downtown Monroe. The family favorite spot is transformed into the North Pole and features activities like ice skating, ornament and cookie decorating, and rides down Mount Sneaux. A festive outdoor light show and visits with Santa are the highlights of the festivities.

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


open 9-2 Thanksgiv ing Week mon, tu, w ed, fri

323 walnut street downtown monroe WWW.NELCM.ORG

thenortheastchildrensmuseum nelcmchildrensmuseum

s ’ a t n a S

e g a l l i istmasV

Chr

2017

nov 18 - dec 23 23rd will close at 6

1/2 price Thursday 5 - 8 pm 1/2 PRICE FOR THE FIRST 150 PEOPLE

Friday 5-8 pm Saturday 10-8 pm Sunday 1-6 pm

DeltaStyle

$7 admission includes cookie decorating ornament making snow show model train village festive light show visit with santa Mount Sneaux (42� and taller)

ice skating ($5 skate rental fee)

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Events Happening in Downtown in 2018! April 21

‘Ritas on the River

Februrary 3 Downtown River Jam Mardi Gras Party April 25

Brown Bag Concert

March 3

River RUMble

May 5

Lemonade Day

March 17

Woofstock

May 19

Family Field Day

April 4

Brown Bag Concert

June 2

BrewFest

Downtown Gallery Crawl

June 7

Downtown Gallery Crawl

April 7

Coffee & Tea Festival

October 6

Bloody Mary Festival

April 11

Brown Bag Concert

October 20

Louisiana Food & Music Festival

April 18

Brown Bag Concert

November 3 Holiday Market

April 10

November 17 Geeks Along the River Love Your Community Volunteer Downtown RiverMarket Appreciation Awards for Ouachita Parish Monroe Civic Center December 1 Christmas in DoMo

February 1 Downtown Gallery Crawl Art Alley in Downtown Monroe

April 5

Location TBA

Downtown RiverMarket Downtown RiverMarket Anna Gray Noe Park

Art Alley in Downtown Monroe Downtown RiverMarket Anna Gray Noe Park Anna Gray Noe Park

Downtown RiverMarket

Anna Gray Noe Park

Downtown RiverMarket

Downtown RiverMarket Downtown Riverwalk

Art Alley in Downtown Monroe Downtown RiverMarket

Downtown RiverMarket Downtown Riverwalk

Downtown RiverMarket

To find out more about the RiverMarket events go to DowntownRiverMarket.com or visit the Facebook Downtown RiverMarket. To find our more about the Downtown Gallery Crawls visit downtowngallerycrawl.com or visit the Facebook Downtown Gallery Crawl. To find out more about the Brown Bag Concerts go to nelaarts.com or visit the Facebook Northeast Louisiana Arts Council. To find out more about Downtown River Jam go to DowntownMonroe.org or visit the Facebook Downtown River Jam. 48

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


THIS TIME WILL

be different — we’re here to help.

The St. Francis Tobacco Cessation Program is a highly trained team who understands what it takes to help you quit using tobacco. Our team monitors your progress and follows up with you regularly to help along your journey. It’s a personal, caring approach that helps patients not just quit but STAY QUIT!

What if you could quit smoking for FREE?

The Smoking Cessation Trust will pay for cessation counseling and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) if you’re a Louisiana resident who had your first experience with a cigarette before September 1, 1988. We’ll manage your benefits and take care of the paperwork — you focus on quitting smoking!

The journey may not be easy, but getting started is.

Call (318) 966-QUIT. 7 8 48

UNITED WE FIGHT. UNITED WE WIN. LIVE UNITED

®

Nick Johnson, Ruston High School

Class of 2017

United Way of Northeast Louisiana fights for the Education, Financial Stability, Health, and Basic Needs of every person in our community.

Veronica Dickey, Ouachita Independent Bank

Volunteer Reader

United Way of Northeast Louisiana

2017 Days of Action

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE!

unitedwaynela.org/volunteer DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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Downtown

Dining

by Caroline E. Smallilng One of the most important moments of your day should always be sitting down for dinner. No matter how good or bad the events were since you woke in the morning, dinner can serve to either melt all your troubles away or as a platform to share all the high-points and laughter with family and friends. Downtown Monroe echoes daily with the sounds of dinner. Seventeen restaurants offer diverse cuisine to make a perfect ending to any day of the week. Whether couples sit closely by firelight, soaking in the view of the Ouachita River, or groups of friends gather for burgers while their favorite local band plays, there’s always a place to wind down the evening. Dining downtown isn’t just for the evening. Breakfast is state of the art in DoMo, and the sole coffee shop is always bustling. The same views, tastes, and sounds enjoyed at night can be taken in during a quick lunch break at one of the many restaurants or food trucks dotting the street corners during the week. There’s always an option in Downtown Monroe, no matter the time, if you’re hungry. 50

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


The History of Your Breakfast by Debra Williamson and Caroline E. Smalling

There’s an old building down on South 6th Street in downtown Monroe that every Monroe native knows. Way back in 1903, it housed the Iron Mountain bakery which wafted the smells of fresh baked Holsum bread into the streets. Then it was the Tourist Hotel in the 1930s, and a variety of other businesses after that, before settling into what it is today: The Kitchen Restaurant. Serving up specialties like chicken and dumplings, hamburgers, and a breakfast that puts anyone’s grandma to shame, the iconic Monroe eatery has a rich history that started with one couple. Mary Traylor, owner of the Kitchen Restaurant, has been a member of the downtown community since 1953. After graduating as valedictorian from Wilmot High School in Arkansas, she moved to an apartment on St. John Street to attend Bish Mathis Institute. While there, she met a cute soda jerk from the downtown Walgreen’s Pharmacy; he turned out to be fellow BMI student James Traylor and would eventually become the love of Mary’s life. After a courtship that often included twenty-five cent double feature dates at the Delta Theater followed by a nickel coke float from the soda fountain, the couple married and had three children. After finishing school, Mary utilized the business skills she acquired from BMI to serve as the bookkeeper for Salley Construction Company at the corner of DeSiard Street and Elysian Fields Road for twenty years as James established a career in the restaurant equipment and service industry. In 1969, they purchased The Dairyette in West Monroe, their first restaurant. The couple could not resist downtown Monroe, though, and returned in 1985 to open the Kitchen Restaurant in the historic building on South 6th Street. James and Mary worked side by side for thirty years at The Kitchen, serving meals inspired by Sunday family dinners. They developed a strong relationship with their community, loyal customers, and delicious recipes that are still served today. In addition to serving patrons of all walks of life, they gave back to the downtown community as members of the Barak Shriners Temple and worked annually with the Shriners Circus. James passed in 2014, but the legacy lives on as Mary works alongside her daughter Terri to run the restaurant. Whether it’s through catering, the holiday meals they cook each year for dozens of families and offices, or just their weekly breakfast and lunch service, The Kitchen family continues to serve Downtown Monroe and ensure that no one leaves the table hungry. DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

51


SUNDAY MEALS SERVED EVERY DAY EXCEPT SUNDAY! From delicious plate lunches, like chicken and dumplings, red beans and rice, and chicken pot pie, to fresh hamburgers and poboys, the Kitchen has been a landmark Monroe eatery since 1984! From weddings to work luncheons, we also specialize in catering for any sized event!

OPEN MONDAY THRU SATURDAY! BREAKFAST: LUNCH:

6:30a – 10:00a 10:30a – 2:30p

202 South 6th St., Monroe

/thekitcheninmonroe 52

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

53


A history as rich and flavorful as our porterhouse steaks.

“One of the top steaks in America” -Food Network presents Bon Appetit magazine’s best picks for American eats

318.737.7169

Mon - Thur: 4-9PM Fri - Sat: 4-10pm 300 Washington St. Suite 108 Monroe, LA DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

www.doesmonroe.com

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Authentic Louisiana Cuisine since 1980

.

Outdoor Dining overlooking the Ouachita River

Best view in town

.

Lunch: Tues-Fri 11am-2pm Dinner: Tues-Sat 5-9pm

One Olive St. Monroe, LA 318.322.1340 warehouseno1.com

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

55


LEA’S OF LECOMPTE

Family-owned and famous for home-made pies. They have daily lunch plate specials and are open daily for breakfast offering eggs, grits, biscuits with gravy, and other traditional Southern cuisine. Located at 319 Louisville Ave. For more information, call (318) 329-8081.

NOLAN’S BISTRO Coming soon. Located at 125 St John St.

PARISH RESTAURANT DON TOMAS TAQUERIA Y CANTINA

Coming soon. Located at 318 N 2nd St. For more information, call (504) 444-2462.

Look for the big bull, you can’t miss him! You’ll know you are where beef is on the menu. They offer established Mexican recipes to tempt you. Located at 614 N 6th St. For more information, call (318) 855-6060.

PLANTER’S OYSTER BAR

FIVE19 RESTAURANT & BAR

RESTAURANT COTTON

New bar and grill located in historic downtown Monroe! Coming soon. Located at 519 DeSiard St.

GENO’S ITALIAN RESTAURANT

Monroe’s oldest Italian restaurant, serving baked penne hot out of the oven with bubbling sauce topped with cheese. They also make their own Italian sausage. If you like it, you can buy it by the pound to take home! Reservations recommended for Friday or Saturday and for parties of 8 or more. Located at 705 N 8th St. For more information, call (318) 325-5098.

IRON CACTUS

Iron Cactus has made a name for itself in Calhoun as some of the best Mexican around, and now it is coming to downtown Monroe. It will be opening in the end of November and early December. Located at 428 DeSiard St.

Planter’s offers amazing oysters, pizza, tacos, and more from the second floor of the beautiful, historic building that houses it. Located at 101 N Grand St. For more information, call (318) 325-0818. You will love the creative Southern cuisine from Restaurant Cotton. It’s housed in a beautiful, historic building that was built in 1898. You’ll love both the atmosphere and the food! Located at 101 N Grand St. For more information, call (318) 325-0818.

RIVERSIDE CONEY ISLAND

More than the usual Coney Island experience. When crawfish season hits, this is the place to be with outdoor dining and live entertainment nightly! It’s a Cajun trip. You’ll find something for everyone! Located at 710 Walnut St. For more information, call (318) 388-3644.

ROELA ROASTER

This local coffee roaster features a variety of hot coffees and beverages, as well as their Voodoo Cool Brew and Creola blend. Located at 523 DeSiard St. For more information, call (225) 939-2537.

SQ’S ON THE OUACHITA

Located in historic downtown Monroe, the atmosphere is delightful with the setting of the Ouachita River in the background. They dish up fine meals for every craving. Open for brunch, lunch, and dinner! You’ll want to try one of their drink specialties and take in the view! Located at 209 Walnut St. For more information, call (318) 329-0003.

TONY’S PIZZA

Looking for New York style pizza in Monroe, Louisiana? Tony’s has it! With hand-stretched dough made fresh every day, this pizza place is the place to be! Located at 512 Louisville Ave. For more information, call (318) 855-6353.


NIGHT life

There are plenty of things to do after dark in Downtown Monroe. The arts and entertainment district puts you in the middle of a dazzling array of nighttime diversions within walking distance of each other. Downtown is home to at least seven bars with even more restaurants to choose from. You’ll find live music venues that feature Monroe’s many talented local artists, a philanthropic local brewery, a dance hall, a variety of pubs, and fantastic food. A night in Downtown is sure to be a night to remember.

The Most Unique bottle shop in Northeast Louisiana Mon - Thur: 10am - 9pm Fri - Sat: 10am - 10pm

318.816.5067

300 Washington St. Suite 110 Monroe, LA www.washingtonwineandspirits.com DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

57


Trinity Diamonds Direct

by Caroline E. Smalling For ten years, Shane Ware and Newt Going focused on the diamond wholesale business and became experts on wholesale diamonds. They came to find a need in Ouachita Parish over those years, one that could be filled through their experience. That’s how Trinity Diamonds Direct was born. You can find it now over in West Monroe, and just one trip through its doors will prove that it isn’t any ordinary jewelry store. Choosing the right engagement ring, gift for a loved one, or statement piece doesn’t have to be difficult, time consuming, or overly expensive. That’s what Trinity Diamonds Direct has successfully taught the community since opening its doors. You can find them out doing community events such as Digging for Diamonds at the University of Louisiana at Monroe or Louisiana Tech University and see how unique they are to our community. The customer base Ware and Going developed over a decade in the diamond business defined them as a reputable source for affordable fine jewelry. This combined experience and reputation along with a shared vision for a retail space reflecting their values came to fruition in November 2016. They opened Trinity Diamonds Direct as a retail store offering the average consumer diamonds and fine jewelry at wholesale prices. They and their staff have managed to do that and a little bit more. Through creative promotional campaigns such as their Shotgun Weddings Sale, Trinity Diamonds Direct manages to bring the jewelry business down to Earth more than their prices every could. That’s just how the folks over at Trinity Diamonds Direct are: down to Earth. Jewelry and diamonds are serious business, but it’s all just a family affair at Trinity Diamonds Direct. They describe themselves as faith based with a strong focus on family. Employees are welcomed in as family members, and by extension, so are customers. Take a trip through their doors any time, and you won’t just find an extensive selection of affordable fine jewelry for every taste and style, but also a group of people who know how to make you feel right at home. 58

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Nightlife Downtown Monroe is the premier arts and entertainment destination of Northeast Louisiana. Offering plenty to do for the whole family to enjoy, the district is also home to a variety of award winning pubs, bars, and clubs for every taste and style.

Brass Monkey Pub & Patio

512 DeSiard St – Enjoy pub food with a modern twist, a Moscow mule, or your favorite drink at this popular downtown bar which features a steampunk vibe.

Corner Bar

512 N 3rd St – This downtown hot spot has been locally owned and operated since Halloween 1999. Their specialties are drag shows, karaoke, and throwing parties to remember.

Enoch’s Irish Pub & Grill

507 Louisville Ave – Since opening on St. Patrick’s day 1980, this Irish pub has been known for award winning burgers and live music.

Live Oaks Bar & Ballroom

209 Olive St – Known for bringing a variety of music downtown, including Grammy award winners, up and comers, and local favorites, Live Oaks Bar & Ballroom is a popular night club in the heart of downtown.

Mustang Sally

207 Olive St – Owned and operated by seasoned industry members, Mustang Sally is a hot party spot with a focus on country music.

Neat

515 N 3rd St – Neat is a fresh take on nightlife and brings live music, karaoke, and more to downtown Monroe.

Shananigans Billiards and Brew

717 N 6th St – This downtown staple brings entertainment to a different level. Enjoy a game of pool or trivia while you drink at Shananigans.

Concerts

Karaoke

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Live Oaks Bar and Ballroom DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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LiveOaksBarAndBallroom.com 59


DoMo’s Rising Stars by Carloine E. Smalling

Downtown Monroe is making its mark in Northeast Louisiana as a premier entertainment destination. Without musicians, that would not be possible. Here’s a look at some musicians who are taking part in the evolution of downtown.

Astro Motel A staple at downtown venues and events, Astro Motel credits the exposure from playing those venues to their success as a band in and out of the area. The four-piece bluesy four-piece band includes Joel Jordan, Jacob Lofton, Tyler Martin, and Brad McCormick. You can hear them downtown once every month or so at Enoch’s, Live Oaks, or Brass Monkey.

Josh’s music career began at the age of 17 with a church gig. He’s been in Monroe since 2008 and has watched a steady increase in arts and entertainment downtown and utilized it to meet other artists who share his passion for music. Since taking home the Emerging Artist of the Year Award at the 2016 NELA Music Awards, he is one of the most in demand local artists for area bars and restaurants. 60

Roses & Revolvers Husband and wife acoustic duo Jordan and Stacey Sheppard have been making music together for nearly a decade with a local presence for about four years. Their rise locally began at the Downtown RiverMarket. As they branch out into other areas, you can still hear them downtown multiple times a month as they support the expanding arts and entertainment aspect of the area.

Josh Love

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Since 2014, Jig the Alien has been rocking Northeast Louisiana. They won the 2016 ULM Up ‘til Dawn Battle of the Bands at Enoch’s and can be heard downtown at least once every two months. They credit their new rehearsal space in downtown to a new sense of motivation and creativity due to being surrounded by so much arts and entertainment. Asa Stone leads this band consisting of Tyler Grant, Brad McCormick, and Josh Grant. They are joined by Jesse Grinter and Jerk the Robot during live performances.

Jig the Alien Josh Ezell & Early Ray Borden

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

A fan favorite acoustic duo, Josh and Early Ray have been making music together for six years. You can catch them at downtown events at the Origin Bank RiverMarket or DoMo BrewFest throughout the year. Playing downtown has given them an audience who may have never heard them otherwise, and they are excited for the platform downtown gives to artists.

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Many local entertainers have made their mark on downtown Monroe, but if you were to ask locals which of them in the past decade was most impactful, many would probably tell you Thomas Bradley “Tito” Duncan. Tito’s life after graduating from high school in 2002 was completely centered around music. He interned for local radio station Rock 106 and even worked briefly as the event coordinator for the Downtown RiverMarket & Economic Development District. His true passion was his own music and projects.

No One Sings e r o m y n A u o Y like Tito was one of those people that was loved by anyone he came into contact with. Whether it was his wit, charm, or musical talent...Him as a person made you love him. I literally don’t know a single person who didn’t love the guy. A performer. A friend. A Monroe Legend.” -Robert “Worm” Jarvis

Tito’s most recent musical projects were Garden District Grand Revival, Slawdogs, and Tito & the Fabulous Freeloaders. Garden District Grand Revival was recognized as Emerging Artist of the Year in 2015 and the Best Bluegrass/Folk Band for 2015 and 2016 at the NELA Music Awards. Past beloved bands Tito is known for include Falstaff, Sweet Lake Mafia, Tito and the Gypsies, and Man in the Dash. His very active solo career took him all over the parish most nights of the week. Outside of his flourishing music career, Tito had a great passion for the revitalization of downtown. He served on the Downtown River He was the Jam and NELA Music Awards committees and best of us. And left contributed to booking and promoting those behind a legacy not just events. Rarely came a weekend when he of his music, but of the wasn’t playing one of the downtown venues. way he brought is all When he wasn’t performing or volunteering, he in to share our joy in playing it together. was supporting in other ways. Tito was a huge -Logan Lewis supporter of fellow musicians, and he could always be found supporting them as well as the venues giving them a platform. Tito passed away on May 22nd, 2017 after a brief illness, shocking the whole community. Two months later, a music festival, Tito-PaLooza was held at Live Oaks Bar & Ballroom featuring over 30 local musicians in honor of Tito’s life and music. During the event, Tito & the Fabulous Freeloaders released their EP “Skyline” which was in production at the time of Tito’s passing. There are rarely words to explain a musician’s talent… usually, you just have to hear and feel it. With Tito, he made sure you felt it during the performance and long after he left the stage. You can find little pieces of Tito all around our city in anyone who ever saw his infectious smile, ever volunteered with him at an event, and certainly anyone who ever heard him sing. Though he is gone, his impact on downtown Monroe, the local music scene, and community at large will not soon be forgotten.

Tito was an inspired live performer and a joy to work with. He wrote great songs and was a hard worker in the studio. - Dan Sumner As long as I’ve been in the music scene around Monroe,Tito has always been there. And I think he always will be. -Josh Madden

Tito was a champion for our local music scene and was a genuine fan of all musicians -Melissa Touchet

November 22, 1983 – May 22, 2017 by Caroline E. Smalling 62

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Origin Bank RiverMarket

Looking forward

with the

By Megan Henderson and Caroline E. Smalling In the five years since it opened, the Origin Bank RiverMarket has become many things. It’s a source of income for the many vendors who set up shop during the events there. It’s a hub of culture right in the heart of Monroe. It’s a venue for both local and traveling musicians to play for new crowds. Most of all, the RiverMarket is a place for anyone and everyone to enjoy their Saturday morning with shopping, music, and fun. Over the years, many features have been added to the RiverMarket that have improved the experiences of the many market-goers. Most recently, these features include recycling bins, a bathroom taxi, and a bike rack. With the help of the City of Monroe, grant funds, and community partners, the RiverMarket continues to grow. Origin Bank greatly invests in the market’s success each year as well. The RiverMarket may be just one cog in the machine that aims to revitalize downtown Monroe, but it’s certainly an important one. It’s all about bringing people together. People who come to RiverMarket events such as Geeks Along the River, Woofstock, Coffee & Tea Festival, or Louisiana Food & Music Festival can enjoy shopping, eating, and live music all in the company of others from the same community. They can share their love of arts, handmade items, food, dogs, and other hobbies and interests and have a great time doing it. There are many RiverMarket events throughout the year, and each event offers something different from the last. Annual events centered around samplings and competitions include ‘Ritas on the River, Coffee & Tea Festival, Bloody Mary Fest, and River Rumble. Attendees flock from across Louisiana and the tristate area to taste the participants’ samples and enjoy the other festivities. Woofstock is all about peace, love, and paws as the RiverMarket is filled with contests, activities, and shopping for dogs and those who love them. The Louisiana Food & Music Festival highlights the tastes and sounds of our grand state. And last, but not least, Geeks Along the River is a fun event that features gaming tournaments, cosplay contests, and more. Also present at every single event is great shopping, food, music, and activities for everyone. With a focus on handmade and healthy, artisans and food vendors set up shop each event. These vendors aren’t just there for the community’s shopping experience, however. The Origin Bank RiverMarket was born with the purpose of serving the community as a small business launching pad. Whether a business is just an idea needing to be tested, a new store front needing to advertise, or a seasoned business looking for new customers, becoming a RiverMarket vendor always offers just what’s needed to succeed. Many businesses saw their start at the RiverMarket and now have store fronts, successful online stores,catering businesses, or travel to high volume markets. Essentially, it’s all about community at the Origin Bank RiverMarket. It takes a small staff, a whole host of dedicated vendors, and some awesome volunteers to pull it together every year. Volunteers help set up each event, decorate, assist vendors, and more. They’re always in demand to the RiverMarket staff! Without such a supportive community, the Origin Bank RiverMarket wouldn’t exist, and the vendors who have found success along the Ouachita River would not be so lucky.

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Origin Bank RiverMarket by Sheena Burbridge Over the past five yea rs, many vendors have set up shop at the Origin Bank RiverMarket. Whether looking for a place to display their craft or to jump start a business, the location can be great for entrepreneurs and artisans. Here’s a snapshot of some vendors from over the years. Emery Thibodeaux has a shop on Etsy called ArtAndWandering, but her company also goes by Emery Thibodeaux Art. The Louisiana Tech graduate has sold artisan handmade jewelry, original paintings, and prints of her original paintings at the Geeks Along the River event. “I am a big nerd and most of my friends are big nerds and we were excited about the event.” But that’s not all she does. Thibodeaux has also restored many downtown murals with Arrow Public Art and is the treasurer for the Downtown Art Alliance which holds the Downtown Gallery Crawl.

Iantha Thomas from Etouffeenin’s is famous for her crawfish and shrimp etouffee and famous lemonade. Thomas has been a RiverMarket vendor for about three years, but she’s been making delicious etouffee for about 18 years. “I chose to be a vendor at the RiverMarket because I went to the RiverMarket and I saw the different food vendors and art vendors and thought it would be a great place to see if I could sell my product. It turned out being just that.” Gary Ratcliff has been hand making pottery for about 47 years, and has been selling his own pottery since he was in graduate school. A former art professor at ULM, Ratcliff decided to set up shop at the RiverMarket’s Coffee and Tea Festival. “It seemed like a good venue to sell some mugs.” 66

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Vendor All-Stars

Little Bella was born out of the desire to create and offer a brand of all natural body products. Liz Lee started with soaps and lotions. After receiving requests for specific fragrances, Lee expanded her line and now carries candles and therapeutic products. “I’m the luckiest girl in the world, to walk into work every day and wonder... What does my day have in store for us?” says Lee. When she is not at the RiverMarket, she can be found at her store front in downtown West Monroe or at other local events.

This mother-daughter team started out making jewelry for friends and family. They took a chance to sell to the public and joined the RiverMarket. Four years later, they are designing items that matter most to them, like positive affirmations, dandelions and pieces that raise money for worthy causes. Last year, they added sari blankets that are handmade in India by women escaping work in the red-light district. This year, they are turning them into pillows and zippie bags. “Maybe once in a lifetime you find what makes you feel like you… we get to do it everyday!”

Evie K’s Closet came into existance when the desire for best friends to work together and one’s daughter was born. As her daughter started to grow, she realized clothing her size were graffited with cartoon chacters and words or were too grown up for a small child. “Kids should be allowed to be little and their clothes should reflect their personalities.” Evie K’s Closet has now joined the RiverMarket and sells the cutest reversable dresses with matching bloomers in your favorite classic patterns and funky fabrics. DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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Living Downtown

For those who just can’t stand to leave the picturesque views of the Ouachita River and the quick commute to a variety of bars and restaurants, living downtown is an option. There are a variety of different living spaces available and many more coming to the downtown area. Riverscape, 223 S. Grand St – These high-end condominiums feature premium views of the Ouachita River and are located in the former regal Penn Hotel. The first floor of the building houses office spaces with the other seven floors featuring leasable condos. 141 Lofts, 141 DeSiard St – 141 Lofts features a mixture of affordable and high-end housing. Each apartment features Energy Star black appliances, granite counter tops, and other luxury amenities. The building itself dates back to 1925 and features unique architecture features.

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DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


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Text DOMO to 51660 You may receive up to 4 messages per week. Message and data rates may apply when sending & receiving text messages. Messages send from automated system. Consent not requires to purchase goos and services. Text STOP to 51660 to opt-out. Text HELP to 51660 for assistance or call 800-211-2001. To view our Terms and Conditions & Privacy Policy, please visit www.sentextsoulutions.com/privacypolicy 70

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


With over 280 businesses downtown, the 5,800 employees working in the area are some of the most knowledgeable about what’s been happening over the past few years. Many of them have been here for decades. Here’s what some of these employees had to say about the changes they’ve seen as they’ve worked downtown

Working Downtown

Carol-Anne Barnes, Vantage Health Plan’s Media/PR Coordinator How long have you worked Downtown? Six years. What positive changes have you seen Downtown? There is way more hustle and bustle Downtown with more people, businesses, events, and restaurants. What is your favorite part of working Downtown? The beautification efforts provided by DEDD, Vantage Health Plan, other business owners, and civic organizations have been wonderful to enjoy. “Suga” Shane Wall, Bar Manager How long have you worked Downtown?

How long have you worked Downtown?

All together from times as River and Rail’s Bar Manager and now as SQ’s General Manager, I’ve worked Downtown for almost five total years.

I am in my 51st year.

What positive changes have you seen Downtown?

50 years is a long time to talk about changes. Most everything has changed from the name of the Hospital to Medical Center; the internal and external building; technology, especially. Many, many are positive changes. The one change that has always been positive and continues to be so is good patient care, from the top to the bottom. I work in the ER and I am always impressed by the knowledge and care those young medical people give.

I was able to watch Monroe’s Downtown area as it transformed into all that we enjoy today. I was involved in several demos to educate people on International flavors as Samurai One’s Bar Manager. They showcased my 2007 awardwinning Numbchuck Martini. This was all when the Rivermarket had just gotten started. I have always tried to be part of their events. It’s a great asset to growing and expanding our beautiful DoMo. And now with safer, more dependable transportation options like Uber and Lyft, we are seeing people Downtown that haven’t been able to enjoy it before. What is your favorite part of working Downtown? I love working Downtown because of its intrinsic atmosphere, surrounded by hundreds of years of history. There were fires, floods, and riots. Many buildings still stand from time periods long forgotten. It’s why I enjoy most of all that we, at SQ’s on the Ouachita, have made great efforts to show guests a little history of Monroe. Once upon a time, our location was the Swift Meat Packing Co! Grab a mate and take a day to dine with us. Travel back in time. We have Monroe captured like many have never seen, while others may just want to reminisce on what was. 71

Stevie Cousans, R.N.

What positive changes have you seen Downtown?

What is your favorite part of working Downtown? I guess I am a “nester.” Coming to work downtown is like coming home. This is family. For 50 years, I have always been proud to say I am a nurse at St. Francis and it still is the same.

Frank Wilcox, Executive Director, Monroe Housing Authority How long have you worked Downtown? Over 40 years. What positive changes have you seen Downtown? Over the past few years, it has been wonderful to see to rejuvenation taking place in Downtown. Along with the positive impact these changes have on our economy, it is uplifting to see the preservation of so many historic treasures. What is your favorite part of working Downtown? Walking. There is a sense of community and development in the air. Downtown business is thriving and I often pass others taking advantage of the walkability of the area. Plus, you get an up close and personal view of the restoration of these beautiful old buildings. It is truly heartwarming to see this activity taking place.

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Owning Downtown

Rob Brewer -- Flying Tiger Brewery How long have you been in business Downtown? Exactly one year. We opened on the Friday after Thanksgiving 2016. Why did you decide to bring your business Downtown? My partner James Simpson and I both have always loved the Downtown area. We saw a renaissance and revitalization beginning to happen, and we thought it was a great place to be. We love our building and the old industrial architecture that our tap room is in. What’s your favorite thing about owning a business Downtown? I love the unique vibe and energy of Downtown. It’s different than a more suburban setting. What positive changes have you seen Downtown? We’ve got more stuff and folks are starting to be responsive to that. We’ve been very pleased with the response of people who have come across the bridge in West Monroe and from north of Louisville Ave.

Fred Hill -- Skent N Dent

Terri Kent -- The Kitchen

How long have you been in business Downtown?

How long have you been in business Downtown?

I bought this building in September 2001.

33 years.

Why did you decide to bring your business Downtown? Because I saw the future looking really good, and when I did that, there was virtually no future down here. I saw the potential of it coming back. What’s your favorite thing about owning a business Downtown?

Steve Taylor -- Car Town How long have you been in business Downtown? Car Town opened in 1962 and Ken Rugg and I purchased it in 1987. The business was moved to Downtown in 1993. Dino became equal partner in 2004. Why did you decide to bring your business Downtown? With our retail lot on Louisville and needing a place to wholesale, the former Dodge dealership building on North 3rd was a perfect fit. What positive changes have you seen Downtown? Since purchasing our office on 3rd St. in 1993, we have seen tremendous improvement in the Downtown area. New living areas, low crime, streets have been redone, and now we even have nightlife and restaurants. It’s a great place to operate from. DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

I like everything about it. I can’t wait to get to work every morning. I’m not sure I know what my favorite thing is. I like being a part of the process of it growing. What positive changes have you seen Downtown? When I moved down here, there was nothing going on. Today, when I leave my office in the afternoon going home, if I have to leave somewhere around 5:00 like most people do, I get a thrill out of watching the traffic backed up all down DeSiard Street. I think that’s pretty neat.

Why did you decide to bring your business Downtown? My dad was in a restaurant equipment business and had put equipment in a business on Jackson St. that served Meals on Wheels. It went out of business, so my dad and a friend named Lou Craig decided to take that place and make a restaurant. What’s your favorite thing about owning a business Downtown? There’s always something going on down here and people just walk. You’ve got people that live, work, play, and eat Downtown. There’s nowhere else in the city that they have that many things they can do in a threeblock area. What positive changes have you seen Downtown? After the late 90’s, Downtown died. There were jokes that you could shoot a cannon down DeSiard St. at lunch time and not hit anything. Now, we actually get a traffic jam at 4th and DeSiard at noon and at 5 pm. 72


Downtown Monroe

Trailblazers Before it became the bustling heartbeat of Monroe that it is today, downtown Monroe was simply a historical district with a lot of potential but just as many empty buildings. It would eventually take a community rallying together to craft it into what it is now, but before that, a smaller group of people took on projects that would pave the way for the community. Jan Farrar, John Schween, and Robert Young joined together on one such project years ago. Their intentions were simple: they needed homes for an antique shop and the Monroe Chamber of Commerce. What they did not know is that they were some of downtown Monroe’s biggest trailblazers and were helping to set the stage for the huge restoration that was to come.

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Why Milner by Kathy Spurlock It’s hard for people today to grasp that in the past 100 years, we’ve gone from a society in awe of those newfangled “horseless carriages” to piloting highly sophisticated, computer-controlled vehicles. The Milner Motors company, now home to the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and other businesses, is locally significant in the area of transportation because it is one of few structures left to represent the historic automobile age in Monroe.

In 1909, a world’s speed record of 60 mph was set in New Orleans, and it is said that this event did much to popularize the new vehicles. By 1916, there were nearly 9,000 automobiles on the assessment rolls of the various parishes, and thereafter the increase was rapid. It must be remembered that prior to about 1920, very few hard surface roads existed outside the state’s major cities. Progressive Gov. John M. Parker brought Louisiana squarely into the automobile age. His administration, which began in 1920, undertook a major road building program and established the state highway system.

By 1925, there were 208,779 registered cars in the state. Gov. Huey Long, elected in 1928, continued the road building program, adding major automotive bridges in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. By 1940, the number of cars had increased to 375,000. The arrival of the automobile in Monroe can be pinpointed to within several years through Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps. References to wagon repair shops, harness makers and stables found in maps published in and before 1913 clearly show that horse-powered transportation was the norm. However, the 1920 map

In 1908, Henry Ford revolutionized the industry with his assembly line method of production and the introduction of the Model T, the first low-priced car for the masses. Over the next 20 years, the Model T kept getting cheaper and cheaper as American buying power was rising. By 1910, there were 468,000 registered cars in America, and by 1920 the figure had soared to eight million. Motor cars had been transformed from a plaything of the rich to an item that people of modest income could afford. 74

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


records a major change.

of cars, just as happens today.

Identifying early dealerships is difficult because they are not so labeled on the map. However, it appears that the Monroe Auto and Supply Company and Milner’s own Ford Service Station sold vehicles in 1920.

In addition to dealerships, Monroe also had the following auto-related businesses in 1926: the Motor Wheel Corporation (a wood spoke and rim factory), a battery shop, an auto paint shop, a cab company, an auto supply warehouse, a “used auto yard,” one identified auto repair business, and seven large garages (some probably for parking and

The map does show that Monroe supported two businesses identified as auto repair facilities and eight others identified only as “garages.” All of the latter were in relatively l a r g e buildings, and the fact that some entries give the capacity of cars the garages could hold suggests that these were parking rather than repair sites. Additionally, the city had a tire shop, three other gas stations, and numerous small buildings (all labeled “auto” and all associated with dwellings), which were obviously private garages for sheltering individually automobiles.

owned

By the publication date of the 1926 Sanborn map, the city’s autorelated industries had increased. Four dealerships can be identified on the map: Milner Motor Company, Lemon Motor Company, Monroe Automobile & Supply Company and an unnamed Auto Sales and Service facility. Local historians state that nine car models could be purchased within a three-block stretch of Walnut Street (Milner’s location) at that time. These included Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Durant, Overland, Willys-Knight, Hupmobile, Star and Studebaker automobiles. Of course, it is possible that one dealer sold multiple brands DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

until an opportunity arose for him to open his own dealership. He chose Monroe because he believed that natural gas fields discovered nearby in 1916 would make people more prosperous and more inclined to buy cars. As an architect, Milner designed and later expanded and remodeled his business, choosing t h e corner of Walnut and Washington streets as it site. Milner appears to have taken a partner in the 1930s, because the business’ name changed to Milner-Fuller, Inc. Although Milner-Fuller had many competitors, the company continued to operate at its downtown location until 1956.

some for repair). Interestingly, only one gas station was located downtown; either they were not clearly labeled or they had begun to move into the suburbs where the cars’ owners lived. The 1932 Sanborn map shows a similar situation, except that filling stations were beginning to combine with repair and supply companies to create large auto-related businesses. According to the map, five dealerships occupied sites downtown in that year. Milner Motors was founded by Louis Milner Sr. between 1916 and 1920. A graduate of Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture, Milner accepted a job with the Ford Motor Company when he could find no demand for his technical skills. He traveled as one of the company’s sales representatives

T o d a y almost all of Monroe’s h i s t o r i c automobile-related resources are not just closed, but gone. Only two dealership buildings dating to the 1920s remain (Milner and one competitor). Three historic filling stations survive, but two of these have been remodeled to the extent that their integrity is lost. This leaves the Milner Motors Building, one structure that housed a competitor, and one Streamline Moderne filling station as the only historic automobile-related buildings which still fully convey their original character. -- Source: National Register for Historic Preservation application for the Milner Motors building

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John Milner Story by Kathy Spurlock

If you look at the photos of the Milner Motors building when it was empty and in decline, it’s difficult for most people to see the potential. Those who do possess a special talent. They have vision, skills, resources and a desire to restore and find new purpose for places that have a meaning in a community’s past. Those people are few and far between, and that’s why you so often see a foundation resting on scorched earth where a home or business once proudly stood. Restoring an historic building comes with a unique set of challenges. But it also provides unique rewards for those who persevere. Jan Farrar was looking for a place to have an antique shop. John Schween was heavily involved with the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and knew the chamber had outgrown its space in the Washington Plaza building, which Schween also had restored. Schween partnered with the late Robert Young to undertake renovating the Milner Motors building into office space. The chamber wanted to stay downtown, and one thing led to another. Farrar got her antique shop and the chamber got a new home. “It’s interesting to me to bring old structures back to life and to give them new purpose,” Schween said. The history of the building was fascinating to him. At 76

the time, Ford did not send completed vehicles to its dealers like they do today. The company s h i p p e d components and the dealers had to assemble the finished Model T. So part of the building was actually an assembly shop, and the interior of the building contained a ramp to the second floor where the vehicles were stored. According to Schween, the showroom was downstairs. As part of the restoration, the ramp was removed. But Schween was careful to preserve the architectural details of the building designed by Louis Milner Sr., an architect. And he was fortunate in that the building itself was solidly constructed. The exterior walls are three thick, and despite the building’s age, there was no significant settling of the building. The state of the building’s bones is a major factor in choosing a renovation project. “The challenge of the project was maintaining and preserving the architectural features inside and outside,” Schween said. “I have always liked the big timbers and the craftsmanship of the work

that was done back at the turn of the century, particularly the beams and the tie rods,” he said. “That design and construction back then was completely solid.” Renovating any older building always provides a surprise or two. The construction team discovered a pint whiskey bottle on a string inside one of the walls. They also found a Regal beer bottle, a brew that came from New Orleans.

“From the first establishment of the Monroe Chamber it has always been located in downtown Monroe. As the city grows, so does the Chamber, but our roots are in the heart of downtown,” she said. Schween and Jason Young still own the building.

The Monroe Chamber of C o m m e rc e , along with several other tenants, now occupies the building. Chamber CEO Sue Nicholson explains why: DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Future a look

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at the

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The evolution of Downtown into the bustling heart of Monroe that it is today was neither quick nor easy. Looking back to the beginning of its redevelopment, I am humbled by those who came together to make it possible. No one person or business alone could craft Downtown into what it is today. The partnership of city government with community members, business leaders, and volunteers over the years shows that there truly is strength in numbers. Business has always existed in Downtown, but the area found new life in 2009 when it became a major focus for revitalization. This focus was led by the Downtown Economic Development District, Downtown Monroe Alliance, the City of Monroe and other dedicated groups and individuals. Beautification efforts led by volunteers, City of Monroe, and Downtown employees, coupled with the transformation of vacant buildings into popular businesses, and the development of housing have been key proponents of our Downtown’s ongoing progress. I am proud to serve a city where so many great minds are working together to create a success like Downtown Monroe.

Jamie Mayo, mayor of the city of Monroe

When the Riverwalk transformed from an idea to reality, the people of Monroe were invited to actively participate in the restoration of our Downtown’s integrity. The Downtown RiverMarket held at the Riverwalk has served as an anchor for Downtown, a catalyst for Downtown development, and a launching pad for new businesses. Every event hosted at the Riverwalk, every marriage finalized in its clock tower, and each prom picture taken on its boardwalk is a part of the ever-expanding legacy of our Downtown. The soon to be executed plan for its expansion is a great indicator of how well everyone has worked together and how our community feels about the overall progress.

I am proud to serve a city where so many great minds are working together to create a success like Downtown Monroe.

Highlighted by the beautiful Ouachita River, our Downtown is full of attractions that make it a great place to live, work, and play. As we welcome new businesses, events, and visitors to our Downtown, it is developing into a true Northeast Louisiana hot-spot for arts and entertainment. In the very near future, it is our goal to develop a full-fledged and vibrant entertainment district, anchored by a new multi-purpose stateof-the-art arena. This entertainment district will also include a variety of shops, restaurants, residential, and green space to compliment what’s already in place. Buildings that were vacant for years now host award-winning bands, serve gourmet food, and see thousands of visitors a year. Many new businesses that will enhance what is already established are on their way to Downtown. This is our city’s future. Your support of Downtown will help make our shared vision a reality!

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Evolution

Downtown

DEDD

with

by Caroline E. Smalling Downtown Monroe has a lot going for it: from the sweeping Ouachita River and buildings with unique histories to flourishing new businesses and events every weekend, it’s no wonder that downtown is growing to become the vibrant heart of the city. This wasn’t always the case, however. It’s true that downtown Monroe has a rich history, but it has also had its rough patches in terms of economic growth. The downtown that is beloved by so many today was nurtured by many talented and knowledgeable people and groups working tirelessly to develop the area into the viable district it was meant to be.

ultimate vision of DEDD is to establish downtown Monroe as the economically healthy core of the city and a destination to live, work, and play. The areas of focus for the DEDD board include economic development, business recruitment and retention, marketing, and the historic preservation of downtown.

Creation of attractive physical and economic conditions in downtown Monroe is DEDD’s mission. Past projects to fulfill that mission include establishing Art Alley to assist in marketing the art galleries downtown, the planning and execution of brick planters to beautify Art Alley, and the Louisville enhancement project. Currently, DEDD is working to complete the pedestrian crossing on DEDD is a quasi-governmental Art Alley and working alongside the City of Monroe organization with the purpose of on the DeSiard Street Enhancement Grant for creatively planning, managing, and improved sidewalks and lighting.

developing downtown Monroe.

The Downtown Economic Development District is one such group. Formed in 2005, DEDD is a quasi-governmental organization with the purpose of creatively planning, managing, and developing downtown Monroe. The 80

Most notably yet, DEDD spearheaded the efforts to build what is now downtown Monroe’s grandest attraction: the Downtown Riverwalk. Before the ground broke for the Riverwalk in 2010 and the project subsequently ended in 2012, the riverfront was the most underutilized property downtown. Its picturesque views were missing the framework needed to be enjoyed by residents, visitors, bikers, and commuters. DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Funding for the Riverwalk came from capital outlay funds, grants, and state funds. It was a worth-while project but was not without its challenges. Power-lines had to be replaced and the sea-wall needed to be adjusted. DEDD worked alongside the Ouachita Riverfront Development Commission tirelessly, knowing that these efforts would be rewarded for many years to come by way of new businesses, more visitors, and ultimately, by putting downtown Monroe on the map.

Kay Lee of M&K House learned how to be vendors at the RiverMarket and now travel the nation and have a loyal client base purchasing their handmade jewelry and home décor. These are just two examples of vendors who found a passion and a craft on their own but honed a sense of entrepreneurship at the RiverMarket. You can still visit their booths multiple times a year as they return to the place that helped pave their way: the Downtown RiverMarket.

The Downtown RiverMarket celebrated its 5th birthday at a Those efforts, of course, were not in vain. The announcement celebration on October 7, 2017 over cupcakes down by the of the project alone spurred development downtown. river. Many loyal RiverMarket vendors were in attendance along with city officials and leaders. Those who The Riverwalk project was completed and spoke shared how much of an impact the the riverfront property’s vibrancy finally RiverMarket has had on downtown, the shown through and reflected the city at large, the vendors, and the dedication of those who committed community as a whole. Director themselves to downtown. Since Downtown was of the Downtown RiverMarket & its completion, the Riverwalk has Economic Development District, been a leading destination for crafted to be the Myra Gatling-Akers, had this to Ouachita Parish visitors, whether heart of Monroe... say: they’re attending a wedding in its center court, an event along it looks as if it’s once “It has been such a wonderful its boardwalk, looking to take in again become that experience to watch the the scenery at sunset, or snap a beating heart... RiverMarket grow over the past new family photo. five years. It has become an anchor, a foundation, launching pad, and Quickly after the Riverwalk’s catalyst for development in downtown. construction was completed came It is a wonderful environment for businesses the Downtown RiverMarket. DEDD worked to use as a stepping stone to take their business to alongside Mayor Jamie Mayo, the City of Monroe, and the Downtown Monroe Alliance and utilized the next level.” $489,000 in capital outlay funding, contributions from Those words should resonate as true for anyone who has the City of Monroe, Monroe-West Monroe Convention watched downtown’s growth over the past five years. & Visitors Bureau, and Monroe Renaissance to jumpstart The RiverMarket has stimulated that growth tremendously the much needed open-air market. What may, to market while urging a sense of pride in our city. What was perhaps attendees, look like not much more than fun events and never anticipated was the sense of empowerment that shopping, was actually a carefully hatched plan to spur the RiverMarket instills in the individual as an artisan, a economic development. small business owner, and even simply as a citizen! It has The RiverMarket’s mission is to serve as a gathering created a connection between Monroe residents and place and a launching pad for small businesses while their neighbors and community and paved the way for establishing downtown as a shopping and entertainment small businesses to move downtown and foster those destination. Through the development of cultural activities connections as well. and events, a tight-knit network of artisan vendors, and It’s hard to imagine it getting much better than it already a local and tristate marketing plan, this mission has been is downtown. With the plans to expand the Riverwalk served for the past five years. The economic impact of the continuing to make headway however, DEDD is essentially RiverMarket’s success on downtown as well as the entire promising that it can only go up from here. Downtown parish is palpable. was crafted to be the heart of Monroe in the time of the Many vendors who joined the RiverMarket in its early days steamboats, and now, in the twenty-first century, it looks as have grown from hobbyists to true small business owners. if it’s once again become that beating heart thanks to a Some have opened storefronts locally while others travel little vision, a lot of dedication, and a Riverwalk. the country to sell their wares at vendor shows. Chris Spires, The DEDD board includes Larry Bratton, Fred Hill, Earl Davis, owner of Pelican State Clothing, began with one small Doug Walters, Clydell Jones, Michael Sampagnaro, Dr. booth and now has storefronts in multiple malls, including Anthony Nelson, Steve Taylor, and Tim Clark. Pecanland Mall. Mother and daughter duo Sarah and DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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The Downtown Monroe Alliance works with the Downtown Economic Development District (DEDD) to assist with projects and programs in downtown development. Volunteers give their time to work on Downtown Monroe.

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PROJECTS PLANNED FOR 2018 INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: • Host a guided Downtown Monroe Historical Walking Tour • Promote the Historical Walking Tour • Obtain gateway signage into the historic district • Develop passive park on 3rd Street including picnic tables, kiosk, landscaping, lighting

• Continue to grow the Adopt-ASpot initiative • Host clean up days in downtown parks and streets • Develop icon for downtown Monroe • Work on alley way walking path between 2nd and 3rd Street.

• Continue branding campaign and utilize new jingle and new video • Continue to work on business recruitment • Work on beautification projects • Continue to host events to bring more people downtown

PAST PROJECTS HAVE INCLUDED THE FOLLOWING: • Developed Downtown brochure highlighting Arts & Entertainment Hub • Participate in clean up days • Hosted a downtown jingle contest • Actively worked on business recruitment • Developed Historic Downtown Walking Tour brochure • Partnered with Louisiana Small Business Development Center to offer seminars • Created the NELA Music Awards Hall of Fame housed in the Monroe Civic Center • Developed a 1-mile fitness route for employees and others to utilize • Assisted business owners in application for Redevelopment Investment Grant for $10,000

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

• Established the Downtown Christmas Decorating Contest • Hosted A Very Merry Commander Christmas with flotilla that brought 6000 people to downtown Monroe and raised money for the NELA Food Bank • Sought out businesses to do Pop Up Cafes • RiverMarket development • Bry Park and Anna Gray Noe spruce up • Worked with Monroe Transit for grant for crosswalks • Renamed North 2nd to Art Alley • Launched Do It In DoMo campaign • Received Main Street Accreditation • Downtown Magazine

• Hosted downtown networking event Cocktails & Conversation • Placed artist memorial benches on Art Alley • Placed signage for Art Alley designation with history • Landscaping at Riverwalk area, South Grand, Walnut, and Desiard • Created Downtown River Jam concert series, BrewFest, DoMo Piano Bar, Holiday Market, NELA Music Awards • Partner with Kansas City Southern to host Holiday Express • Launched Adopt-A-Spot to enhance beautification efforts • Developed on-going image and branding campaign • Hosted sell-out virtual tours conducted by Larry Foreman

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Future

The

of Downtown

The days of empty storefronts and boarded-up windows are gone from downtown Monroe. These days, if you’re driving downtown, you’re more likely to encounter construction sites. Something new is coming online – or in the works – on practically every block. The recent revitalization of this area has been fueled by the steady growth and expansion by Vantage Health Plan and Affinity into numerous properties in the area, and invigorated by investors like Wayne Williamson, Mike and Christie Echols and Jason and Jennifer Thomas, whose companies have purchased and renovated properties, with numerous new projects in the works. Within a few years, downtown Monroe truly will become

a place to eat, sleep, stay and play. There’s a recurring theme in practically every interview the Echols or the Thomases give about their projects. Each of them is passionate about bringing these structures,

“I wanted to be part of something bigger to help the community.” which are both individually and collectively part of our community’s history, back to life.

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Or, as Jennifer Thomas, who returned to her home town to be with family, said: “I wanted to be part of something bigger to help the community.” Some 5,800 people work in the downtown area. Developers are seeking to not only add living space for people who are interested in being close to their jobs, but also those who seek a downtown living experience. Along with apartment, loft and condominium construction, restaurant and retail spaces are being developed. At some point, there also may be amenities such as a boutique hotel and a small grocery concept. Overall support from the community is needed to continue to make this transition possible, Jennifer Thomas said. “We need to continue to bring in more community events, retail and support-type businesses,” she said.

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Physicians Emile Barrow, Blaine Borders, Mark Napoli, Jim Rittelmeyer, & Registered Dietitian/ Nutritionist Hope Anderson Established cardiovascular specialists founded the Complete Cardiovascular Center of Monroe to provide the community with comprehensive care. Our mission is to provide effective, accessible, high quality, and cardiovascular specialty care through a partnership of independent, private-practice physicians & a licensed dietitian.

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AMONG CURRENT PROJECTS: Echo Development, Michael and Christie Echols 211 DeSiard: The Commons. Four loft apartments, two retail locations 217 DeSiard: Kress Place. Six apartments, two large retail locations 432 DeSiard: New barbecue restaurant (ground-up construction in 2018) 519 DeSiard: 519 Bar & Grille (opens in 2018) 428 DeSiard: Iron Cactus Bar, Grille and Patio

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Cory Bahr 318 N. 2nd St.: Parish Restaurant

Wayne Williamson Children’s Coalition, Hall Street

Third Floor Properties LLC, Jason and Jennifer Thomas: 125 St. John St.: Castle Hall Condos and Nolan’s Bistro (9 luxury condos, restaurant by Chef Pat Nolan) 300 Walnut St.: Lofts@300, 17 loft/studio spaces and event center 310 Walnut St.: Apts@310, 23 2-bedroom loft apartments and 1 studio

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Vantage Health Plan 130 DeSiard: Vantage Building. Exterior renovations, new Grand Lobby and Butter Bakery

Monroe Chamber of Commerce President Sue Nicholson observes that the current development activity has been “like setting up dominoes.” Early adopters like Dr. Gary Jones of Vantage, Frank Wilcox with the Monroe Housing Authority and Frances Towers, John Schween and Wayne Williamson set the stage as visionary leaders in historic renovation, she said. The exceptional renovations of major buildings such as the Vantage/ Affinity properties, 141 Lofts and the Old Monroe Hotel’s transformation into RiverScape Condominiums by Melody Olson have provided investor confidence that downtown is on its way back, and will continue to grow. “It takes a lot of time to get everything in place, but once it catches on, everything falls fairly rapidly into place,” Nicholson said. As the area continues to transition to an entertainment and shopping district, those who don’t cross the Ouachita River or Louisville Avenue after the work day ends will find plenty of opportunities to visit the area. “The growth of development will bring more people and change the culture,” Jennifer Thomas said. “People will be able to experience downtown and all it offers. This will bring a new way of thinking.” by Kathy Spurlock DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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Future

Monroe Housing

Frank L. Wilcox, Monroe Housing Authority, Executive Director

Q: What is coming in the future/new development? A:

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Monroe Housing Authority has preliminary plans to develop St. John’s Plaza at the corner of St. John and Telemaque Street, across the street from Ouachita Grand Plaza. The proposed development includes 50 2-Bedroom, 1-Bath apartment homes for the near elderly. St. John Plaza will be a mixed-income development comprised of affordable and market rate rents. The Louisiana Housing Corporation has reserved 9% Tax Credits for the development. We anticipate construction will begin mid-2018. Estimated project cost is $8.5 million. These homes will be constructed in the style of the 1930’s and compliment the surrounding architecture. The development will include St. John’s Park, a user friendly park with walking trails and gazebo.

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


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Being a Member of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce is about staying current on key community and business issues. It’s about having a voice and making an impact in the community. It’s about being a leader and about strengthening our small businesses here at home. The Monroe Chamber is the power of 800 members like you working together to build a thriving and better community. Join us. Together we are stronger! For more information, call 323-3461.

Riverside Cultural District From Forsythe Park to Masur Museum of Art Museums Art Galleries Breweries The RiverMarket Local Restaurants Art Crawls Great place to live – Great Place to Visit

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Employers

MAJOR

Downtown Monroe is more than arts and entertainment. The city of Monroe itself employs over 500 personnel who work in the Downtown in such areas as the Monroe Civic Center, Monroe Police Department, and City Hall. Thousands more people are employed by Downtown businesses, and many of them work for a few major healthcare employers that are the pride of Northeast Louisiana. St. Francis Medical Center first opened its doors as the St. Francis Sanitarium and School of Nursing over 104 years ago on July 22, 1913. By September of that year, 193 patients had been admitted. The hospital was funded and built on land provided by Father Ludovic Enaut, a priest who wanted to employ Sisters “who would work for nothing (except for the Lord) and be interested in everything.” Today, St. Francis has grown from the original six Franciscan Sisters who worked there over a century ago to now employing over 1,300 people at the Jackson Street location alone. The hospital is licensed for 352 beds. St. Francis is Northeast Louisiana’s largest healthcare provider, and is one of the largest employers in Ouachita Parish with several campus locations in Monroe and multiple clinics throughout the community, including Monroe, West Monroe, Calhoun, and Sterlington.

Founded in 1997 by a group of 19 doctors and a partnership with St. Francis Medical Center, P&S Surgical Hospital is located in Downtown Monroe and employs 155 personnel. P&S is Louisiana’s only hospital to earn both the Outstanding Patient Experience and the Patient Safety Excellence awards for four consecutive years. Now, the original number of 19 doctors has grown to 45 physicians. P&S is connected to St. Francis by a walkway on the second floor, allowing patients convenience access to additional services.

Vantage Health Plan, Inc. is a Monroe-based Health Maintenance Organization formed in 1994 by physicians who wanted to improve healthcare and help lower healthcare costs. Over the past 20 years, Vantage’s membership has grown steadily and now provides health insurance coverage for more than 50,000 members and contracts with over 7,000 Louisiana healthcare providers. Vantage has been a major player in the revitalization and beautification of Downtown Monroe, with the most recent project being the renovation of what was the Virginia Hotel and is now the Vantage State Building. – Megan Henderson 90

DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018


Putting us on the

Since its early days, Monroe has been known as a place where entrepreneurs and people with big ideas could launch them and become successful. Through the years, our community has not been one to receive great recognition outside its borders for the artists, inventors, business people and dreamers who’ve brought acclaim to themselves and the community by virtue of their success. This list is by no means complete, but it’s certainly fun to look at some of the people and companies that either have put Monroe on the map or are currently doing so.

Monroe Locations 1427 Winnsboro Rd. Monroe, LA 71202 7am-10pm (318)387-9899 520 Lincoln Rd. Monroe, LA 71203 7am-9pm (318)343-3949 West Monroe Locations 1530 Arkansas Rd. West Monroe, LA 71291 7am-9pm (318)396-1506 1065 Cheniere Drew Rd. West Monroe, LA 71291 7am-9pm (318)396-8484

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Hope Anderson: Miss Louisiana 2011 and founder of Health with Hope. Tammi Arender: Television personality and actress. Cory Bahr:

Chef, finalist “Next Food Network Star,” winner “Chopped", Food and Wine magazine’s Best New Chef, former King of Louisiana Seafood.

Brian Bateman:

Former PGA golfer, national radio host.

Biedenharn Museum and Gardens:

Researchers from around the world visit to examine the Biedenharn’s extensive Bible and Coca-Cola collections.

Dr. Karen Briski:

ULM professor awarded a $1.7 million National Institutes of Health grant to research treatment for Type 1 diabetes.

Bubby Brister: Former NFL quarterback. CenturyLink:

Communications giant now employs 52,000 workers worldwide with 800,000 miles of fiber.

Chennault Aviation and Historical Museum:

Honors the legacy of Gen. Claire Chennault of the Flying Tigers and our region’s aviation history. Significant connections and interactions with China, where Chennault is still revered as a hero.

Don Cincone: Internationally known expressionist artist. Coca-Cola: Joseph Biedenharn first bottled the beverage, and the Biedenharn family grew the bottling business to become one of the largest in the country.

James Cook:

Bassist/writer/producer who has toured, recorded or performed with Tracy Byrd, Steve Wariner, The Doobie Brothers, Jason Aldean, Jace Everett, Jedd Hughes, Matt King, Rhett Akins, Brad Martin, Sarah Buxton, Al Perkins, Sam Bush, Victor Wooten, Josh Thompson, Thompson Square, Easton Corbin, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Joanna Cotten, James Burton, Howard Shaft, and The Box Tops.

Delta Airlines: Born in Monroe as the outgrowth of a crop dusting operation. Doug Duffey:

Singer, songwriter, pianist, bandleader, music arranger, record producer, music publisher, poet, diarist, photographer and visual artist. Inducted into the National Blues Hall of Fame in 2009.

Duck and Dressing: Clothing boutique owned by Rebecca Lo Robertson Loflin of “Duck Dynasty” fame.

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Justin “Jelly Bean” Ellis:

Professional football player with the Oakland

Raiders.

Dr. Khalid El Sayed: ULM School of Pharmacy professor researching natural products like extra virgin olive oil and cancer treatments.

Enoch’s Irish Pub: Live music venue established by Doyle and Yvette Jeter

in 1980 that has hosted music legends from Jerry Jeff Walker and Leon Russell to Zachary Richard and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown.

Danny Ferrington: Luthier who has made guitars for numerous top musicians. Flying Tiger Brewery: Monroe’s first craft brewery honoring the heritage of Gen.

Claire Chennault and the Flying Tigers.

Chuck Finley: Retired Major League Baseball pitcher. Kevin Griffin: Lead singer of Better than Ezra, guitarist, producer and songwriter. James “Shack” Harris: Former professional football player and football team executive.

HerringStone’s Boutique:

Featured on “This is LA,” this boutique was founded 28 years ago by Debbie Herrington and Cindy Stone.

Stan Humphries: Quarterback for Northeast Louisiana University’s national

championship team, Super Bowl champion and college football commentator.

Intermountain Management:

One of North America’s largest hotel management and development companies that currently owns or manages approximately 70 premium branded hotels nationwide.

Dr. Gary Jones:

A founder and CEO/medical director of Vantage Health Plan and Affinity Health

Group.

Clay Jordan: Runner-up, Survivor Thailand. Jude Southerland Kessler: Author and internationally known authority on John Lennon.

MOJO Outdoors:

Top manufacturer of motion and spinning-wing decoys in the world.

Calvin Natt: Former professional basketball player. Kenny Natt: Former professional basketball player and coach. DOWNTOWN MONROE 2018

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Nuby: Baby products line developed by Luv n’ Care in Monroe that is distributed in 155 countries.

Rodney Ray: Filmmaker and owner of R Squared Productions. His next film to be released in

2018, “Cowboy & Indiana,” was filmed in and around Monroe, showcasing the community’s beauty.

Nell Rebowe:

Supermodel and neuroscientist.

RoeLa Roaster: Regional coffee company and shop owned by Byron and Jill

Bailey.

Bill Russell: Legendary Hall of Fame basketball player and author. Monti Sharp:

Actor in films and television shows such as Dead Presidents, Get Smart, NYPD Blue, ER, 24, Malcolm in the Middle, Prison Break and Modern Family. He has appeared on daytime dramas including “General Hospital,” “As the World Turns” and “Guiding Light,” where he won the 1993 Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Younger Actor in a Drama Series, as well as the Soap Opera Digest Award for Best Newcomer.

Dr. Paul Sylvester: Breast cancer researcher at ULM. University of Louisiana at Monroe School of Pharmacy: The only publicly funded school of pharmacy

in Louisiana.

ULM water ski team: 28 world championships. Vantage Health Plan:

Locally owned, locally grown statewide health network. Vantage and its subsidiary Affinity Health Group have been leaders in restoration and renovation of a number of downtown Monroe office buildings.

Susan Ward: Actress. Andrew Whitworth: Football player with the LA Rams. Lon Wilson:

Drummer who has either played drums, co-written or sung on more than 118 number one country music singles and 282 top tens.

Caroline Youngblood:

Visual artist whose works are collected and commissioned

nationally.

Don Zimmerman: Former NFL wide receiver. 94

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