Monroe, Louisiana

Monroe (historically French: Poste-du-Ouachita[3]) is the eighth-largest city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the parish seat of Ouachita Parish. In the official 2010 census, Monroe had a population of 48,815. The municipal population declined by 8.1 percent over the past decade; it was 53,107 in the 2000 census.[4] After a recheck in 2018, the Census Bureau changed the 2010 population from 48,815 to 47,877. Mayor Jamie Mayo, however, maintains that the Monroe population is more than 50,000 and indicated that he will pursue a continued challenge to the count.[5]

Monroe, Louisiana

Monroe de Louisiane
City of Monroe
Francis Tower

Twin Cities of Northeast Louisiana
"One City, One Future"
Location of Monroe in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.
Location of Monroe in Louisiana in USA
Monroe (the United States)
Coordinates: 32°30′34″N 92°07′06″W
Country United States
State Louisiana
Incorporated (town)1845
Incorporated (city)1906
Named forthe steamboat James Monroe
  MayorJamie Mayo (D)
  City Council
  City32.55 sq mi (84.30 km2)
  Land29.30 sq mi (75.87 km2)
  Water3.25 sq mi (8.42 km2)
72 ft (22 m)
  Density1,682.78/sq mi (649.72/km2)
 Urban area includes Monroe-West Monroe
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CST)
ZIP Codes
71201, 71202, 71203, 71207, 71208, 71209, 71210, 71211, 71212, 71213
Area Code318
FIPS code22-51410
WebsiteCity of Monroe


Monroe is the principal city of the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes the parishes of Ouachita and Union. The two-parish area had a total population of 170,053 in 2000 and an estimated population of 172,275 as of July 1, 2007.[6] The larger Monroe-Bastrop Combined Statistical Area is composed of both the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Bastrop Micropolitan Statistical Area. The CSA had a population of 201,074 in 2000. Monroe and the neighboring city of West Monroe (pop. 13,250), located just across the Ouachita River, are often referred to as the Twin Cities of northeast Louisiana. The settlement formerly known as Fort Miro adopted the name Monroe, during the first half of the 19th century, in recognition of the steam-powered paddle-wheeler James Monroe.[7] The arrival of the ship had a profound effect on the settlers; it was the single event, in the minds of local residents, that transformed the outpost into a town. The ship is depicted in a mural at the main branch of the Monroe Library on North 18th Street. Therefore, credit is indirectly given to James Monroe of Virginia, the fifth President of the United States, for whom the ship was named.


During the American Civil War, Monroe and Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry Parish in south Louisiana, had Confederate training camps. They were established after the fall of New Orleans to the Union in 1862. Conscripts were soon sent to both camps.[8] In 1862, Monroe and Delhi in Richland Parish became overcrowded with unwelcome refugees from rural areas to the east. They had fled the forces of Union General U.S. Grant, who moved into northeastern Louisiana and spent the winter of 1862–1863 at Winter Quarters south of Newellton in Tensas Parish. He was preparing for the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, not completed until July 4, 1863. Historian John D. Winters reported "strong Union sympathy" in both Delhi and Monroe. As the refugees moved farther west toward Minden in Webster Parish, many of the residents, themselves very poor, refused to sell them food or shelter and treated them with contempt.[9]

Joseph A. Biedenharn

Union boats came up the Ouachita River to Monroe to trade coffee, liquor, dry goods, and money for cotton. "Confederate officers were accused by a citizen of encouraging the trade and of fraternizing with the enemy, eating their oysters, and drinking their liquor."[10] As the war continued, deserters and stragglers about Monroe became "so plentiful that the Union Army sent a special detachment" from Alexandria to apprehend them.[11] In 1913, Joseph A. Biedenharn, the first bottler of Coca-Cola, moved to Monroe from Vicksburg, Mississippi. Until Biedenharn's breakthrough, Coca-Cola had been available only when individually mixed at the soda fountain. Biedenharn and his son Malcolm were among the founders of Delta Air Lines, originally Delta Dusters. That company was founded in Tallulah, Louisiana in Madison Parish. It was based on products and processes developed by the Agriculture Experimental Station to dust crops from airplanes in order to combat the boll weevil, which was destroying cotton crops.

Biedenharn's home and gardens at 2006 Riverside Drive in Monroe have been preserved and are now operated as the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens and are open to the public.[12] Collett E. Woolman, the Ouachita Parish agent, was originally from Indiana. He pioneered crop dusting to eradicate the boll weevil, which destroyed cotton throughout the Mississippi River delta country in the early 20th century. Woolman originated the first crop-dusting service in the world.[13] The collapse of cotton production meant a widespread loss of farm jobs. This contributed to the Great Migration of the early 20th century, when a total of 1.5 million African Americans left the rural South for jobs in northern and midwestern cities. They were also escaping the oppressive racial conditions and violence under Jim Crow and the disenfranchisement that excluded most blacks from the political system.

Howard D. Griffin

Howard D. Griffin (1911-1986) purchased a boat dealership in 1936 while he was a student at what became the University of Louisiana at Monroe. By the 1960s, Griffin's company had become the largest outboard motor dealership in the world. He also sold motorcycles. From 1965 to 1985, Griffin and his wife, Birdie M. Griffin (1915-1985), operated their seasonal Land O' Toys store on South Grand Street in Monroe. The motto was "Land O' Toys; Loads of fun for girls and boys; Bring the kids and look around; The biggest toy deal in the town."[14] Once Christmas was over, the toy store was quickly phased out, and the outboard motors returned to the showroom. From her childhood memories, Sherry Lynn Mason recalls the Land O' Toys:

"I loved that store. Every time [my father] took me there, we were waiting for his outboard motor to be fixed across the street. It was a magical place to me!" Amy Berry Baker recalls, "It wasn't Christmas until we went to Howard Griffin ... magical for kids," according to an article in The Monroe News-Star.[14]

Mrs. Griffin died December 15, 1985, and the store closed permanently a few days after Christmas of that year. In March 2011, the remaining abandoned building burned. All that remains are the memories of the former customers, now all adults. Cheri Chadduck recalled, "Memories are completely magical, and I am so grateful for my childhood recollections of time there."[14]


Monroe has an elevation of 72 feet (21.9 m).[15]

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

Regional cities and their distance from Monroe include:

CityDistance (miles)
Alexandria, Louisiana96
Baton Rouge, Louisiana187
Dallas, Texas284
El Dorado, Arkansas66
Houston, Texas336
Jackson, Mississippi120
Lafayette, Louisiana184
Lake Charles, Louisiana194
Little Rock, Arkansas176
Natchez, Mississippi97
New Orleans, Louisiana282
Shreveport, Louisiana99
Vicksburg, Mississippi78


Monroe has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). Rainfall is abundant, with the normal annual precipitation averaging over 51 inches (1.3 m), with monthly averages ranging from less than 3 inches (76 mm) in August to more than 5 inches (130 mm) in June. Severe thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail, damaging winds and tornadoes occur in the area during the spring and summer months. The winter months are normally mild, with an average of 35 days of freezing or below-freezing temperatures per year, with ice and sleet storms possible. Summer months are hot and humid, with maximum temperatures exceeding 90 degrees an average of 91 days per year, with high to very high relative average humidity, sometimes exceeding the 90 percent level.

Climate data for Monroe, Louisiana (Monroe Regional Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 82
Average high °F (°C) 57.3
Average low °F (°C) 35.6
Record low °F (°C) −1
Average precipitation inches (mm) 5.01
Average snowfall inches (cm) 0.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 9.9 9.4 9.2 7.7 9.4 9.1 8.4 7.4 7.1 8.2 8.5 9.8 104.1
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 0.3 0.4 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 1.0
Source #1: NOAA[16][17]
Source #2: The Weather Channel (extreme temps)[18]


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

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

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

  • Bayou Oaks
  • Betin Heights
  • Booker T
  • Brierfield
  • Cypress Point
  • Downtown
  • Forsythe Park
  • Garden District
  • Lakeshore
  • Lakewood Estate
  • Morningside
  • West Monroe


Historical population
Est. 201847,877[2]−1.9%
Source: US Census data

As of the census[19] of 2000, there were 53,107 people, 19,421 households, and 12,157 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,851.8 people per square mile (714.9/km²). There were 21,278 housing units at an average density of 741.9 per square mile (286.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city in 2000 was 61.13% Black (63.9 percent black in 2010), 36.78% White (33.4 percent in 2010), 0.13% Native American, 1.05% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.01% of the population.

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

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

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


Top employers

According to the City's 2018 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the area are:[20]

# Employer Employees
1 Ouachita Parish School Board 3,086
2 CenturyLink 2,360
3 Monroe City School District 1,774
4 St. Francis Specialty Hospital 1,584
5 IASIS Healthcare (Glenwood Regional Medical Center) 1,156
6 JPMorgan Chase 1,090
7 Walmart Stores, Inc. 912
8 City of Monroe 894
9 University of Louisiana at Monroe 852
10 Graphic Packaging International, Inc. 840


Monroe was the headquarters of Delta Air Lines during the second half of the 1920s. As it expanded, it moved to Atlanta. Monroe Regional Airport serves the city and the region. The airport has three main runways and is served by American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Greyhound Bus Lines provides transportation from Monroe to many cities across the nation. The city of Monroe has the oldest municipally owned transit system in the nation. Created in 1906 as a four-line street railroad, the Monroe Transit System now provides 13 fixed bus routes covering most areas of the city, and three demand-response buses serving the disabled.[21] Monroe can be accessed from I-20, U.S. Highway 165, Louisiana Highway 15, U.S. Highway 80, and I-420 (proposed). the main railroads: Kansas City Southern (kcs), Union Pacific BNSF and Norfolk Southern (NS), serve freight traffic.

Sports and Entertainment

The Monroe Civic Center has multiple facilities. The main complex is the Civic Center Arena. This arena provides 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) of exhibit space along with 5,600 seats. The arena may have larger capacities up to 7,200 seats. The arena houses events such as banquets, circuses, and rodeos.

The civic center also has the B. D. Robinson conference hall, Monroe Convention Center, equestrian pavilion, and the 2,200-seat W. L. Jack Howard Theatre, named for W. L. "Jack" Howard, the Union Parish native who served as the mayor of Monroe from 1956 to 1972 and again from 1976 to 1978.

The Harvey H. Benoit Recreation Center is used for basketball games and has outdoor tennis courts.[22]

During the last week of June, Monroe hosts the annual Miss Louisiana pageant. In the fiftieth competition, a winner was crowned on June 29, 2013, at the W. L. Jack Howard Theatre.[23]

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

The Monroe area is home to several museums, including the Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum, The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, Chennault Aviation & Military Museum, the Masur Museum of Arts, and the Northeast Louisiana Delta African-American Heritage Museum. This is one of the twenty-six sites identified in the early 21st century as part of the state's African American Heritage Trail.



National Guard

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


Colleges and universities

High schools

The City of Monroe has its own department of education, which operates separately from the larger Ouachita Parish School System. It is known as the Monroe City School System. The department consists of three high schools, three junior high schools, and 18 elementary schools.[25]


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

Monroe is also served by two African-American owned weekly newspapers: the Monroe Free Press and the Monroe Dispatch. The Free Press was founded in 1969 by Roosevelt Wright, Jr., and The Dispatch was founded in 1975 by Irma and Frank Detiege.

The Ouachita Citizen is a locally owned and operated weekly newspaper that was founded in 1924. It has all-local coverage of events in Ouachita Parish, including Monroe, West Monroe, Sterlington and Richwood.


Monroe is served by local radio station KJLO.,[26] and KMVX,[27] that also broad KMLB AM 540.[28]

Emergency alert stations

  • KMLB-KNOE 540 AM
  • KMVX-KNOE 101.9 FM
  • KNOE TV 8
  • KTVE-TV 10
  • KARD-TV 14

Notable people


  1. "2016 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jul 2, 2017.
  2. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  3. "Cajun and Cajuns: Genealogy site for Cajun, Acadian and Louisiana genealogy, history and culture". December 27, 1915. Retrieved December 29, 2010.
  4. "Monroe (city), Louisiana". Archived from the original on September 14, 2012. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  5. "Scott Rogers, "Monroe population still under 50,000"". Monroe News Star, December 22, 2012. Archived from the original on February 27, 2014. Retrieved December 22, 2012.
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Population of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (CBSA-EST2007-01)". 2007 Population Estimates. United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 27, 2008. Archived from the original (CSV) on July 9, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2008.
  7. "Ouachita River History - Steamboats on the Ouachita".
  8. John D. Winters, The Civil War in Louisiana, Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1963, ISBN 0-8071-0834-0, p. 149
  9. Winters, pp. 307–308
  10. Winters, p. 406
  11. Winters, p. 416
  12. "Biedenharn Museum and Gardens". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  13. "Delta Heritage Museum". Retrieved August 18, 2010.
  14. Bonnie Bolden (December 23, 2016). "Howard Griffin Land O' Toys lives on in memory". The Monroe News-Star. Retrieved February 18, 2017.
  15. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  16. "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  17. "LA Monroe RGNL AP". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  18. "Monthly Averages for Shreveport, LA (71107)". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2011-10-05.
  19. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. "Monroe Transit". Archived from the original on 2014-12-22. Retrieved 2015-02-01.
  22. "Harvey H. Benoit Recreation Center". Retrieved 2019-05-05.
  23. "Sarah Eddington, "Contestants excited about 50th Miss Louisiana competition in Monroe"". Alexandria Daily Town Talk. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  24. "Retail Space for Lease in Monroe, LA | Pecanland Mall".
  25. "Home - Monroe City Schools".
  26. "Listen Live K-104 - KJLO FM 104.1 - Monroe".
  27. "Search results for KMVX online radios | Radio stations".
  28. "Listen Live Talk 540 - KMLB AM 540 - Monroe".
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