|— City —|
|Nickname(s): Twin City|
|Motto: "One City, One Future"|
|• Mayor||Jamie Mayo (D)|
|• City Council|
|Elevation||72 ft (22 m)|
|Time zone||CST (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CST (UTC-5)|
|ZIP Codes||71201, 71202, 71203, 71207, 71208, 71209, 71210, 71211, 71212, 71213|
Monroe (historically French: Poste-du-Ouachita) is a city in and the parish seat of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, United States. In the official 2010 census, Monroe had a population of 48,815, making it the ninth largest city in the state. The municipal population declined by 8.1 percent over the past decade; it was 53,107 in the 2000 census.After a recheck in 2012, the Census Bureau changed the 2010 population from 48,815 to 49,147. 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.
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. 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.
The settlement formerly known as Fort Miro adopted the name Monroe in honor of the steam powered paddle-wheeler James Monroe. The arrival of the ship had a profound effect on the settlers -- the singular 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 given to James Monroe of Virginia, the fifth President of the United States and, with Robert R. Livingston, one of the negotiators of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase from France, for whom the ship was named.
During the American Civil War, Monroe and Opelousas, the seat of St. Landry 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.
In 1862, Monroe and Delhi in Richland Parish became overcrowded with unwelcome refugees from rural areas to the east. They had fled the forces of Union General U.S. Grant, who moved into northeastern Louisiana and spent the winter of 1862–1863 at Winter Quarters south of Newellton in Tensas Parish. He was preparing for the siege of Vicksburg, Mississippi, not completed until July 4, 1863. Historian John D. Winters reported "strong Union sympathy" in both Delhi and Monroe. As the refugees moved further west toward Minden in Webster Parish, many of the existing inhabitants, themselves very poor, refused to sell them food or shelter and treated them with contempt.
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." 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.
In 1913, Joseph A. Biedenharn, the first bottler of Coca-Cola, moved to Monroe from Vicksburg, Mississippi. His home and gardens at 2006 Riverside Drive in Monroe now operates as the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens. Until Biedenharn's breakthrough, Coca-Cola had been available only when individually mixed at the soda fountain. Biedenharn and his son, Malcolm Biedenharn, were among the founders of Delta Air Lines, originally Delta Air Service.
Collett E. Woolman, the Ouachita Parish agent originally from Indiana, pioneered crop dusting to eradicate the boll weevil, which destroyed cotton in the Mississippi River delta country in the early 20th century. Woolman originated the first crop-dusting service in the world. The collapse of cotton production contributed to the Great Migration of the early 20th century, when hundreds of thousands of African Americans left the rural South for jobs in northern and midwestern cities.
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, Louisiana include:
As of the census 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% African American (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.
Monroe was the headquarters of Delta Air Lines during the second half of the 1920s. As it expanded, it moved. Monroe Regional Airport serves the city. The airport has three main runways and is served by American Airlines, 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 (mtsbus.org) now provides 13 fixed bus routes covering most areas of the city, and 3 demand-response buses serving the disabled.
The Monroe Civic Center has multiple facilities. The main complex is the Civic Center Arena. This arena provides 44,000 square feet (4,100 m2) of exhibit space along with 5,600 seats. The arena may have larger capacities up to 7,200 seats. The arena houses events such as banquets, circuses, and rodeos. The civic center also has the B.D. Robinson conference hall, Monroe Convention Center, equestrian pavilion, and the W.L. "Jack" Howard Theatre.
Monroe features the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, which collectively maintains over 500 animals. The zoo also offers boat rides and a catwalk, in addition to other seasonal activities.
The Monroe area is home to several museums, including the Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum, The Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, Chennault Aviation & Military Museum, the Masur Museum of Arts, and the Northeast Louisiana Delta African-American Heritage Museum, one of the 26 site recently identified for the state's African American Heritage Trail.
Monroe is home to the Louisiana Motor Speedway, located near Interstate 20, and Twin City Dragway.
Monroe hosts Deltafest.
Southern Monroe (south of U.S. Highway 80) This area contains the Pecanland Mall and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.
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.
Despite its relatively small size, Monroe suffers from higher than average levels of crime and poverty. Some studies have placed Monroe as the 14th most dangerous city in America for crime rates, and the 6th poorest city (per capita) in America. It was ranked 3rd worst small city for crime (among cities whose populations are less than 200,000).
The City of Monroe has its own department of education that is set off from the larger Ouachita Parish School System. It is known as the Monroe City School System. The department consists of three high schools, three junior high schools, and 18 elementary schools.
Schools out of the Monroe City Schools District
Monroe is served by a Gannett newspaper, the Monroe News Star, formerly an afternoon daily owned and operated by the late father-son team of publishers, Robert Wilson Ewing, I, and John D. Ewing. When the Ewing's Monroe Morning World ceased publication, the sister publication, the News Star, became the city's morning-only newspaper.
Monroe is also served by two African-American weekly newspapers: The Monroe Free Press and the Monroe Dispatch. The Free Press was founded in 1969 by Roosevelt Wright, Jr.; its web presence began in 1996 and is located at http://monroefreepress.com. The Dispatch was founded in 1975 by Irma and Frank Detiege.
The Ouachita Citizen, based in West Monroe, is a weekly newspaper that provides all-local coverage of events in Ouachita Parish, including Monroe, West Monroe, Sterlington and Richwood. Locally owned, the newspaper has been in operation since 1924. The Ouachita Citizen can be found online at www.ouachitacitizen.com. It was purchased in 1996 by the late Sam Hanna, Sr., and his son, Sam Hanna, Jr., who remains the publisher.
Emergency alert stations:
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