On April 20th, 1819, Monroe Louisiana was born, named in honor of the fifth President of the United States, James Monroe. Since then, the city has become a bustling hub of industrial and commercial activity. But how did it get its name?The area around Monroe was first inhabited by the Ouachita Indians around 1350 BC. Later, the area attracted a transient population of merchants, trappers and hunters, but few permanent residents.
It is believed that the first non-native settlers of Ouachita Parish were remnants of LaSalle's expedition to Louisiana in 1680. By this time, the Ouachita Indians had all but disappeared from the area. Ouachita Parish is located in northeastern Louisiana, halfway between Dallas (Texas) and Birmingham (Alabama). The parish is home to Monroe City Schools, which operates separately from the larger Ouachita Parish School System. It is also home to the 225th Engineer Brigade, based in Pineville, Louisiana at Camp Beauregard.
In 1837, John Campbell founded West Monroe under the name of Byron at the foot of a ferry that led to Monroe. Unfortunately, Campbell went bankrupt due to problems with purchasing land. The purchase of Louisiana in 1804 by the United States was a major event in the history of Monroe. Jean Baptiste Filhiol was sent from southern Louisiana to oversee the settlement of Poste du Ouachita in 1781. Louisiana Delta Community College has a growing enrollment and offers several associate degrees, including a process technology program. In 1934, Louisiana State University received authority from the State Legislature to operate the University's facilities as the Northeastern Center of Louisiana State University. In 1969-70, ULM awarded its first doctorates and changed its name to Northeastern Louisiana University. The Louisiana Military and Aeronautical Museum in Chennault exhibits works about Delta Airlines, the local flight school at Selman Field during World War II and the volunteer combat unit called Flying Tigers, led by General Chennault who once resided in Monroe.
The city is also home to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo which together hold more than 500 animals. Recently, Monroe has seen renovations to its sewer and water system, new roads have been built and a new industry is being installed and expanded.