Monroe, Louisiana is a city with a rich and vibrant history. Located in the region known as Sportsman's Paradise, Monroe was formerly known as Fort Miro and adopted its current name in recognition of the James Monroe steam pallet truck. This ship had a profound effect on the colonists, transforming the outpost into a city. The ship is represented in a mural in the main branch of the Monroe Library, on North 18th Street.
Credit is indirectly given to James Monroe of Virginia, the fifth president of the United States, for whom the ship was named. During the Civil War, Union ships traveled the Ouachita River to Monroe to exchange coffee, liquor, dry goods and money for cotton. The arrival of these ships had a lasting impact on the city. Woolman, the Ouachita parish agent, was a native of Indiana.
He was a pioneer in dusting crops to eradicate the capsule weevil, which destroyed cotton throughout the Mississippi River Delta in the early 20th century. Woolman created the world's first crop dusting service. The collapse of cotton production contributed to the Great Migration of the early 20th century, when a total of 1.5 million African Americans left rural areas of the South in search of work in cities in the North and Midwest. They were also escaping oppressive racial conditions and violence of Jim Crow and deprivation of rights that excluded most blacks from the political system. Monroe has an elevation of 72 feet (21.9 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, it has a total area of 31.6 square miles (83.9 km²), with 28.7 square miles (74.3 km²) being land and 3.7 square miles (9.6 km²) being water.
The total area is 11.46% water. Monroe has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). Rainfall is abundant, with normal annual rainfall of more than 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. During spring and summer months, there are severe thunderstorms with heavy rains, hail, damaging winds and tornadoes in the area. The winter months are usually mild, with an average of 35 days of temperatures below zero or below freezing per year, with the possibility of ice storms and sleet. The summer months are hot and humid, with maximum temperatures exceeding 90 degrees Fahrenheit an average of 91 days a year, with an average relative humidity of high to very high, sometimes exceeding 90 percent. As part of the Bible Belt, Christianity is the most predominant religion in Monroe, its metropolitan area and northern Louisiana.
Like much of northern and central Louisiana, Baptist churches are most popular. Monroe was once home to Delta Air Lines during the second half of the 1920s before it moved its headquarters to Atlanta. Monroe Regional Airport serves the city and northeastern region of Louisiana with three main runways and regional partners American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Greyhound Bus Lines offers transportation from Monroe to many cities across the country. The city also has its own transportation system - created in 1906 as a four-line street railroad - called Monroe Transit System which now offers 13 fixed bus routes covering most areas of the city and three demand response buses that serve disabled people. Monroe is home to several museums such as Children's Museum of Northeastern Louisiana, Biedenharn Museum and Gardens, 26% Military Aviation Museum in Chennault, Masur Museum of Art and Northeast Louisiana Delta African American Heritage Museum - one of twenty-six sites identified at beginning 21st century as part of state's African American Heritage Trail. The city also has its own education department - Monroe City School System - which operates separately from larger Ouachita Parish School System consisting three high schools and eighteen elementary schools. Monroe Civic Center has multiple facilities; main complex being Civic Center stadium offering 44,000 square feet (4,100 m) exhibition space along with 5,600 seats which can be expanded up to 7200 seats hosting events such as banquets, circuses and rodeos. Monroe is also home to Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo keeping more than 500 animals offering boat trips and walkway along with other seasonal activities. Once you explore this Sportsman's Paradise you will find yourself wandering through back streets and back alleys realizing why no one had mentioned this part of Louisiana before!.