West Monroe, LA
West Monroe is known as one of northeastern Louisiana's Twin Cities, the other twin being neighboring Monroe. With temperatures averaging 85 degrees during the summer and 40 degrees during the winter months, the area has a mild climate.
West Monroe covers some eight square miles in Ouachita Parish, just across the Ouachita River from Monroe. The city was named after James Monroe, who was one of the first European settlers in the area. Industrial development began in 1915 after natural gas was discovered. The area was once known as the 'Natural Gas Capital of the World.' It has also gone by the names Trenton and Cotton Port.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Some of the major industries in New Monroe are retail, educational and social services. Major employers in the city are Bancroft Bag Inc., Ouachita Parish Sheriffs Office and Medical Temps Inc. Most men working in West Monroe are employed in the construction, health care, and financial and insurance fields. Women typically work in health care, educational services, finance and insurance, or ' services. More than one-fifth of West Monroe's population lives below the poverty line.
- Antique Alley: Recently recognized as one of the best shopping destinations in the South, this historic plaza currently consists of over 50 different stores, including seven antique malls, a wealth of other specialty shops, restaurants, and even a bed and breakfast. It is located on Trenton Street on the banks of the Ouachita River.
- Ouachita River Art Gallery: This nonprofit center for the fine arts, located on Trenton Street as part of Antique Alley, includes a number of different paintings, sculptures, jewelry and ceramics made by local artists. Ouachita River Art Gallery also offers workshops throughout the year, including some taught by famous visual artists.
Other points of interest in the West Monroe/Twin Cities area include:
- Ouachita Valley Heritage Museum
- Northeast Louisiana Children's Museum
- Sassagoula Falls Adventure Golf
- Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge
- Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo
- Aviation and Military Museum of Louisiana
- Biedenharn Museum & Gardens
- Layton Castle
- Masur Museum of Art
- Landry Vineyards
- University of Louisiana at Monroe Museum of Natural History
- Excalibur Family Entertainment Center, which includes miniature golf, laser tag, bumper cars, batting cages and a climbing wall.
- Cheniere Lake Park, which offers fishing and camping, a lodge and multiple boat landings for those looking to sail around the 3,000-acre Cheniere Lake.
- Northeast Louisiana Celtic Festival: Each year, the Ike Hamilton Expo Center in West Monroe hosts a celebration of all things Irish and Scottish, including music, art, ', dancing and storytelling. A sporting competition called the Highland Games features the Stone of Strength (something resembling the modern-day shot-put), the Hammer Throw and the Caber Toss. There are also crafts and games areas for the kids.
West Monroe residents attend college at one of the many colleges and universities in and around the city, including:
- Delta-Ouachita Campus of Louisiana Technical College, which is located inside West Monroe. This vocational public school has a full-time enrollment of nearly 400 students.
- University of Louisiana at Monroe, which is located just five miles from West Monroe.
- Louisiana Tech, which is less than 50 miles from West Monroe.
- Grambling State University, which is also less than 50 miles outside of West Monroe.
Many West Monroe residents opt to take classes at one of the universities that are located within 100 miles of the city, including:
- University of Arkansas at Monticello
- Northwestern State University of Louisiana
- Southwestern Arkansas University
- Alcorn State University
The award-winning Ouachita Citizen newspaper is printed in West Monroe, and two other dailies, the Monroe Free Press and Monroe News-Star, as well as Louisiana Cookin' magazine, are all published in the Twin Cities.
TV stations that serve West Monroe include:
- KNOE-TV Channel 8 (CBS)
- KLTM-TV Channel 13 (PBS)
- KARD Channel 14 (Fox)
- KMCT-TV Channel 39 (religious)
- KAQY Channel 11 (ABC)
- KWMS-LP Channel 17 (independent)
- KTVE Channel 10 (NBC)
More than a dozen radio stations serve West Monroe, including:
- KZRZ 98.3 FM (top 40)
- KMBS 1310 AM (sports)
- KBMQ 88.7 FM(Christian contemporary)
- KEDM90.3 FM (University of Louisianaat Monroe public radio)
- KXUL 91.1 FM (University of Louisiana at Monroe college radio)
- KGRM 91.5 FM (Grambling State Universityurban contemporary)
- KNOE 101.9 FM(top 40)
- KJLO 104.1 FM(country)
- KLIP 105.3 FM(classic hits)
- KXRR 106.1 FM(classic rock)
- KNOE 540 AM(news/talk radio)
- KLIC 1230 AM(religious)
- The flagship sports team of West Monroe is the West Monroe High School Rebels, a six-time Louisiana State football champion and the 1998 and 2000 national champions.
- Local sports fans also root for the University of Louisiana at Monroe and Louisiana Tech and Grambling State University athletic teams.
- The National Football League's New Orleans Saints and the National Basketball Association's New Orleans Hornets are nearby professional teams.