The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, also known as the St. Louis World's Fair, was held in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1904. The fair featured exhibits from around the world and introduced several new inventions and products to the public, including the ice cream cone and Dr Pepper soft drink.
Ouachita Parish, located in northeastern Louisiana, has a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Ouachita and Tensas peoples, who lived off the land and utilized the area's abundant natural resources. The first European contact came in the early 18th century when French explorers made their way into the region, followed by Spanish and American explorers.

In 1803, Ouachita Parish became a part of the United States through the Louisiana Purchase. The first permanent settlement was established in 1805, known as Fort Miro, later renamed Monroe after President James Monroe. The area experienced slow growth initially, but the arrival of steamboats on the Ouachita River in the mid-19th century led to rapid economic development. The steamboat industry contributed to the growth of commerce and transportation, making Monroe an important trading hub in the region.

During the Civil War, Ouachita Parish was heavily impacted. The Union Army briefly occupied the area, and many residents were divided in their loyalties to the Confederacy or the Union. The war brought economic hardships and social tensions to the region. In the aftermath of the war, Ouachita Parish rebuilt and experienced a period of growth and prosperity as the timber, agriculture, and oil industries flourished.

Throughout the 20th century, Ouachita Parish continued to develop and diversify its economy. The completion of the Ouachita River Navigation Project in the 1920s allowed for improved transportation and led to further growth in industries such as logging, manufacturing, and oil refining. The region also became known for its educational institutions, including the University of Louisiana at Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana University), which has contributed to the area's cultural and intellectual development.

Today, Ouachita Parish remains an important center for commerce, education, and culture in Louisiana. Its history, influenced by Native American heritage, European exploration, and industrial growth, has shaped the character and identity of the region.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Ouachita Parish, Louisiana.

  • 1805 - Ouachita Parish established as one of the original 19 parishes of the Territory of Orleans
  • 1813 - Fort Miro, later known as Monroe, becomes the parish seat
  • 1839 - Railroad arrives in Monroe, boosting economic growth
  • 1861-1865 - Ouachita Parish experiences the Civil War; Monroe serves as a Confederate stronghold
  • 1873 - Monroe incorporated as a city
  • 1902 - First bridge across the Ouachita River opens, connecting Monroe to West Monroe
  • 1916 - Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo opens in West Monroe
  • 1930s - Oil and gas exploration begins, leading to economic growth
  • 1965 - Construction of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge begins
  • 1967 - Ouachita Parish becomes home to the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)
  • 1970 - Completion of the Ouachita River Dam creates Lake Ouachita
  • 1981 - Biedenharn Museum and Gardens opens in Monroe
  • 1990 - Monroe Regional Airport opens, improving regional connectivity