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Year of the River 2019: A Tour Along the Ouachita

May 11, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm


It was 200 years ago this spring when the billowing smokestacks and whistles of steamboats first made their way up the Ouachita River.  The residents of Fort Miro were so excited about the economic prosperity this new transportation would bring to northeast Louisiana, they threw a party and renamed the town after the steamboat “James Monroe.”

We will celebrate this connection to the river on Saturday, May 11 with a tour of historic sites along the east bank of the Ouachita.  Beginning with the Cooley House (1011 South Grand Street, Monroe) and Layton Castle at 2:00 p.m.  From there, we’ll caravan to Caldwell Parish, to visit Synope Plantation, the Graves Plantation, Martin House, Our Lady of Peace Meditation Chapel and the Shepis Museum in Columbia.  Registration also includes admission to Blend of the River Festival in Columbia, with food and musical guest, “Bad Monkey Brass Band”. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the 1928 Cooley House, a rare Prairie style masterpiece of the South.

Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the tour at the Cooley House (1011 South Grand Street, Monroe), between 2 and 3 p.m.

The American Institute of Architects has approved 4 CEUs for this tour under the category of “Health, Safety and Welfare”.   A booklet with map, directions and additional information will be provided at the Cooley House at check-in.

Sites on tour:

1928 Cooley House – 1011 South Grand Street, Monroe

Layton Castle –  1133 South Grand Street, Monroe (exterior, cemetery, and wine house)

Synope Plantation – 176 Synope Road, Columbia

Graves Plantation – 281 Davis Lake Road, Columbia

Martin House – 203 Martin Place Road, Columbia

Our Lady of Peace Meditation Chapel

Shepis Museum – 106 Main Street, Columbia

Registration includes tour sites, guidebook & admission to Blend of the River festival! Proceeds from the tour benefit the Cooley House restoration and the Schepis Museum.

Tickets may be purchased from the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council office at 2305 N 7th St, West Monroe – phone: 318.397.6717.  Deadline for online registration is Friday, May 10. Tickets may be purchased the day of the tour at the Cooley House.

The tour will occur, rain or shine. If you register and are not able to attend, please consider a donation to Cooley House Foundation and Schepis Museum. Please consider there are no service stations between Monroe and Columbia (30 miles). These historic homes are not fully ADA compliant. Good walking shoes are necessary. There are stairs without rails and unpaved walkways. Those with motor problems are welcome if accompanied by an able companion.



May 11, 2019
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Event Category:


Tour Begins at Cooley House – 1011 South Grand Street – Monroe, LA
LA United States + Google Map


Cooley House Foundation


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