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 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.  There will be refreshments at stops along the way. Registration also includes admission to Blend of the River Festival in Columbia. Proceeds benefit the restoration of the 1928 Cooley House, a rare Prairie style masterpiece of the South.