Monroe, Louisiana is situated in the center of northeastern Louisiana, on Interstate 20, about 100 miles east of Shreveport and 65 miles west of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The city is divided by the Ouachita River and is the seat of Ouachita Parish. It is the economic and cultural hub of Northeastern Louisiana and is home to the 528th Engineer Battalion of the Louisiana Army National Guard. The city's roots can be traced back to the Spanish colonial period, when Fort Miro changed its name to Monroe to commemorate the first arrival of the steamboat James Monroe in the spring of 1820.
The steamboat is depicted on a mural in the main branch of the Ouachita Parish Public Library. Monroe has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). Precipitation is abundant, with an average annual rainfall of more than 51 inches (1.3 m). During the spring and summer months, the area experiences intense thunderstorms with heavy rains, hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.
The winter months are usually mild, with an average of 35 days of temperatures below zero or below freezing per year. Monroe Regional Airport serves the city and northeastern Louisiana. It has three main runways and is serviced by regional partners of American Airlines and Delta Air Lines. Kansas City Southern, Union Pacific, BNSF and Norfolk Southern provide freight traffic in the city.
Monroe is home to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, which together house more than 500 animals. Monroe's education department, Monroe City Schools, operates independently from the larger Ouachita Parish School System. So what parishes are in Monroe, Louisiana? The answer is simple: Ouachita Parish. This parish is located in northeastern Louisiana and encompasses all of Monroe. It was established in 1807 and named after the Ouachita River that runs through it.
The parish seat is Monroe, which is also its largest city. Other cities in Ouachita Parish include West Monroe, Sterlington, Richwood, Swartz, and Calhoun.