2019 represents the “Year of the River”: a Bicentennial Celebration of the Ouachita River Valley. This celebration underscores the significance of the River from the founding of Monroe in the late 1700s to all its present day activities. The 510 mile waterway serves as the cultural and economic lifeblood for communities from Arkansas to Louisiana. Based on an economic impact study conducted by the University of Louisiana at Monroe and funded by the North Louisiana Economic Partnership (NLEP), the Ouachita River produces nearly $5.7 billion dollars annually in total economic impact. The River greatly benefits our manufacturers, from paper mills to chemical plants, generating $5.5 billion from industrial activities. Both industrial and commercial activities on the River create 21,000 full-time jobs.
Additionally, communities use the Ouachita River for their drinking water and/or discharge their waste water into the river. Some manufacturers pull water straight from the River for their industrial processes. Besides the economic and environmental benefits, the Ouachita River offers cultural and recreational opportunities. We can boat, fish, waterski, wakeboard or just simply relax on the River. So many of our festivals and events happen along this scenic waterway. The Ouachita River been ranked in the top 10 most beautiful rivers in America by National Geographic Magazine.
The Ouachita River’s historic, cultural, recreational and economic significance cannot be taken for granted. That’s why the Year of the River Bicentennial Celebration will highlight the Ouachita River’s past, present and future through a year-long series of celebrations/explorations throughout the Ouachita River Valley from Jonesville, Louisiana to Camden, Arkansas. These community celebrations will demonstrate the economic and cultural impact of the River and hopefully increase awareness and appreciation of the River’s role in the growth and prosperity of these communities.
Schedule of Year of the River Celebrations:
“Paint the River” is a traveling art exhibit, sponsored by the Arts Council of Northeast Louisiana, to showcase the beauty of the Ouachita River. The art collection will be displayed at the following locations:
- Feb. 1- March 16: Schepis Museum
- March 29- May 10: Jackson Parish Library
- May 24- July 5: Sterlington Library
- July 19-August 30: Monroe Regional Airport
- Sept.13 – Oct. 25: West Carroll Library
- Nov. 8- Dec. 20: Closing reception TBA
Origin Bank Downtown RiverMarket Events:
Louisiana Food and Music Festival featuring Craft Beverage Walk
March 16th, 2019
Origin Bank RiverMarket
Rita’s on the River
April 6, 2019
10 AM-4 PM
Origin Bank RiverMarket
Biedenharn Gardens & Bible Museum
Noah and his Ark in Art
Classic Coke Dinner
Rocking Coke Dinner
More information coming!
Learn more about Year of the Year Events or to host an event.