How well do you know your local Monroe-West Monroe restaurants?
We love our local restaurants. If you haven’t had the chance to try all of them, we’re here to help. Our new contest will highlight some of our Monroe-West Monroe eats.
Here’s how it works:
Every Tuesday starting on Feb. 14, we will post an Instagram story at 11am with pictures of a particular local restaurant. There’ll be pictures of the food, the interior, and maybe some other notable aspects. Your job is easy—guess which restaurant it is! Comment your answer on our Tasty Tuesday post by 8am the next morning. The winner will be drawn from the correct answers. What do you win? A $10 gift card to that restaurant! Giving you the perfect reason to eat local.
Here’s a helpful strategy to prepare you for this intense competition—try new local places! That way, you’ll know the ins and outs of all the restaurants. No post will be a mystery to you. You might just catch us in there one day!
Follow us on Instagram @discovermonroewestmonroe to see our weekly Tasty Tuesday post.
Good luck to all, and good eatin’!
There’s only one thing better than a perfect Valentine’s Day, and that is a perfect Valentine’s Week. Whether you and your partner are making plans or you want to surprise that special someone, there are some great events happening this week for unique date opportunities. Because who doesn’t like to mix it up a bit? Go to one of them or go to all for a full week of V-Day romance. Here are 6 Valentine’s Day date ideas:
Surprise your Valentine the weekend before the holiday with tickets to this party in Downtown Monroe. Chef Pat Nolan is catering this event that takes place at Austin’s by the River on Saturday, Feb. 11. There will be live music, a dance floor, delicious dessert, and a champagne toast. This date will seem like it’s straight out of a movie, guaranteed.
The gardens alone make for a romantic staycation, but this event combines that with live music. Kick Valentine’s Week off right, with this event taking place on Sunday, Feb. 12. It starts at 3 p.m., so you can enjoy the concert, take a stroll through the gardens, and then make it in plenty of time for your dinner reservation. (Suggestion: Roma’s Italian Bistro)
On Valentine’s Day, learn how to prepare a healthy, delicious meal with Hope Anderson. Start the evening with appetizers and a glass of wine, then you’ll prepare and enjoy a 5 course meal. The menu includes a pork tenderloin with caramelized garlic and orange salsa, a whole roasted spicy cauliflower with tahini, and two decadent desserts. You and your partner are welcome to bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy throughout the evening. (Suggestion: Landry Vineyards’ Bayoutage Red Blend)
Another unique dinner option for Valentine’s Day is an evening with Chef Pat Nolan. She prepares a delicious, 5-course meal. Enjoy a duck confit salad and veal chops cooked to perfection. Finish off the meal with a sinful chocolate pate with white chocolate. RSVP to this event by Feb. 10.
5. Local Restaurant Specials
Our local restaurants are always serving up delicious food. On Feb. 14, Restaurant Sage— home of Louisiana Seafood King, Chef Blake Phillips— is having a special menu, curated specifically for a romantic dinner. Trapp’s is also hosting a special event that evening. Reserve your table, and choose from a special menu that includes 5 courses. Is your favorite local restaurant planning a special menu or event for Valentine’s Day? Check their Facebook pages or websites for information.
Waiting for the weekend to have your Valentine’s Day Date? Geneva Academy’s annual 1920’s themed fundraiser is a unique and fun date night. Dress in your 20’s best, and enjoy catering by Waterfront Grill. There will be live and silent auctions at this event, so you can buy gifts for your significant other here too! Dance the night away, and capture the evening with a picture from the Bash Booth photo booth that will be there.
Add a unique spin to your Valentine’s Day plans, with all of these date options. Choose one or go to several for a week-long celebration of you and your favorite person. Dress up, dance, and enjoy delicious food right here in Monroe-West Monroe.
Smiles Park is a playground that all kids can enjoy.
West Monroe Civitan Club is bringing an inclusive playground for kids with and without disabilities to play together. This ¾ acre playground will be located inside Kiroli Park. This project was announced in 2013. An opening date has yet to be set, but it is likely to open within a few months.
The theme of the playground is a fair, inspired by the Civitan Club’s annual fundraiser the Ark-La-Miss Fair. This will include a pretend Ferris wheel, animals constructed of fiberglass and concrete, a 5-12 year old play area, a 2-5 year old play area, a 6-24 month old play area and a “ZipKrooz.” (If you’re wondering what a ZipKrooz is, click here. It’s awesome.) All of the play equipment was manufactured by Landscape Structures Inc. out of Minnesota.
Even though the opening date is still being determined, pieces of the park have already started to arrive. On Tuesday, January 3, equipment rolled in on 4 semi-trucks. The delivery included four life-like sensory animals— Betty the Elephant, Xavier the Seal, Zeus the Lion, and Gummie the Bear.
Designs for the playground were created by Shane’s Inspiration, an organization whose mission is to create inclusive playgrounds for children all over the world. In 2000, they opened their first park “Shane’s Inspiration Playground” in Los Angeles, California. Now, they have assisted in the creation of 63 inclusive playgrounds with another 75 being developed. “Our vision is to foster a bias-free world for children with disabilities. Our mission is to create inclusive playgrounds and programs to unite children of all abilities,” they say on their website.
The Civitan Smiles Park can bring that vision to West Monroe.
In a video shared to Facebook, Ella Ecker, a seven-year-old girl, reacts joyfully to the news that the park equipment was delivered. She is a child with spinal muscular atrophy, which causes her to be bound to a wheelchair. This park will allow her to play alongside her friends and family. The happiness seen on her face and in her tears makes you wish the park already existed. Be prepared to cry some tears of your own.
For more information on this project or to learn how to get involved, visit the West Monroe Civitan’s Club website. Keep an eye out on their Facebook page, Civitan Smiles Park, for updates on progress and an official opening date.
All of the locations that put the light in delightful.
Monroe-West Monroe is an official partner with the state’s Holiday Trail of Lights, which basically means we have lights everywhere. From dancing elves, to lighted tunnels, to Christmas trees from every decade—we’ve got it in lights. If you’re a fan of the Christmas twinkle, here are the locations you can go to bask in the holiday glow.
1. Antique Alley- 100-400 blocks on Trenton Street, West Monroe
This location is a classic go-to spot for Christmas light lovers. For years, the already charming area on Trenton Street decks itself out. The stores each create festive window displays, and the whole street is covered in a canopy of lights. Last year’s updated design included lights draped over the street in a criss-cross fashion. The new look has added a unique sparkle to the alley’s already dazzling look.
2. Winter Wonderland of Lights- Corner of Commerce and Wood Streets, West Monroe
Located behind Antique Alley, this display features light tunnels and many other displays wrapped around a field. Take pictures with the enormous JOY letters, or shoot a video of you and a friend walking through the lighted tunnel. Christmas music plays around you while the lights twinkle along to the songs.
3. Downtown Monroe- Desiard Street/South Grand Street, Monroe
Santa’s hidden talent is on display here in the “Christmas Rocks” display at Palace Park. With the help of two of his friends, ol’ St. Nick puts on a show spreading Christmas cheer for all to hear. Walk throughout the downtown area to see lights dripping from the trees, and more lights hanging over the streets. You can also visit the Downtown RiverMarket who lights up for the occasion.
4. Santa’s Christmas Village- 323 Walnut Street, Monroe
The Holiday Tree-Jays Chris and Christina narrate a delightful, animated light show in front of the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum. There are many activities to do here, including cookie decorating, ice skating, and visiting with Santa. The lights dance along to the music, and the Tree-Jays merrily chat in between.
5. Throwback Christmas- 1 Olive Street, Monroe
The newest kid on the MWM Christmas display block is also the coolest. This display features memorabilia and music from decades past. Throwback Christmas is a great destination for Christmas lights lovers, and also a perfect photo opportunity for an epic #tbt Instagram post. Located near the Warehouse No.1 Restaurant, this walk-through display takes you through time. Starting from 1916, jumping to 1966, and then carrying on through each decade until 2016. You can reminisce on holidays past without being visited by that ghost from “A Christmas Carol.”
6. Freedom Trees- 701 Kansas Lane, Monroe
Visit the Freedom Trees at the Chennault Aviation and Military Museum for a patriotic light display honoring those who serve and have served our country. These lights twinkle and dance in red, white, in blue. Along with classic Christmas ornaments, the trees are decorated with pictures and profiles of war heroes who sacrificed so much for our freedom. This display is in remembrance and gratitude to them.
You don’t have to travel far to see magical Christmas displays. The lights can be found everywhere, which means that the photo ops are endless. Post your pictures on Instagram with the hashtag #mwmholidays for a chance to be featured on our page! Check out our official Christmas on the River website.
“Food is the language. I know how to speak it.”- Miss Kay
Antique Alley in West Monroe got a little sweeter today with the opening of Miss Kay’s Sweets & Eats! The new shop, founded by Miss Kay and the “beardless brother” Alan Robertson of A&E’s hit TV show Duck Dynasty serves breakfast, drinks, coffee, and specialty goodies including Phil’s Pralines and Miss Kay’s biscuits.
You only have to drive for just a bit down Trenton Street before you see a covered patio across the street from Roma’s Italian Bistro. Once you arrive at Miss Kay’s, you’ll find adorable multicolored chairs, rocking chairs, and even a checker board on their patio!
Inside is an urban coffee shop vibe mixed with a downhome bakery feel. Enjoy the sweets or a cup of joe with friends at the couches, around tables, or even at the bar along the wall with a great window view of Antique Alley. Order a handcrafted espresso drink, or keep it simple with one of Mamaw Kay’s biscuits ….or treat yourself with both! We recommend an iced chai latte with a warm praline cinnamon roll- so delicious!
Throughout the Christmas season, their menu is limited to serve only holiday treats. This includes pecan pies, sugar cookies, Phil’s pralines, and the Carmelitas. When the grand opening takes place in January, they’ll have the full menu available! So keep an eye out for that.
In the meantime, you can buy your Christmas cookies here to guarantee that when Santa Claus eats them, he’ll be happy, happy, happy!
Even though Miss Kay isn’t the one cooking and baking in the kitchen, she has tested every recipe. So everything still tastes as good as if Miss Kay made it herself, Jack! Treat your sweet tooth today to some delectable goodies because the bakery is now open from 7am-6pm Tuesday- Saturday.
by Jerrica B.
We’re still several weeks away from cool weather, but it’s never too early to start scoping out your must-have clothing items for fall. Every year we see new trends emerge, but the local boutiques in Monroe-West Monroe know just how to keep you up to date on the latest styles. Here’s a look at some of the season’s hottest pieces and where to find them.
The hat is where it’s at. These go with EVERYTHING, and they add so much flair to your outfits. As we transition into fall, the style moves from straw and woven hats to heavier textures like felt and suede. There is a hat for everyone, with a wide range of brim sizes, crown shapes, and textures. Add some adventure to your outfit with a panama-style hat or a wide-brimmed fedora, or make it classy and cute with a felt floppy hat. BONUS: If you’re having a bad hair day or missed a wash, then this is your go-to solution. These gorgeous hats from HerringStones Boutique are perfect for fall.
2. Bomber Jackets
This jacket style is huge right now, and this is another trend with tons of variety. Remember when leather bomber jackets were popular a few years back? This is a twist on that trend in that these jackets come in all sorts of textures and colors. The basic cut of the jacket is what stays the same. The end of the jacket hits you right at your natural waist, which gives you that hourglass silhouette. It’s perfect for your high-waisted jeans or your A-line midi skirts. This jacket from Hemline is a beautiful, neutral blush that can be paired with almost any color, making it a super versatile piece.
Adding this texture to your fall wardrobe will make you stand out, for sure. It can put a chic spin on any outfit. From pants and leggings to tops and vests, this fabric can be found as just about any piece of clothing. This outfit from K-Sera Boutique goes full suede with both top and pants in this smooth fabric.
No matter how much you try to deny it, this trend is back. But this time, it comes in a variety of styles. Leather, lace, and velvet can be used, and a pearl can give it that soft accent. This stylish piece makes your neck look longer and slimmer. Check out Free Birds Boutique in West Monroe for these unique choker styles, and find what works for you!
5. Lace-Up Necklines
This is a fun trend that made waves over the summer and has now carried into the fall. This sultry neckline adds an interesting twist to your typical casual shirt. As it transitions into fall, you’ll see these pieces become available in more fall colors, heavier textures (like velvet or suede), and with long sleeves. These pieces from Eleven 26 Boutique prove that this style is here to stay. Throw a wide-brimmed fedora with this style for an effortlessly cool look.
This fall, don’t forget about your local Monroe-West Monroe boutiques who have you covered for the latest fashions. What are some of your favorite upcoming fall trends? Let us know!
A whole week dedicated to America’s favorite beverage? We’re in.
The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens will be celebrating its inaugural Coca-Cola Week Sept. 6-10. There will be a variety of events and fun activities including a look at the museum’s Coca-Cola collections, a display of Coke vehicles and a dinner featuring a Coca-cola based menu. Check the schedule below, and remember to mark these dates on your calendar!
The week kicks off at 7pm with author Larry Jorgenson. Jorgenson will be discussing his upcoming book about various Coke museums and public collections of the iconic brand in the Education Building located behind the Coke Museum. This program is free and open to the public.
Jorgenson is a self-described “news dog”, who started working for a newspaper when he was only 13. He conquered the world of publication, radio, and TV news and now focuses much of his time on history. He recently completed a book on the history of Hot Wells, Louisiana.
Jorgenson’s upcoming book, The Coca-Cola Trail, is about the influential people and places that make up the history of Coca-Cola. People like Joseph A. Biedenharn, who in 1894, made a world changing decision and became the first to ever bottle Coca-Cola.
The book details the stories of the early independent bottlers throughout the nation, who had the vision and invested their efforts and money to create what is now the world’s best known product. With over thirty chapters, the book takes readers on the Coca-Cola Trail adventure. Accented by historic photos and interviews, the book pays tribute to those who really made history happen!
Now 122 years later, Coke is not only the number one soft drink in the world, but it is also an iconic image that represents family, fun, and home.
Thursday, Sept. 8th
At 6pm, Chef Pat Nolan will wow guests with delicious food prepared with Coca-Cola or other Coke brand product. A beautiful four course meal will begin before sundown. Guests can enjoy a flavorful menu of deep fried Coke and crawfish fritter, green salad with Sprite vinaigrette, Coca-Cola beef short ribs, garlic Cola chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans, and Coca-Cola tres leche cake. Before each course, Museum Director Ralph Calhoun will present a taste of Coke history and trivia. Guests will be seated at tables of six to encourage conversation and fun. Music will be provided by the NELA Clarinet Choir directed by Scot Humes.
Reservations are required for this amazing event. The dinner is $35 per person and seats can be purchased by calling the Museum Gift Shop at 318-387-5281 or stopping by.
Saturday, Sept. 10th
The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens will not only offer visitors FREE ADMISSION but also excite them with Diet Coke and Mentos Blasts, at 11am and 1pm. Visitors will also be able to view and interact with classic Coca-Cola trucks, including a Model A Ford, a Model T from 1917, a Coca-Cola Panel Truck, and a 1946 Chevy Flat Bed delivery truck. Several Soda Jerks will be available to illuminate patrons on the 100th Anniversary of the iconic Coca-Cola contour bottle.
The Biedenharn Museum & Gardens is open Tues. thru Sat. from 10am to 5pm. Free parking is available on three sides of the museum. The main parking area is located on Speed Avenue near the main entrance to the Coke Museum. Tour information, maps and tickets are available at the Museum Store located inside the Coke Museum. An unloading zone for buses is also located on Speed Avenue directly adjacent to the Coke Museum. Adults $6 Students $4 (Under 12 years old) Annual Pass $20 (a great bargain) Tickets may be purchased in the Museum Store, located in the Coke Museum building at 2000 Riverside Drive (the corner of Riverside Drive and Speed Avenue).
If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Executive Director, Ralph Calhoun, please call Mr. Calhoun at 318-387-5281 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Start your 2016 Football season soaring while watching the ULM Warhawks fight their way to a season of victory starting with a home game at ULM’s Malone Stadium against the Southern Jaguars to kick off the season on September 3rd.
What better place to get ready for hunting season than in the heart of Sportsman’s Paradise! Get your gear here at great local stores like TP Outdoors and The Honey Hole, or even from classic retailers such as Academy Sports & Outdoors or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Looking for a way to get the kids involved? Come visit northeast Louisiana the weekend of September 17th for a Hunting & Fishing Day in Tensas Parish where the whole family can practice skeet and archery shooting as well as get their hands dirty with some live critters!
Break the back to school blues and take some time out to reconnect with your kids with a quick weekend away. Make new memories with your kiddos here by strolling through the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo and Splash Pad, doing some Go-Kart laps at Excalibur Family Fun Center, and of course, taking a photo op with a stop by the Duck Commander Warehouse!
Not everywhere has bayous, and definitely not everywhere has ones where you can rent kayaks and canoes to go exploring! Make some new, adventurous memories as the temperatures begin to slowly fall while you experience a beautiful fall sunrise or sunset along Black Bayou.
Well…sort of. Take one of the Southern Escape challenge courses with your friends or family as a time to get away from it all….literally. How, you may ask? Through hour courses, you are locked in a room and must creatively work together to find your way out. The catch? NO PHONES ALLOWED. But don’t we all need a mini vacation from our phones sometimes?
It’s true that Monroe is home to the second largest mall in Louisiana (Pecanland Mall), but there are plenty more places to shop as well! With hundreds of stores both locally owned and chain retailers, there is no shortage of shopping here! What better places to get your home ready for the fall season then at Walsworth and Company, Woodstock Furniture Revival, or at the regionally known and loved Paul Michael Company.
Need any more reasons? We doubt it. But if you do, find out what amazing things you can shop for, eat, and discover while in Monroe-West Monroe along with a full calendar of events.
DIY projects are always a fun way to spruce up any home, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly where to begin. If you are looking for a simple inexpensive project to add a unique touch to your home décor this is the blog for you!
The first thing I needed in order to start my project was frames. I wanted to find frames that were actually vintage to add to the look I was going for, so I headed out to Antique Alley. With over 40 unique antique shops and boutiques I knew Antique Alley would be the perfect place in Monroe-West Monroe to find exactly what I was looking for. After shopping around I was finally able to find three frames at the Ouachita River Trading Company that were perfect for my project. Next, I picked up some chalk paint from Cotton Port Antique Mall and I was ready to start my project.
-Picture frames of your choice
Use the painters tape to cover up anything you don’t want to get paint on. I really liked the gold border on one of my frames so I decided to use to painters tape to cover that up. You’ll also want to use the painters tape to make a border between the paint and the glass of your picture frame.
Once you’ve got the tape in place it’s time to start painting. I used Vignettes Chalk-Style Paint color Linen that I got at Cotton Port Antique Mall and was ecstatic with the results; however any type of chalk-style paint will work. For two of the frames I wanted the original color of the frame to show through the paint, so I applied a thin layer of paint using long brush strokes.
I love how these frames turned out! For the final touch I added photos taken around Monroe-West Monroe, and decorative ribbon to one of the frames. Add your own family photos from your visits to Monroe-West Monroe and create a unique souvenir that you can cherish for a life time.
August is hot, hot, hot—and so is the art in downtown Monroe and West Monroe!
As always on the first Thursday of every even-numbered month, people of all ages will visit with happy neighbors while reveling in live music, good food, and fine art. From 5 to 9 pm on August 4, all eight galleries (two in West Monroe and six in Monroe) will be open and displaying great art. Many of the artists will give artist talks, explaining the inspiration and technique underlying their creations.
The event is always free–the only expense is incurred if you decide to buy some original art. A special treat at this Crawl is a limited-edition poster, based on a large collage by local artist Emily Caldwell and designed by Downtown Arts Alliance President Kelsea McCrary, which will be available at several galleries.
On the West Monroe (Antique Alley) side of the river, the River Gallery features West Monroe artist Mary May. She recently won first place for her painting “Pure September” at the 2016 Louisiana Peach Festival in Ruston. Subject matter includes portraits and musical instruments, along with urban landscapes and family pets. May studied under Nicola Vigini, along with many other artists in Texas and Louisiana, as she has been a professional artist for the last 20 years. The River Gallery, Louisiana’s oldest and largest art co-op, includes up to thirty artists of all kinds; guests are welcomed with good food and live music.
Rick Sikes, curator of the Big Room Gallery on Art Alley in Monroe, presents well-known potter Gary Ratcliff, retired ULM art professor, as the lead exhibitor, demonstrating his pottery techniques as well as finished work. He will give an artist talk at 7 pm. Other artists showing at the Big Room will be Emily Caldwell, Callie White, Alyssa Guidry Posey, Amy Ouchley, and Stephanie Jordan. Of course, good food and drink is always available at the Big Room.
ARENDER studio + gallery is proud to present Chad Schoonmaker, a Baton Rouge-based artist specializing in acrylic on canvas. This bright body of work is occasionally sealed with resin and varies in size with an option for every art buyer’s space. Chad’s inspirations are his wife Allison and son Sam. Chad says, “Some call art their ‘escape,’ but for me it’s more like home—my studio is where I feel most like myself.” His pieces give the viewers a chance to install a window into their own emotional landscape and experience. He will give an artist talk at 7:30 pm.
The Garrett House, next to the river on South Grand, is open again, newly renovated for the August Crawl, with Nicole Duet as the guest artist. Duet is an assistant professor of drawing and painting as well as the director of the gallery at Louisiana Tech’s School of Design. Curator Brooke Foy announces that Duet will give an artist talk at 6:30 pm.
On DeSiard Street, the Palace Gallery is hosting a North Louisiana native who has been a working artist since she could hold a crayon. Emily Ezell embraces both oil paint and chalk pastels to indulge her love for vibrant color and dynamic mark making. Ezell received her BFA in studio art from Louisiana Tech in 2008, and she will continue her education this fall when she moves to New York City to attend the New York Academy of Art’s MFA program.
Lazy Days of Summer” is the theme for the artists at Sugar Gallery on Art Alley. From Burg Ransom’s gorgeous sunsets to Melanie Douthit’s coastal-inspired creations, everyone can relate as summer winds down. Leah Reitzell’s textured Louisiana-themed paintings and Mary Thompson’s rural-inspired and travel-themed work always draw great interest. Scott Stone will be on the landing with his guitars adorned with seashells and stones he collected on the coast. Stacy Medaries will be back in the “red room,” so no one should miss out on the visual treat known as SUGAR!
Rumo’s Gallery, on Antique Alley in West Monroe, is hosting Jonathan Clayton, a photography student at Louisiana Tech. He spent time teaching English in China, and his National Geographic-style photos document his time there, with both black and white and color photography. The curator is Austin Bantel; owners of the gallery are Russell and Morgan Moore. Music, food and drink are always a part of the evening at this great place.
Finally, back on Art Alley, Upstairs is pleased to exhibit a mixed bag of work in August. Artists include Angela Genusa, exhibiting her collages incorporating vintage materials in witty and uniquely creative pieces, and Jana Giles, showing “Sublime,” a collection of intriguing photography from exotic places and well as close to home. The show also includes Kay McDonald and Anna Rowan’s collaborative sculptures, made from found objects. Upstairs is co-curated by Anna Rowan and Emily Caldwell.
The next Downtown Gallery Crawl will be Thursday, October 6, 2016.