Spring Fever hits the Downtown Gallery Crawl

As nature springs forth with color and variety this April, the Downtown Arts Alliance celebrates the ever-brightening burst of local artistic talents displayed in eight downtown galleries this April 7, 5-9 pm.

Accompanied by live music and good food and drink, the galleries will present residents and visitors alike the opportunity to enjoy the visual arts. Springtime seems particularly appropriate for this sort of colorful party! On the first Thursday of even-numbered months, visual artists generously share their works with art-lovers of all ages during the Downtown Gallery Crawls. Thursday, April 7, 5-9 pm, is again time to enjoy art in the cultural districts of downtown Monroe and West Monroe. Totally free, the evening includes wonderful art of all kinds. Downtown River Jam will also present live music at Bry Park, downtown Monroe, during the Crawl.

Original art will be for sale, too, with no sales taxes charged because the galleries are in an official cultural district. Resident and guest artists will be on hand to talk with patrons about their art. And neighbors will simply enjoy visiting with neighbors during this bi-monthly occasion!

Here’s a sample of what you’ll find at this month’s crawl:

A sculpture by Bill Ayers, featured artist at UPSTAIRS
apr2016-ORAG-girls in field-hudnall
Girls in the Field by Rachael Hudnall, featured at The River Gallery
Photography by Burg Ransom, featured at Sugar Gallery
Painting by Katie Minyard, featured at Rumo’s Gallery

For more information on the Downtown Gallery crawl, visit their website or Facebook page.

Shop the 2016 Color Trends in Monroe-West Monroe

by Janna J.

With the colds of this winter finally coming to an end, it’s almost time to start working on our spring wardrobe. Spring shopping is like a light at the end of a chilly tunnel, however this early in the game it is hard to know exactly what is going to be in style for the upcoming season. Luckily for us, Pantone just made shopping a little easier by releasing the top ten must have colors for spring 2016. To make spring shopping even more of a breeze for our visitors and locals, we have put together a list of the official Pantone spring color report and just where you can find these colors in Monroe-West Monroe.

  1. Rose Quartz

Rose Quartz is set to be the number one color on trend this season. Believe me you will see this color everywhere. This pale pink is sweet without being too frilly and is perfect for day or night. This color is quickly filling up the racks at local Boutiques such as Duck & Dressing. Hurry up and get this color now to be one of the first on trend this spring 2016 season.

Rose Quartz DD
Duck & Dressing
  1. Serenity

This new spring color is just as calming as it sounds. Fresh and airy, Serenity is a must have in any spring 2016 wardrobe. Serenity goes perfectly with rose quartz to create the ultimate spring outfit. Our very own Rustico already loves this trendy color.

  1. Peach Echo

Different shades of orange have been trending for several seasons, and it’s comes as no surprise that we are seeing a new shade this spring. Now introducing the newest member of the orange family Peach Echo, this playful shade is sure to be a statement color this spring. You can currently find this shade in colored jeans at Pelican District.

Peach Echo Pants
Pelican District
  1. Snorkel Blue

While navy shades are usually reserved for the colder seasons, Snorkel Blue allows us to break the rules thanks to its nautical vibe. You’ll see this color throughout the spring and summer so you better stock up now.  Dress casual with HerringStone’s snorkel blue tank top.

Snorkel Blue top H
  1. Buttercup

Get yourself pumped up about the sunny days to come with Buttercup. This eye-popping hue is the go to statement color of spring 2016. Brighten up your spring day with this Buttercup Tie Dye Tunic from Kin-Mar’s Boutique.

Kin-Mar’s Boutique


  1. Limpet Shell

This shade of aqua that leans towards the green family is sure to be a favorite throughout the 2016 spring season. You will see this color more and more the closer it gets to Easter.  These limpet shell colored jeans from Rustico are perfect for any spring day.

  1. Lilac Gray

In a season where pastels usually rule, a good neutral is a must. Lilac Gray, with its purple undertone adds a little more to your wardrobe than a basic gray. This color allows people who like earthy tones to still wear a spring shade. Check out Hemline Monroe’s Lilac Gray distressed swing tunic.

Liliac Gray Shift Tunic
Hemline Monroe
  1. Fiesta

Get the party started with spring 2016 color Fiesta. Spice up any wardrobe with this sassy spring shade. This vivid red is sure to turn heads, so head on over to K-Sera Boutique to purchase this amazing color.

Feista Red Dress
K-Sera Boutique
  1. Iced Coffee

Another spring 2016 neutral is Iced Coffee. Don’t let the iced named fool you, because this color is set to be hot throughout the year.  Find this earthy neutral in a casual dress from Cara’s Boutique.

Iced Coffee Dress
Cara’s Boutique
  1. Green Flash

Last but defiantly not least on Pantone’s spring 2016 color report is Green Flash. This green will be seen as both a statement and accent color throughout the spring 2016 season. Get your Easter outfit planned early with this dress from The Twisted Peacock.

flash green
The Twisted Peacock

No matter which of these colors you choose to rock, be sure to shop in any of the local Monroe-West Monroe boutiques for the most unique finds this spring 2016 season.

2016 Photo Contest with BayouLife

By Jerrica B.

“A picture is worth a thousand words, but the memories are priceless.”

We all see things differently. I think it’s beautiful that we all have different experiences that lead to unique perspectives. Our stories are like fingerprints; not one is the same. And we all have a story to share. In this year’s photo contest, we want you to share your perspective. And bonus! Your photo just might end up on the cover of BayouLife Magazine.

Photo contest, monroe louisiana
2015 Best of Show: 4th of July Fireworks by Jeremy Thornhill

This year’s theme reflects the uniqueness we all have. The theme is “From Where I Stand.” We want to see your perspective of Ouachita Parish. Whether you are sitting by the bayou or hanging out with your friends on Antique Alley, we want to see what you see. Submitted images could include your favorite restaurant or menu item, favorite local shop, art gallery, architecture, event, or anything that describes life in Monroe-West Monroe.

photo contest, monroe louisiana, landry vineyards, vineyard, wine
2015 Adult Division 1st Place Winner: Chilling at Landry Vineyard by Mike Roberts

Will there be prizes? Of course! First, Second, and Third Prizes will be awarded. Winners will be announced at a special Tourism Industry Luncheon featuring Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser on May 5. The awards are:

Best of Show: will be featured on the July cover of BayouLife Magazine and receive a cash award of $200.00.

Adult Division:
First Place – $150.00
Second Place – $125.00
Third Place – $100.00

Student Division:
First Place – $125.00
Second Place – $100.00
Third Place – $75.00

railroad bridge, ouachita river, monroe louisiana
2015 Student Division 1st Place Winner: Bridge by Sachel Leary

The MWMCVB has already started accepting submissions as of March 1. The deadline to enter is April 18 at 5:00 p.m. Submit your photos in digital format, along with the registration form, to jbennett@monroe-westmonroe.org. Photos have to be taken within the past two years and in Ouachita Parish to be eligible. Images that include people must be accompanied by a signed Model Release Form that is included in the Registration Packet.

We can’t wait to see your photos! Submit as many as you like, and your picture just might end up on the cover of BayouLife Magazine. Best of luck to all who participate!

To fill out a registration form, click here.

For further details or to determine if your photo(s) are eligible, contact Jerrica Bennett at jbennett@monroe-westmonroe.org or (318) 387-5691.

4th Annual St. Paddy’s Bicycle Parade & Festival

By Janna J.


Dress the kids, pets, and even yourself in the best festive wear your pot of gold can buy and start your St. Patrick’s Day off right with the 4th annual St. Paddy’s Bicycle Parade & Festival. This fun, free family event will be held March 12th from 10:00am-2:00pm at Kiroli Park in West Monroe. Parade members are encouraged to dress head to toe in their best Irish gear, but don’t stop there decorate your bikes, trikes, wagons, scooters, and pets for a ride around Kiroli Park’s Field. Prizes will be given out to the child, adult, and pet’s costume that would turn even a Leprechaun green with envy.

bicycle parade
St. Paddy’s Day Parade getting ready to roll

The parade rolls at 12:30pm, so be sure to get there early to enjoy all the festival has to offer. Emerald Accent will be performing live Irish music along will real Irish dancers. There will also be free face painting, a photo booth, and inflatable jumpers that the kids will be sure to enjoy. Free refreshments will include green lemonade and popcorn. For the lads and lassies with more of an appetite there will also be food vendors on site.  Rainbow the Clown will be there to entertain all ages, and I’ve also heard tales that there will be a real life Leprechaun in attendance.

Festival attendees in festive attire

Show up extra early to compete in the 1st annual St. Paddy’s 4 Leaf Clover Race. Sign up for either the 3K (1.86 miles) or the 7K (4.35 miles) and run through the beautiful rolling hills of Kiroli Park. The race will start at 8:00am and a portion of the proceeds from this event will be donated to “Veterans of Foreign Wars.” Click HERE to register.