The first residents of what is now Monroe were the Ouachita Indians who inhabited the area around 1350 BC. The site later attracted a transitory population of traders, trappers, and hunters, but few permanent inhabitants. The first non-native settlers to Ouachita Parish were likely remnants of LaSalle’s 1680 expedition to Louisiana. By the time these settlers arrived in the 17th century, little was left of the Ouachita Indians who had inhabited the area for generations.
In 1782, the Governor of New Orleans sent Don Juan (Jean) Filhiol to establish a post along the Ouachita River. By 1790, this trading post, called Ft. Miro, had evolved into a community of 49 families.
In 1803, the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, and for the first time, Ft. Miro was under US authority. Ouachita Parish was established March 31, 1807, with Ft. Miro as the parish seat. In 1819, the town’s name was changed from Ft. Miro to Monroe.
The city of Monroe and Ouachita Parish have continued to prosper. The city has recently constructed a new terminal for the Monroe Regional Airport, complete renovations of the sewer and water system is underway, new roads have been built and new industry is moving to and expanding in Monroe. The future looks promising for Monroe and Ouachita Parish.