2nd Annual St. Paddy’s Bicycle Parade & Festival!



Bring your friends and family to the 2nd annual St. Paddy’s Day Bicycle Parade and Festival! This is a family fun community event sponsored by the Love Your Community initiative.
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Mardi Gras Pet Parade

This is my second year living outside of New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Although Monroe may be in the same state, it’s really a whole different world “up north”. Last year was the first time I had ever been at work on Fat Tuesday. I suffered through it while scrolling through friends’ photos on Facebook and checking the parade and French Quarter cams on nola.com. I think I did manage to get a piece of king cake locally. I went home last year the weekend of Barkus, an all dog parade that winds through the French Quarter a couple of weeks before Mardi Gras. This year, since I’m taking a trip to Aspen at the end of the month, a weekend trip to catch beads and gorge myself on fried oysters and beignets isn’t in the cards. A couple of weeks ago, I heard that there are actually a couple of parades here in the Monroe area. One of them happens to be a pet parade on a Saturday afternoon. I made my plans to go and gave my dog Baby, a 12 year old black pug, a bath early on Saturday morning. The 7th annual Mardi Gras Pet Parade benefits PAWS (Pet Assistance Welfare Society) of Northeast Louisiana, an amazing all volunteer non-profit that provides many wonderful services to the animals and humans in our area.

IMG_0564 After Baby dried off, she put on her little bomber jacket and we patiently waited on the porch for our ride to arrive. The parade runs only a short distance down Trenton Street, or Antique Alley as it’s known locally. Once we found a parking spot, we piled out of the car into the sunshine and joined what I think was the entire population of Monroe and West Monroe combined in getting a good spot to view the parade. There were lots of people and their four-legged friends, and Baby got lots of hugs, kisses and petting from a large group of cute little girls.

We could see the parade starting, so we begged our way to the front of the barricade to get a good view. My arm was already starting to ache from holding a 12 pound pug in the crook of my elbow, but what could I do? She doesn’t like to be left on the ground in a crowd. We both perked up when we saw the first of the costumed dogs and their floats. From huge Mastiffs, to tiny I-don’t-know-whats, just about every breed of dog was on display. Some of my favorites included the “Doxy Dynasty” dogs, a play on the local boys made famous on A&E’s Duck Dynasty; a large black lab in a full body purple leotard; a Brussels Griffon (because they look like Ewoks); and the very best of all: a goat in a tutu who had painted horns and hooves.

Sometime during the parade I did pass the pug off to a friend, and so when the parade was done I found her curled up on a cozy lap in the sun. Everyone was smiling, laughing and pointing out cute dogs. Although I do still miss New Orleans, I have to admit it was refreshing to not be sitting in bumper to bumper post-parade traffic with horns blaring. I think I made it to Starbucks in about 15 minutes! Life in a small town can be really good sometimes. This year, I have eaten no less than 4 different king cakes, been to a great pet parade, have WWOZ streaming online at my office, and my wig and costume are ready for me to wear to work on Tuesday. I’m going to stick out like a sore thumb, but I can’t abandon Fat Tuesday all together. To all my friends and family in New Orleans, laissez le bon temps rouler!

Mardi Gras Pet Parade Monroe LA
Sarah Hoffman
Marketing & Social Media
John Rea Realty

New Dog Park in West Monroe

Four acres of Kiroli Park in West Monroe have been dedicated to northern Louisiana’s first dog park that includes fenced-in areas for large and small dogs, gazebos and natural and man-made water features. The ribbon cutting ceremony on opening day attracted many dogs and dog lovers from Ouachita Parish. Todd Graves, president and CEO of Raising Cane’s restaurant, and Cane II were the special guests. The park was created through many hours of volunteer work from community members, and efforts by city public works employees. Donations from private and corporate sponsors also made the dog park possible. Owners are asked to register their dogs in order to access the dog park. Cost for Kiroli Park annual pass holders will be $5 while an annual permit will cost $10 for those without an annual pass. For more info, call Kiroli Park at 318-396-4016 or visit the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/RaisingCanesDogParkAtKiroli

For more information on Northeast Louisiana, visit http://www.johnrearealty.com

RiverMarket Opening in Downtown Monroe


The grand opening for the Downtown RiverMarket in Monroe is set for 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 13. We are so excited to see this addition to the beautiful downtown area. Along with Gallery Crawl & River Jam events, the area has wonderful old historic buildings and is nestled on the scenic Ouachita River, making it a great destination for tourists and locals. Revitalization of this historic area is taking off; call us if you’d like to invest in property in the area.


For more information on the RiverMarket, or to become a vender, visit http://downtownrivermarket.com/

Click Here for a calendar of community events

Photos: Sarah Hoffman

Wait, We Have A Local Vineyard?

This was my exact thought after hearing about it when I moved back to town after living in Maine for a year.  Many things have changed or seemingly come out of nowhere in Monroe during the year I was gone, for instance, Landry Vineyards.

Before I left the Monroe area, I had never heard of the place. Now, everyone seems to be talking about it and asking, “Are you going this weekend?” Their website is full of events for the whole year – and these events are not just for adults!

A few weekends ago, some of my friends mentioned the event and asked if I wanted to go.  I had no idea where it was and I, of course, chose to drive.  A few minutes outside of West Monroe, we drove up to a large opening in the woods.  A giant plot of land, or the vineyards, with live music and many many people enjoying the summer evening.

You could go inside and taste the wines for free, and then purchase some if what you found suited your tastes.  Food was also available, but the real action was everyone laying out on the side of a hill listening to the music and watching people take rides through the vineyard.

It was a pleasant surprise and I highly recommend viewing their website to plan your visit: http://www.landryvineyards.com/

For more events in Monroe and West Monroe, check out our community calendar.

Visit our website for more information on the Northeast Louisiana area, and search homes for sale in Monroe, West Monroe and all of Ouachita Parish.

For Kids of All Ages

One of Northeast Louisiana’s favorite treasures, The Children’s Museum is located on the Ouachita River in the heart of historic Downtown Monroe. In this video, Realtor Nancy Inabnett is joined by the museum’s director, Martha Ryan. From regular exhibits to special activities, the museum is a wonderful attraction to have in our community, and needs our continued support. Visit the Kid’s Cafe, the Health Hall and Bubbleworks, even learn about the human body from Stuffee! For more information, visit http://www.nelcm.org.

Looking to buy or sell real estate in Monroe LA, West Monroe or surrounding areas of Northeast Louisiana? Visit http://www.johnrearealty.com

Talkin’ Dirt with Kathy – Farm Fresh

I suppose you know you have entered adulthood when the highlight of your summer is the opening of the Monroe Farmer’s Market! My love affair with the Farmer’s Market began in 1982 when I moved back to Monroe. At that time, the Farmer’s Market was located on the grounds of the Monroe Civic Center. I can remember bringing my 6 month old baby boy along with me to do my shopping and one of the farmer’s, Mr. Spillers, decided he needed to weigh my child. Without missing a beat, he plopped him on his hanging scale and declared the “young un” was tipping the scale at 16 pounds. It seems like just yesterday that this “weigh in” occurred but that young man is now 25 years old.  Continue reading