November 18, 2011

Winter Workshop for Children

Winter Workshop for Children
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Ages 5 – 8, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Ages 9 – 12, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m.
$30 non-members/ $20 museum members

Children are invited to attend a Half-day workshop in which they will have the opportunity
to create at least two exciting art crafts.

Ages 5 – 8 will create monotype-covered salt and pepper shakers* and marble paintings.
Ages 9 – 12 will create silhouette plates and monotype prints*.

*Children will us our new etching press to make monotypes!
Snacks will be provided. Space is limited.

To register for either of these classes:
Contact Curator of Education & Public Programs, at 318-329-2237.

Masur Museum of Art The Masur Museum of Art is a division of the Department of Community Affairs, City of Monroe. Exhibitions and educational programs are sponsored by the Twin City Art Foundation. The Masur Museum’s mission is to provide a quality visual arts experience through temporary exhibitions, educational programs, and collections management for the citizens of Monroe and the community of Northeast Louisiana.

Programs at the Masur Museum are supported by a grant from the Louisiana State Arts Council through the Louisiana Division of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are also supported by grants from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the Northeast Louisiana Arts Council; by the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau; by Union Pacific Foundation; and by the support of corporate and private donors.


28th Annual Christmas in Roseland Festival

November 25- December 18, 2011 from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Last car admitted at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, December 23, 2011from 5:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Last car admitted at 9:30 p.m.

Gardens of the American Rose Center, just off I-20, Exit 5 in Shreveport, LA
8877 Jefferson Paige Road, Shreveport, LA 71119

$5 per person or $20 per carload. Ages 2 and younger are free. Purchase tickets at the gate with cash. Santa/Train tickets are available in gift shop. Please note that Christmas in Roseland is a walking event only and no carts are available.

Group Rates:
$35 per minibus (Up to 25 people)
$75 per charter bus;
Please call 318-938-5402 to make a group reservation.

Photos with Santa are $10 each. No personal photography allowed.
Santa is located in the Administration Building. Tickets may be purchased in the Gift Shop.

Roseland Express tickets are $5. Tickets may be purchased in the Gift Shop.

$5 off Carload Admission Coupons

During Christmas in Roseland, customers of Shreveport-Bossier Chick-Fil-A locations will receive $5 off Carload Admission coupon with purchase of a meal while supplies last.
Shreveport Location: 7010 Youree Drive

The Christmas Cards to the Community program was established more than 16 years ago to create a
unique opportunity to highlight the talents of local students. Since that time, this program has become a
cornerstone of our event. Every year, thousands of visitors enjoy the creativity and beauty shown by our
area school children. Prizes are awarded to the top three designs in elementary, middle and high school

May 04, 2011

Natchitoches Events in May

El Camino Real "Sale on the Trail" - May 6-7

The El Camino Real de los Tejas National Historic Trail will be the site of a 175 mile-long "Sale on the Trail". 

Land owners and businesses located on Highway 6 in LA and Highway 21 in TX from Natchitoches to Crockett,will hold yard sales, flea markets, festivals, trade shows, sidewalk sales, and more along this famous trail.

Registration is required. For more information, please contact the Natchitoches Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 259-1714. Visit for additional information on the Trail.

Cane River Green Market
May 7th
8:00 am – 12:00 pm
Natchitoches' only farmers market will be selling everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to handmade crafts. Events and promotions for this event include demonstrations, special programming and live music. For more information contact Courtney Hornsby at (866) 941-6246 or visit

Rebel State Historic Site
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Rebel State Historic Site will host a classic car, tractor and motorcycle show. Activities include live entertainment by The Davis Family, C.J. Michaels and Hosea Parrie. Food vendors will be available. The Red River Street Rods will be making a special appearance. The Park is located at 1260 Hwy. 1221 in Marthaville, LA 71450. For more information call (888) 677-3600.

Fort St. Jean Baptiste
May 14th
10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Visitors to Fort St. Jean Baptiste, 155 rue Jefferson, will be introduced to the 18th century French arms and artillery through a variety of discussions and demonstrations culminating in the firing of the Fort's 4lb garrison gun. Weather permitting. Admission $4 ages 12-62. For more information call (888) 677-7853.

May 31st
Fleur de Lis Arts & Crafts Show 
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Natchitoches Events Center

Wide variety of hand-made items from about 60 vendors, many who are from Louisiana. Held at the Natchitoches Events Center, 750 Second Street. Free admission.

Information from Natchitoches Tourism

Alexandria Museum of Art to Host Dragon Boat Races

The Alexandria Museum of Art is organizing the First Louisiana Dragon Boat Races on the Red River on Saturday, May 14, 2011.

Dragon Boat racing is a sport that has been around China for hundreds of years, and it has grown in popularity in North America. It is an athletic event that is enjoyed by all ages and all levels of physical accomplishment. Each boat consists of a long boat, 20 paddlers, a drummer in front and a helmsman in the rear.

The Museum is using the expertise of a Montreal based Dragon Boat Racing Company to assist with this exciting and unique fundraising event. The race will provide safe exercise and camaraderie for hundreds of participants and wholesome entertainment for thousands of spectators.

“We have the Red River outside our backdoor--why not use it for a fun community activity?” says Catherine Pears, Executive Director of the Alexandria Museum of Art.

The Museum looks forward to bringing together groups from all cross-sections of Central Louisiana. The competition is open to businesses, churches, schools, athletic groups, military units, government agencies, and groups of friends.

“This is such a unique fundraising event that we hope to grow each year and make a mainstay in the Alexandria events schedule,” says Pears.

Already many large employers are embracing this team building exercise with CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital, Rapides Regional Medical Center, and Central Louisiana Surgical Hospital on board. Other local companies such as Union Tank Car, Red River Bank, Capital One Bank, Walker Automotive, Diamond Grill/Loyd Hall, and Central Louisiana Home Health have already committed to being a part of the inaugural event.

“I think these larger companies see the long term potential of this idea and how it could grow to become an economic plus for the city,” says Wayne Denley, Chairman of the Boat Race Committee. “Other major cities across the country have built these events into city-wide festivals. We are thinking big--that is why we have named it The Louisiana Dragon Boat Races.”

To find out more about how to participate or be on a boat team, go online to Watch for a specific website: to be launched for the event, which will include more information. Paddles Up!

Article by: Alexandria/ Pineville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
P.O. Box 1070, Alexandria, LA 71309
(800) 551-9546

“Louisiana’s own, Sammy Kershaw to headline the Heflin Sawmill Festival on Friday, May 6.

The Heflin Sawmill will be held on May 6 and 7. This year Louisiana’s own, Sammy Kershaw will be featured in concert on Friday, May 6 at 8:00 at the Donnie Nelson Memorial Park in Heflin, LA. Tickets for the concert are $15 in advance and $20 at the gate. Call (318)377-9799 to order tickets now and bring your lawn chairs for this great concert. Admission to the Sawmill Festival will be free and offers a car show, store vendors, food booths, and arts and crafts. The concert and festival are family friendly and no alcohol is allowed. For more information contact Cathy Lee at (318)377-7539.

UDirections:U Take Highway 371 south from Interstate 20 at Exit #47 and go approximately 8 miles. Turn left on Highway 531 and left at the next 4 way stop sign.

This event is funded in part by a grant from the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Commission.

May 03, 2011


Mayfest Schedule

Friday, May 6th
5:00 p.m.  Vendors Open
6:00-7:45     Rivers Revue Band
8:00-10:00   Jo-El Sonnier
                      Vendors close when music ends

Saturday, May 7th
7:00 AM                  Lions Club Pancake Breakfast
8:00 AM                  Armadillo Stampede 5K Run 1 M Fun Run / Walk
9:00 AM                  Vendors Open
                                 Opening Ceremonies with US Army Color Guard
10:15-11:15            Brian Sivils
11:20-11:45            Brett Brunson
11:55-12:45            Justin Merritt
12:50-1:15              David Locklear
1:20-2:20                Johnny Earthquake & the Moondogs
2:25-3:15                Luke Jazz Trio
3:25-4:15                East Side Connection
4:25-5:00                Marcus Davis
5:10-6:10                Harmon Drew
6:15-6:45                Shailee Roshong
6:55-7:55                Louisiana Scramble Band
7:55-8:15                Pink Flamingos
8:30-10:00              Henry Reggans & The Sidemen
                                 Vendors Close when Music Ends

Downtown Leesville
May 6 & 7
Musical entertaiment, arts and crafts, food booths, kids activities and more.

Visit Monroe/West Monroe soon!

Upcoming Summer Events to check out:
June 2 · Downtown Gallery Crawl
June 13-17 · Adventures in Art at Masur Museum Summer Camp
June 23-25 · 49th Annual Miss Louisiana Pageant
July 2 · Independence Day Celebration & Fireworks Extravaganza
July 18-20 · 2011 National Horseshoe Pitchers Assc. World Tournament
July 23 · Harvest Festival at Landry Vineyards

Information from  Monroe-West Monroe Convention & Visitors Bureau

2011 Spring Bloom Celebration at Gardens of the American Rose Center

MAY 6, 2011: NATIONAL PUBLIC GARDENS DAY9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

The Gardens of the American Rose Center is participating in the 3rd Annual National Public Gardens Day by offering free admission. Gardens are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
National Public Gardens Day is a national event created by the American Public Gardens Association in partnership with Rain Bird. It will be hosted by more than 500 botanic gardens, arboreta and zoos from coast to coast.

9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Join us to enjoy our peak spring bloom! Visit with a variety of plant experts all in one place! Various plants, including roses will be available for purchase. Admission is free.
Dr. Allen Owings, Extension Specialist in Ornamental Horticulture working in commercial nursery crops and home grounds, with the LSU Agricultural Center, Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service. Dr. Owings has been with the Extension Service for several years and is rich in experience with the culture of ornamental plants. His research/demonstration project areas include plant evaluation, home grounds and commercial nursery crop best management practices (BMPs). Dr. Owings will be on hand to answer questions on a variety of plant topics. Betty Vickers, Old Garden Rose Specialist. Heritage Rose Foundation Officer and Rose Librarian, Founding Member of Heritage Rose District in New York, American Rose Society volunteer, former officer and member of the Dallas Area Rose Society and International Rose Show Judge in Paris, France. Betty will be on hand to answer questions about roses and other garden plants.

Saletha Clanton, Founding Member of Ark La Tex Rose and Garden Society in Shreveport, ARS member will provide information related to local gardening opportunities and region-specific issues about roses and other ornamental plants, and will have some roses and other plants on hand for sale. Ark La Tex Herb Society members Rose, Arline and Bobbie will have a table set up with information and will provide guidance pertaining to herbs, as well as refreshments for sale using herbs fresh from the garden.

MAY 8, 2011: MOTHER’S DAY IN THE GARDEN1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Bring your mom to enjoy the roses! Gardens are open 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Information from Gardens of the American Rose Center
For more information, visit


By Angela Couch, As The Crow Flies,
Special to Louisiana Trekker

Louisiana must truly be the festivities and celebrations capital of the United States. We do love to party don't we.  Festivals, concerts, art exhibits, museums, historial places, community events, food extravaganzas, musical concerts, sports and the list goes on and on. You can always find information about some event in Louisiana in speciality magazines, newspapers, on the radio and TV and on the web.

There are a number of internet sites created especially to share information about Louisiana happenings.  There is a nice listing of events in our state government's travel and tourism web site which lists many festivals and events for the whole year.  We have several well known Louisiana travel sites that contain events calendars. Major newspaper sites usually carry a listing of events local to their coverage area. Some personal sites also post upcoming events for our state.

I have canvassed a number of travel and tourism web sites specifically for the state of Louisiana.   In my  research, I googled for every site I could find that offered an events calendar for Louisiana.  There is no shortage of things to do in our state.  Louisiana is called the Sportsman's Paradise for good reason, for there are plenty of fishing and hunting opportunities here.  To augment the outdoor sportsman's love for the outdoors, there is the added thrill of fishing tournaments,  hunters courses, conventions, festivals, boat shows, gun and knives shows, wild game cooking classes just to name a few.  In addition, sports of almost every description, from Little League Ball to the Saints, and from roller skating to boat and car races can be found here.

There is a festival or celebration for nearly every type of food and concoction native to Louisiana.  There are many sites that report on cook-offs, food fests and the like for the state of Louisiana. 

For a softer side of things to do, there are always beauty pageants, music or dance recitals, and talent competitions.  Perhaps you lean toward literary diversions, the theater, or concert performances.  If it's music you like, you can find a potpourri of styles in an assortment of venues. There is no shortage of events to announce.

There is no shortage of opportunity to learn about our friends and neighbors with the gumbo of cultures we have in Louisiana. There are cultural exhibits, handcrafted artistry, folklife displays and museums that share our cultural diversity.

Unfortunately, my research has shown that in spite of an abundance of events that need to be publicized, north central Louisiana gets the short end of the stick. In my internet searches and some hard copy publication investigations, I have discovered that the number of listed events for north central Louisiana are not proportional as compared with our neighbors to the south.

Since I have created an events list for north/central Louisiana at , I have contiually searched for and posted hundreds of events in the north/central Louisiana coverage area of As The Crow Flies.  My purpose is to draw attention to this lack of publicity for north/central Louisiana and to perhaps find a workable solution.

I want to know that we are getting our fair share of  promotion which ultimately includes
recognition, resources and not least of all, tourism dollars.  Most non-government sites that share a calendar usually claim to be representing the whole state, though I have found this is not the case. But you would think that our state government listings would have a more balanced representation.

From our very own state of Louisiana website here:  under lafestivals.xls a list of Louisiana festivals and events, out of a total of 510 events, less than 17% are listed for north/central Louisiana with the majority of those being in big city venues such as Monroe, Shreveport or cultural hot spots such as Natchitoches.  Even Alexandria came in with only 3 events.

When doing a search of a well known official travel site for Louisiana, (, I found in a search of the 13 areas listed, 5 of those were in central or north Louisiana.  Of those areas, there were a total of 35 events listed for a 4 week span between April 30 and May 28.  Sounds OK until you look at the totals.  In the same time period there were a total of 265 events listed for areas south of Alexandria. Of those listings in Alexandria area, 6 of the events were in conjunction with the Civil War Sesquicentennial.  Events that were special this year only and will not appear in the same context again. There were many other events in north/central Louisiana that were disregarded completely. When the numbers are crunched,  Central and North Louisiana gets 16 1/2 % of the total listings from this travel site though the actual number of events are many more than published.

The state government of Louisiana has a program called: Louisiana Main to Main: A Cultural Roadshow. From the site they say:  Louisiana Main to Main is a program to collectively showcase our culture, commerce, history, and our abundance of creative and natural assets, and encourages road trips from one Main Street community to the next.  This program list a total of 30 towns in the program but only 7 are in the northern/central region of Louisiana.  This gives the whole region north of Alexandria only 23% of the promotion and monies allotted. Some personal sites claiming to be promoting Louisiana statewide include little to no north/central Louisiana events. After researching several such sites these were some of the results.

Here are the numbers:
17 %
16 1/2 %

Some sites have NO listings for North Louisiana festivals despite claiming to be a listing site for the whole United States such as

0 %
0 %  The southfest site has listings from 9 southern states. In it's Louisiana listings of festivals, not one event is listed for north/central Louisiana.

6 1/2 %
12 % Even Wikipedia with it's list of over 139 festivals managed to share only 12% of festivals in our area of the state.

From our state sites and other travel/tourism sites and publications we get only 9.7 % of the total publicity for events in the entire state of Louisiana.

You can check out these sites for yourself, see if you can find a fair share of publicity for north/central Louisiana.

Not to limit my search to festivals and fairs I went searching for other types of events.
Here are the results:

I looked up Summer Camps in Louisiana.  Out of a total of 11 from this site, two were actually above
Alexandria, yet they were claiming to be giving information about summer camps in Louisiana.

Here on   I found  52 camps but only 6 of the total were from Alexandria or north of Alexandria Louisiana. There are many more summer camps & children's camps in north/central Louisiana than just over 1 %.

And just for fun I checked out this site
festivals.html to find that only 1 out of 37 Louisiana food events were listed as being in the
north/central Louisiana area.

Check out As The Crow Flies and see for yourself that we here in north/central Louisiana have many, many opportunities for tourism.
If you are as unhappy with these numbers as I am, how about let's do something about it.

I will continue to post the events that I find on my page but it would be a great help if chambers of commerce, town site, newspapers and other publications as well as museums and art commissions would band together to request equal opportunity and publicity from the state of Louisiana and web site that promote the southern part of our state so heavily.

Email me at: angelacouch (at) yahoo (dot) com or contact me on Facebook with your suggestions. Put north/central Louisiana in the subject line please.

January 13, 2011

January 2011: Things to do and see in Monroe-West Monroe

Through January 31
Ouachita River Art Gallery features: Charlie Heck
Ouachita River Art Galley’s Artist of the Month for January is Charlie Heck. Exhibit features Heck’s work with black and white photography. Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Free
Ouachita River Art Gallery, 308 Trenton Street, West Monroe, 318-322-2380 or

January 13
Chop Chop Thursdays at Bayou Bowl
Bayou Bowl has chopped the prices! Come out and have some classic family fun with half price bowling and half price pork chop sandwiches, 5:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $2.25
Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe, 318-325-2062 or

January 14
$5 All You Can Bowl Friday
Come celebrate Fridays with Bayou Bowl while having some classic family fun! 6:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $5
Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe,  318-325-2062 or

January 14 & 15
Ag Expo 2011
The expo is fun for the whole family with a trade show, wildlife exhibit, Jr. Livestock Show, Sanctioned Rabbit Show, Miniature Cow Show, Elsie the Cow, commodity samples, and more! 2:00-8:00 p.m. Friday; 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Saturday,  Cost: $5; Under 6 free
Ike Hamilton Expo Center, West Monroe, 318-355-2495 or

January 14-16
Antique Show
This annual antique show features dealers from all over the United States offering glassware, jewelry, silver, furniture, linens, old books and crystal restoration!
Time: 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday, 12:00-5:00 p.m. Sunday, Cost: $5; children 12 and under free
Monroe Convention Center, Monroe, 318-323-3188 or 318-396-9143

January 15
Gardening Seminar: Steps to Success
Check out this first time event about gardening with LSU and Louisiana Tech specialists and author, Barbara Pleasant. Event includes Ago Expo tickets, door prizes and much more! 7:30 a.m.-noon, Cost: $10 early registration; $15 after December 31
West Monroe Convention Center, West Monroe, 318-323-2251

January 16
Family Fun Day at Bayou Bowl
Come have some classic family fun at Bayou Bowl. One price gets you two hours of bowling, four shoe rentals, and four regular soft drinks! Noon-Midnight, Cost: $25
Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe, 318-325-2062 or

January 19
Wacky Wednesday at Bayou Bowl
Bayou Bowl offers $2 bowling and $2 burgers every Wednesday. Come have some classic family fun while enjoying live entertainment! 6:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $2
Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe, 318-325-2062 or

January 20
Chop Chop Thursdays at Bayou Bowl
Bayou Bowl has chopped the prices! Come out and have some classic family fun with half price bowling and half price pork chop sandwiches. 5:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $2.25
Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe, 318-325-2062 or

January 20
Bottles & Brushes at Masur Museum
Looking for a creative way to spend an evening? Join the Masur Museum to create your own work of art under the professional instruction. Bring your favorite bottle of wine or other beverage and enjoy some time with friends! 6:00-8:00 p.m., Cost: $35 museum members; $40 non-members
Masur Museum of Art, Monroe, 318-329-2237 or

January 21-23
Clash of the Monsters
TBO Entertainment presents this action-packed monster truck show! Event includes Monster Truck Mayhem, Junk Yard Tuff Trucks and much more! Advanced tickets available.
Time: Friday & Saturday 8:00 p.m.; Sunday 2:00 p.m.
Cost: Adults $16; Children $12; Sunday Children $5
Ike Hamilton Expo Center, West Monroe, 318-325-9160 or

January 21
$5 All You Can Bowl Friday
Come celebrate Fridays with Bayou Bowl while having some classic family fun! 6:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $5, Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe, 318-325-2062 or

January 23
Family Fun Day at Bayou Bowl

Come have some classic family fun at Bayou Bowl. One price gets you two hours of bowling, four shoe rentals, and four regular soft drinks. Noon-Midnight, Cost: $25
Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe,  318-325-2062 or

January 26
Wacky Wednesday at Bayou Bowl
Bayou Bowl offers $2 bowling and $2 burgers every Wednesday. Come have some classic family fun while enjoying live entertainment! 6:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $2
Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe,  318-325-2062 or

January 26
Faculty Artist Concert Series Featuring Dr. Micah Everett
Recital features ULM Assistant Professor of Low Brass Micah Everett, accompanied by Professor Coralie White. 7:30 p.m. Free ULM - Emy Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall, Monroe, 318- 342-1414 or

January 27
Architecture of William King Stubbs
The Cooley House Foundation presents this lecture with special guest, John H.Stubbs. 6:00 p.m. Free, ULM – Emy-Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall, Monroe, 318-329-2237

January 27
Chop Chop Thursdays at Bayou Bowl
Bayou Bowl has chopped the prices! Come out and have some classic family fun with half price bowling and half price pork chop sandwiches. 5:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $2.25 Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe, 318-325-2062 or

January 28-30
KNOE Boat & Outdoor Show
Boats, campers, water toys and much, much more! This year’s event includes the boat show, the gun and knife show and an RV show.
Time: Friday 12:00-9:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sunday 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Cost: Adults $6; Children 12 & under free (with paying adult)
Monroe Civic Center Arena & Conference Hall, Monroe,  318-388-8888

January 28
$5 All You Can Bowl Friday
Come celebrate Fridays with Bayou Bowl while having some classic family fun!
Time: 6:00 p.m. – Midnight, Cost: $5, Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe,  318-325-2062 or

January 30
Family Fun Day at Bayou Bowl
Come have some classic family fun at Bayou Bowl. One price gets you two hours of bowling, four shoe rentals, and four regular soft drinks! Noon-Midnight, Cost: $25, Bayou Bowl Family Fun Center, Monroe, 318-325-2062 or

January 31
Guest Artist on Campus Concert
This concert series features the celebrated four-person ensemble Third Coast Percussion.
Time 7:30 p.m., Cost: $15, ULM - Emy Lou Biedenharn Recital Hall, Monroe,  318-342-1414 or
NOTE: these dates and times are subject to change; always check ahead before an event.


The Arklatex Rose and Garden Society cordially invite gardeners of all types and skill level to their inaugural meeting on January 23, 2011 from 3:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. at the Gardens of the American Rose Center. Jerome Lewis, Director of Garden Operations of the American Rose Society, will be discussing “2011 Rose Selections.”

There will be a plant sale including the newest roses from Chamblee’s Rose Nursery. Refreshments will also be served. Please contact Saletha Clanton at or (318)780-8545 for more information.

Arklatex Rose and Garden Society Inaugural Celebration
Sunday, January 23, 2010 from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Gardens of the American Rose Center, just off I-20, Exit 5 in Shreveport, LA

By: Maria Scott, Director of Communications,

January 10, 2011


In the window of a building in a small town hangs a slightly faded poster.  In years past the building was divided by a common wall and housed two thriving businesses, a drugstore and a dry goods store. On either side of these were a hotel, a bank, and more dry goods stores. They faced a similar block of businesses separated by a busy railroad track. Over the years, businesses came and they went as so called progress, then economic decline began to take it's toll. Citizens of the community sadly witnessed as the buildings along what used to be main street of their home town became empty and silent. The rumble of trains on the track that ran through the middle of town was only a reminder of the vibrant life that used to be. This same scenario may have played out in your community.

The faded poster has not always hung in the window, but was placed there in 1999.  The words on the poster are simple, straight forward, and if given opportunity, the words will inspire, encourage, energize. The poster is entitled "How to Build Community".  Though not written by Lorece Harris, the poster's message could have been.  During the years of decline of her hometown, Lorece began to dream of her community and the need to revive that which was dying, to repair that which was broken, and reunify that which was scattered. As she shared her dream with family and friends, the dream was caught by one and then another. Soon it became a cause and a campaign. Together, a handful of like-minded individuals, brought the dream to reality.

Today, the building with the poster in the window is called the Centennial Cultural Center in Olla, LA. Now every building along the block is occupied or in the process of renovation. People of the community and surrounding towns now come together to reminisce, to rejoice, to create and celebrate together.  The resulting memory making, learning, and sharing with friends and neighbors have brought a new spirit to this once still and lifeless area of town.

The Centennial Cultural Center was a project of the LaSalle Arts Council.  During the development of CCC, historical documents, photographs, and memorabilia were donated by people of the area and past residents.  One purpose of the center is to exhibit those collected materials.  Other purposes are to teach and demonstrate art and to provide a place for performances of music and display of art.  The center contains a small museum displaying items based on early times.

The grand opening of the CCC was commemorated  on October 1, 1999 just in time to help the town of Olla celebrate it's 100th birthday.  Many people who were instrumental in the formation of the center were in attendance at the opening and dedication ceremony of the CCC as noted in an article published in the Jena Times/Olla Tullos Urania Signal.

The goal of the center is to stimulate, encourage, nurture, promote and produce culture and art. Since it's beginning, the Centennial Cultural Center has become so much more than a museum or learning center. As I sat with Fern McKeithen, the current president of the center, we discussed how the center was meeting the needs of the community by using all art forms to teach good culture, thereby giving people and especially our younger generation good information to make wise choices, and by teaching standards and values.

There are several reasons for the successes of the Centennial Cultural Center. One reason is the co-operation between the towns of the area and the board of  the CCC.  Other important reasons for the success is support of the people in each of the communities and a volunteer spirit among those people.  Co-operation, community support, willingness to work hard, a positive outlook, and a desire to give others opportunities to learn and grow, are essentials in success.

The words on the poster in the window contain a wisdom that has been a guiding light in the growth and success of the Centennial Cultural Center.  If other communities in need of restoration and renewal would adopt the attitudes presented on the poster, much could be accomplished for the good of all.  I will share a few of them from the poster along with a few of my own.

How To Build Community

  • Turn off your TV or computer & explore your community.
  • Greet your neighbors & wave to people from your porch or yard.
  • Buy from local merchants or barter for goods & services.
  • Play music and sing together.
  • Share your skills and share what you have.
  • Honor senior citizens and soldiers.
  • Support neighborhood schools and charitable organizations.
  • Hire young people for odd jobs, recommend them to others.
  • Read aloud to children or old folks.
  • Talk to the mailman, meter reader or delivery person.
  • Ask for help if you need it, offer help even if not asked.
  • Give someone an opportunity or a second chance.
  • Start a neighborhood garden, & the share bounty with others.
  • Listen more than you speak but speak out if needed.
  • Help keep a park or play area clean.
  • Learn something new & teach it to others.
  • Fix something that is broken even if you didn't break it
  • Volunteer in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons, child care facilities.
  • Support a local non-profit organization.
I would encourage you to develop your own list within your own community.  Ask your friends to share their own thoughts for the community.  Contact your civic leaders, ask for their input and support.  Learn what others have done to build community. Do not allow negativity or obstacles to discourage you. Dream big and share the dream for your community with your friends and neighbors.  Or catch the dream of someone already involved in building community.  It’s a worthwhile effort and an achievable goal.

The Centennial Cultural Center is financially supported by donations, grants and fund raisers.  The center sponsors several events throughout the year.  In April the Central Louisiana Bluegrass Festival is a main attraction for people from all over Louisiana.  The summer months bring art, education and culture in focus with "Freedom in Reading" Literacy Camp and Art & Etiquette Camp in July. In August is the Stained Glass Camp.  Each year in October, Olla Home Coming is enjoyed by all.  The center allows for local singers and musicians to come together bi-monthly for enjoyable jam sessions. Quilting Workshops and a quilt show, art classes, a Community Christmas program and other events throughout the year are made possible through the CCC.

How can you help the Centennial Cultural Center?  Are you interested in sharing your own memories or artifacts by loan or donation?  Do you have valuable information to share with others concerning the history of the area?  Can you volunteer time at the center or during one of it's projects?  Would you like to support the center in their efforts by making a monetary donation?  The center is accessible in a number of ways.

View their web site:
Visit them:  Downtown Historic District 2962 Front Street Olla, Louisiana
Write to them:  Post Office Box 896,  Olla, Louisiana 71465
Call or fax them: Phone: (318) 495-7988  Fax: (318) 495-7988
E-mail them:
Find them on Facebook!!/pages/Centennial-Cultural-Center/104000578883

Find her on Facebook at AsTheCrowFlies!/pages/AsTheCrowFlies/147636581936823?v=wall