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Episode 321 : Community Events in Ouachita Parish

September 20, 2023



Community Events in Ouachita Parish
with Special Guest Sheila Snow

Join us as we explore the vibrant and captivating Ouachita Parish, where every day offers something special to discover. In our latest episode, we had the privilege of sitting down with a true community advocate, Sheila Snow, the Vice President of Communications for Discover Monroe-West Monroe to discuss all the upcoming events in our area. Mark your calendars and get ready to explore, celebrate, and Live Better in Ouachita Parish.


Speaker 1: 0:00

Welcome to the Live Better Podcast, brought to you by Centric Federal Credit Union, your trusted source for empowering financial advice. I’m your host and Centric’s Social Media Coordinator, Emma Banes, and together we’ll embark on a journey toward a brighter financial future. In each episode, we’ll dive deep into the topics that matter most to you, whether it’s saving for a dream vacation, mastering the art of budgeting, or ways to improve your overall wellbeing. In general, our goal is simple-to help you live better by providing valuable insight and practical strategies. Get ready to be inspired as we feature guests who share their expertise, real life stories and experiences. From industry professionals to financial gurus, we’ll bring you a wealth of knowledge to guide you on your financial journey. Join us every month as we explore ways to save, invest, and plan for the future, all while living a life you love. Get ready to live better with Centric Federal Credit Union. Subscribe today so you never miss an episode. Well, today we are joined by a very special guest, Sheila Snow, who is the Vice President of Communications for Discover Monroe West Monroe, which is the destination management organization for all of Ouachita Parish. So before we get started, will you just share with our listeners a little bit about yourself and what you do?


Speaker 2: 1:22

Absolutely. Uh, so I’ve been with Discover Monroe West Monroe for a little over 15 years now. Um, marketing the parish that I love, uh, the parish that I call home. Uh, it’s been, um, it’s always a fun adventure, you know, um, celebrating and getting to share all of the great stories about our area and telling visitors about, you know, what they could experience when they’re here. Uh, I’m a graduate of ULM twice over. I got a bachelor’s and a master’s from ULM and I live here with my family, my husband Jimmy. We’ve been married, uh, 23 years now and we have two kids, Jackson, who just went off to college, and Anne-Marie, who is a freshman in high school.

Speaker 1: 2:02

Okay. Wow. Um, so this will be good for me because you’ve been here and I just moved here about a year ago, so it’ll help me learn a little bit too, ’cause I’m still learning. Um, so what exactly is your role in the city’s communication and the community events?

Speaker 2: 2:19

So what we do at Discover Monroe West Monroe, we don’t host a lot of the events, but we help promote them. Um, so as a convention and Visitors bureau, uh, we are tasked with marketing Ouachita Parish outside of the area to bring visitors here. Um, and the reason we do that is because when visitors come to our area, they make such an impact through spending money here and leaving those sales tax dollars. And so if you think about when you travel, you’re gonna go out to eat, you’re gonna go to attractions, you’re gonna do a little shopping, you’re gonna stay in a hotel. Uh, and so that’s what we work to do is bring visitors here to Ouachita Parish to do that same thing. So those sales tax dollars are collected here and go back into our community to, to build a better Ouachita parish.

Speaker 1: 3:01

Right. Okay. That makes sense. So, I mean, that’s something most people don’t even think about, but I mean, that’s actually really important.

Speaker 2: 3:08

It is. And we, um, you know, we do things through whether we’re marketing to leisure travelers who are people who are just coming here to experience our area and to have fun. We also, you know, work to host, uh, help host meetings and conventions here, as well as sporting events. So baseball tournaments, softball tournaments and things like that in the area. Um, and pretty soon some really cool indoor events at the New West Monroe Sports and Events that’s being built right around the corner.

Speaker 1: 3:33

That’s awesome. Um, so what do you think makes Ouachita Parish unique in terms of community engagement?

Speaker 2: 3:41

There’s really, you know, and we say this all the time in our office, there’s always something to do here. And so if you look at our calendar of events, for example, there’s, you know, 15 to 20 things going on just about every weekend. And it’s a little something for everybody. Uh, so we have quite a diverse, um, array of options and things to do, whether it be, you know, things that are arts related, kids related, music. We have a ton of live music in this area. Um, and so I think when people start looking for things to do, you know, and it’s something that a lot of, I’ll say destination organizations deal with is the local people will always say, I’ve gotta go somewhere else to do. But you really don’t. I mean, there’s a ton of things to do here, and there’s a little bit of something for everybody. And so that’s, you know, kind of one of the things I think that makes us kind of stand out.

Speaker 1: 4:29

Yeah, I agree. And, and what is the website where people can go and look at these community events?

Speaker 2: 4:34

Oh, we’ve got everything on our website at monroe-westmonroe.org, whether it be the list of community events, all local attractions and all, you know, 150 to 200 something locally owned restaurants. So we’ve got a ton of things listed on that site.

Speaker 1: 4:50

And we’re about to jump right into a lot of the upcoming events. Um, so the first event that I have on my list for us to talk about is, um, September 23rd at Landry Vineyards. And it is a concert, um, code Blue and the Flatliners. That’s right. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Speaker 2: 5:08

Landry Vineyards is an amazing partner for us. They’ve been, um, they moved up here after Hurricane Katrina, built their vineyard invested in this community. It’s a fantastic place if you haven’t been. But one of the things that they do is they do these outdoor concerts in the spring and the fall. They’ve got a beautiful stage, kind of set up a great dance floor area, and then a beautiful spot where you can set up on the hillside. Uh, they also have seating available and stuff, so you can rent tables there. Um, but it’s just a really fun afternoon to spend out at Landry Vineyards. They bring in some great bands. It’s always a little bit different every time. They’ll do, you know, code Blue and the Flat Liners does a lot of, um, fun kind of rock and country and stuff. So it’s a, it’s good, you know, to dance. They’ll do, of course, they have their wine available and they’ll have food and stuff available, but you can also bring food and set up a picnic and just, you know, hang out with your friends and family and enjoy a good afternoon.

Speaker 1: 5:59

That’s awesome. And I think it’s important too for our listeners to, and just community members to know like the story, so about them coming up here after Katrina. I didn’t know that. Yeah. Um, and, and that’s awesome.

Speaker 2: 6:09

They’re a great family owned business. Um, I could remember when they first opened and they did their grand opening and they had, everyone from the family was doing tours and I think their son was nine or 10 at the time, and he took my group on our tours and it was just amazing to watch, you know, see how much he knew about it and about the business and about growing grapes and all that stuff. So, I mean, it’s, it’s a great, great business, great family owned business. Um, and they do a lot of really cool stuff.

Speaker 1: 6:35

That’s awesome. So is it, are these events, um, like things that people bring their kids to also?

Speaker 2: 6:41

Yeah they’re Incredibly family friendly. So, um, they’ll do wagon rides throughout the, uh, the vineyard. So the kids love to do that. Um, the kids love to dance too, so, I mean, it’s just, it’s a lot of fun.

Speaker 1: 6:51

That sounds fun. That’s awesome. Um, the next event that I have on my list is September the 30th, and it is the River Rat Paddle Challenge at Lazarre Park in West Monroe. So, what is kind of the purpose and significance of this event?

Speaker 2: 7:08

This is one of those events that’s gonna bring, um, people from outside of the area into the community to compete in this race down the Ouachita River. Um, so they’re gonna kick off in Bayou Darbonne and they’re gonna end in Lazarre Park. So it’s about a seven, I think it’s a 7.7 mile long race. Wow. Um, so you can do your kayak or your canoe. You can do paddle board, you can do just about anything. Um, and it’s just a fun way to get out, um, and enjoy the river. I know they’re doing, um, they’ll do costumes, um, and things like that. So it’s just, it’s a fun way to experience one of the really cool assets that we have here in Ouachita Parish, which is the river that runs right. Um, between our two cities.

Speaker 1: 7:46

So can anybody enter this?

Speaker 2: 7:49

Yeah. So it’s open for anybody to enter for sure. Um, they have a signup on their website and, um, it’s just gonna be a fun day to, to, you know, explore the river. You know, we, it’s a beautiful river and we really love for people to take advantage of it. Um, and so that’s gonna be a fun event.

Speaker 1: 8:04

That will be a good one for sure. Um, the next event I have on my list for us to talk about is West Monroe’s Birthday Bash, uh, which is September 30th at the Ike Hamilton Expo Center. So how old is West Monroe?

Speaker 2: 8:18

So, West Monroe turned 140 this year. Wow. So 140 years. And so they’ve been doing some really fun things to celebrate, um, you know, doing some different things throughout the year, but this is their big birthday bash. And so, uh, they pulled out all the stops. They’ve got Wayne Tubes coming in. Um, and so he’s the headliner and then they’re gonna have, um, a couple more bands. I’m trying to double check. No Good Horses. And then Monty Russell and Friends are playing as well. So tickets for general admission are only $25. Um, and so it’s gonna be a lot of fun that night. They also had tables and VIP tables and stuff like that. Um, but it’s gonna be at the Ike Hamilton, which is a great, um, event facility that we have here in Ouachita Parish in West Monroe. And, uh, it’s just gonna be a fun night to get out and dance and celebrate, uh, the birthday of our city.

Speaker 1: 9:04

Right. Yeah, for sure. Are there gonna be like food trucks or anything like that there?

Speaker 2: 9:08

Yeah, so I think they’re gonna have a lot of food and they’re gonna have, it’s just gonna be a fun event.

Speaker 1: 9:13

That sounds awesome. Um, so let’s, we’re, we’re getting closer to the Halloween events now. Those are my favorite. That’s right. That’s, so let’s talk about skeletons on Tower Drive. So that will run the whole month of October, right?

Speaker 2: 9:25

It’s gonna be the whole month of October. And this is a really cool fundraiser that the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum, uh, started doing, um, last year or for a couple years. Um, but down Tower Drive in Monroe, they have these really cool displays of skeletons and there are some that are 12 feet tall. They’re, they’re huge. And then there’ll be some that have a little smaller, um, but the community can sign up. They’ll have sponsors who will sponsor sort of like a little area and they’ll decorate it and, you know, to whatever theme they want. If it’s a pirate theme or, um, you may have like a Mardi Gras theme area. And so families can go up and down Tower drive and kind of see this, it’s almost like a little kind of parade of skeletons, but you know, you’re driving. But it’s great. I think this year, um, the funds will support the Northeast Louisiana Children’s Museum and Arco as well. And so, um, I know they’ve got a lot of participants signed up this year, so it’s gonna be really cool to see, to see this lining Tower Drive.

Speaker 1: 10:21

Right. And I know, so last October we had only lived here for just a few months, and we didn’t know anything about it. And when my kids saw it one day when we were driving on Tower, they were just like, oh my goodness, look . And like, we didn’t really know, you know, what it was or anything yet. And they were just blown away. They thought it was the coolest thing.

Speaker 2: 10:42

It really is. And it’s, it’s pretty striking when you see the big, the big tall ones. And then, you know, they’ll do some fun things with the smaller ones around there. Um, so it was, it was a really neat idea, I thought. Just kind of a little different way to celebrate kind of Halloween and, you know, the month of October, um, and do something that’s related to kids because it, you know, started with the Children’s Museum.

Speaker 1: 11:01

And so if somebody wants to like, sponsor or decorate a skeleton, how would they go about doing that?

Speaker 2: 11:07

They reach out to the Children’s Museum. And so they’re still, I think they’re still taking signups for that. And so you can, um, reach out to them and they’ll, you know, assign you a spot on Tower Drive. You don’t have to own a business on Tower Drive to do it. Okay. Some of the businesses there letting you know, well, they’ll set up in front of those even if you don’t own a spot.

Speaker 1: 11:23

Awesome. Yeah. Okay. Um, so the next event that I have is the annual NELA Scarecrows in the Garden. So the date I have for that is October 3rd through October 7th. Is that correct? That’s correct. Okay. At Beidenharn Museum and Garden. So can you tell us kind of the, the purpose and significance of that one?

Speaker 2: 11:44

So this is another kind of way for one of our local attractions, our museums to kind of help get into the fall spirit. Um, so it’s almost kind of the same premise as the Skeletons on Tower. They have different organizations, uh, nonprofits who’ve signed up to have sort of a display with a scarecrow in their garden area. Um, and if you’ve been, it’s in their beautiful ballet lawn and they have ’em kind of lined up along the side and people can go around and vote for their favorite. They’ll have, um, celebrity judges who will come around Oh, wow. And award winners. Um, but they’ll also do a people’s choice. And so the opening night will be October 3rd, and so that’s when everybody can come out and see ’em for the first time, vote for their favorite, and then they’ll be, um, they’ll still be up on display through the seventh in the garden there. Okay. Um, so it’s fun. Uh, I know last year, you know, they, I went last year and there’s, um, a lot of different, you know, varieties, whether it’s, um, you know, one of the ones that set up for there was a local ballet that actually has, um, parish ballet that did one last year, and they had actual, um, people kind of disguised as statues. Uh, but they, you know, one of the things about the garden is they have this really big, beautiful iron statues. Um, and so they kind of fit right into that space, but you wouldn’t, if you didn’t know, you wouldn’t know. Right.

Speaker 1: 13:02

Those were actually the people.

Speaker 2: 13:02

So, uh, but so they have a lot of great participants and, and so you’ll be surprised at kind of some of the, the different displays that they’ll have up.

Speaker 1: 13:09

That’s awesome. Um, so let’s talk about the downtown Art Gallery Crawl, uh, October the 5th. So downtown Monroe and West Monroe. Can you tell our listeners a little bit about that?

Speaker 2: 13:21

Absolutely. So this is actually the 15th year that we’ve been doing these art crawls in downtown Monroe and West Monroe. Um, and it’s a great night to get out and celebrate, uh, art in the community to get out and, and just kind of mingle around with everybody. So we have about 13 to 14 participating galleries in both Monroe and West Monroe. Um, and each one of them will have a, you know, different art, whether it be sculpture, painting, um, they’ll do spoken word performances at some of the places. Um, Strauss will sometimes come out, I’m not sure if they’re doing it this time, but sometimes they’ll bring out some of the local theater groups to do kind of mini performances. Um, there’s food trucks and there’ll be vendors and things. So you can purchase art, you can purchase some things to take home with you. Uh, but it’s really just a great kind of celebration. We’ll have local artists, but they also work to bring artists in from out of the area too. Okay. And so, um, it’s a great way to kind of get out and experience, um, experience that we have a wagon that runs, um, from Monroe and West Monroe. So it’ll run through the whole route, kind of, of the gather so you can park in one place and you know, kind of ride over, um, see all of it other side and you can get to see all of it.

Speaker 1: 14:32

That’s awesome. Uh, we actually went last year and it was just the coolest thing. Yeah. And my daughter was just, she’s really artsy. Yeah. And she was just blown away. Yeah. That is her jam.

Speaker 2: 14:43

So we do these the first Thursday of every month in February, April, June, August, October and December. From five to nine. And so, um, yeah. So it’s become kind of a tradition for a lot of people to get out and check it out. And hopefully, you know, in October the weather will be nice and cool and, you know, it’ll be a great night. Fingers crossed.

Speaker 1: 15:00

Hopefully it will be. Um, okay. So let’s talk about the Black Bayou Fall celebration on October the 21st at Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge. So what is that about?

Speaker 2: 15:14

So that is, um, a fall celebration. It’s a great time to get out there and experience the refuge. This is one of our, uh, great tourist attractions, but it’s great for visit for locals as well. Um, it’s one of the places I tell people if you, you know, especially visitors, if you’ve never seen an alligator, you’ll for sure see one there because they have some in a container in a tank, um, in their education center. Uh, but they’ll do a lot of fun things. They do the annual turning of the blue goose to sell it to significant, it’s the significance of the migration patterns change . Okay. So they have a goose that they turn, uh, they do a photo contest exhibit. They’ll have animal displays. They have a lot of, um, different wildlife and stuff, smaller of course, but snakes, fish, um, different things like that. Uh, they’ll do like a nature sale. They have their canoeing, um, friends of Black Bayou, uh, rent canoes and kayaks. So they’ll have those available as well. There’s face painting and a lot of fun things for the kids out there. Uh, Black Bayou, the Wildlife Refuge, it’s a great resource for our community. It’s a great place to take your kids. Uh, they have beautiful walking trails, um, a great walkout over the Bayou. Um, so it’s, it’s just a really, really great place. And then they’re gonna be doing that from nine to two. Um, so it’s a great activity to take the kids to.

Speaker 1: 16:24

Oh yeah. And it’s beautiful.

Speaker 2: 16:26

It is really pretty. It’s beautiful out there. I think for some reason, sunrises are, and sunsets are the most beautiful out there.

Speaker 1: 16:32

Oh yeah. It’s kinda like at the beach. It’s, that’s the prettiest time to be there.

Speaker 2: 16:36

That is, that is, it’s really, really pretty .

Speaker 1: 16:38

Um, okay. So October 28th, moving on to Boo at the Zoo, excuse me, Boo at the Zoo at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo. So I know that is a big one.

Speaker 2: 16:49

That’s a big one. So that’s, um, it’s a lot of fun for the kids. You wear your costumes, you come out dressed up, they’ll have a lot of fun, different activities going on, a lot of, um, vendors and stuff there. Uh, so it’s just another kind of great element. Zoos are one of my favorites. Um, and so this is just kind of adds an extra element to it, but you can go and experience Boo at the Zoo, have fun trick or treating around the zoo, but then you can also see some of, they just got a new Mountain Lion in. Um, and so you can check out the new mountain lion . They of course have the sloth exhibit, um, that’s there now. Everybody loves, you know, sloths. And then of course, if you haven’t been to feed the Budgies yet, you should go do that. Um, but we have a really incredible zoo. I mean, they do, the people that work there and the zoo directors and the, the one, they do a great job, uh, really taking care of the animals and, and it’s, it’s a really, really cool experience. We have a boat that you can ride. There’s a boat ride and a train ride as well, and a petting zoo. So that’s awesome. A lot of things to do out there, but Boo at the Zoo is one of those of those really fun, kind of traditional things that everybody kind of does every, every Halloween season.

Speaker 1: 17:54

Yeah. It’s a big one. Um, to all of our listeners, that one, you definitely need to mark that one down. Um, the kids absolutely love it. I mean, I love it. The adults love it. Yeah. It’s a good one.

Speaker 2: 18:05

Like I said, a zoo is, I love a zoo.

Speaker 1: 18:06

I do too. Um, so let’s talk just a little bit about like, the positive impacts that these events have on Ouachita Parish. I mean, what impact have you seen? Not just these events, but all the events throughout the year that they have?

Speaker 2: 18:21

You know, for me being, working in tourism, if I’m looking at it from two different angles, one for our local visitors, it provides, you know, all of these different events provide such a great aspect of quality of life. And so the fact that you can go out and do all these things, you know, you can do all these great family events with your kids, or you can go do some fun things with your friends. You know, it’s, um, I think all of these events really work to build our culture and to really showcase all the different aspects of Ouachita Parish and everything we have. And then from a tourism side, um, it provides us with a great resource to market and to tell people, Hey, you should come stay here, should come spend a weekend here, spend some money here, leave a few dollars. Um, you know, and so it really does, you know, it builds that quality of life, but it also helps bring in, um, money for our area that goes to infrastructure projects, more quality of life projects and things like that. So it all really just, you know, makes a better Ouachita Parish and a better place we call home.

Speaker 1: 19:20

I agree. I, um, moved here from a very tiny place and these types of things were just not there. Um, and so being in a place where there is more to do and things to take your family to, and your kids don’t have to sit at home and tell you how bored they are every single weekend, um, it’s a big deal. I mean, everywhere doesn’t have this, I guess is what I’m trying to say. So I think it’s important that people in the community really take advantage of this stuff.

Speaker 2: 19:50

Absolutely. Uh, you know, even, and even if there’s not, you know, maybe an event that you, we have, we have such a great wealth of things like, you know, we’ve talked about some of the attractions, but the Beidenharn and the Children’s Museum and the Zoo. But we have great area parks that, um, you know, Forsythe Park and Kiroli Park, um, you know, with their things, like they have the, the all inclusive, um, Smiles Park. And so it’s a playground for everybody. So, you know, we have all of these assets here, all of these things that make our quality of life, um, really great in Ouachita Parish.

Speaker 1: 20:20

Yeah. Um, about the park. So when we moved here, some, some of the people that I worked with, you know, would mention parks, and I’m like, I, I don’t know what you’re talking about, so there’s a lot of parks. Like, I haven’t learned them all. And so, um, I just think it’s so awesome. You know, my kids had a field trip at Kiroli Park last, uh, last spring. And that was the first time I had been into the park. And it’s just amazing. I mean, it’s huge. There’s so much to do, uh, the, not just the equipment, but just the open spaces. I mean, it is just awesome. Huge open space.

Speaker 2: 20:52

And they’ve got tennis courts, walking trails. They’ve got the pond, you can fish in there. Um, you know, Lazarre Park. Um, and Chennault have disc golf. Um, so you can, you know, you can play disc golf there, and there’s, you know, a lot of them, they have tennis court, but you can now play pickleball on some of those too, which is like America’s fastest growing sport. So, um, so yeah. So there’s a lot of those opportunities.

Speaker 1: 21:17

I mean there’s just, there’s so much. And, um, so I know this isn’t in our outline, but for Kiroli Park is, that’s under renovations right now? Is that Right?

Speaker 2: 21:26

The bridge that is leading into Kiroli Park. So they’ve had to replace that bridge for some structural reasons, and there’s never a good time to close, you know, there’s never a good time. So I know they’re working hard to, to get that project completed as quickly as possible, um, so that they can get, you know, people into the park again. And I know they’ve had to make some adjustments, for example, um, and we didn’t talk about this event, but the Celtic Festival, uh, which is that first Saturday in October, is normally held at Kiroli Park, and they’ve moved it to Lazarre Park this year. And so, um, that’s gonna be an event where they celebrate kind like Celtic Heritage. And so they do, um, you know, they’ll have Celtic Foods and they’ll do Scottish Highland games. And so it’s, uh, it’s a different kind of event, they’ll have, um, Irish and Celtic music that’s played. That’s really neat. So, um, it is, it’s a neat event and, but what they’re doing this year is they’re moving it to Lazarre Park, and that’s one of the parks that a lot of people haven’t, you know, really been to very much, or they don’t go to very much. So it’s actually giving them an opportunity to showcase another area of the city. But I do know the city of West Monroe wants, well , they want that park open as quickly as possible, so, um, but yeah, they’ve had to take out the, you know, the, there’s only one way in and one way out. So they had to kind of close it to remove that bridge and, and repair it.

Speaker 1: 22:37

I know everybody will be ready to get it back. Kids are like, can we go to the park? And I’m like, no. They’ll be excited when it’s back open. I know. They’re working hard on it. Um, so I think, you know, kinda like we talked about with all of these events, just the community unity that it brings, you know, is important. Because like I said, a lot of places just don’t have that. And I think it really, it builds something special. It’s in Ouachita Parish, you know, when you have things that bring people together and, and so many things that bring people together and get people outta the house and, and socializing with different people and off of their phones and, you know, in a crowd. You know, I think it’s good for people.

Speaker 2: 23:20

It really is. And you know, if you, and if you look around at a lot of the events, you’ll see just a huge diverse, you know, cross section of our community. Right. Um, especially things like, you know, at, at the gallery crawl, I know there’s, you know , you’ll look around and, and you’ll find people you haven’t met before. And it’s a good way to meet new people. You know, Landry Vineyards, the concerts there another example of that. You know, it’s a great, you know, just people from all walks of life are attending these events and getting together. And that really is a beautiful thing to see.

Speaker 1: 23:47

It is. It’s good when people come together, you know, it’s, it’s good. Um, so do you have a favorite community event?

Speaker 2: 23:55

Oh, goodness. Um,

Speaker 1: 23:58

Probably really hard to choose one.

Speaker 2: 23:59

It really is hard to choose. I have, you know, there’s, there’s a lot of them. I, you know, Landry Vineyards is always great. Um, I love Christmas on the River River, which is, you know, one that kicks off in, and it’s a month and a half long festival that kicks off November 11th and runs through December 31st. Uh, but that first festival weekend in December is really incredible. It’s a full day of Christmas celebration. And so I think I would probably say if I had to pick one day and one event, that would probably be it. Is that, that Saturday a festival weekend, um, because there’s, there’s two parades. There’s fireworks, there’s people in both downtowns just really getting out and enjoying the community and, you know, and I love to see that. Mardi Gras is always a great one. You know, we have two parades now. Um, so we have two krewes. We’ve had one for a very long time, and we just had a new one kick off of the last couple years. So that’s always a fun time. Um, and then I guess another one of my favorite times would be in March, um, at the Beidenharn Museum and Gardens, that’s when the tulips are in bloom. And so every March they plant tulips all throughout the garden, and you just walk in and it’s like an explosion of color, that’s not really an event, but it’s kind of like a, it’s a little time period there where it’s just, it’s an explosion of color and then all the other things are blooming in the garden. And so that’s, that’s probably one of my favorite times.

Speaker 1: 25:22

Yeah. And I mean, who doesn’t love Christmas? Who doesn’t love Mardi Gras? Like

Speaker 2: 25:26

That’s right.

Speaker 1: 25:26

Those are the best. Um, so I know we kind of talked about the website, but before we wrap up, can you share any more resources, um, or reiterate that about the website for our listeners to stay informed about events that, that aren’t on our list, but, you know, maybe later in the year?

Speaker 2: 25:44

Absolutely. So our website, monroe-westmonroe.org, again, is a great resource for all things Ouachita Parish. If you wanna find a restaurant or an attraction or find an event, we have a, a great calendar on there. You can sign up for our email newsletter and we send out one a month that has some fun stories and some bigger things that are going on. But we also send out one every Thursday that lists all of the weekend events. And so that’s a good way for you to get that in your inbox Thursday and decide, I’m gonna, do, you know, what you’re gonna do this weekend? Um, and so, like I said, that’s always top full, um, of things to do. It seems like sometimes it gets longer and longer. As I’m reading through it, I’m like, where’s the end? There’s so much happening. Um, so you can sign up for those. Uh, both of those on our website also follow us on social media. We do, we share a ton on Facebook and Instagram. Um, a little, we got a little bit on TikTok.

Speaker 1: 26:37

I was about to say, um, for our listeners who TikTok. You should check them out.

Speaker 2: 26:43

Check us out on TikTok.

Speaker 1: 26:44

They not only tell you about the events and the places like they show you. Yeah . And it’s just great videos.

Speaker 2: 26:49

Well thank you. Um, so we try to keep everybody kind of aware and, and share those things. We also have, you know, if you’re a local and you really do love getting involved at community events, we do have a Tourism ambassador group. Um, so if you’re a local, you know, you can join this group on Facebook, just search Discover West Monroe Tourism Ambassador Group. We do fun challenges every month that try to get you out in the community and experiencing some of the attractions, restaurants, events, and different things like that. Um, and we also provide resources to kind of help you, you know, if you have, you know, maybe some friends coming into town, you can help them plan, you know, what y’all can do that weekend. You know, help showcase some of the things there. So we have a great group there of people who are kind of engaging with that and kind of having fun with those challenges.

Speaker 1: 27:32

That’s awesome. Y’all have a lot going on over there. We do. Y’all are busy. Yeah.

Speaker 2: 27:36

Always. Which is a good thing.

Speaker 1: 27:38

That’s awesome though. I, I love everything that y’all have going on. And, um, for all of our listeners, make sure you check out their website and their social media ’cause that’s, that’s how you stay informed. Um, did you have anything else that you maybe wanna share before we wrap up, or did we touch everything?

Speaker 2: 27:57

I think, you know, we touched on everything. I think for me it’s just, you know, we live in such a great community, in such a great area, and I love when I see people get out there and experience that, or, you know, one of my favorite things is when I’m talking to either a visitor or someone who lives here locally and I’m telling them about something, and you can kind of see this little light bulb go off like, oh, I’m , you know, they get excited about it . And, uh, that’s always, you know, such a joy in what I do is, is really just being able to share the good stories about, you know, my hometown. Where I’m from. And, um, seeing people get excited about that too, so. Right . Love it.

Speaker 1: 28:29

That’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for coming on our podcast today. It’s been a great episode. Thank you so much, Sheila, for being with us today and discussing all the upcoming events in our community. That brings us to the end of our discussion on all the wonderful events coming up right here in Ouachita Parish. We hope this episode has inspired you to get involved and be a part of our local community. As always, we appreciate your support and engagement. If you enjoyed this episode, don’t forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and share it with others who might benefit from our discussions. We value your feedback, so please leave us a review and let us know your thoughts. Stay connected with Centric on our website and  @mycentric on all social media platforms for more valuable resources, tips, and updates. We’re here to support you and help you live better. Thank you for tuning into the Live Better podcast by Centric Federal Credit Union.

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