Places that are rich in history and creative talent—and are also preservation-minded—are bound to have many sites that display these attritubes for all to see. Louisiana is such a place. The state treasures its long history and values the ongoing artistic contributions of its many talented citizens. The result is an abundance of museums, galleries and historic structures that preserve and exhibit the state's most valued assets for anyone who chooses to see them.
Two giant names of American business are deeply ingrained in the history of Monroe, and its neighbor across the Ouachita River, West Monroe: Delta Airlines got its start here in 1926 as a crop dusting service, and Coca-Cola opened its first bottling plant here. Today, those legacies provide unique attractions for visitors. Biedenharn Home and Gardens, the estate of that first Coke bottler, is open to the public as a museum and sculpture garden. The Chennault Aviation and Military Museum of Louisiana has exhibits on Delta Airlines, the local World War II flight school at Selman Field and the volunteer combat unit called the Flying Tigers commanded by one-time Monroe resident, General Chennault. The 1,800-acre, cypress-studded waters and trails of Black Bayou Lake National Wildlife Refuge puts sportsmen's paradise at Monroe's doorstep, while a trip to the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo offers up-close encounters with animals from around the world.