The Miller-Roy building is one of the most historically important buildings in Ouachita Parish. In 1929 two doctors, Dr. Dr. J.C. Roy and Dr. J.T. Miller decided that they needed a place where African Americans could do business without begin discriminated against. An African-American contractor named J.A. Beckwith was hired in 1929 to build it at a cost of $60,000. Dr. Roy’s son, J.C. Roy, Jr. laid the first brick. The second was laid by A.B. Willis. Mr. Willis was the owner of the Sunshine Dairy.
The bottom floors were used by black owned businesses for their shops. The first African American pharmacy, Pierce’s got its start here. Every form of businesses from bootblacks to newspapers to doctors got their starts right in this building! Monroe’s first Mardi Gras parade, held by the XYZ club would hold their grand balls on the third floor ball room known as the Savoy. It was also a performance venue. Many famous performers came through here such as Earl Hines, the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, Louis Jordan and the great Ivory Joe Hunter!
Unfortunately, the building has been abandoned and neglected through the years. Businesses moved away and the building began to collapse. Even putting it on the National Register did little to bring it back. All that is left are the four walls. The building has recently been bought, so hopes are high that it will come back to its former glory and be a showpiece again!