Ouachita Parish Public Library is much older than we think!

Last week, while researching the old Monroe City High School, I stumbled across this article in the New Orleans Times-Democrat.  I knew that Louisa Lamy McGuire had donated her husband’s law office and books to form a library in 1885.  There were articles in the Ouachita Telegraph about how they were trying to get money to furnish the little library and get it started, then….nada.  It lead me to believe the library never got off the ground.  Then I found this last week:

The Times-Democrat (New Orleans, LA) June 8, 1901, Page 6
“For years there has been what is known as the City Library, a collection of books housed in a little brick building in Wood street, opposite the courthouse. The building was the gift of the late Dr. McGuire (note: actually Louisa Lamy McGuire, his wife, gave it!), and it was given to the city with the proviso that it should always be used for library purposes. The books given by Dr. McGuire and his wife, Louise [sic], also deceased, were added to from time to time by other citizens, so that there is now quite a collection. At the meeting of the board Chairman C.A. Downey was instructed to remove these books to the new school library, where they are to be shelved and catalogued [sic].

The new school was the City High School that had just been built.  Later articles stated the old library building was used for the Ouachita Guards (forerunner to the National Guard) as their headquarters.  In 1915, Judge Gunby did some investigating and found that the old building was being used to store coal!  He had the city clean it out and the new (old?) library was born!  Thank you Louisa!

Louisa McGuire’s Find A Grave memorial

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