Every community has their characters. Some more colorful than others! One of Monroe and West Monroe’s was Tex Roper. Grover Daniel “Tex” Roper, Jr. was born on October 19, 1922, the son of Grover Sr. We share a common ancestor, so Tex was a very distant cousin of mine (2nd Cousin, twice removed)! Anyway, the story goes that Tex was involved in a car accident that scared him so bad he walked wherever he went for the rest of his life. Every day he would walk to West Monroe from his home in Swartz and back. He is quoted as saying that if he was feeling good, he would come home from West Monroe via Sterlington! He would later move to West Monroe. Tex dressed as a cowboy everyday, complete with hat and toy guns. You could find him on Saturday mornings downtown at the theater getting the kids to line up for the show. Everyone in Monroe and West Monroe loved him.
In 1952, a man named George Copeland set a record time for walking from Monroe to Bastrop, four hours and seven minutes. Tex very publicly stated he was going to beat it. He trained and even got sponsors!
On May 3 at 3:30 in the morning, Tex started his walk. Unfortunately, he was about ten minutes later than Copeland’s record. Fans said the starting points were different and Copeland had started a mile closer. It didn’t matter. People still treated him as a town celebrity!
Tex called himself “The King of the Bluegrass in Louisiana” . He was also appointed an honorary Colonel on the staff of Gov. McKeithen in 1965. For many years Tex remained a beloved fixture of the Twin Cities until, in an ironic twist of fate, on April 27, 1985, Tex was hit by a car in West Monroe while walking home. You can find Tex’s grave in Springhill Cemetery in Swartz. Stop by some day and say “Howdy!”