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Historic downtown building seeing new life to house families

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 10:57 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Miller-Roy building has been vacant for years. It will soon be a home for multiple families.

Crews will begin refurbishing the building as the Bayou Savoy building, an affordable housing option, and resource center planned for Desiard Street here in a few weeks.

The name of the building carries historical roots.

Representative Michael Echols of District 14 explains, “The Savoy Dance Hall, where greats like Louis Armstrong, Etta James, and numerous other musicians performed.”

The building was also used as an office for one of the first African American newspapers in the South. Matthew Williams, the descendent of Dr. J.C. Roy, the namesake, and builder of the building, was honored to have this building being a cornerstone to revitalizing the community.

Williams stated, “Well, it means a lot to just see from 1929 this building brought so much to the community. And now, almost close to 100 years later. It’s gonna bring so much back to the community still giving back to the community.”

The community and city council hopes this will start bringing businesses back into the community.

Monroe city council member Carday Marshall, feels the community is building something new with this project.

Marshall expressed his feelings for what this means to the community.

“When you drive down the street, and you see signs coming up with redevelopment, things like that, it gives you hope, you know, it gives you hope for the revitalization of Monroe.”

Sheila Henderson Augerson, the owner of Henderson’s Flower Shop, has seen this area’s history and hopes that growth is coming.

“This establishment was actually begun, my father. My parents began the business in 1962. But we’d been right here at this location site since the early 70s,” Augerson said.

She also sees this as a change to this area.

“So just to see them, restore the old buildings that have been put down for so long, vacant, rather, just to see them, restore them, brings a lot of pride to Monroe, and a lot of pride and joy to my heart.”

The owners hope to have the building ready to move in by January 2023.

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