I had no expectations when I pulled into downtown Monroe, Louisiana last week. I had really never heard anything about it, good or bad. It was the biggest town in northeast Louisiana, but that was about the extent of my knowledge as I headed into town. Sometimes it is great when you go into a place blind, because you can see it completely unhindered by preconceived notions of what it should look like. I was impressed the moment I hit downtown by the beautiful classically industrial architecture and the lovely riverfront park and bridge. It helped that it was a gorgeous evening, but my camera and I were kept busy for hours as I wandered the streets, with amazing shots around every corner. I really had a great time taking these photos, even though it was really quiet as I wandered the streets. At one point, I was taking a photo on a street corner and a police car was stopped at the light. The officer rolled down his window and said something along the lines of “just taking photos of beautiful downtown Monroe?”. I replied “yes, I am” to which he just laughed and laughed. The light turned green, and I could still hear him laughing as he drove off into the evening. I wish I had called after him and given him my card so he could see these photos. Maybe it takes an outsider to see the real beauty in a place, and maybe that’s what makes me the right person to shoot these kinds of photos. I know he found it hilarious, but I loved my short stay in Monroe. It is truly a diamond in the rough of northeastern Louisiana.