Myra Gatling-Akers  Director, Downtown Economic Development District-City of Monroe
Director, Downtown RiverMarket   Ph 318-329-4947
Monroe, LA

Downtown RiverMarket Punctuates The Season With Events Featuring America’s Favorite Family!

(Monroe) –When the first visitors arrive at Monroe’s Downtown RiverMarket on the morning of December 14th, they will likely sense something extra-special in the air and they’ll be right.

The whole day and evening is built around A VERY MERRY COMMANDER CHRISTMAS and will feature events and appearances with THE STARS OF DUCK DYNASTY, the top rated A&E Channel show about the Robertson family of West Monroe and their eminently successful DUCK COMMANDER duck call manufacturing business.

Clean off your camo, and brush out those beards, and get ready. Downtown Monroe Alliance and Community Trust Bank announce a STARS OF DUCK DYNASTY Look-Alike contest, a Duck Commander Duck Race on the Ouachita River, the colorful spectacle of the VERY MERRY COMMANDER CHRISTMAS flotilla for which THE STARS OF DUCK DYNASTY will serve as Grand Marshals aboard their own boat sponsored by Universal Music Group Nashville from which they will address the crowd, and an internationally famous Laser Light show over the river.

(Taken from Universal release) Universal Music Group is the global music leader with strong market positions in recorded music, music publishing and merchandising.  Universal Music Group Nashville will be releasing the album, Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas, on October 29.  The Robertsons, Louisiana’s bearded, camouflage-clad entrepreneurial family, not only run the multi-million dollar Duck Commander Sporting Empire but are also a talented musical family.  Growing up singing in church, the Robertsons will be showcasing their talents, as well as their special brand of Southern down-home sense of humor, on Duck The Halls: A Robertson Family Christmas.  Produced by Buddy Cannon, the Christmas album will feature performances by the Robertson family and soon to be announced special guests.

“Faith, family and ducks – in that order – have always been our priorities,” explains Willie Robertson, CEO of Duck Commander and star of A&E’s Duck Dynasty. “Christmas is an important holiday for us not only because of our strong faith but also our holiday family traditions.  We’re having a great time making this album. We hope you enjoy it.”

The Robertsons, Louisiana’s favorite first family, don’t live in the governor’s mansion but in the backwoods, where their rags-to-riches story is still unfolding. A homegrown mom-and-pop operation, Duck Commander has become a sporting empire by fabricating top-of-the-line duck calls and decoys out of salvaged swamp wood. It’s also expanded into a line of products that includes hunting apparel, cooking products, DVDs, CDs and novelty items all bearing their brand. In 2012 A&E premiered Duck Dynasty, which features the lives of the Robertson family and their booming family business.

For more information:

The Christmas Album will be on sale at the RiverMarket  on December 14.


A panel of local  personalities will serve as judges for the flotilla. The public will also be able to vote by phone or online.  The top prize for best decorated vessel is $1000. Second place will be awarded $500 and third place, $250. A variety of boats of all sizes will participate.

The flotilla, its presentation by THE STARS OF DUCK DYNASTY and the laser light show that follows are the work product of Downtown Monroe Alliance Friends of the RiverMarket Director Christie Messinger, Chairman Ernest Finch and their committee members, Brook Sebren, Kelsea McCrary, Natalie Ingle, Thomas Reeves,  Mac Oliver, and Alise Oliver.

The laser light performance over the river will last about 30-minutes and can be viewed from both sides of the river but with best views from the RiverMarket.

But wait! The entertainment doesn’t stop there. All of this will be capped off with a live performance by the Trey Hawkins Band, whose strong southern regional roots helped to propel them to national attention!

Against a Ouachita River backdrop to the west and decorated downtown buildings trimmed in holiday lights to the east, the Downtown RiverMarket will close out its inaugural year in amazing style with a wide variety of vendors offering everything from arts and crafts to tasty eats and spirits to specialty items to Duck Commander merchandise including their new Christmas album.

There’s even a special Downtown Christmas Decorating Contest sponsored by Downtown Monroe Alliance according to Director of the Downtown Economic Development District  Myra Gatling -Akers who said,  “We really want to have downtown decorated and lit up for all the people expected to attend, especially the tourists.”

“For many of the visitors this will mark their first trip to Monroe,” she explained, “and we want to ensure their impression is a festive and favorable one.”

Downtown businesses will vie for awards for best window displays and overall decorating themes.

The DUCK COMMANDER DUCK RACE will start at 3:00PM when approximately 10,000 plastic ducks will be released near the Endom Bridge to float freely to just past the market area according to Race Coordinator Brook Sebren, prizes will be awarded to the top finishers.

Ducks can be purchased at all Community Trust Bank locations, Duck Commander, the Food Bank for Northeast Louisiana office on Central Avenue or at the Downtown RiverMarket for the whole season.

The STARS OF DUCK DYNASTY will serve as judges for the STARS OF DUCK DYNASTY LOOK-ALIKE CONTEST with prizes for different age groups. Full information and entry forms can be found at , according to Monroe Downtown Alliance committee member and event coordinator Christie Messinger.

The RiverMarket always affords plenty of photo opportunities but with the presence of the STARS OF DUCK DYNASTY, their vendor booth, and the Beards Are Back 18-wheeler, photo ops will limited only by the life of your camera battery.

Plenty of parking will be available at the Monroe Civic Center and at designated areas downtown, all served by pick up and delivery via the Trolley every 15 minutes.

A high volume of both shoppers and vendors is expected on the big day so vendors should reserve their booth space now. Print forms can be downloaded at for fast and easy convenience.

The Downtown Monroe Alliance works closely with the Downtown Economic Development  District as Myra Gatling-Akers serves as their Program Director.

Cathy Czeschin is President of the Downtown Monroe Alliance. Officers include Denise Smith, Vice President; Debbie Rainwater, Secretary, and Byron Avery Treasurer.  Cole McEacharn heads the Downtown River Jam Committee while Christie Messinger chairs Friends of RiverMarket.

It is the mission of the Friends of RiverMarket to enhance the RiverMarket through events, additions to the market, and entertainment.

All proceeds derived from entry fees for the contests and flotilla will go to the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana.  Located at 4600 Central Avenue in Monroe, the agency provides the distribution system to help alleviate hunger in the 12-parish area of northeast Louisiana, through 90 different non-profit charities.

Executive Director Richard G. King says the non-profit Food Bank oversees the distribution of  over 3,000,000 pounds of food annually as it provides emergency food assistance for an estimated 39,000 people including about 16,000 children.

President of DMA Cathy Czeschin says, “Thanks to Mayor Mayo and the city for all of their assistance with this event.  We know that this event will bring thousands of people to Monroe and West Monroe.”

“Community Trust Bank is honored to partner with the Downtown Monroe Alliance to benefit the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana and also bring people  together to showcase our unique community,” said Lance Hall, Community Trust Bank State President and Executive Vice President.

“This event is all about festive family fun, and I can’t think of a better venue than our Downtown RiverMarket, on the banks of Ouachita River.  Thousands of people turned out for the 4th of July Fireworks.  With the Stars of Duck Dynasty participating, we expect several thousand to be in attendance for the star-studded Christmas Flotilla event.  Mark your calendars and get there early!” said Mayor Jamie Mayo

“Along with the current of the River the current of excitement Downtown is getting stronger and stronger.  A huge year with the RiverMarket festivals where attendance on the weekends averaged 2500 people coming through along with a huge reception of approximately 16,000 people around the RiverMarket and downtown for the Independence Day fireworks event is now going to be joined with a very Merry Commander Christmas flotilla.  We thought North Louisiana had knocked one out of the park with our own Tim McGraw but hold on here comes Duck Commander. Thanks to the Robertson Family for all of the positive recognition they have given our community and their participation with all of us for this event.  This event will have a great economic impact for Downtown Monroe and West Monroe areas and should be a Happy, Happy, Happy time for all. “ said Chairman of DEDD Larry Bratton.

“Our Family is proud to be a part of the 2013 Christmas on the River Flotilla and Laser

Show.  We are excited to be able to participate in a family event that benefits such a

wonderful cause. The Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana helps so many families in our area

and surrounding 12 parishes.  We would like to encourage everyone to purchase ducks for

the Duck Commander Duck Race and make plans to join us at the RiverMarket for the

flotilla and laser show. “-Robertson Family

Christie Messinger Chairman of the Friends of the RiverMarket  stated that we have planned an event for the entire family while helping a great cause.


If you would like to be a sponsor of this event call 329-4947 or email