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Alexandria, Louisiana

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171 Nissan, located in Deridder Louisiana, is proud to serve surrounding areas, including that of Alexandria, Louisiana. Alexandria, known as the “Heart of Louisiana,” has many museums which celebrate the rich history that has formed it into what it is today. From the Red River Campaign during the Civil War, to the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association memorializing the prominent culture that developed from the mixture of French, Spanish and African communities settled in the area, Alexandria’s history embodies the American idea of diversity and they celebrate its past with pride and honor.
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History

Alexandria was founded originally in 1832 and named after Alexander Fulton. However, during the civil war, and the Red River campaign, the city of Alexandria was burnt down. The only remaining building from before the fire is a Catholic Church that still stands today. The aftermath of this tragedy lead to much reconstruction and restoration both for the building and for the citizens of Alexandria. As a result of this, in 1868 a new Charter was created which symbolized a new beginning for the city of Alexandria.​ 
In addition to the Red River Campaign, Alexandria’s history plays an important role in the development of equal rights for African Americans. In 1790, there were a recorded 52 free blacks in the area of Alexandria, which increased to 836 blacks by 1820. During the civil war, the Contrabands and Freedman cemeteries’ in Alexandria became a burial ground for around 1800 African American slaves and soldier’s escaping repression. Today, the Freedman cemetery is being restored by the Friends of Freedman Cemetery Committee. In the 1960’s, one of the early events that helped launch the civil rights movement happened in Alexandria’s Library. The first sit-down strike occurred here when an African American was refused a library card. All of these events play an important role in developing the culture and identity of Alexandria.​ 
Mardi Gras and Other Attractions
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One of the foremost cultural events celebrated in Alexandria is Mardi Gras. This is biggest event for residents in Alexandria and surrounding cities. This holiday is celebrated across the country and in many different ways. However, in Alexandria, Mardi Gras has been celebrated for over 20 years and the city has created their own Association dedicated to helping promote this event and other exciting events in the area. This association is called the Alexandria Mardi Gras Association. This helps to stimulate the economy and brings not only residents of Alexandria, but people from all around the area to celebrate and have fun.​ 

Another attraction that promotes outsiders to the city of Alexandria is the Alexandria Zoological Park. Here, over 500 animals reside including many endangered species. In addition to having the Zoo to visit, the Alexandria Zoological Park also sponsor different programs and events to help raise awareness about the conservation of wildlife. Like the Mardi Gras Association, the zoo helps to bring in people and entertainment to Alexandria and surrounding areas.​ 
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Museums

One way that Alexandria has helped to preserve its rich history and further develop its identity, is through its numerous museums that illustrate its diverse culture and early beginnings. The Louisiana History Museum is located in Alexandria. In this Museum, both history from local Alexandria and the state of Louisiana can be found. It also comprises one of the leading collections of historical objects within the state of Louisiana. And the best part about this museum; admission is free! Another museum in Alexandria that helps strengthen the cultural heritage is the Arna Bontemps African American Museum. This museum is actually the former home of Arna Bontemps for whom the Museum is named for. She was a poet, author and librarian who became famous during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. The last major Museum is the Museum of Art. Founded in 1997, this museum’s mission is to promote visual art and educate about the importance of art and culture in our society.​ 
Alexandria Life

In Alexandria, residents come from a culturally rich background that’s developed not only into an understanding of the importance history, but into a celebration of life that results from this understanding. From celebrating Mardi Gras to the fullest extent, to remembering the past through museums and local events, the people of Alexandria know how to both honor and celebrate their town in a way that brings people in and allows everyone to feel something magical. We would love for you to bring some of the magic to 171 Nissan and share the “Heart of Louisiana” with us! We hope to see you soon!​ 
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