WEST MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — Downtown West Monroe announced the passing of Mary Keele. Downtown West Monroe knew Mary as an early downtown supporter, long-time business owner, and preservationist.

Some of Mary’s achievements in the community include being awarded the prestigious Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation Winnie Byrd Preservation Extraordinaire Award in 2022. This award is the equivalent of receiving a lifetime achievement award in preservation from the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation.

Mary contributed to the creation of the Antique Alley-West Monroe Merchants Association along with other antique merchants in the 1980s. Although the district has evolved and now includes more than just antiques, the name honors the original business owners’ foresight and how the district has become a prominent shopping district, thanks in large part to their aggressive marketing efforts.

Mary was a founder of the City of West Monroe’s Historic Preservation Commission and the owner of the longest-existing store in Downtown West Monroe called Potpourri de Tante Marie. Her shop was moved to Trenton Street in 1985, where it still remains today.