DeSoto found it while exploring the Mississippi for riches. Bienville followed its route to explore north Louisiana. St. Denis spent years searching its shores for gold and silver. Early settlers and farmers used it to ship cotton and other goods to New Orleans. The Confederate Army used it to move food and troops south. The Union Army used it to move food and troops north. Steamboat lines from St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati roamed its waters.
Today, the gifts of the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway continue to support the River community. Under the guidance of the Red River Waterway Commission, the River provides both recreational and commercial opportunities to Louisiana residents. The Red River is a vital source for economic development essential to the future of our state. We are proud of our Waterway, our facilities, and of the thousands of people who enjoy the benefits of living near the Red River.