LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A drumline from Little Rock Southwest High School marked the beginning of the ceremony marking the 300th anniversary of “La Petite Roche”.

April 9th, 2022, marks 300 years to the day since French explorer Jean-Baptiste Benard de La Harpe first named the outcropping on the river that later became the name of the city, Little Rock.

Much of the outcropping now serves as a base for the Junction Bridge.

Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. French reenactors from the Early Arkansas Reenactors Association presented the French Flags.

Anthony Hampton with the City Church Network offered a prayer.

UCA student Tania Kelley sang the U.S. National Anthem, while Pulaski Academy Student Sarah Cecil sang the French National Anthem.

Stephanie Wade with the Historic Arkansas Museum read the entry from La Harpe’s journal which described the area.

The history of Native Americans in Arkansas was detailed by Sasha Bowles of the Arkansas Trail of Tears Association.

Laura Childress of the Little Rock Civitan Club talked about the organization’s efforts almost a century ago to mark and honor the historic site.

Pulaski County Judge Barry Hyde gave one of the keynote addresses, discussing the area as the bedrock of the area population’s collective identity.

In his keynote address, Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. talked about Little Rock past, present and future, and made note to include the story of the Quapaw tribe that lived here prior to the arrival of the French, as well as the passage of the Trail of Tears through this area.

The Mayor also thanked Denver Peacock and the Tricentennial Committee for organizing the events surrounding the anniversary.