Shreveport is the third-largest city and the principal city of the third largest metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Louisiana, as well as being the 99th-largest city in the United States. It is the seat of Caddo Parish and extends slightly into neighboring Bossier Parish. Bossier City is separated from Shreveport by the Red River. The population was 200,145 at the 2000 census, and the Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Area population exceeds 375,000.
Shreveport was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a corporation established to develop a town at the juncture of the newly navigable Red River and the Texas Trail, an overland route into the newly independent Republic of Texas and, prior to that time, into Mexico.
Location of Shreveport in Caddo Parish, Louisiana
Shreveport is the commercial and cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex, the area where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet. Many people in the community refer to the two cities of Shreveport and Bossier City as "Shreveport-Bossier".
Nickname(s): Port City and River City
Motto: The Next Great City of the South
The Shreve Town Company was established to launch a town at the meeting point of the Red River and the Texas Trail. The Red River was cleared and made newly navigable by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, who commanded the United States Army Corps of Engineers. A 180-mile (289 km) long natural logjam, the Great Raft, had previously obstructed passage to shipping. Shreve used a specially modified riverboat, the Heliopolis, to remove the logjam. The company and the village of Shreve Town were named in Shreve's honor.
Map of Shreveport in 1920
Shreve Town was originally contained within the boundaries of a section of land sold to the company by the indigenous Caddo Indians in the year of 1835. In 1838, Caddo Parish was created from the large Natchitoches Parish (pronounced "NACK-a-tish") and Shreve Town became the parish seat. Shreveport remains the parish seat of Caddo Parish today. On March 20, 1839, the town was incorporated as "Shreveport." Originally, the town consisted of sixty-four city blocks, created by eight streets running west from the Red River and eight streets running south from Cross Bayou, one of its tributaries.
Shreveport soon became a center of steamboat commerce, mostly cotton and agricultural crops. Shreveport also had a slave market, though slave trading was not as widespread as in other parts of the state. Both slaves and freedmen worked on the river steamboats which plied the Red River, and as stevedores loading and unloading cargo. By 1860, Shreveport had a free population of 2,200 and 1,300 slaves within the city limits.
Skyline of Shreveport in 1953
During the American Civil War, Shreveport was capital of Louisiana (1863-1865). The city was a Confederate stronghold and was the site of the headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate Army. Isolated from events in the east, the Civil War continued in the Trans-Mississippi theater for several weeks after Robert E. Lee's surrender in April 1865, and the Trans-Mississippi was the last Confederate Command to surrender (May 26, 1865). Confederate President Jefferson Davis attempted to flee to Shreveport when he left Richmond but was captured in Georgia en route.
The Red River, opened by Shreve in the 1830s, remained navigable until 1914 when disuse, owing to the rise of the railroad, again resulted in the river becoming unnavigable. In 1994, navigability was restored by the Army Corps of Engineers with the completion of a series of lock-and-dam structures and a navigation channel. Today, Shreveport-Bossier City is again being developed as a port and shipping center.
Captain Henry Miller Shreve
Henry Miller Shreve (October 21, 1785 – March 6, 1851) was the American inventor and steamboat captain who opened the Mississippi, Ohio and Red rivers to steamboat navigation. Shreveport, Louisiana, is named in his honor.
Shreve was also instrumental in breaking the Fulton-Livingston monopoly on steamboat traffic on the lower Mississippi. He was the first riverboat captain to travel the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans and back, as well as the first to bring a keelboat from the Ohio River up the Mississippi to the Fever River in Illinois. Shreve also made significant improvements to the steamboat and the steam engine, such as separate boilers to power side paddlewheels independently, horizontal cylinders, and multiple decks to allow for passengers and entertainment.
The Great Raft was a gigantic logjam or series of "rafts" that clogged the Red and Atchafalaya Rivers and was unique in North America. It has been speculated that the trees in the jams were knocked down by an impact event It probably began forming around 1100–1200 AD.
The Great Raft
The Great Raft grew faster at its upper end than the lower end decayed or washed out, leading to its peak length spanning more than 160 miles/250 km in the early 1830s. Steamboat builder and river captain Henry Miller Shreve (1785–1851) began systematically removing the Great Raft, a task that was continued by others until the latter part of the 19th century. For his efforts the city of Shreveport, Louisiana, was named after him. The removal of the logjams hastened the capture of the Mississippi River's waters by the Atchafalaya River and forced the US Army Corps of Engineers to built the multibillion dollar Old River Control Structure.
By the 1910s, Huddie William Ledbetter - also known as "Leadbelly" (1889-1949), a blues singer and guitarist who eventually achieved worldwide fame - was performing for Shreveport audiences in St. Paul's Bottoms, the notorious red light district of Shreveport which operated legally from 1903 to 1917. Ledbetter began to develop his own style of music after exposure to a variety of musical influences on Shreveport's Fannin Street, a row of saloons, brothels, and dance halls in the Bottoms.
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium was in its heyday from 1948—1960.
Huddie William Ledbetter, (January 1888 – December 6, 1949) was an American folk and blues musician, notable for his clear and forceful singing, his virtuosity on the twelve string guitar, and the rich songbook of folk standards he introduced.
Lead Belly playing his twelve string guitar.
He is best known as Leadbelly or Lead Belly. Though many releases list him as "Leadbelly," he himself spelled it "Lead Belly." This is also the usage on his tombstone, as well as of the Lead Belly Foundation.
Although he most commonly played the twelve string, he could also play the piano, mandolin, harmonica, violin, concertina, and accordion. In some of his recordings, such as in one of his versions of the folk ballad "John Hardy", he performs on the accordion instead of the guitar. In other recordings he just sings while clapping his hands or stomping his foot. The topics of Lead Belly's music covered a wide range of subjects, including gospel songs; blues songs about women, liquor and racism; and folk songs about cowboys, prison, work, sailors, cattle herding and dancing. He also wrote songs concerning the newsmakers of the day, such as President Franklin Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler, Jean Harlow, the Scottsboro Boys, and Howard Hughes.
The twelve-string guitar is an acoustic or electric guitar with twelve strings in six courses, which produces a richer, more ringing tone than a standard six-string guitar. Essentially, it is a type of guitar with a natural chorus effect due to the subtle differences in the frequencies produced by either of the two strings on each course.
Shreveport was also home to the "Louisiana Hayride" radio program, broadcast weekly from the Municipal Auditorium. During its heyday from 1948 to 1960, this program spawned the careers of some of the greatest names in American music. The Hayride featured names such as Hank Williams, Sr. and Elvis Presley (who got his start at this venue).
The Louisiana Hayride was a radio (later television) broadcast from the Municipal Auditorium in Shreveport, Louisiana, that during its heyday from 1948 to 1960 helped launch the careers of some of the greatest names in American music.
The show's creators took the name from the 1941 book with that title by Harnett Kane that was made into a Broadway show, also called "Louisiana Hayride." Within a year of its debut, the program was so popular that a regional 25-station network was set up to broadcast portions of the show. The flagship station of the program was KWKH-AM in Shreveport. The show's popularity also spawned various incarnations in other parts of the U.S., most notable of which was based in Cincinnati on WLWT-AM; they dubbed their version Midwestern Hayride.
From 1948 to the late 1950s, Horace "Hoss" Logan produced the Louisiana Hayride. In 1999 he published a book about the Hayride that received acclaim from reviewers such as Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. Beginning with the successful first show on April 3, 1948, the Louisiana Hayride ranked second only to Nashville's Grand Ole Opry in terms of importance until ABC began telecasting Ozark Jubilee in 1955.
While the Opry and the Hayride both showcased established stars, the Hayride was where talented, but virtual unknowns, were also given exposure to a large audience. Over the years, country music greats such as Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Jimmie Davis, Will Strahan, Slim Whitman, Floyd Cramer, Sonny James, Hank Snow, Faron Young, Johnny Horton, Jim Reeves, Claude King, Jimmy Martin, George Jones, John and The Three Wise Men, Johnny Cash, Frankie Miller, Tex Ritter, and Lefty Frizzell, among many others performed on the Louisiana Hayride.
By mid 1954, a special 30-minute portion of the Louisiana Hayride was being broadcast every Saturday on the AFN Pacific channel of the United Kingdom Scottish Forces Radio Network. On October 16th of that year, a teenager from Memphis, Tennessee named Elvis Presley appeared on the program. Presley's performance of his newly-released song from Sun Records called "That's All Right Mama" brought a tepid response, according to former Hayride emcee Frank Page, but soon after Presley was nonetheless signed to a one-year contract for future appearances. The immediate and enormous demand for more of Presley's new kind of rockabilly music actually resulted in a sharp decline in the popularity of the Louisiana Hayride that until that point had been strictly a country music venue.
Within a few years, rock and roll dominated the music scene, and on August 27, 1960, the Louisiana Hayride put on its final performance, though there have been attempts in the years since to revive it, and some strictly local performances have been done in the Shreveport area under the name. Meanwhile, KWKH currently has a classic country format reminiscent of the Hayride era.
Shreveport's riverfront casino district
In 1963, headlines across the country reported that Sam Cooke was arrested after his band tried to register at a “whites only” Holiday Inn in Shreveport. In the months following, Cooke recorded the civil rights era song, A Change Is Gonna Come.
album track, B-side to "Shake" by Sam Cooke
"A Change Is Gonna Come" is a 1964 single by R&B singer-songwriter Sam Cooke, written and first recorded in 1963 and released under the RCA Victor label shortly after his death in late 1964. Though only a modest hit for Cooke in comparison with his previous singles, the song came to exemplify the sixties' Civil Rights Movement. The song has gained in popularity and critical acclaim in the decades since its release.
Cooke was greatly moved upon hearing Bob Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind" in 1963 and was reportedly in awe that such a poignant song about racism in America could come from someone who was white. While on tour in May 1963, and after speaking with sit-in demonstrators in Durham, North Carolina following a concert, Cooke returned to his tour bus and wrote the first draft of what would become "A Change Is Gonna Come."
In a sense, "A Change Is Gonna Come" is an answer to Dylan's "Blowin' in the Wind", as well as a song of hope for the Civil Rights Movement. The hypothetical questions posed by Dylan, most obvious being "how many years can some people exist, before they're allowed to be free?", were answered by an implied "Fewer than you think." Though Cooke recognized "it's been a long/a long time coming", the song states that change is inevitable. (A similar sentiment was echoed by Dylan in "The Times They Are a-Changin'", also recorded in late 1963.) The song also reflected much of Cooke's own inner turmoil. Known for his polished image and light-hearted songs such as "You Send Me" and "Twistin' the Night Away", he had long felt the need to address the situation of discrimination and racism in America, especially the southern states. However, his image and fears of losing his largely white fan base prevented him from doing so.
The song, very much a departure for Cooke, reflected two major incidents in his life. The first was the death of Cooke's eighteen-month-old son, Vincent, who died of an accidental drowning in June of that year. The second major incident came on October 8, 1963, when Cooke and his band tried to register at a "whites only" motel in Shreveport, Louisiana and were summarily arrested for disturbing the peace. Both incidents are represented in the weary tone and lyrics of the piece, especially the final verse: "there have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long/but now I think I'm able to carry on/It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come."
The coming of riverboat gambling to Shreveport in the mid-1990s spurred a revitalization of the downtown and riverfront areas. Many downtown streets were given a facelift through the "Streetscape" project, where brick sidewalks and crosswalks were built and statues, sculptures, and mosaics were added. The Texas Street Bridge was lit with neon lights, that were met with a variety of opinions among residents.
Shreveport was named an All-American City in 1953, 1979, and 1999.
Shreveport has several cemeteries, with Forest Park off St. Vincent Avenue being one of the largest.
Shreveport's landscape sits on a low elevation overlooking the Red River. Pine forests, cotton fields, wetlands, and waterways mark the outskirts of the city.
Satellite image of Shreveport
Shreveport encompasses many different neighborhoods and districts. Below is a list of the various areas in Greater Shreveport.
Victorian style house near downtown
Robinson Place in Shreveport, former home of physician and developer George W. Robinson and later the residence of Douglas and Lucille Lee of the large Lee Hardware Company.
Historic residence of late Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Thomas Charles Barret at Fairfield and Prospect
Walker House on Fairfield Avenue was once the home of the Coca-Cola bottler Zehntner Biedenharn and later headquarters of the Mormon Church.
Historic Slattery House on Fairfield Avenue is one of five existing buildings in Shreveport designed by the noted architect N.S. Allen.
In the Highlands section along Fairfield Avenue, more than a half dozen homes have been designated as historic. These include residences once occupied by a lieutenant governor of Louisiana, Thomas Charles Barret, who served early in the 20th century; a Broadway director, Joshua Logan; a former governor and wife, Ruffin Pleasant; a physician and developer, George W. Robinson; a Coca Cola bottler, Zehntner Biedenharn; the first mayor of Bossier City, Ewald Max Hoyer, who took office in 1907; and a major real estate owner, John B. Slattery, whose home is one of five remaining structures in Shreveport designed by the noted architect N.S. Allen.
Ruffin G. Pleasant
Ruffin Golson Pleasant (June 2, 1871 – September 12, 1937) was the Democratic governor of Louisiana from 1916-1920, who is remembered for having mobilized his state for World War I. Prior to his governorship, Pleasant was the Louisiana attorney general from 1912-1916 and the city attorney of Shreveport from 1902-1908.
Joshua Lockwood Logan III (5 October 1908 – 12 July 1988) was an American stage and film director and writer.
Logan lived as a child in this house at 902 Prospect Street in the Highlands section of Shreveport, Louisiana
Logan was born in Texarkana, Texas. His father died when Logan was only three, and his mother remarried six years later. He was reared in Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish and the largest city in north Louisiana. He attended Culver Military Academy in Culver, Indiana, where his stepfather served on the staff. At school, he experienced his first drama class and felt at home. After his high school graduation he attended Princeton University. At Princeton, he was involved with the intercollegiate summer stock company, known as the University Players, with fellow student James Stewart and also non-student Henry Fonda. During his senior year he served as president of the Princeton Triangle Club. Before his graduation he won a scholarship to study in Moscow with Constantin Stanislavsky, and Logan left school without a diploma.
Bliss-Hoyer House, founded by Abel and Nettie Bliss, was later the home of Ernest Max Hoyer, the first mayor of Bossier City.
Fashionable houses on Cross Lake in Shreveport
Cross Lake (French: Lac de la Croix) is an 8,575-acre (35 km2) lake located near Shreveport, Louisiana. The waterway provides the water supply for the City of Shreveport. Moss covered cypress trees line the banks of this open lake popular for fishing and recreational boating. Supporting waterfowl, alligators and an abundance of wildlife. There are many access sites, several commercial facilities, and two public parks.
Cross Lake is the source of Shreveport's drinking water and also a site for varied recreational opportunities.
Ford Park, a recreational facility on the lake, is named for the former mayor and finance commissioner John McW. Ford (1880-1965).
Cedar Grove (French: Bosquet de Cèdre) is a neighborhood within the confines of Shreveport, Louisiana. It is located to the south east of the downtown district. It is generally considered to be the area bordered by Hollywood Avenue on the North side to 85th Street on the South side; from Line Avenue in the East to Mansfield Road (US-171) on the West. It has a recent reputation as a dangerous, inner-city neighborhood, especially during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s, but since then the neighborhood has improved.
However, Cedar Grove has a much longer distinction as home to working class gin joints, brothels, and illegal gambling as far back as the 1930s. One such club, The Woodlawn Club, was notorious for such activities and is reported to have hosted such big band names as Tommy Dorsey and Rudy Valle during its heyday. In May 2007, rapper Hurricane Chris shot a music video for his song "A Bay Bay" there. Cedar Grove is also the home to Lava House Records, home to many of Shreveport's music artists.
Shreve City as seen from Shreveport Barksdale Highway facing east towards the Red River
Shreve City is the area of Shreveport located between the Shreveport-Barksdale bridge and East Kings highway. Shreve City currently houses the neighborhoods of Shreve Island, Broadmoor, and South Broadmoor; enclosed in these small neighborhoods are the newly remodeled Shreve City shopping city which includes a new Wal-Mart Super Center, Burlington Coat Factory and other small stores. The Shreve City area also contains the street of Captain Shreve whom the city of Shreveport is named after. The Shreve City area is also a large gathering place for the Mardi Gras parades in Shreveport, running down the route of the Shreveport-Barkesdale Highway.
Government and politics
In Shreveport, City Hall is known as "Government Plaza".
Founded in 1836 and incorporated in 1839, Shreveport is the parish seat of Caddo Parish. It is part of the First Judicial District, housing the Parish courthouse. It also houses the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal, which consists of nine elected judges representing twenty parishes in northwest Louisiana. A portion of east Shreveport extends into Bossier Parish due to the changing course of the Red River.
Large Shreveport Convention Center downtown
The city of Shreveport has a mayor-council government. The elected municipal officials include the mayor, Cedric Glover, and seven members of the city council. Glover, a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, is the first African American to hold the position. Shreveport became a majority black city in the 2000 census.
Under the mayor-council government, the mayor serves as the executive officer of the city. As the city's chief administrator and official representative, the mayor is responsible for the general management of the city and for seeing that all laws and ordinances are enforced.
U.S. Courthouse in Shreveport; the previous courthouse was named for the late U.S. Representative Joe D. Waggonner, but the new structure has not been named for anyone.
Shreveport was once a major player in United States oil business and at one time could boast Standard Oil of Louisiana as a locally based company. The Louisiana branch was later absorbed by Standard Oil of New Jersey.
Standard Oil of Louisiana of Shreveport, Louisiana was created in 1909 as a subsidiary of Standard Oil of New Jersey (Esso, now part of ExxonMobil), a part of the Standard Oil trust. It was known as Stanocola until 1924. In 1944 Standard Oil of Louisiana was absorbed into its parent company.
In the 1980s, the oil and gas industry suffered a large economic downturn, and many companies cut back jobs or went out of business, including a large retail shopping mall, South Park Mall, which closed in the late 1990s and is now Summer Grove Baptist Church. Shreveport suffered severely from this recession, and many residents left the area.
Regions Tower, the tallest building in downtown Shreveport
Today the city has largely transitioned to a service economy. In particular, the area has seen a rapid growth in the gaming industry, hosting various riverboat gambling casinos, and was second only to New Orleans in Louisiana tourism before Hurricane Katrina. Nearby Bossier City is home to one of the three horse racetracks in the state, Harrah's Louisiana Downs. Casinos in Shreveport-Bossier include Sam's Town Casino, Eldorado Casino, Horseshoe Casino, Boomtown Casino, and Diamond Jacks Casino (formerly Isle of Capri). The Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau is the official tourism information agency for the region. The bureau maintains a comprehensive database of restaurants, accommodations, attractions and events.
Health care is a major industry in Shreveport. Christus Schumpert Medical Center is a leading cancer-treatment facility in the South.
In May 2005, the Louisiana Boardwalk, a 550,000 square foot (51,000 m²) shopping and entertainment complex, opened across the Red River in Bossier City, featuring outlet shopping, several restaurants, a 14-screen movie theater, a bowling complex, and a Bass Pro Shops.
Shriner's Hospital for Children on East Kings Highway
A new 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) convention center was recently completed in downtown Shreveport. It includes an 800-space parking garage. An adjoining 12-story Hilton Hotel opened in early June 2007. The city's direct construction and ownership of the Hilton Hotel has been a controversial issue as to the proper use of public funds. The site is managed by Hilton Hotels. The Shreveport Convention Center is managed by SMG.
Shreveport is also a major medical center of the region and state. The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport operates at expanded facilities once used by the former Confederate Memorial Medical Center. Major hospitals include Christus Schumpert, Willis Knighton, and Highland. There is also a Shriners Hospitals for Children.
As of November 2008, the recent excitement about the Haynesville Shale has been a boon to Shreveport and the surrounding areas. Many new jobs in the natural gas industry are expected to be created over the next few years and local residents are enjoying large bonuses for signing mineral rights leases up to $25,000 per acre. However, the recent economic turndown has resulted in a lower market price for natural gas and slower-than-expected drilling activity. The city itself stands to profit by leasing the mineral rights on public lands in the near future as neighboring municipalities have already done.
Selected movies shot in Shreveport include:
The Guardian (2006): Ashton Kutcher and Kevin Costner
Not Like Everyone Else (2006) (TV Movie)
Factory Girl (2006): Sienna Miller and Guy Pierce
Mr. Brooks (2007): Kevin Costner, William Hurt, and Demi Moore
Blonde Ambition (2007): Jessica Simpson
Cleaner (2007): Samuel L. Jackson
The Mist (2007): Thomas Jane, Toby Jones, and Marcia Gay Harden
The Last Lullaby (2007): Tom Sizemore
Wonderful World (2007): Matthew Broderick
Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008): Michael Clarke Duncan and Martin Lawrence
The Longshots (2008): Ice Cube, Keke Palmer, and Fred Durst
Disaster Movie (2008): Vanessa Minillo, Matt Lanter, and Kim Kardashian
The Year One (2008): Jack Black and Michael Cera
W. (2008): Josh Brolin, Richard Dreyfuss, and James Cromwell
Deadly Exchange (2009): John McTiernan
Entrance sign to Louisiana State University in Shreveport on U.S. Highway 71 south
Caddo Public Schools is a school district based in Shreveport. The district serves all of Caddo Parish.
Its founding superintendent was Clifton Ellis Byrd, a Virginia native, who assumed the chief administrative position in 1907 and continued until his death in 1926. C.E. Byrd High School, which was established in 1925 on Line Avenue at the intersection with East Kings Highway, bears his name.
Centenary College entrance
Shreveport has several colleges, including the Methodist-affiliated Centenary College (founded at Jackson, Louisiana, in 1825; relocated to Shreveport in 1908) and Louisiana State University at Shreveport, which opened as a two-year institution in 1967. It became four-year in 1976. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport, the only medical school in northern Louisiana, opened in 1969. Shreveport also has one of the largest nursing schools in northern Louisiana, the Northwestern State University College of Nursing.
The former "Line Avenue School" now houses part of the Northwestern State University nursing program in Shreveport.
Southern University, Shreveport (SUSLA), offers a two-year associate's degree program. (The four-year institution, which is historically black, is in Baton Rouge.)
Holy Trinity Catholic Church in downtown Shreveport built in Romanesque revival style
Sanctuary of J.S. Noel, Jr. Memorial United Methodist Church in the Highland sections of Shreveport also dates to 1913.
The Episcopal St. Mark's Cathedral on Rutherford Street
Shreveport and Bossier City share an af2 arena football team, the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings, as well as a Central Hockey League team, the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs.
Baseball in Shreveport has an extensive past. The current team is a Minor League Baseball team known as the Shreveport-Bossier Captains. Baseball teams in Shreveport have gone through 8 different name changes and 7 different leagues all since 1895.
Shreveport's rugby team, the Shreveport Rugby Football Club, was founded in 1977 and participates in the Texas Rugby Football Union.
Shreveport is the home of the Shreveport Aftershock of the Independent Women's Football League. The Aftershock play in the Midsouth Division of the Eastern Conference of the IWFL. The home field for the Aftershock is Independence Stadium.
Shreveport had an expansion team of the defunct World Football League, the Shreveport Steamer, in 1974. They played in State Fair Stadium (now known as Independence Stadium) from September 1974 until October 1975. The Steamer were originally the Houston Texans and moved to Shreveport in September 1974. In 1974 they had a record of 7-12-1 and in 1975 5-7. Shreveport also had a CFL football team in the mid-1990s known as the Shreveport Pirates. Bernard Glieberman, a Detroit real estate developer, owned the Ottawa Rough Riders and in 1994, sold the team and then purchased the expansion franchise that ultimately wound up in Shreveport. He was allowed to take a handful of Ottawa players with him, including quarterback Terrence Jones. However, the Pirates were another American CFL team that ultimately became unsuccessful. Their first victory did not come until the 15th week of their initial season, and in 1995, all their victories were against Canadian teams. By 1996 the team had folded up.
CenturyTel CenterShreveport is the birthplace of several football stars. Terry Bradshaw, a former quarterback for Louisiana Tech University and the Pittsburgh Steelers, Joe Ferguson, former quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, Jacob Hester, a running back for the 2007 NCAA National Champions LSU; Josh Booty, a former shortstop for the Florida Marlins and former quarterback for the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders and his younger brother John David Booty, quarterback for USC. Tommy Spinks was a Bradshaw teammate early in their career at Louisiana Tech.
Shreveport was also mentioned as a potential city to house the NFL's New Orleans Saints in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. It was passed over in favor of the much larger San Antonio and Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. The Saints did play a game in Shreveport against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2006 NFL preseason.
Shreveport has hosted the NCAA postseason Independence Bowl since 1976.
Visual and performing arts
Shreveport Symphony Orchestra,
Shreveport Symphony Orchestra is based in Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish and the largest city in north Louisiana. Founded in 1948, the symphony is the oldest continually performing professional orchestra in Louisiana. SSO presents more than two hundred concerts each season, the majority of which are free educational events.
Musician and composer Kermit Poling has been the concertmaster for twenty years.
Every major SSO concert is broadcast on Red River Radio, the regional public radio network operating at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. Kermit Poling hosts the program, which reaches nearly 50,000 listeners each week.
The Shreveport Opera began in the late 1940's and has continued for over 50 seasons.
Madama Butterfly (1996)
La Boheme (1990)
The mission of Shreveport Opera is to foster and promote the production of quality performances of opera and music drama; to aid in furthering the development of opera; and to further educational efforts which support the growth, development, and appreciation of opera as a viable art form within the tri-state region.
The Beginning of Shreveport Opera
Photos courtesy of Thurman C. Smith
No one knows at this point who planted the first seeds, or who first suggested that there be an opera in Shreveport. It could have been any number of people, for in the late 1940s, many music lovers were beginning to ask why Shreveport could not have its own symphony and its own opera.
The first step was to inquire how many musicians would be interested in the formation of an orchestra. The search for a conductor could begin only after a group of musicians were committed to the project. A committee began to work on this, but it proved a difficult task. How could one approach a conductor to accept a position without knowing what size his orchestra would be or how much he could be paid?
It was Mrs. Joanna Glassell Wood who solved the problem. She had discovered a young violinist and conductor teaching in the college town of Natchitoches. She persuaded Ralph Squires to offer him a position at Centenary College’s School of Music that would support him while the orchestra was being organized and funds were being raised.
That solved the problem of who would play the music. The next question was who would sing it. The committee, having a good beginning on the orchestra, turned its attention to the next phase, the organization of an opera association.
Mrs. Helen Ruffin Marshall, at that time head of the voice department at Centenary, told Mrs. Wood, “I can find the singers and other personnel if you can raise the money.”
This initial group working to develop an opera association invited Walter Herbert, the Director of the New Orleans Opera Association, to visit and tell them what they needed to make the dream a reality.
The list was daunting. Opera is a very complex art form, requiring not only musicians, singers, and sometimes dancers, but also all the arts involved in stage production: sets, lighting, costumes, and personnel to create them and move them around. However, this core group of true believers was convinced that, given the presence of so many talented artists in the city and region, there was no reason an opera company should be impossible. There were performers, there were patrons who wanted to see the performers…what more was needed?
In 1948, an opera workshop directed by Mrs. Marshall presented Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, Pergolesi’s The Music Master, and Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief. The following year, the Workshop produced two performances each of Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte and Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
The original members of the committee working toward an opera association were:
Dr. H. Whitney Boggs
Mr. Harry Stevens
Mrs. Percy N. Browne
Mrs. Patrick White
Mr. and Mrs. Penn Courtney
Mr. and Mrs. Scott Wilkinson
Mrs. Helen R. Marshall
Mrs. W.F. Woods
Mrs. Edward Neild, Jr.
Mr. and Mrs. Bowman Whited
This committee met on June 13, 1949 and decided to invite Walter Herbert and the New Orleans Opera Association to put on a performance here, as a demonstration of what could be accomplished. The New Orleans Opera had been in existence for only six years, and already it was presenting seven operas a year with top artists. The committee also formally voted to establish a non-profit organization called the Shreveport Civic Opera Association; members were assigned to work on the charter and articles of incorporation.
The first production of the fledgling Opera Association was Carmen, with Ramon Vinay, Winifred Heidt and Walter Cassel. The boys chorus from Broadmoor Junior High were the street urchins, and men from the Opera Workshop were the soldiers. The chorus was borrowed from New Orleans; among its members was Charles Caruso who later, under the name of Charles Anthony, sang at the Met. Mr. Herbert conducted.
The following year the Association presented La Traviata, and was able, within this short time, to muster its own chorus and local ballet. The talent was there, and there was a talent of another sort present as well. Opera is not only the most complex of the performing arts; it is also the most expensive. Fund raising was essential to the survival of the young Association. Mrs. Dewey Somdal became one of the stars in this area. What is more, all the fine old opera traditions were being established – after the performance of La Traviata, there was an Opera Ball. This second production was also accompanied by Shreveport’s first opera preview. About ten days before the performance, Mrs. Lalia Hurst White presented an “Operalogue” at the Junior League House.
The artistic direction of the Association for many years fell to Dr. Joseph Loewenstein. After a time, he turned over the reins to Mark Melson, who later joined the Dallas Symphony. Mr. Melson held the position for three years. In 1980, Mr. Robert Murray came to Shreveport Opera as Artistic Director and General Manager. He guided the organization until 1996, when Joseph Illick took over as Artistic Director, and in January of 1997, Gayle Norton succeeded as General Manager. The organization was headed by Eric Dillner, a former operatic tenor and director, who served as both Artistic Director and General Director from 2001 until 2008. Currently, Steve Aiken is guiding the company as the General and Artistic Director with experience both on and off the stage.
The sixty seasons of Shreveport Opera have been, no doubt, filled with the ups and downs of any organization that survives for so long a period. Its dedicated founders have left a legacy of both excellence and enthusiasm that will carry Shreveport Opera into the future. Those who love the arts have an enduring debt of gratitude to those first men and women who had a vision of Shreveport as the home of opera, and were willing to work to see it come true.
Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet,
The Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet was founded in 1973 as the Ballet Lyrique in the Shreveport-Bossier City area. The Ballet has been operating continuously since then, making it one of the oldest arts organizations in Shreveport.
April 19, 2009
Riverview Theater,600 Clyde Fant Parkway,Shreveport, Louisiana
Enjoy live musical accompaniment of a musical score composed by Kermit Poling when you join us for SMB’s original choreography of this classic fairy tale.
Each year Ballet Under the Stars, a free performance is performed given in conjunction with other local dance groups. Hundreds of people come to picnic and share an evening of dance. The SMB annually presents two full-length classical ballets, including the holiday ballet The Nutcracker and a performance each spring of other ballets from the classical repertoire. The audiences come not only from the Shreveport-Bossier City areas, but also from East Texas, southern Arkansas, and small communities throughout north Louisiana.
Dancers from ages ten to adult are chosen each spring by open auditions to become members of the Junior and Senior companies of the Ballet. The existence of the Ballet has provided these dancers with the necessary training and experience to go on to dance with companies in other cities and to study dance at the university level. Dancers gain valuable experience by being able to dance alongside the professional guest artists brought in each year for the performances. Guest artists have come from such ballets as the New York City Ballet, the Boston Ballet, the Houston Ballet, Ballet Oklahoma, and the San Francisco Ballet.
Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet believes that classical ballet is the foundation for all other forms of dance. The Ballet is firmly committed to preserving this essential element of dance, as well as generating an excitement for the future of this classical art form.
Company dancers of the Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet are chosen by open auditions each Spring. In addition, all young dance students from surrounding areas are invited to audition for children's roles in each performance. Dancers share the stage with professional guest artists who have come from such acclaimed dance companies as the New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, and the American Ballet Theatre. Past performances have included Giselle, Coppelia, Cinderella, Rodeo, La Fille Mal Gardee, Snow White, Wizard of Oz, Act II of Swan Lake and Act III of Sleeping Beauty in addition to the annual production of the Nutcracker Ballet.
In an effort to provide all area citizens with the opportunity to experience classical ballet in a variety of settings at no cost, Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet is dedicated to community outreach. Each fall, the season opens with Ballet Under the Stars, our gift to the community.
Every third grade student in Shreveport-Bossier is invited to a free performance of Act I of The Nutcracker Ballet at the Shreveport Civic Theater. For many children, this is their first exposure to joy of classical dance. Most leave wide-eyed at the wonder of the Christmas tree that grows larger, the thrilling battle of the soldiers and mice, and the beautiful ballerinas en pointe. The middle school students in Caddo, Bossier, and surrounding parishes are invited to a free performance of the spring production. Other outreach performances include lecture demonstrations and performances in schools, nursing homes, local hospitals, public libraries and local malls. Dancers have participated in community performances at the Red River Revel, the Louisiana State Fair, and Les Boutique de Noel.
The Strand Theatre
The Strand Theatre in Shreveport, Louisiana, opened in 1925 and has the nicknames of "The greatest theatre of the South" and the "Million Dollar Theatre". It has been a cinematic and performing theatre over many decades. Currently it is a performing arts venue, featuring the Shreveport Broadway Series and other traveling Off-Broadway shows.
The restored Strand Theatre from the Louisiana Street side in downtown Shreveport, Louisiana
Emile Weil and Charles G. Davis of New Orleans were the architects of the original Strand exterior. The interior was designed by Paul Heerwagen of Arkansas. The Strand was a flagship theatre for Saenger Amusements Company, the forerunner of Paramount Pictures. In 1977, the theatre was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Strand from the Crockett Street side showing the full size of the building
During the 1960s, when the Strand was a regular theater, the facility was desegregated through the efforts of the Reverend Herman Farr, who in 1978 became one of the first three African Americans to have served on the Shreveport City Council.
R.W. Norton Art Gallery,
The R.W. Norton Art Gallery, in Shreveport, Louisiana, USA, houses collections of American and European paintings, sculptures and decorative arts spanning more than four centuries. Since its opening in 1966, the museum has become particularly well-known around the country for its impressive collections of works by artists of the American West, Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell.
In the early 1930s, Richard W. Norton (1886–1940) became one of the discoverers of the Rodessa Oil Field in north Louisiana. Over time, Mr Norton's wife and son began to amass a significant collection of fine art. In 1946, to honor Mr. Norton and for the benefit of the community, Richard W. Norton, Jr. (1919–1974) and his mother, Mrs Richard W. Norton (1886–1975) created the R.W. Norton Art Foundation. In turn, the Foundation eventually established the R.W. Norton Art Gallery, basing its initial collection upon donations from the acquisitions of the Nortons. Today, due to the on-going efforts of the Board of Control, the Foundation's work and the Gallery's offerings continue to expand, grow, and contribute to their community.
Multicultural Center of the South **
The MultiCultural Center of the South, located in Downtown Shreveport, has a wide range of entertainment, educational family activities and programs, including lectures, symposia, live musical performances and cultural tour programs. The only institution of its kind in the state, it celebrates the 26 cultures in the Shreveport-Bossier area. It curates changing exhibits as well as featuring traveling exhibits from the Louisiana Art Museum. It holds art and performance classes for children, cultural celebrations, and holiday events featuring different cultures.
Art and artifacts throughout the center celebrate the many cultural influences of the region.
Together with Southern University Museum of Art, the Center is one of two sites in Shreveport designated among 26 featured destinations on the statewide Louisiana African American Heritage Trail. Lt. Governor Mitch Landrieu chose the Multicultural Center of the South as the site of his press conference to announce the Trail on February 28, 2008. Landrieu said, "What's unique about the trail is that we didn't go invest in new capital or buildings. We can't build anything more authentic than already exists."
Southern University Museum of Art - ** These two sites are featured among the first twenty-six of the state's Louisiana African American Heritage Trail.
Louisiana State Exhibit Museum
Louisiana African-American Heritage Trail (French: Sentier de l'Héritage Afro-Americaine de la Louisiane) is a cultural heritage trail with 26 sites designated in 2008 by the state of Louisiana, from New Orleans along the Mississippi River to Baton Rouge and Shreveport, with sites in small towns and plantations also included. In New Orleans several sites are within a walking area. Auto travel is required to reach sites outside the city.
A variety of African American museums devoted to art, history and culture are on the "trail", as is the Cane River Creole National Park, and the first two churches founded by and for free people of color. The trail includes two extensive plantation complexes with surviving quarters used by people who lived and worked at the plantations until 1930 in one case, and into the 1960s at the other. Two historically black universities are also on the trail.
The trail's chief state promoter has been Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, who saw its designation as a way to highlight the many contributions of African Americans to the culture of Louisiana and the United States.
Elvis Presley, who performed at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium early in his career, is commemorated with a statue in front of the restored facility.
Guitarist James Burton, a native of Minden is also honored with a statue at Municipal Auditorium
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium
Robinson Film Center
Barnwell Memorial Garden and Art Center
Barnwell Memorial Garden and Art Center on the Clyde Fant Parkway
East Bank Theatre - Bossier City
Shreveport Little Theatre
Meadows Museum of Art - Centenary College,
Entrance to Meadows Museum at Centenary College
Centenary College of Louisiana is an independent United Methodist, primarily undergraduate, liberal arts and sciences college in Shreveport, Louisiana. The college is one of the founding members of the Associated Colleges of the South, a pedagogical organization consisting of sixteen Southern liberal arts colleges.
Events and tourism
Cinco De Mayo fiesta Shreveport
Red River Revel is a yearly event featuring local music, food and entertainers.
Texas Street Bridge crossing over the Red River
The Red River Revel is a festival of food, culture, art and music that takes place in Shreveport, Louisiana, United States, annually in the month of October. The Revel began in 1976 as a bicentennial celebration, sponsored by The Junior League of Shreveport. It is a nonprofit festival, and any money garnered from commerce that takes place there goes back into the financial pool for the next year's Revel, guaranteeing a bigger and better Revel every year.
Mosaic worked on by attendees of the festival in 1994
In several of the years of the festival, mosaics have been produced on the festival grounds which lasted after it was over. An artist creates a design that includes the Revel logo, and attendees work to put colored tile pieces in place to match the design. While some of the mosaics of past years have been removed or blocked from sight due to subsequent construction, others remain visible, including on the base of the Texas Street Bridge.
Mudbug Madness is a celebration of crawfish
Holiday in Dixie,
The Holiday Trail of Lights is a festival held in Northwest Louisiana and Northeast Texas during the Christmas season.
Six Ark-La-Tex cities participate in the Trail, three in Louisiana (Natchitoches (pronounced NAK-uh-tush), Shreveport and Bossier City) and three in East Texas (Marshall, Jefferson and Kilgore).
The Wonderland of Lights in Marshall is one of the largest Christmas celebrations in the US and attracts tourists both from the US and other countries. The Festival of Lights and Christmas Festival in Natchitoches was started in 1927, making it one of the oldest Light Festivals in the US. The largest city, Shreveport's festival, Holiday in Dixie, lights up a botanical garden, the American Rose Center. Candle light tours of historic homes are popular attractions in all of the cities, especially Jefferson. Kilgore suspends Christmas lights from oil derricks in the World's Richest Acre District.
All of the cities are within a one hour drive of each other and hold parades during the festival and offer what the official website calls "Southern hospitality".
In Natchitoches, Louisiana it is known as the Natchitoches Christmas Festival or Festival of lights.
Louisiana State Fair in the fall
Independence Bowl after Christmas,
The Independence Bowl is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I college football bowl game that is played annually at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana, so named because it was inaugurated in the United States bicentennial year, 1976.
For its first five years, the game pitted the champion of the Southland Conference against an at-large opponent. It then moved to inviting two at-large teams, until 1995 when it began featuring a Southeastern Conference school against an at-large opponent.
Since 1998 the game has normally featured a matchup between teams representing the Big 12 Conference and the SEC. Teams from other conferences are included only if one of those leagues does not have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill its spot, such as in 2004 when Miami (Ohio) played instead of an SEC squad. In 2008 and 2009, should either conference not have an available team, a Sun Belt Conference team - provided that they are bowl eligible - will be their replacement.
In 1990, the contest became one of the earliest college bowl games to use a title sponsor, becoming the Poulan Weed-Eater Independence Bowl. (The name gave rise to the term Weedwhacker Bowl, which is sometimes used to refer to a second-rank bowl game, especially by fans of top-ranked teams who expect their squads to compete in BCS contests.)
Poulan (then a division of AB Electrolux Home Products, now Husqvarna AB) sponsored the game until 1996. Newell Rubbermaid's Sanford brand of writing products took over sponsorship from 1998 until 2000, while MainStay Investments sponsored from 2001 to 2003. In January 2005, in what was widely perceived as a publicity stunt, the Deja Vu chain of "gentlemen's clubs" offered to become the title sponsor. The offer was rejected.
The Independence Bowl's three-year search for a title sponsor ended on August 21, 2006 when PetroSun Inc., a Phoenix, Arizona-based company that provides services and products to suppliers of oil and gas, agreed to become the bowl's sponsor. The deal, changing the game's full name to the PetroSun Independence Bowl, was to have ran through 2008 with an option for 2009; however the deal was discontinued prior to the 2008 game.
Louisiana Film Festival - Centenary College
The terms "Mardi Gras" (mär`dē grä) and "Mardi Gras season", in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, ending on the day before Ash Wednesday. From the French term "Mardi Gras" (literally "Fat Tuesday"), the term has come to mean the whole period of activity related to those events, beyond just the single day, often called Mardi Gras Day or Fat Tuesday. The season can be designated by the year, as in "Mardi Gras 2008".
The time period varies from city to city, as some traditions consider Mardi Gras as the Carnival period between Epiphany or Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday. Others treat the final three-day period as being Mardi Gras. In Mobile, Alabama, Mardi Gras events begin in November, followed by mystic society balls on Thanksgiving, then New Year's Eve, formerly with parades on New Year's Day, followed by parades and balls in January & February, celebrating up to midnight before Ash Wednesday.
Recreation and attractions
Louisiana Boardwalk - Bossier City
The Louisiana Boardwalk would like to invite you to the largest outlet, lifestyle, dining, and entertainment destination in the state of Louisiana. The Louisiana Boardwalk consists of over 60 retail stores and restaurants. We personally greet all bus groups with open arms and great southern hospitality. We give each of our bus patrons a booklet of coupons with great discounts to participating stores and restaurants.
For more information on booking a group or tour to the Louisiana Boardwalk, give Mark Crawford a call at 318.752.1455 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
J. Bennett Johnston, Jr. Waterway Regional Visitor Center - History of Red River
Sci-Port Discovery Center and IMAX Theater
Sci-Port: LOUISIANA'S Science Center is a 92,000 square-foot science and entertainment center in Shreveport-Bossier, featuring over 290 science, math and space exhibits, daily changing programs, an IMAX Dome Theatre, open-access, interactive, laser SPACE DOME Planetarium, gift shop and café. Sci-Port is located on the downtown Shreveport Riverfront.
Clyde Fant Park named for Mayor Fant (1946–1954; 1958–1970) along the Red River.
A private pier on Cross Lake in Shreveport
Cross Lake (French: Lac de la Croix) is an 8,575-acre (35 km2) lake located near Shreveport, Louisiana. The waterway provides the water supply for the City of Shreveport. Moss covered cypress trees line the banks of this open lake popular for fishing and recreational boating. Supporting waterfowl, alligators and an abundance of wildlife. There are many access sites, several commercial facilities, and two public parks.
Ford Park on Cross Lake,
Ford Park, a recreational facility on the lake, is named for the former mayor and finance commissioner John McW. Ford (1880-1965).
Ford Park is a popular facility operated by the City of Shreveport, the seat of Caddo Parish in northwestern Louisiana. The 85-acre (340,000 m2) park is located in north Shreveport at 5784 South Lakeshore Drive near the municipal pier and boat launch.
View of Ford Park
Ford Park offers two recreational ballfields, two playgrounds, two tennis courts, a picnic area, a walking trail, and a fishing pier on Cross Lake. There is space for large family events.
The park is named for John McWilliams Ford, mayor of Shreveport from 1918-1922 and its finance commissioner from 1930 until his death in 1965.
The Gardens of the American Rose Center,
The Gardens of the American Rose Center (42 acres) are botanical gardens dedicated to rose varieties, as well as the home of the American Rose Society (founded 1892). The gardens are located on Jefferson Paige Road, at Exit 5 of Interstate I-20, just west of Shreveport, Louisiana, and are open daily March 30th through October 31st. An admission fee is charged.
The Blush Rose
The gardens include some 20,000 rose varieties, arranged in gardens such as ones featuring the newest rose hybrids, All-America Rose Selections, miniature roses, single petaled roses, etc. Taken together, the gardens are described as the largest park in the United States dedicated to roses.
The Paradise Rose
Here at the American Rose Society, we understand how important roses are. If you want to know more about choosing roses, growing roses, pruning roses, the American Rose Society and how to become a member or how to find out about an upcoming rose show, you've come to the right place.
Members of the American Rose Society encompass all levels of experience with roses and are committed to promoting the rose in all its diversity. If there's one thing that all American Rose Society members have in common, it's a love of roses.
Hirsch Memorial Coliseum at Louisiana State Fairgrounds
The Hirsch Memorial Coliseum is a 10,300-seat multi-purpose arena in Shreveport, Louisiana. It was built in 1954. It was home to the Shreveport Mudbugs ice hockey team. It hosted the 1981 Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball tournament and has hosted the Southland Conference men's basketball tournament six times.
It is located adjacent to the Independence Bowl stadium and across from Fair Park High School in Shreveport.
The National Rose Garden, the world's largest rose garden.
Azalea Gardens of the R.W. Norton Art Gallery
Touchstone Wildlife & Art Museum - Haughton in Bossier Parish
Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary
Chimp Haven Logo,
Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary is a species-specific facility designed to provide a home for chimpanzee that offers an environment that stimulates behaviors similar to those in the wild. Initial residents will be individuals former medical research subjects with future plans to include those from the entertainment industry and pets. The sanctuary opened in April 2005 and currently now houses more than 100 individuals in forested habitats. The 2 hectares (4.9 acres) sanctuary is located in the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park in Keithville, Louisiana, approximately 22 miles southwest of Shreveport.
Barnwell Garden & Art Center
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium first performance of Elvis Presley
Spring Street Museum
Pioneer Heritage Center at LSUS
8th Air Force Museum - Barksdale Airforce Base, Bossier City,
Eighth Air Force Museum is located on Barksdale AFB near Bossier City, Louisiana and is hosted by the 2nd Bomb Wing.
This aviation museum has a large collection of military aircraft and historical artifacts that dates from the early days of US military aviation as well as the history of Barksdale AFB, the formation of the 2nd Bomb Wing and formation of the 8th Air Force.
The museum is located at the north gate, Bossier Gate. The admission is free and the hours of operation are from 9:30 AM - 4:00 PM everyday except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. A gift shop is inside the museum and shares the same business time as the museum.
Antique, Classic Vehicle and Firefighters Museum of Shreveport
Spirit of the Red River
Other cities most famous for their Mardi Gras celebrations include Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and New Orleans, Louisiana. Many other places have important Mardi Gras celebrations as well.
Carnival is an important celebration in most of Europe, except in Ireland and the United Kingdom where the festival is called "shrovetide" ending on Shrove Tuesday, and pancakes are the tradition, and also in many parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.