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Skyline of Shreveport in 1953


Shreveport is the third-largest city and the principal city of the third largest metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Louisianamarker, as well as being the 99th-largest city in the United Statesmarker.

It is the seat of Caddo Parishmarker and extends slightly into neighboring Bossier Parishmarker. Bossier Citymarker is separated from Shreveport by the Red Rivermarker. 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.

Shreveport is the commercial and cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex, the area where Arkansasmarker, Louisiana, and Texasmarker meet. Many people in the community refer to the two cities of Shreveport and Bossier City as "Shreveport-Bossier".

History

Early settlers



Map of Shreveport in 1920


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.

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.

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 Richmondmarker but was captured in Georgiamarker 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.

Twentieth century

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 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).

Shreveport's riverfront casino district
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.

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.

General Motors

Shreveportmarker is home to Shreveport Operationsmarker A General Motors plant that is slated to close before or during the year 2012. The plant currently produces the Hummer H3, Hummer H3T, Chevrolet Colorado,GMC Canyon, and the Isuzu i-Series

Geography

Satellite image of Shreveport


Landscape

Shreveport sits on a low elevation overlooking the Red River. Pine forests, cotton fields, wetlands, and waterways mark the outskirts of the city.

Climate

Shreveport has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen climate classification Cfa). Rainfall is abundant with the normal annual rain just over , with monthly averages ranging less than in August to more than in May and June. Severe thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail damaging winds and tornadoes occur in the area during the spring. The winter months are normally mild with an average of 39 days of freezing or below-freezing temperatures per year, though ice and sleet storms do occur. Summer months are very warm and humid, with maximum temperatures exceeding 95 degrees about 32 days per year, with high to very high relative average humidity sometimes exceeding the 90 percent level.

Neighborhoods







Shreveport encompasses many different neighborhoods and districts. . Below is a list of the various areas in Greater Shreveport.



  • Ellerbe
  • Greenwoodmarker
  • Highland
  • Hollywood
  • Hollywood Heights
  • Ingleside
  • Jewella-South Park
  • Hyde Park
  • Keithvillemarker
  • Lakeside
  • Ledbetter Heights or The Bottom
  • Long Lake
  • LSUS-University Area
  • Madison Park
  • Mooretown
  • Pines Road
  • Queensborough
  • Riverfront District
  • Shreve Island
  • Shreve City
  • South Highlands
  • Southern Hills
  • Southern Trace
  • Spring Lake
  • Sunset Acres
  • Town South
  • Stoner Hill
  • Western Hills


In the Highlands section along Fairfield Avenue, more than a half dozen homes have been designated as historic. These include residences once occupied by Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana Thomas Charles Barret, who served early in the 20th century; a Broadwaymarker 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.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 200,145 people, 78,662 households, and 50,422 families residing in the city limits. The population density was 1,940.5 people per square mile (749.2/km²). There were 86,802 housing units, at an average density of 324.9/km² (841.6/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 50.80% African American, 46.66% White, 0.79% Asian, 0.31% Native American, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.55% of the population. From 1990 to 2000, the city's white non-Hispanic population declined from 53.6% to 45.9%, a -7.7% decline. By 2004, among all groups, Shreveport lost 0.8% of its 2000 census population.

There were 78,662 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% were married couples living together, 21.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.12. Population ages ranked as follows: 26.9% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. The city ranks third in the nation of cities over 100,000 population with significant gender disparity: for every 100 females there were only 87.4 males, and for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were just 82.1 males. According to 2005 FBI statistics, Shreveport ranks 18th in overall crime rate among cities of 100,000-250,000 persons, with a murder rate of 19.6 per 100,000 population.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,526, 72.4% of the national median of $42,148, and the median income for a family was $37,126. Males had a median income of $31,278 versus $21,659 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,759. About 18.7% of families and 22.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics

U.S.
Courthouse in Shreveport.
U.S.
Courthouse in Shreveport.


Founded in 1836 and incorporated in 1839, Shreveport is the parish seat of Caddo Parishmarker. 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 Parishmarker due to the changing course of the Red Rivermarker.

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 ordinance are enforced.

Economy

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. 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.

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 Citymarker is home to one of the three horse racetracks in the state, Harrah's Louisiana Downs. Casinos in Shreveport-Bossier include Sam's Town Casinomarker, Eldorado Casino, Horseshoe Casinomarker, 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.

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.

Shreveport Convention Center


A new 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 HRI properties www.hriproperties.com The Shreveport Convention Center is managed by SMG.

The Shriner's Hospital for Children,now at the corner of Samford Ave and Kings Highway, was the first of its kind in the United States, having been established in 1922.


Shreveport is also a major medical center of the region and state. The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveportmarker operates at expanded facilities once used by the former Confederate Memorial Medical Center. Major hospitals include Christus Schumpert, Willis Knighton, and Shriners Hospital 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.

Film Industry

Tax incentives offered by the state government have given Louisiana the third largest film industry in the country, behind Californiamarker and New Yorkmarker, and lead to its nickname of "Hollywoodmarker South." Shreveport is no exception and has seen a number of films made in the city. Facilities include sound stages, the State Fair of Louisiana Fairgrounds Complex, and the Louisiana Wave Studio, a computer-controlled outdoor wave pool.

Selected movies shot in Shreveport include:

Education



Caddo Public Schools is a school district based in Shreveport. The district serves all of Caddo Parish. Diesel Driving Academy offers commercial driver's license training at its campus in Shreveport.

Its founding superintendent was Clifton Ellis Byrd, a Virginiamarker native, who assumed the chief administrative position in 1907 and continued until his death in 1926. C.E.marker Byrd High Schoolmarker, which was established in 1925 on Line Avenue at the intersection with East Kings Highway, bears his name.

Ayers Career College is a Shreveport based college that offers career training in the medical and HVAC fields.

Shreveport has several colleges, including the Methodist-affiliated Centenary Collegemarker (founded at Jackson, Louisianamarker, 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 Shreveportmarker, 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 Universitymarker College of Nursing.

Southern Universitymarker, Shreveport (SUSLA), offers a two-year associate's degree program. (The four-year institution, which is historically black, is in Baton Rouge.)

Churches



Shreveport has church of all denominations and sizes. At the head of Texas Street is the large First United Methodist Church, established at that site in 1884. The current sanctuary dates to 1913. The church is pastored by Pat Day. Among its former pastors were D.L. Dykes, Jr., and John E. Fellers.

A second Methodist congregation is named for J.S. Noel, Jr. The church was begun as a mission in 1906. Methodist layman James Noel and his wife, Fannie, provided financially for the church in its early year. The congregation decided to name the church for the Noel's late son. Like First United Methodist, it opened in the current sanctuary in 1913 and grew rapidly. A fire gutted the building in 1925, and only a portion of the loss was covered by insurance. The members expanded their ranks and rebuilt at the 500 Herndon location. The current Noel Memorial pastor is Flint Shea.


The large Holy Trinity Catholic Church located downtown was founded in 1858. Five priests died of yellow fever in 1873. The current sanctuary in Romanesque revival style architecture dates to 1896.

A large First Baptist Church was once pastored by Monroe E. Dodd, an early radio minister and founder of the former Dodd College for Girls. Former Governor Jimmie Davis, a Shreveport city commissioner too, taught history for a year under Dodd's tutelage.

Other large Baptist congregations include Calvary Baptist, Broadmoor Baptist, Summer Grove Baptist, Galilee Baptist, Zion Baptist, and Lake Bethlehem Baptist churches. The latter was previously pastored by Wayne L. DuBose, now pastor of First Baptist Church of Mindenmarker. Westview Christian Church is an independent Christian church that serves the area as well with members from diverse denominational backgrounds.

Particularly striking in size and architecture is St. Mark's Cathedral, an Episcopal congregation at 908 Rutherford Street in the Highlands section of Shreveport.

Agudath Achim is the biggest and most traditional Jewish synagogue. Rabbi Foster E. Kawaler is the current rabbi, focused on rebuilding the congregation. Shreveport, historically, has had a large and civic-minded Jewish community.

Sports

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, making it the oldest continuously competing sport team in Shreveport. It is a member of USA Rugby 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 Stadiummarker) 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 Canadian Football League football team in the mid-1990s known as the Shreveport Pirates. Bernard Glieberman, a Detroitmarker 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 Canadianmarker teams. By 1996 the team had folded up.



Shreveport is the birthplace of several American 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 LSUmarker; 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 USCmarker. 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 Antoniomarker and Louisiana State Universitymarker in Baton Rougemarker. 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 is home to several theatres, museums, and performing arts groups including the following:





  • Barnwell Memorial Garden and Art Center
  • East Bank Theatre - Bossier City
  • Academy Of Children's Theatre
  • Shreveport Little Theatre
  • Artspace Shreveport
  • Meadows Museum of Art - Centenary Collegemarker


Events and tourism



Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras celebrations in Shreveport have been going on now over twenty years. In 1989, the Krewe of Gemini held its first parade through the streets of Shreveport. The holiday has been growing ever since. In these twenty years, there have been at least twenty krewes formed in the Shreveport area alone. Even more have been formed in smaller towns all across northern Louisiana. History has it that Shreveport began its Mardi Gras tradition right after the civil war. However the Great Depression stopped the fun.

Recreation and attractions





Media/press



Shreveport is served by a variety of print publications. The major daily newspaper serving the Shreveport-Bossier and Ark-La-Tex area is the Shreveport Times. Its headquarters are located in downtown Shreveport near Interstate 20. A second major paper, the afternoon Shreveport Journal, ceased publication in 1991.

Other smaller non-daily newspapers in the area include The Shreveport Sun, the Caddo Citizen. Bossier City is served by the daily Bossier Press-Tribune. The Bombardier is the weekly newspaper of record for the Barksdale Air Force Basemarker. In addition alternative publications include, The Forum Newsweekly, City Lights, and SB Magazine.

Shreveport and Bossier City are served by two major cable television systems: Shreveport is served by Comcast and Bossier City is served by Suddenlink.

Shreveport is home to several radio stations, particularly KWKH and KEELmarker, having reputations beyond the city. The three commercial television outlets are KSLA-TVmarker, CBS, founded in 1954; KTBS-TVmarker, ABC, founded in 1955, and KTAL-TVmarker, arrived in Shreveport in September 1961 as the NBC station. KTBS was an NBC station, with occasional ABC programs, from 1955-1961, when it switched affiliation to ABC. KTAL, formerly known as KCMC of Texarkanamarker, was a CBS outlet prior to conversion to NBC, when it began to cover Shreveport as well as Texarkana. Don Owen (born 1930), a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission from 1984-2002, is also a former news anchorman on KSLA.

Military installations

Barksdale Air Force Base is located in Bossier Parish across the river from Shreveport, which donated the land for its construction in the 1920s. Named for pioneer army aviator Lt. Eugene Hoy Barksdale and originally called Barksdale Army Air Field, it opened in 1933 and became Barksdale Air Force Base in 1947. Headquartered here are the 8th Air Force, 2d Bomb Wing, and 917th Wing. The primary plane housed here is the Boeing B52 Stratofortress. In earlier years, the base was the home to other famous planes, including the B-47.

Shreveport is home to the 2-108th Cavalry Squadron, the reconnaissances element of the 256th Infantry Brigade. Three of the squadron's four cavalry troops are located at 400 East Stoner Avenue in a historic armory known as "Fort Humbug". This was named due to the Confederate Army burning logs to look like cannons and placing them along the Red River. This caused Union ironclad ships sailing north on the Red River to be tricked into turning back south.

Transportation

Highways and roads

Shreveport's past reflects the need for mass transit and public roads. As far back as the 1870s, residents used mule-drawn street cars that were converted to electric-motorized cars by 1890. Commuter rail systems in Shreveport flourished for many decades, and rail car lines extended out to rural areas. In 1930, trolleys and rail cars began to be replaced by buses, although motor buses did not finally replace all trolley service until the 1960s. In the 1960s, the Interstate Highway System came to the area with the construction of Interstate 20.

The local public transportation provider, SporTran, provides moderately extensive bus service throughout Shreveport and Bossier City. Sportran operates seven days a week on seventeen bus routes (five night routes) from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m., with no night service on Sunday.

Shreveport interstate intersections
The highway system has a cross-hair and loop freeway structure similar to that of Texasmarker cities like Houstonmarker and Dallasmarker. The loop consists of The Outer Loop Freeway Interstate 220 on the north and The Inner Loop Freeway, Louisiana Highway 3132 on the south, forming approximately an diameter semi-loop around downtown. Another loop is formed by the Bert Kouns Industrial Loop, (Louisiana Highway 526) and circles further south bisecting Interstate 49.

Shreveport lies along the route of the proposed Interstate 69 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) superhighway that will link Canadamarker, the U.S. industrial Midwest, Texas, and Mexicomarker.

Airports

Shreveport is served by two airports, the larger of which is the Shreveport Regional Airportmarker (SHV). Served by Allegiant: Las Vegas, Orlando (seasonal); American: Dallas/Ft. Worth; Continental: Houston; Delta: Atlanta, Cincinnati; and Northwest: Detroit, Memphis. The second airport is Shreveport Downtown Airportmarker (DTN). The Downtown Municipal Airport is a general aviation/reliever airport located north of the Downtown Business District. The airport is located along the Red River and is the original Shreveport commercial airport, dating back to 1931.

References

  1. Notice from City of Shreveport regarding bridge repairs
  2. Material taken from historic markers in Highland section of Shreveport
  3. "Census 2000 Data for the State of Louisiana" (town list), US Census Bureau, May 2003, webpage: C2000-LA.
  4. http://www.dda.edu
  5. http://www.ayers.edu
  6. http://www.noelumc.org/about/history.html
  7. Historical marker, Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Shreveport
  8. http://news.yahoo.com/s/sn/20071228/sp_sn/shreveportthegrandaddyofbadbowlgames news.yahoo.com


See also



External links




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