Introduction to Shreveport, Louisiana
The Louisiana city of Shreveport is one of the state's largest cities and also the seat of Caddo Parish. Seated on the banks of the Red River, Shreveport is linked in many ways with its sister city on the other side of the river, Bossier City. Many refer to the two cities as "Shreveport-Bossier". Situated in the northwest corner of the state near the borders of Texas and Arkansas, Shreveport serves as the commercial and cultural center of the tri-state region, a region which is widely considered to be the border between the West and the South.
Shreveport lies at the junction of Interstates I-20 and I-49. The city is also serviced by Interstate I-220; U.S. Route 71; and Louisiana State Highways 1, 3, and 526. Air transport is available at Shreveport Regional Airport (SHV), located in the western part of the city.
Shreveport was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a corporation established to develop a town located at the junction of the Red River and the Texas Trail. The Trail had long established itself as a prime overland route into the newly independent Republic of Texas and, before that, into Mexico. The River had recently been cleared of 180 miles of debris clogging its channel, thanks to the efforts of Captain Henry Miller Shreve, commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers. In honor of Shreve, the newly-formed village was named Shreve Town, and in 1839 the village was incorporated as the town of Shreveport. In 1871 Shreveport became incorporated as a city. During part of the twentieth century, Shreveport became a prime force in the oil industry but by the 1980s, the industry suffered large economic setbacks and Shreveport felt the effects of this recession when it saw many of its companies institute cutbacks and layoffs or completely fold. The city today has largely transitioned to a service economy, having become a popular tourist destination largely due to its various riverboat casinos and numerous historic landmarks.
Things to do in Shreveport
Shreveport-Bossier is widely known for its dockside riverboat casinos. Prominent among these are: Boomtown Casino and Hotel, Diamond Jacks Casino Resort, Eldorado Resort Casino, Horseshoe Casino and Hotel, and Sam's Town Hotel and Casino. Gaming is accompanied by world-class thoroughbred racing at Harrah's Louisiana Downs. Shreveport is also renowned for its historic landmarks. One example is the McNeill Street Pumping Station, a waterworks dating back to 1887 which is still operational today. A more recent tourist attraction is Bossier City's expansive Louisiana Boardwalk, a huge shopping and entertainment complex which opened its doors in 2005. The area boasts many other places of interest, including the following:
- Ark-La-Tex Antique and Classic Vehicle Museum: Housed in an original 1927 Graham Truck/Dodge car showroom and assembly area.
- Pioneer Heritage Center: Features authentic 1830s-1860s buildings from northwest Louisiana's pioneer days.
- Shreveport Water Works Museum: Contains 19th-century steam equipment from the Shreveport Water Works Company.
- Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet: Presents three ballet productions per year.
- The R.W. Norton Art Gallery: Houses more than four centuries of American and European art.
- Shreveport Municipal Auditorium: Home of the first performance of Elvis Presley.
- Heritage Gallery: Features fine art from Louisiana artists.
- Ark-La-Tex Mardi Gras Museum
- Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum of Champions
- Louisiana State Oil and Gas Museum
- J.Bennett Johnston Waterway Regional Visitor Center
- Red River Crossroads Museum
- Stephens African American Museum
- Louisiana Boardwalk
The sports scene in Shreveport is highlighted by a variety of professional teams. The Shreveport Sports Baseball Club is a minor league team which plays in the American Association. The team is not affiliated with any Major League Baseball team; however, the Sports have had numerous alumni who are now on Major League rosters. The cities of Shreveport and Bossier City share an arena football team, the Bossier-Shreveport Battle Wings. The Battle Wings are a member of the af2 league and play their games at Bossier City's CenturyTel Center. Another local team that calls the CenturyTel Center home is the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs, a pro ice hockey team which plays in the Central Hockey League. Top collegiate football action can be seen every year when Shreveport hosts the Independence Bowl game. The NCAA-sanctioned Division I game takes place in the city's Independence Stadium. Fans of auto racing have their choice of racetracks to visit, including the Ark-La-Tex Speedway, Boothill Speedway, and Red River Raceway.