Famous Landmarks In Shreveport – Our Top Five
From the Civil War, to the Louisiana Hayride, to the landing of Air Force One here in the hours after the 9-11 tragedy, Shreveport has seen it's share of historical events. And actually, it was a discussion of a notable Hayride moment involving a skinny kid from Tupelo, Mississippi, that brought about this post. If a stranger came to town, and wanted to know what there was to see in Shreveport, what would you tell him? Where would you send him/her to give them an idea of what Shreveport was about? The casinos? The Barnwell Garden and Art Center? The downtown statue of blues legend Huddy Ledbetter? Herby K's for a Shrimp Buster?
After tossing the question around the halls, this became our consensus Top Five Shreveport Landmarks (in no particular order):
Built in 1954, the Hirsch Coliseum, although rough around the edges these days, remains a viable part of the sports and entertainment activities in the Shreveport-Bossier area.
The Hirsch was home to the Shreveport Mudbugs ice hockey team, from 1997, until they moved to the CenturyTel Center, in Bossier City in 2000. It hosted the 1981 Atlantic Sun Conference men's basketball tournament and has hosted the Southland Conference men's basketball tournament six times.
Barksdale AFB was established in 1932 as Barksdale Field and is named for World War I aviator and test pilot 2nd Lieutenant Eugene Hoy Barksdale (1896–1926). The 2d Bomb Wing is commanded by Col. Timothy Fay. Its Command Chief Master Sergeant is Chief Master Sergeant Joe Ann G. Pace.
Barksdale has proudly served the Ark-La-Tex ( Arkansas , Louisiana and Texas ) for more than 68 years. As a key Air Force Global Strike Command base, Barksdale has a pivotal role in providing a large part of the nation's deterrent force.
Barksdale is home to the Air Force's newest command, Air Force Global Strike Command. AFGSC was activitated August, 2009, and is responsible for the nation's three intercontinental Balistic Missile Wings, two B-52 Stratofortress Wings and the only B-2 Spirit Wing.
Opened in 1925 as a Vaudeville venue and was nicknamed "The greatest theatre of the South" and the "Million Dollar Theatre" by its builders, Julian and Abraham Saenger of Shreveport. By the 1940s it had evolved into a movie cinema, which it remained until its closure in 1977.
Threatened with demolition, it was saved by a coalition of concerned citizens who restored it to its original grandeur over a nearly seven year period. It is now the Official State Theatre of Louisiana and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This restored historic theatre is a treasure in our community that has been recognized nationally first by USA Weekend and the AMC Magazine as one of the top 5 glitziest theatres for live performance anywhere in the country.
Better known as the Texas Street Bridge, or the "Neon Bridge", the Long-Allen Bridge was given a facelift by Rockne Krebs in 1993. Using neon lights and fiber-optic cables, Krebs transformed the bridge connecting Shreveport and Bossier City into a light sculpture that is not just functional, but a work of art.
Built between 1926 and 1929, it is noted for its intricate brickwork and lavish interior and has been coined the finest example of Art Deco construction in the State of Louisiana.
On April 3, 1948, a new program named, The Louisiana Hayride, began a weekly showcase of talented singers, songwriters and performers. Little did anyone realize the impact that would be made from the stage of Shreveport's Municipal Auditorium. The Louisiana Hayride became known as The Cradle of the Stars, because so many international stars began their careers on this program. Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Johnny Horton, are just a few of the acts that went on to stardom after performing on The Louisiana Hayride. Perhaps the most prominent performer to begin his career on the stage made his performance debut October 16th, 1954. That is when the world was introduced to Elvis Presley!
The hall continues to be scheduled regularly for musical performances, comedians and varied community use. For nearly more then 50 years, a festival celebrating the Louisiana Purchase, called Holiday In Dixie, has utilized the Municipal for its events. The building is still regularly used for Mardi Gras balls, boxing matches and graduation ceremonies. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was designated a National Historic Landmark on October 6, 2008.
Of all the amazing Famous Landmarks in Shreveport and the surrounding area, that's our Top Five! Which ones would you say don't belong? What would you add?