Local History: Who Was Bert Kouns?
This week in our Local History Spotlight, we feature Bert Kouns.
Bert Kouns Industrial Loop (LA-526) is a sixteen mile stretch of highway that loops through the south of Shreveport from Greenwood Road at I-20 from the west all the way to East 70th Street close to the Jimmie Davis Bridge. But who was Bert Kouns?
That question isn't as easy to answer as one would think. Point of fact is that the roadway was not just named after Bert Kouns, the patriarch, but it was named to honor the entire Kouns family for all they have done for the city of Shreveport.
In my search, I discovered a grave marker and memorial for Sinclair Bert Kouns (1926-2000). In the memorial, John Andrew Prime writes:
Kouns, born on Christmas Day, 1926, was from a pioneer family long involved in commerce on the Red River. His grandfather Martin Kouns of Ohio was an owner of the Era Steamboat Line, whose vessels plied the waters of the Red, Ohio and Mississippi rivers before and after the Civil War.
Kouns attended Georgia Military Academy and was a graduate of Byrd High School and LSU, where he lettered in baseball. He was in the Army in World War II.
Kouns was a past president of the Shreveport Sports Foundation and Holiday in Dixie.
He was a member of the Bicentennial Planning Commission in the mid-1970s, and was a member and past president of the Caddo Police Jury, predecessor to today's Caddo Commission.
My curiosity now piqued, I wrote Mr. Prime an email asking if he knew if this was, in fact, THE Bert Kouns. John wrote back with a link to Sinclair's father's grave memorial. Sinclair's father was Bert Kouns (1893-1970), a well-known local oil and gas industry figure.
Shawn Bohannon, in the elder Kouns' memorial, writes:
A native of Alexandria, Mr. Kouns was the son of Capt. Martin H. Kouns and Mrs. Lurline Chapman Kouns. Capt. Kouns and five brothers owned the Era Steamship Line...
Mr. Kouns, who resided in Shreveport 54 years, attended Louisiana Tech before entering the Army Air Corps, serving as a first lieutenant during World War I.
He helped sponsor and directed American Legion baseball in Shreveport for many years and for 18 years was part owner of the Shreveport Sports baseball team of the Texas League.
It seems the Kouns family left such a great mark on the development of Shreveport commerce, politics, and recreation, it was a no-brainier to name one of the main connectors of this city after the family that brought us so close together.
And that's how Bert Kouns was named.
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