The US President Who Regularly Insulted Shreveport
Do you believe there was a time where the City of Shreveport was renting time in the mind of the President of the United States? What I mean, was that there was a US President who was thinking about Shreveport on a regular basis.
That President was Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States.
Johnson was from Stonewall, Texas, and very familiar with Louisiana. His wife, Lady Bird Johnson, was from Harrison County in East Texas, which helped keep Johnson's attention on the region through his life.
President Johnson signed one of the most important pieces of legislation in United States history, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was a piece of legislation brought forward by President John F. Kennedy, who Johnson served as Vice President for. Johnson signed the act into law on July 2nd, 1964.
That bill was met with opposition from many. The Shreveport area was a major center for push back. In fact, Shreveport was still fighting school desegregation into the Ronald Regan administration. Johnson believed that the treatment he had received from the Shreveport Journal newspaper that led to the issues he had with Shreveport.
In January of 1965, Senate Majority Whip Russell B. Long, from Shreveport, was lobbying the President to put federal funding back into a new Post Office for Shreveport. Johnson was a major opponent of doing anything for Shreveport. In fact, Johnson met Long's request for funding with a counter-offer to close down Barksdale Air Force Base.
The idea to close down Barksdale wasn't a one-time joke either. In other phone calls, Johnson was recorded exploring the idea with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.
Between just these two phone calls, we can hear President Johnson take shots at Shreveport. In the first phone call with Long, Johnson says of Shreveport...
"don't you pick out the cross eyed, stuttering, bowlegged girl and bring her up and say 'now listen this aught to be the beauty queen' and you name her by god"
When Johnson was on the phone with McNamara, he compared Shreveport to Dallas in an unflattering way. The point of the call with McNamara was to look for ways to close Barksdale Air Force Base...
"Shreveport is the meanest damn town, it's worse than Dallas. And it's gonna murder someone down there."
While on the same call with McNamara, he used a dated slang about making Shreveport mad, saying...
"they aught to have their tit in the wringer everyday"