Located in Northwest Louisiana and the seat of Caddo Parish, Shreveport has a population of about 200,000. The city was first settled in the 1830s by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, who saw the potential of using the Red River to transport goods. The area experienced an economic boost in the early twentieth century when oil deposits were discovered near Caddo Lake. Despite its decline in the later 1900s as the railroad system became the dominant means of transportation, the Red River became an important shipping system for Shreveport once again in the 1990s.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Shreveport was once known for its vast production of natural gas, petroleum, timber and cotton. After Standard Oil moved its business out of the city, Shreveport was able to fend off economic recession through its thriving manufacturing and wholesale trade industries.
Today, Shreveport's economy is dependent on the service sector, especially the gaming industry. The city hosts various riverboat gambling casinos, horse racetracks and shopping and entertainment complexes.
The city's biggest employers are Barksdale Air Force Base, which is actually located in the business district of nearby Bossier City, and the major healthcare institutions, East Jefferson Hospital and Mid City Medical Center.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Shreveport accommodates a little less than 87,000 houses, out of which about 78,760 are occupied. The renter-occupancy ratio for the city is 41 percent as compared to 32 percent for Louisiana as a whole.
If you're a walker, Shreveport is a very good town; you can find many movie theatres, coffee shops, bars, restaurants and parks within a mile from the center of the city.
Notable neighborhoods in Shreveport include:
- Downtown Shreveport is the region's center of telecommunications, technology, banking, law, government, riverboat gaming and the arts. Musical entertainment, festivals, museums, parks and historic architecture combine to make Downtown Shreveport a regional destination for residents and tourists.
- The Highlands along Fairfield Avenue, accommodate more than a half-dozen historic homes once occupied by important public figures, including local politicians and businessmen. One of these homes is one of five remaining structures in Shreveport designed by the noted architect N.S. Allen.
- Provenance Shreveport is an up-and-coming, master-planned suburb with its own post office and town square.
- Broadmoor is a popular, middle-class neighborhood, with low crime and good schools.
Shreveport has several institutions of higher learning:
- Centenary College of Louisiana, founded in 1825 and located on Centenary Boulevard, offers undergraduate and graduate programs in biochemistry, English, neuroscience, religious studies and theater.
- Louisiana State University in Shreveport features colleges of business administration, education and human development, liberal arts and sciences.
- The Louisiana State University Medical Center offers numerous, four-year programs and houses the School of Medicine, the School of Graduate Studies and the School of Allied Health Professions.
- Southern University at Shreveport features programs in dental hygiene, food and beverage management, phlebotomy and website development.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
For arts buffs and those interested in cinema or other entertainment, Shreveport offers many options:
- The R.W. Norton Art Gallery, located on Creswell Avenue, houses an impressive collection of American and European sculptures, paintings and decorative arts that span more than four centuries. The Gallery is situated on 40 exquisitely landscaped acres and offers a walking path that takes visitors through the grounds and near the garden's attractive azalea beds.
- The American Rose Society provides educational services to promote the celebration of the national flower. Visitors can attend rose shows and conventions, enjoy tours and seminars, build their own rose gardens and learn to grow hybrid roses.
- The Sci-Port science center is a 92,000 square-foot science-and-entertainment center that allows people of all ages to explore math, technology, science and space exhibits, as well as the IMAX Dome Theatre and the laser Space Dome Planetarium. The center also includes a gift shop and café.
- The Meadows Museum of Art, housed in the Centenary College of Louisiana, features a comprehensive collection celebrating the artistic achievements of world cultures, and includes works by Alfred Maurer, Mary Cassatt, Emilio Amero and George Grosz.
- River City Repertory Theatre first opened in 2006 and is considered the first professional theater in the region. The company sometimes performs at the Strand in the arts district of the city. Productions are also held at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, a more intimate stage area, which was built in 1917. Productions of the River City Repertory Theatre range from musicals to comedies and dramas, and directors can select from the two venues to create the right atmosphere.
- The Red River Film Society is a local nonprofit arts organization aimed at promoting film and encouraging educational projects about film in the Shreveport area.
Shreveport offers a number of festivals:
- The Riverview Hall-MLK Observance, which takes place in January, celebrates the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and is open to the public.
- Dr. King is also honored in February during the annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Basketball Tournament. The athletic event is part of African American History Month celebrations and invites participants from all ethnic backgrounds.
- The Walk-Thousand Men & Women March, which begins at the Shreveport City Courthouse, is a special event promoting constitutional justice.
- The Festival Plaza Motorcycle Rally is a three-day, annual event in March that features a pancake breakfast.
- The Festival Plaza Farmers Market runs from June through September.
Shreveport offers a number of good golf courses:
- Champion Links, a public, nine-hole course
- East Ridge Country Club, a private, 18-hole course
- Huntington Park Golf Course, a municipal, 18-hole course
- Jerry Tim Brooks Golf Course, a municipal, nine-hole course
- Shreveport also boasts the public Northwood Golf and Country Club (an 18-hole course), the municipal Querbes Park Golf Course (an 18-hole course), the private Shreveport Country Club (an 18-hole course), the private Southern Trace Country Club (an 18-hole course) and the public Westwood Executive Golf Course (an 18-hole course).