Quick facts for kids
|City of Shreveport|
Skyline of Shreveport
"The Next Great City of the South"
|Incorporated||March 20, 1839|
|Named for||Henry Miller Shreve|
|• City||120.8 sq mi (312.9 km2)|
|• Land||105.4 sq mi (272.9 km2)|
|• Water||15.4 sq mi (40.0 km2) 12.79%|
|• Metro||2,698 sq mi (6,987.8 km2)|
|Elevation||144 ft (43. m)|
| • Estimate
|• Rank||US: 120th Louisiana: 3rd|
|• Density||1,891/sq mi (730.3/km2)|
|• Urban||298,317 (US: 126th)|
|• Metro||443,708 (US: 119th)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
|Website||City of Shreveport|
Shreveport (// SHREEV-port) is the third-largest city in the state of Louisiana and the 113th-largest city in the United States. It is the seat of Caddo Parish and extends along the Red River (most notably at Wright Island, the Charles and Marie Hamel Memorial Park, and Bagley Island) into neighboring Bossier Parish. Bossier City is separated from Shreveport by the Red River. The population of Shreveport was 199,311 in 2010, and the Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Area population exceeds 441,000. The Shreveport-Bossier City Metropolitan Statistical Area ranks 111th in the United States, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Shreveport was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a corporation established to develop a town at the juncture of the newly navigable Red River and the Texas Trail, an overland route into the newly independent Republic of Texas and, prior to that time, into Mexico.
Shreveport was established to launch a town at the meeting point of the Red River and the Texas Trail. The Red River was cleared and made newly navigable by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, who led the United States Army Corps of Engineers effort to clear the Red River. A 180-mile-long (290 km) natural log jam, the Great Raft, had previously obstructed passage to shipping. Shreve used a specially modified riverboat, the Heliopolis, to remove the log jam. The company and the village of Shreve Town were named in Shreve's honor.
Shreve Town was originally contained within the boundaries of a section of land sold to the company by the indigenous Caddo Indians in 1835. In 1838 Caddo Parish was created from the large Natchitoches Parish, and Shreve Town became its parish seat. On March 20, 1839, the town was incorporated as Shreveport. Originally, the town consisted of 64 city blocks, created by eight streets running west from the Red River and eight streets running south from Cross Bayou, one of its tributaries.
Shreveport soon became a center of steamboat commerce, mostly cotton and agricultural crops. Shreveport also had a slave market, though slave trading was not as widespread as in other parts of the state. Steamboats plied the Red River, and stevedores loaded and unloaded cargo. By 1860, Shreveport had a population of 2,200 free people and 1,300 slaves within the city limits.
During the American Civil War, Shreveport was the capital of Louisiana from 1863 to 1865, having succeeded Baton Rouge and Opelousas after each fell under Union control. The city was a Confederate stronghold throughout the war and was the site of the headquarters of the Trans-Mississippi Department of the Confederate Army. Fort Albert Sidney Johnston was built on a ridge northwest of the city. Because of limited development in that area, the site is relatively undisturbed.
Isolated from events in the east, the Civil War continued in the Trans-Mississippi theater for several weeks after Robert E. Lee's surrender in April 1865, and the Trans-Mississippi was the last Confederate command to surrender, on May 26, 1865. Confederate President Jefferson Davis tried to flee to Shreveport, intending to go down the Mississippi, when he left Richmond but was captured en route in Irwinville, Georgia.
Throughout the war, women in Shreveport did much to assist the soldiers fighting mostly far to the east. Historian John D. Winters writes of them in The Civil War in Louisiana:
"The women of Shreveport and vicinity labored long hours over their sewing machines to provide their men with adequate underclothing and uniforms. After the excitement of Fort Sumter, there was a great rush to get the volunteer companies ready and off to New Orleans...Forming a Military Aid Society, the ladies of Shreveport requested donations of wool and cotton yarn for knitting socks. Joined by others, the Society collected blankets for the wounded and gave concerts and tableaux to raise funds. Tickets were sold for a diamond ring given by the mercantile house of Hyams and Brothers...
A Confederate minstrel show gave two performances to raise money for the war effort in Shreveport in December 1862. The Shreveport Ladies Aid Society announced a grand dress ball for April 6, 1863. That same month students at the Mansfield Female College in Mansfield in De Soto Parish presented a vocal and instrumental concert to support the war.
The Red River, which had been opened by Shreve in the 1830s, remained navigable throughout the Civil War. Water levels got so low at one point that Union Admiral David Dixon Porter was trapped with his gunboats north of Alexandria. His engineers quickly constructed a temporary dam to raise the water level and free his fleet.
By 1914, neglect and lack of use due to diversion of freight traffic to railroad lines resulted in the Red River becoming unnavigable. In 1994, the United States Army Corps of Engineers restored navigability by completion of a series of lock-and-dam structures and a navigation channel. Today, Shreveport-Bossier City is being re-developed as a port and shipping center.
In 1895, Justin Vincent Gras (1868–1959), a native of France, opened the largest grocery and liquor store in Shreveport. "What is good for Shreveport is good for me" became his motto. Gras turned to real estate and by the 1920s was the largest landholder in Caddo Parish. Gras and his wife, Eugenie, donated $2.3 million to establish the Community Foundation of North Louisiana. During World War I, Gras rebuilt the home church of his native village in the Pyrenees. He is interred at St. Joseph Cemetery in Shreveport.
By the 1910s, Huddie William Ledbetter—also known as "Lead Belly", a blues singer and guitarist who eventually achieved worldwide fame—was performing for Shreveport audiences in St. Paul's Bottoms. Ledbetter began to develop his own style of music after exposure to a variety of musical influences on Shreveport's Fannin Street, a row of saloons and dance halls in the Bottoms. Bluesmen Jesse Thomas, Dave Alexander, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the early jazz and ragtime composer Bill Wray and composer Willian Christopher O'Hare were all from Shreveport.
Shreveport was home to the Louisiana Hayride radio program, broadcast weekly from the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. During its heyday from 1948 to 1960, this program stimulated the careers of some of the greatest figures in American music. The Hayride featured musicians such as Hank Williams and Elvis Presley, who made his broadcasting debut at this venue.
In 1963, headlines across the country reported that musician Sam Cooke was arrested after his band tried to register at a "whites-only" Holiday Inn in Shreveport. Public facilities in Louisiana were still segregated, an example of the kinds of injustices that the Civil Rights Movement was working to change. In the months following, Cooke recorded the civil rights era song, "A Change Is Gonna Come." In 1964 Congress passed the Civil Rights Act to end segregation of public facilities.
In the mid-1990s, the coming of riverboat gambling to Shreveport attracted numerous new patrons to the downtown and spurred a revitalization of the adjacent downtown and riverfront areas. Many downtown streets were given a facelift through the "Streetscape" project, where brick sidewalks and crosswalks were built, and statues, sculptures, and mosaics were added. The O.K. Allen Bridge, commonly known as the Texas Street bridge, was lit with neon lights that were met with a variety of opinions among residents.
Shreveport was named an All-American City in 1953, 1979, and 1999.
Shreveport sits on a low elevation overlooking the Red River. Pine forests, cotton fields, wetlands, and waterways mark the outskirts of the city. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 120.8 sq mi (312.9 km2), of which 105.4 sq mi (272.9 km2) is land and 15.4 sq mi (40.0 km2), or 12.79%, is water.
Shreveport has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa). Rainfall is abundant, with the normal annual precipitation averaging over 51 inches (1.3 m), with monthly averages ranging from less than 3 inches (76 mm) in August to more than 5 inches (130 mm) in June. Severe thunderstorms with heavy rain, hail, damaging winds and tornadoes occur in the area during the spring and summer months. The winter months are normally mild, with an average of 35 days of freezing or below-freezing temperatures per year, with ice and sleet storms possible. Summer months are hot and humid, with maximum temperatures exceeding 90 °F (32 °C) an average of 91 days per year, with high to very high relative average humidity, sometimes exceeding the 90 percent level.
The extreme temperatures range from −5 °F (−21 °C) on February 12, 1899, to 110 °F (43 °C) on August 18, 1909.
|Climate data for Shreveport, Louisiana (Shreveport Regional Airport), 1981–2010 normals|
|Record high °F (°C)||85
|Average high °F (°C)||57.3
|Average low °F (°C)||36.2
|Record low °F (°C)||−2
|Precipitation inches (mm)||4.20
|Snowfall inches (cm)||0.6
|Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)||9.0||9.1||9.2||7.6||9.5||9.2||8.1||6.4||6.9||8.0||8.7||9.6||101.2|
|Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||0.3||0.3||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.8|
|Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990) The Weather Channel (records)|
Shreveport encompasses many different neighborhoods and districts. Below is a list of the various areas in the Greater Shreveport area of Caddo Parish:
- Acadiana Place
- Allendale-Lakeside, interloop of neighborhoods
- Anderson Island
- Azalea Gardens
- Braemar Estates
- Broadmoor Terrace
- Brunswick Place
- Caddo Heights
- Cedar Grove
- Centenary Area
- Chapel Creek
- Cherokee Park
- Cooper Road
- Crescent Wood
- Cross Lake, some not in city
- Dixie Gardens
- Eden Gardens
- Ellerbe Road Estates
- Ellerbe Woods
- Evangeline Oaks
- Fairfield Heights
- Fox Crossing
- Garden Valley
- Glen Iris
- The Haven
- Hidden Trace
- Hollywood Heights
- Jackson Square
- Jewella-South Park
- Hyde Park
- Lakeside Acres
- Ledbetter Heights or The Bottoms
- Long Lake Estates
- Madison Park
- Norris Ferry Crossing
- Norris Ferry Estates
- Norris Ferry Landing
- North Highlands
- Pines Road
- Pierremont Place
- Pierremont Ridge
- St. Charles Place
- Shreve Island
- Shreve Lake Estates
- South Broadmoor
- South Highlands
- Southern Hills
- Southern Trace
- Spring Lake
- Stoner Hill
- Sunset Acres
- Towne South
- Twelve Oaks
- Shadow Pines Estates
- Steeple Chase
- Stoner Hill
- University Terrace
- West End
- Western Hills
- Wright Island
In the Highland section, along Fairfield Avenue, more than a half dozen homes have been designated as historic. These include residences once occupied by Lieutenant Governor Thomas Charles Barret, who served early in the 20th century; a Broadway director, Joshua Logan; a former governor, Ruffin Pleasant, and wife; a physician and developer, George W. Robinson; a Coca-Cola bottler, Zehntner Biedenharn; the first mayor of Bossier City, Ewald Max Hoyer, who took office in 1907; and a major real estate owner, John B. Slattery, whose home is one of five remaining structures in Shreveport designed by the noted architect N. S. Allen.
A.C. Steere School, expanded in 1938, is named for developer Albert Coldwell Steere, the founder of the Broadmoor neighborhood; the institution was added in 1991 to the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by Edward F. Neill of Shreveport.
Walker House on Fairfield Avenue was once the home of the Coca-Cola bottler Zehntner Biedenharn.
Bliss-Hoyer House, built by Abel and Nettie Bliss, was later the home of Ewald Max Hoyer, the first mayor of Bossier City, who continued to reside in Shreveport.
|U.S. Decennial Census
As of the 2010 census the population of Shreveport was 200,311. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 54.70% Black or African American, 41.16% White, 1.0% Native American, 2.0% Asian, 1.2% from some other race and 1.5% from two or more races. 6.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 91,501 households, out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% were married couples living together, 21.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 30.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.12. Population ages ranked as follows: 26.9% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. The city ranks third in the nation of cities over 100,000 population with significant gender disparity: for every 100 females there were only 87.4 males, and for every 100 females age 18 and over, there were just 82.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $30,526, 72.4% of the national median of $42,148, and the median income for a family was $37,126. Males had a median income of $31,278 versus $21,659 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,759. About 18.7% of families and 22.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.3% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.
Shreveport has churches of many denominations and sizes. At the head of Texas Street is the large First United Methodist Church, established at that site in 1884. The current sanctuary dates to 1913. The church is pastored by Pat Day. Among its former pastors were D. L. Dykes, Jr., and John E. Fellers. The fiberglass steeple of the church fell onto a passing car during a severe thunderstorm in 2009. It has since been replaced.
A second Methodist congregation is named for J. S. Noel, Jr. The church was begun as a mission in 1906. Methodist layman James Noel and his wife, Fannie, provided financially for the church in its early years. The congregation decided to name the church for the Noel's late son. Like First United Methodist, it opened in the current sanctuary in 1913 and grew rapidly. A fire gutted the building in 1925, and only a portion of the loss was covered by insurance. The members expanded their ranks and rebuilt at the 500 Herndon location. The current Noel Memorial pastor is Flint Shea.
The large Holy Trinity Catholic Church located downtown was founded in 1858. Five priests died of yellow fever in 1873. The current sanctuary in Romanesque revival style architecture dates to 1896.
A large First Baptist Church was once pastored by Monroe E. Dodd, an early radio minister and founder of the former Dodd College for Girls. Former Governor Jimmie Davis, a Shreveport city commissioner too, taught history for a year under Dodd's tutelage. Other large Baptist congregations include Calvary Baptist, Broadmoor Baptist, and Summer Grove Baptist. The last was previously pastored by Wayne L. DuBose, now a Baptist denominational officer. Westview Christian Church is an independent Christian church that serves the area as well with members from diverse denominational backgrounds.
Shreveport is home to Shreveport Community Church, an inter-denominational church belonging to the Assemblies of God. The congregation has experienced exponential growth from the 100 members in 1950 to the more than 6,000 it claims now. It is pastored by Denny Duron, who succeeded his father, Rodney Duron, after 45 years at the pulpit. The church has an education program in Evangel Christian Academy, a pre‑K through 12th grade private school that has produced an average of 1 million dollars of scholastic scholarships for its graduating seniors every year. The church has produced a biblical musical, "Songs of the Season", during the Christmas holidays for the past 20 years at the Historic Strand Theater in downtown Shreveport.
Particularly striking in size and architecture is St. Mark's Cathedral, an Episcopal congregation at 908 Rutherford Street in the Highland section of Shreveport. St. Mark's dates its establishment to the first religious service held in Shreveport in 1839.
The Jewish community dates to the organization of Congregation Har El in 1859, which later became B'nai Zion Temple, today the city's Reform congregation and largest synagogue. Agudath Achim, founded in 1905 as an Orthodox congregation, is today a traditional Jewish synagogue. Foster E. Kawaler, the current rabbi, is focused on rebuilding the congregation, which dwindled in size during the second half of the twentieth century. Shreveport, historically, has had a large and civic-minded Jewish community and has elected three Jewish mayors.
Visual and performing arts
Shreveport is home to several theatres, museums, and performing arts groups, including:
- Artspace Shreveport
- Barnwell Memorial Garden and Art Center
- Hayride Diner/Soundstage 516
- Louisiana State Exhibit Museum
- Louisiana Dance Theatre
- Marjorie Lyons Playhouse on the Centenary College Campus
- Meadows Museum of Art – Centenary College
- Multicultural Center of the South
- Peter Pan Players, which closed its doors May 7, 2012, after thirty-nine years of theater.
- Power and Grace School of Performing Arts
- R. W. Norton Art Gallery
- River City Repertory Theatre, the professional theatre for Shreveport-Bossier
- RiverView Theatre
- Robinson Film Center
- Shreveport House Concerts www.shreveporthouseconcerts.org
- Shreveport Little Theatre www.shreveportlittletheatre.com
- Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet
- Shreveport Municipal Auditorium
- Shreveport Opera
- Shreveport Symphony Orchestra
- Southern University Museum of Art
- Spring Street Museum
- StageCenter Performing Arts
- The Strand Theatre
- Theatre of the Performing Arts of Shreveport
Events and tourism
- ArtBreak Festival, largest annual student arts festival in the South since 1984
- Barksdale Air Force Base Air Show, held annually since 1933
- Cinco De Mayo Fiesta, held annually since 1998
- Highland Jazz & Blues Festival, held annually the second Saturday of November since 2003
- Holiday in Dixie, annual springtime festival, began 1949
- Independence Bowl, held annually close to New Year's since 1976
- Independence Day Festival, held annually on the 4th of July since 2009
- Let the Good Times Roll Festival, annual Juneteenth festival since 1986
- Louisiana Film Prize, short film competition and film festival.
- Mardi Gras Parades
- Mudbug Madness, annual celebration of crawfish, held each May since 1984
- Red River Revel, annual autumn arts festival which began in 1976, largest outdoor festival in northern Louisiana
- The State Fair of Louisiana, held annually each autumn since 1906
Mardi Gras celebrations in Shreveport date to the mid‑19th century when krewes and parades were organized along the lines of those of New Orleans. Mardi Gras in Shreveport did not survive the cancellations caused by World War I. Attempts to revive it in the 1920s were unsuccessful, and the last Carnival celebrations in Shreveport for decades were held in 1927. Mardi Gras in Shreveport was revived beginning in 1984 with the organization of the Krewe of Apollo. The Krewes of Gemini, Centaur, Aesclepius, Highland, Sobek, Harambee, and others, followed during the next decade and a half. The first krewe revive parading was Gemini in 1989. Today, Mardi Gras is again an important part of the cultural life of the Shreveport metropolitan area.
Recreation and attractions
- Barksdale Global Power Museum, Barksdale Air Force Base, Bossier City
- Chimp Haven, chimpanzee sanctuary, Keithville, LA (Shreveport suburb)
- Clyde Fant Park, along the Red River, named for Mayor Clyde Fant
- Cross Lake
- Ford Park on Cross Lake
- Gators and Friends, alligator and exotic animal park, Greenwood, LA (Shreveport suburb)
- The Gardens of the American Rose Center
- Hirsch Memorial Coliseum at Louisiana State Fairgrounds
- J. Bennett Johnston, Jr. Waterway Regional Visitor Center – History of Red River
- Mall St. Vincent
- Louisiana Boardwalk – Bossier City, opposite the Shreveport Central Business District
- Splash Kingdom Water Park
- Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, located in a landmark building at the State Fair Grounds
- Meadows Museum of Art
- Marlene Yu Museum
- Multicultural Center of the South
- Pioneer Heritage Center at Louisiana State University in Shreveport campus
- R. W. Norton Art Gallery and adjacent azalea park
- Riverwalk Park
- Sci-Port – hands-on science center with IMAX Theater
- Shreveport Municipal Auditorium and Louisiana Hayride Museum
- Shreveport Water Works Museum
- Spirit of the Red River, river cruise boat
- Spring Street Historical Museum
- Touchstone Wildlife & Art Museum, Haughton in Bossier Parish
- Yogie and Friends Exotic Cat Sanctuary, Frierson, LA (Shreveport suburb)
Barksdale Air Force Base is located in Bossier Parish across the river from Shreveport, which donated the land for its construction in the 1920s. Named for pioneer army aviator Lt. Eugene Hoy Barksdale and originally called Barksdale Army Air Field, it opened in 1933 and became Barksdale Air Force Base in 1947. Headquartered here are the Air Force Global Strike Command, 8th Air Force, 2d Bomb Wing, and 307th Wing. The primary aircraft housed here is the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress. In earlier years, the base was the home to other famous aircraft, including the B-47 Stratojet.
Shreveport is home to the two 108th Cavalry Squadron, the reconnaissance element of the 256th Infantry Brigade. Three of the squadron's four cavalry troops are located at 400 East Stoner Avenue in a historic armory known as "Fort Humbug". This was named due to the Confederate Army burning logs to look like cannons and placing them along the Red River. This caused Union ironclad ships sailing north on the Red River to be tricked into turning back south.
Highways and roads
Shreveport's past reflects the need for mass transit and public roads. As far back as the 1870s, residents used mule-drawn street cars that were converted to electric-motorized cars by 1890. Commuter rail systems in Shreveport flourished for many decades, and rail car lines extended out to rural areas. In 1930 trolleys and rail cars began to be replaced by buses, although motor buses did not finally replace all trolley service until the 1960s. In the 1960s, the Interstate Highway System came to the area with the construction of Interstate 20.
The local public transportation provider, SporTran, provides moderately extensive bus service throughout Shreveport and Bossier City. Sportran operates seven days a week on seventeen bus routes (five night routes) from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 am, with no night service on Sunday. The highway system has a cross-hair and loop freeway structure similar to that of Texas cities like Houston and Dallas. The loop consists of the Outer Loop Freeway Interstate 220 on the north and the Inner Loop Freeway, Louisiana Highway 3132, on the south, forming approximately an 8-mile-diameter (13 km) semi-loop around downtown. Another loop is formed by the Bert Kouns Industrial Loop (Louisiana Highway 526) and circles further south bisecting Interstate 49. Interstate 49 now extends north to Interstate 30 in Arkansas.
Shreveport is served by two airports. The larger is Shreveport Regional Airport (SHV), established in 1952, and is served by Allegiant Air (to Las Vegas and Orlando), American Airlines (to Dallas/Ft. Worth), Delta Air Lines (to Atlanta), GLO Airlines (to New Orleans), and United Airlines (as United Express) (to Houston and Denver). The smaller airport, Shreveport Downtown Airport (DTN), was built in 1931 and is located north of the Downtown Business District along the Red River. It is currently a general aviation/reliever airport, but was originally Shreveport's commercial airport.
Images for kids
Former Line Avenue School now houses part of the Northwestern State University nursing program in Shreveport.
Shreveport, Louisiana Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.