Shreveport (/ˈʃriːvpɔːrt/ SHREEV-port) is a city in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It is the most populous city in the Shreveport-Bossier City metropolitan area, the third most-populous metropolitan area in Louisiana and 123rd in the United States. Shreveport ranks 126th in the U.S. and third in Louisiana after New Orleans and Baton Rouge. The bulk of the city is in Caddo Parish, of which it is the parish seat. Shreveport extends along the west bank of the Red River (most notably at Wright Island, the Charles and Marie Hamel Memorial Park, and Bagley Island) into neighboring Bossier Parish. Shreveport and Bossier City are separated by the Red River. The population of Shreveport was 199,311 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. The United States Census Bureau's 2017 estimate for the city's population decreased to 192,036.
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. Prior to Texas becoming independent, this trail entered Mexico. The city grew throughout the 20th century and, after the discovery of oil in Louisiana, became a national center for the oil industry. Standard Oil of Louisiana (absorbed by Standard Oil of New Jersey and now part of ExxonMobil) and United Gas Corporation (now part of Pennzoil) were headquartered in the city.
Shreveport is the educational, commercial and cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex region, where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet. It is the location of Centenary College of Louisiana, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana Tech University Shreveport, Southern University at Shreveport, and Louisiana Baptist University. Its neighboring city Bossier is the location of Bossier Parish Community College. Companies with significant operations or headquarters in Shreveport are AT&T, Chase Bank, Regions Financial Corporation and APS Payroll.
|City of Shreveport|
From top, left to right: Downtown Shreveport skyline, the Lewis House, Caddo Parish Courthouse, Long-Allen Bridge, Gardens of the American Rose Center monument, Shreveport Riverfront Fountain
Location of Shreveport in Caddo Parish, Louisiana
Location in the United States of America
Shreveport, Louisiana (the US)
|Incorporated||March 20, 1839|
|Named for||Henry Miller Shreve|
|• Mayor||Ollie Tyler (D)|
|• City Council||
|• City||122.35 sq mi (316.88 km2)|
|• Land||107.14 sq mi (277.48 km2)|
|• Water||15.21 sq mi (39.40 km2)|
|• Metro||2,698 sq mi (6,987.8 km2)|
|Elevation||144 ft (43. m)|
|• Estimate (2017)||192,036|
3rd in Louisiana|
126th in United States
|• Density||1,819.35/sq mi (702.45/km2)|
|• Urban||298,317 (US: 126th)|
|• Metro||443,708 (US: 119th)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (CST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Shreveport was established to launch a town at the meeting point of the Brown Bricks 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 in 1835 by the indigenous Caddo Indians. 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, carrying mostly cotton and agricultural crops from the plantations of Caddo Parish. 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 in the 21st century.
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. "The period May 13-21, 1865, was filled with great uncertainly after soldiers learned of the surrenders of Lee and Johnston, the Good Friday assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and the rapid departure of their own generals." In the confusion there was a breakdown of military discipline and rioting by soldiers. They destroyed buildings containing service records, a loss that later made it difficult for many to gain Confederate pensions from state governments.
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 (1963):
"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. But seasonal 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.
In 1895, Justin Vincent Gras (1868–1959), an immigrant from France, opened the largest grocery and liquor store in Shreveport. "What is good for Shreveport is good for me" became his motto. He had come to the city four years before to work for his uncle, and had quickly learned English and the mercantile business. Gras also invested in real estate; by the 1920s was the largest landholder in Caddo Parish. Gras and his wife, Eugenie, became philanthropists, donating $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.
A number of local African-American musicians became nationally famous. 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, the notorious red-light district of Shreveport which operated legally from 1903 to 1917. 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, brothels, and dance halls in the Bottoms. Bluesmen Jesse Thomas, Dave Alexander, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and the early jazz and ragtime composers Bill Wray and Willian Christopher O'Hare were all from Shreveport.
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 federally funded lock-and-dam structures and a navigation channel.
The following is copied content from Barksdale Air Force Base; see that page's history for attribution. As early as 1924, the citizens of Shreveport became interested in hosting a military flying field. In 1926, Shreveport citizens learned that the 3rd Attack Wing stationed at Fort Crockett, Texas, would be enlarged by 500 percent and would require at least 20,000 acres (81 km2) to support aerial gunnery and a bombing range. The efforts to procure the government's commitment to build the facility in the Shreveport metropolitan area were spearheaded by a committee co-chaired by local civic leaders Andrew Querbes and John D. Ewing, beginning in 1927. It took a great deal of correspondence between the interested parties and the original proposal was rejected. However, in February 1928, a young crop duster, an Air Corps captain named Harold Ross Harris, was hired to fly over the local area in order to find a suitable site for the airfield.
Captain Harris selected what he felt was an adequate location for a military airfield. It was a sprawling section of cotton plantation near Bossier City. The site selection committee, representing the wealthiest taxpayers in the city, unanimously agreed upon the Barksdale Field location. A delegation of citizens traveled to Washington, D.C., to personally present the advantages of the proposed site to the War Department. Following the return of this delegation, a special Army board visited Shreveport and reported the location met all requirements of the Air Corps.
The site was selected 5 December 1928, as the location of the airfield. The land in Bossier Parish on which the airfield was built was unincorporated land near Bossier City that was annexed by the city of Shreveport once the site had been selected among 80 candidates. The real estate was purchased from over 800 property owners via a $1,500,000 municipal bond issue approved by Shreveport voters in 1929 in fulfillment of the pledge that the citizens of Shreveport made to the U.S. government. The last of these bonds matured on December 31, 1959. After acquisition, Shreveport then donated the land to the federal government per their agreement, while the federal government assumed all the costs of building construction and equipment installation. Shreveport had originally proposed a site adjacent to Cross Lake (Shreveport, Louisiana) in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, but the United States Department of War deemed this location inappropriate due to the lack of suitable terrain for the facility's future expansion. Subsequent to the establishment of the military installation, Bossier City grew and expanded southward and eastward, eventually enveloping the area surrounding the base. Technically, Barksdale AFB is neither in Bossier City nor Shreveport but, like all military bases, is an autonomous community with its own infrastructure.
Shreveport was home to the Louisiana Hayride radio program, broadcast weekly from the Shreveport Municipal Memorial 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, a social and constitutional injustice 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 riverfront areas. Many downtown streets were given a facelift through the "Streetscape" project. Traditional brick sidewalks and crosswalks were built, and statues, sculptures, and mosaics were added to create a better pedestrian environment. The O.K. Allen Bridge, commonly known as the Texas Street bridge, was lit with neon lights. Residents predictably had a variety of reactions to these changes.
Since the downturn in the oil industry and other economic problems, the city has struggled with unemployment, poverty, drugs and violent crime. City data from 2017 showed a dramatic increase in certain violent crimes from the previous year, including a 138 percent increase in homicides, a 21 percent increase in forcible rapes and more than 130 percent increases in both business armed robberies and business burglaries.
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 122.35 sq mi (316.88 km2), of which 107.14 sq mi (277.48 km2) is land and 15.21 sq mi (39.40 km2) is water.
Shreveport encompasses many neighborhoods and districts. Below is a list of areas in the Shreveport area of Caddo Parish:
In the Highland section, along Fairfield Avenue, more than a half dozen houses have been designated as historic and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 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; Ewald Max Hoyer, the first mayor of Bossier City beginning in 1907; and John B. Slattery, a major real estate owner, whose former home is one of five remaining structures in Shreveport designed by the noted architect N. S. Allen.
For much of Shreveport's history, its skyline only displayed low- and mid- rise structures. In the 20th and 21st centuries, high rises began to appear in Downtown Shreveport.
|1||Regions Tower||364 (111)||25||1986||Tallest building in Shreveport and northern Louisiana.|
|2||Louisiana Tower||302 (92)||21||1984||Tallest building in Shreveport from 1984 to 1986.|
|3||Beck Building||265 (81)||20||1957||Tallest building in Shreveport from 1957 to 1984.|
|4||Chase Tower||227 (69)||15||1976|
|5||American Tower||222 (68)||16||1979|
|6||Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall||220 (67)||23||2001|
|7||Mid-South Tower||213 (65)||15||1968|
|8||Petroleum Tower||187 (57)||14||1959|
|9||Slattery Building||186 (57)||17||1925||Tallest building in Shreveport from 1925 to 1957.|
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.
|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
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||4.20
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||0.6
|Average 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|
|Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in)||0.3||0.3||0.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.1||0.8|
|Average relative humidity (%)||72.6||69.7||67.7||69.6||73.2||73.3||72.4||71.7||73.6||71.7||73.7||74.4||72.0|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||158.3||172.8||213.1||231.2||267.1||297.9||317.9||300.7||249.8||235.8||176.8||158.4||2,779.8|
|Percent possible sunshine||50||56||57||59||62||70||73||73||67||67||56||51||63|
|Source: NOAA (sun and relative humidity 1961–1990) The Weather Channel (records)|
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the 2010 census, the population of Shreveport was 199,311. 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.
Its residents were predominately Protestant through the nineteenth century. 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. During a severe thunderstorm in 2009, the fiberglass steeple of the church toppled and fell onto a passing car. 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. In 2009 the current Noel Memorial pastor was Flint Shea.
The large Holy Trinity Catholic Church, located downtown, was founded in 1858. it served Irish and German immigrants as well as native-born residents. Five priests died of yellow fever in the 1873 epidemic. 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, also a Shreveport city commissioner, 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 members from diverse denominational backgrounds.
Shreveport is home to Shreveport Community Church, an inter-denominational church belonging to the Assemblies of God. It is pastored by Denny Duron, who succeeded his father, Rodney Duron, after 45 years at the pulpit. The church owns and operates 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.
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, made up primarily of German Jewish immigrants in its early years. It developed as B'nai Zion Temple, today the city's Reform congregation, which built the largest synagogue. Agudath Achim, founded in 1905 as an Orthodox congregation of immigrants from Eastern Europe, 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.
The third largest religious group in Shreveport and its surrounding metro area is Islam. The Islamic community in Shreveport-Bossier City constitutes approximately 14% of Louisiana's total Muslim population. After Islam is the Latter Day Saint movement with an affiliated population of about 1,100 adherents in Shreveport.
Shreveport was once a major player in United States oil business, and at one time could boast Standard Oil of Louisiana as a locally based company. The Louisiana branch was later absorbed by Standard Oil of New Jersey. Beginning in 1930, United Gas Corporation, the nation's busiest pipeline operator and massive integrated oil company, was headquartered in Shreveport. Pennzoil performed a hostile takeover in 1968, and forced a merger. In the 1980s, the oil and gas industry suffered a large economic downturn. This affected all of the regional economy, and many companies cut back jobs or went out of business, including a large retail shopping mall, South Park Mall, which closed in the late 1990s. Its major facilities were adapted for use by Summer Grove Baptist Church. Shreveport suffered severely from this recession, and many residents left the area.
Since that time, Shreveport has largely transitioned to a service economy. In particular, there has been rapid growth in the gaming industry. The city hosts various riverboat gambling casinos, and, before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, was second only to New Orleans in Louisiana tourism. Nearby Bossier City is home to one of the three horse racetracks in the state, Harrah's Louisiana Downs. Casinos in Shreveport-Bossier include Sam's Town Casino, Eldorado Casino, Horseshoe Casino, Boomtown Casino, Diamond Jacks Casino (formerly Isle of Capri), and Margaritaville Resort Casino. The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau is the official tourism information agency for the region. The bureau maintains a comprehensive database of restaurants, accommodations, attractions, and events.
In May 2005, the Louisiana Boardwalk, a 550,000-square-foot (51,000 m2) shopping and entertainment complex, opened in Bossier City across from Shreveport. It features outlet shopping, several restaurants, a 14‑screen movie theater, a bowling complex, and Bass Pro Shops.
A new 350,000-square-foot (33,000 m2) convention center was recently completed in downtown Shreveport. Managed by SMG, it includes an 800-space parking garage. An adjoining Hilton Hotel opened in June 2007. It was constructed by and owned by the city, which has been a controversial issue, the subject of discussions about use of public funds.
Shreveport is a major medical center of the region and state. The Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport operates at expanded facilities once used by the former Confederate Memorial Medical Center. Major hospitals include Christus Schumpert, Willis Knighton, and the Shriners Hospital for Children.
As of November 2008, excitement has centered around development of the Haynesville Shale, with many new jobs in the natural gas industry expected to be created over the next few years. Residents in the region are enjoying large bonuses for signing mineral rights leases up to $25,000 per acre. However, the recent economic downturn has resulted in a lower market price for natural gas and slower-than-expected drilling activity. The city expected to generat revenue by leasing the mineral rights on public lands in the near future as neighboring municipalities have already done.
Shreveport was home to Shreveport Operations, a General Motors plant that closed in August 2012. The plant produced the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Hummer H3 series, and the Isuzu i‑Series. In January 2013, the plant was leased from Caddo Parish by Elio Motors.
In 2014, the city government pumped $16.5 million into Mall St. Vincent, but the long-term fate of the business is in doubt. An outdoor fountain included in the remodeling project, is crumbling and without water, and plants surrounding the structure have died. In 2015 Fortune magazine ranked Shreveport the "#1 place to start a business".
In 2017, Gymboree and Grimaldi's Pizzeria closed their Mall St. Vincent operations; Sears is reportedly in jeopardy, too. Online shopping and changing consumer habits pose a serious threat to shopping malls; analysts say that as many as one in four could close nationally within the next five years.
According to the City's 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the metropolitan area are:
|#||Employer||# of employees|
|1||Barksdale Air Force Base||10,284|
|2||Caddo Public Schools||6,815|
|3||State of Louisiana||6,549|
|5||Willis-Knighton Health System||6,145|
|6||Bossier Parish School System||2,926|
|7||City of Shreveport||2,729|
|9||Christus Schumpert Health System||1,800|
Tax incentives offered by the state government have given Louisiana the third largest film industry in the country, behind California and New York. Louisiana is sometimes called "Hollywood South". A number of films have been made in Shreveport. Facilities include sound stages, prop rental facilities, the Fairgrounds Complex, and the Louisiana Wave Studio, a computer-controlled outdoor wave pool.
Selected films shot in Shreveport include:
Several television series have been shot in Shreveport and the surrounding area, including The Gates (2010), and Salem (2014). The Louisiana Film Prize has spurred the creation of over 200 short films shot in Shreveport and northwest Louisiana by filmmakers from around the world since its inception in 2012.
Founded in 1836 and incorporated in 1839, Shreveport is the parish seat of Caddo Parish. It is part of the First Judicial District, housing the parish courthouse. It also houses the Louisiana Second Circuit Court of Appeal, which consists of nine elected judges representing twenty parishes in northwest Louisiana. A portion of east Shreveport extends into Bossier Parish due to the changing course of the Red River.
The city of Shreveport has a mayor-council government. The elected municipal officials include the mayor, Ollie Tyler, and seven members of the city council. Cedric Glover, now a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, was the first African American to hold the mayoral position. Under the mayor-council government, the mayor serves as the executive officer of the city. As the city's chief administrator and official representative, the mayor is responsible for the general management of the city and for seeing that all laws and ordinances are enforced.
Caddo Public Schools is a school district based in Shreveport. The district serves all of Caddo Parish. Its founding superintendent was Clifton Ellis Byrd, a Virginia native, who assumed the chief administrative position in 1907 and continued until his death in 1926. C. E. Byrd High School, which was established in 1925 on Line Avenue at the intersection with East Kings Highway, bears his name.
Shreveport has several colleges, including the Methodist-affiliated Centenary College (founded at Jackson, Louisiana, in 1825; relocated to Shreveport in 1908) and Louisiana State University in Shreveport, which opened as a two-year institution in 1967. It became four-year in 1976. Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport, the only medical school in northern Louisiana, opened in 1969. Shreveport also has one of the largest nursing schools in northern Louisiana, the Northwestern State University College of Nursing. Louisiana Tech University at Shreveport-Bossier City was launched in 2012 offering their Executive MBA and main campus undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the university's Shreveport Center.
Founded in 1973, Louisiana Baptist University and Theological Seminary is also located in Shreveport, at 6301 Westport Avenue.
Dating back to 1911, the state fairgrounds (and later Independence Stadium, formerly State Fair Stadium) has traditionally hosted a college football game or two during the State Fair of Louisiana, an event currently dubbed the Red River State Fair Classic. Since 1976, Independence Stadium has served as host of college football's annual Independence Bowl. Also, the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs football team occasionally hosts games at Independence Stadium. Shreveport was also home to a few now defunct football teams. The Houston franchise of the professional World Football League relocated to Shreveport rebranded as the Shreveport Steamer midway through the 1974 season, but the franchise along with the WFL folded midway through the 1975 season. Another franchise named the Shreveport Steamers played as a member of the American Football Association from 1979 until folding in 1981. Shreveport's Independence Stadium was also home to the Shreveport Pirates, an unsuccessful professional Canadian Football League franchise that opened play in 1994 but folded after the 1995 season.
Baseball in Shreveport has an extensive past. The city had affiliated Minor League Baseball teams from 1968 to 2002. The most memorable team was the Shreveport Captains of the Texas League. Baseball teams in Shreveport have gone through eight different name changes and seven different leagues all since 1895. Shreveport's most recent independent baseball team, the Shreveport-Bossier Captains, ceased operations in 2011 and moved to Laredo, Texas.
Shreveport is home to a few amateur sports clubs. The Shreveport Mudbugs are a Tier II junior ice hockey team that has competed in the North American Hockey League since 2016. Also playing their inaugural season in 2016, the Shreveport Rafters FC compete in the National Premier Soccer League, a fourth tier league. The Shreveport Rafters FC has also expanded for 2017 to include the Shreveport Lady Rafters FC to compete in the Women's Premier Soccer League. The Centenary Gentlemen and Ladies compete in NCAA Division III as a member of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference. The LSU–Shreveport Pilots compete in the NAIA as a member of the Red River Athletic Conference.
Shreveport is home to many theatres, museums, and performing arts groups, including:
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 to revive parading was Gemini in 1989. Today, Mardi Gras is again an important part of the cultural life of the Shreveport metropolitan area.
Shreveport is served by a variety of print publications. The major daily newspaper serving the Shreveport-Bossier and Ark-La-Tex area is the Shreveport Times. Its headquarters are located in downtown Shreveport near Interstate 20. A second major paper, the afternoon Shreveport Journal, ceased publication in 1991.
Other smaller non-daily newspapers in the area include The Shreveport Sun and the Caddo Citizen. Bossier City is served by the daily Bossier Press-Tribune. The Barksdale Warrior is the weekly newspaper of record for the Barksdale Air Force Base. Alternative publications include The Forum Newsweekly, City Lights, SB Magazine and The Shreveport Catalyst.
Twice annually, North Louisiana History, the journal of the North Louisiana Historical Association, is published in Shreveport.
Shreveport is home to several radio stations, particularly KWKH and KEEL, which have reputations beyond the city. The three commercial television outlets are KSLA (CBS), founded in 1954; KTBS-TV (ABC), founded in 1955, and KTAL-TV, which arrived in Shreveport in September 1961 as the NBC station. KTBS was an NBC station, with occasional ABC programs, from 1955–1961, when it switched affiliation to ABC. KTAL, formerly known as KCMC of Texarkana, was a CBS outlet prior to conversion to NBC, when it began to cover Shreveport as well as Texarkana. Don Owen (1930–2012), a member of the Louisiana Public Service Commission from 1984–2002, is also a former news anchorman on KSLA.
Shreveport-Bossier City is also the point of origination of internet radio station KHAM Radio which signed on in March 2011. The internet radio station is completely web-based and is not affiliated with any terrestrial radio station in the area.
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.
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. I-49 now extends north to Interstate 30 in Arkansas, though there is a gap in I-49 within Shreveport.
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.
The Shreveport Waterworks Museum contains the Shreveport Railroad Museum, memorializing area railroad history.