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Shreveport was established to create a town at the meeting point of the Brown Bricks and the Texas Trail. The Red River was made navigable by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, who led the United States Army Corps of Engineers efforts 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 piece 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):
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, 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 1873, Shreveport lost 759 citizens in an 80-day period to a yellow fever epidemic, with over 400 additional victims eventually succumbing. The total death toll from August through November was approximately 1,200. Five Roman Catholic priests in the city and two religious sisters died while caring for yellow fever victims in the city.
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 he 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—was performing for Shreveport audiences in St. Paul's Bottoms, the notable red-light district of Shreveport that operated legally from 1903 to 1917. Ledbetter began to develop his own style of music after exposure to a variety of musical influences on 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. Lead Belly achieved international fame.
By 1914, neglect and lack of use, due to diversion of freight traffic to railroad lines, resulted in the Red River becoming unnavigable. In projects accomplished over decades, 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.
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 Greater 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 December 5, 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, 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.
In September, 1941, the capture of the city of Shreveport was the objective of a U.S. Army war game, or military exercise, known as the Louisiana Maneuvers. The field exercise's mission was accomplished largely due to General George S. Patton, who commanded the mock "Blue" army's 2nd Armored Division.
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 including Hank Williams and Elvis Presley, who made his broadcasting debut at this venue. In the mid-1950s, KWKH was the first major radio station to feature the music of Presley on its long-running Louisiana Hayride program at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Horace Logan, long-term KWKH program manager and originator of the Hayride, and Frank Page introduced Presley on the Hayride.
African American veterans of World War II were among activists in Shreveport through the 1960s who worked in the civil rights movement to correct injustices under Jim Crow and disenfranchisement of blacks. While activism gradually increased, 1963 was a particularly violent year in Shreveport because of white resistance. The Shreveport home of Dr. C. O. Simpkins was bombed in retaliation for his work with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
In September 1963 George W. D'Artois, Public Service Commissioner, refused a permit for a march to the Little Union Baptist Church in Shreveport, where mourners gathered to honor and commemorate four black girls killed in the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing on September 15 in Birmingham, Alabama. D'Artois and other officers entered the church on horseback and took out the pastor, Dr. Harry Blake, beating him severely.
Also in 1963, headlines across the country reported that African American musician Sam Cooke was arrested in Shreveport after his band tried to register at a "whites-only" Holiday Inn, where they planned to stay before performing in the city. Public facilities in Louisiana were still segregated. 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. Shreveport was named an All-American City in 1953, 1979, and 1999.
During the September 11, 2001 attacks, President George W. Bush was taken to the nearby Barksdale Air Force Base. He also made a visit to speak in the city on March 11, 2005.
Since the downturn in the oil industry and other economic problems, the city has struggled with a declining population, 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. In 2018 the local government and police authorities reported a crime drop in most categories; it was part of an overall reduction in crime since the late 20th century. As Shreveport continued its economic resurgence since Mayor Cedric Glover's tenure, the Adrian Perkins administration saw the coming of Advanced Aero Services, Tomakk Glass Partners, and the revitalization plan of the Shreveport Economic Recovery Task Force after the Cross Bayou redevelopment plan was rejected.
In June 2020, rapper Hurricane Chris was arrested in Shreveport for second degree murder. Following the George Floyd killing in Minnesota, multiple protests were held in the city.
2018's census estimates via the American Community Survey determined the population was 189,149. The census-estimated population declined from 2010's census yet increased from an earlier estimate in 2018 at 188,987. In 2019, it decreased again to 187,112. The racial makeup of Shreveport in 2018 was 56.3% Black or African American, 37.3% non-Hispanic white, 0.6% American Indian or Alaska Native, 1.9% Asian American, 1.6% from two or more races, and 2.2% Hispanic or Latino of any race.
The median income from 2014-2018 was $36,338, and the mean income was $55,582. The per capita income was $25,022. Shreveport had an owner-occupied housing rate of 52.3% and the median value of an owner-occupied housing unit was $144,800. The median monthly cost with a mortgage was $1,178 and the median monthly cost without a mortgage was $364. Shreveport had a median gross rent of $810. 25.4% of the city's inhabitants lived at or below the poverty line.
At 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.
Christianity is the city and metropolitan area's dominant religion, being part of the Bible Belt. Its residents were predominantly Protestant through the nineteenth century. Today, Baptists form the majority of Christians in Shreveport, followed by Methodists and Catholics. Many Baptist and Methodist churches are affiliated with Evangelical Protestant denominations, though several are also affiliated with Mainline Protestantism; among Baptists, the Southern Baptist Convention,National Baptist Convention (USA), National Baptist Convention of America, and Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship are the largest Evangelical Protestant Baptist denominations in the city. The Progressive National Baptist Convention is the largest Progressive Baptist group in the area. Methodists are mainly affiliates of the African Methodist Episcopal Church or Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, though some are also members of the mainline United Methodist Church. The Catholic community is primarily served by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Shreveport.
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 historic large Baptist congregations include Galilee Missionary Baptist, Calvary Baptist, Broadmoor Baptist, Summer Grove Baptist, and Mount Canaan Missionary Baptist Church. Summer Grove Baptist Church was previously pastored by Wayne L. DuBose, a Baptist denominational officer. Mount Canaan was previously pastored by Civil Rights icon Dr. Harry Blake.
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. 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.
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. Particularly striking in size and architecture is St. Mark's Cathedral, an Episcopal Church congregation at 908 Rutherford Street in the Highland area of Shreveport. St. Mark's dates its establishment to the first religious service held in Shreveport in 1839. It became the see of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Louisiana in 1990.
Shreveport is home to Shreveport Community Church, an Evangelical church affiliated with Assemblies of God. 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 over 20 years. Westview Christian Church is an independent Christian church that serves members from diverse denominational backgrounds.
The Eastern Orthodox Church has maintained a presence in Shreveport since the early 1900s. The oldest Orthodox church in the city is St. George Greek Orthodox Church of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, followed by St. Nicholas Orthodox Church (Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America), and the Holy Nativity of the Lord Church of the Orthodox Church in America.
The Jewish community of Shreveport 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 city's largest synagogue. Agudath Achim, founded in 1905 as an Orthodox congregation of immigrants from Eastern Europe, is today a traditional Jewish synagogue. Shreveport, historically, has had a large and civic-minded Jewish community and has elected three Jewish mayors.
The Islamic community in Shreveport-Bossier constitutes approximately 14% of Louisiana's total Muslim population. The majority of Shreveporter Muslims are Sunni, followed by the Nation of Islam and non-denominational Islam.
With a crime rate of 66 per one thousand residents, Shreveport has one of the highest crime rates in America compared to all communities of all sizes—from the smallest towns to the very largest cities. One's chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime is one in 15. Within Louisiana, more than 93% of the communities had a lower crime rate than Shreveport. In fact, after researching dangerous places to live, NeighborhoodScout found Shreveport to be one of the top 100 most dangerous cities in the United States. In the late 1980s authorities started to track local Los Angeles based gangs that distributed cocaine out of low income neighborhoods. The first and the biggest street gang was the 52nd Street Hoover Crips. Shortly after LA gangs moved in, gang related homicides began to rise. Shreveport was the first city in Louisiana to have Crips and Blood gangs. In 1993 Shreveport hit a peak in murders with 86 killings. Most of the killings were either drug or gang related homicides. In 2017 Shreveport was placed 18th on 24/7 Wall St.’s list of “America’s 25 Murder Capitals.” Shreveport's crime rate was 71% higher than the Louisiana average. The crime rate was also 149% higher than the national average.
The city had a so-called "saggy pants" law since 2007. The city ordinance was repealed by the city council in June 2019.
Louisiana is a Southern state adjoining Mexico and very popular for its diverse culture, beautiful landscape and southern charm. It is nicknamed "The Magnolia State" because of its extraordinary beauty. This beautiful state is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes and demographic demographics anywhere in the United States. The state has a very rich history. It was named after an English poet who described the influence of Mississippi River on Louisiana culture.
Louisianans like to say that Louisiana is the people's state, and the music are their culture. They proudly claim that they are the owners and creators of this wonderful music. Some of the well known Louisianan musicians are: Buddy Holly, Lee Ritenour, Merle Travis, imilation by the Black Americans, and finally Gene Vincent. In fact there have been so many musicians from other musical regions from other parts of the world that have made their way to Louisiana and became popular, that it is actually hard to name all of them.
Music has always been a huge part of Louisiana culture. You can hear it in everything from food to architecture to even the language we speak. From plantations to plantations, Louisiana music is integral to the state. If you have been to Louisiana, you know how much it means to be a fan of music.
Louisiana has a diverse music history. Some of the most notable is: Jazz, blues, pop, rock and even country. It is even said that Louisiana music is the reason the United States went to war in the first place. Many people, many fans of music, consider Louisiana to be their home state and their favorite music genre. You will find it interesting that you can find people from all over the world that claim to be fans of Louisiana music.
The great thing about being a fan of Louisiana music is that you can be from anywhere in the world and still have your home state's pride. There are several high schools that have entire sections dedicated to LSU sports. This gives students and fans a chance to celebrate their home state with music and their school. If you are trying to decide which music school in Louisiana you would like to attend, you may be wondering what options are available to you.
It is very important to do your research into any particular music school in Louisiana before choosing. You want to find a school that offers what you want. Do you like the fact that they offer a wide range of musical styles or do you prefer one particular type of music? These are questions that you need to ask yourself before deciding. There are some music schools in Louisiana that focus solely on the Southern music style and these are the ones you will want to look at.
Another aspect of choosing the right music school in Louisiana is what type of classes and how many you will take each semester. Some schools offer just one or two classes, while others have four or more. The important thing to consider here is that you will be able to fit in all of your classes and fulfill all of your requirements with regards to your degree if you find a school with the right mixture of courses and length.
Louisiana is the home of a number of well known musicians and songwriters including: Luther Vandross, En Vogue, Mary J. Blige, James Morrison, and numerous others. You could earn a degree from one of these fine schools and gain employment right in the music industry. This is certainly the goal of most people who are seeking out this type of higher education. So if you really want to become an artist and perform up close and personal to millions of fans around the world, LSU music schools are definitely worth looking into!