Shreveport Information

Shreveport is located 320 miles north of New Orleans and 192 miles east of Dallas in northwest Louisiana. It is a growing center of education, business, industry, and the arts. As such, Shreveport is the commercial and cultural focal point of the Ark-La-Tex, the geographic region formed by the conjunction of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Along with Bossier City, just across the Red River, the Shreveport metropolitan area has a population of more than 350,000. Shreveport is served by several airlines with convenient connections to all parts of the country, and is within driving distance of New Orleans, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Little Rock, Jackson, and many exceptional recreation areas.

Shreveport/Bossier offers a wide variety of attractions, cultural activities, and festivals. Attractions include galleries and museums, performing arts, sporting events, riverboat casinos, thoroughbred racing at Louisiana Downs, shopping, music, entertainment, and night clubs. The mild climate of Shreveport/Bossier City offers ample opportunity to take advantage of the large number of excellent facilities for outdoor recreation. Area lakes, bayous, parks, and campsites offer outstanding fishing, swimming, and boating facilities, and tennis, softball, and golf are played year-round. Many local restaurants feature a variety of Louisiana Cajun and Creole foods, and regional seafood such as crawfish, shrimp, oysters, and Atchafalaya catfish. In addition, the area features a wide variety of international cuisines, including French, Italian, Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, and Vietnamese.

History

Shreveport is named for Captain Henry Miller Shreve, a steamboat captain, who in the 1830's cleared the "Great Raft" log jam that stretched 165 miles along the Red River. This accomplishment opened the area to commerce, marking the beginning of growth and leading to the incorporation of the city of Shreveport in 1839 on property obtained from the Caddo Indians. Agriculture and the lumber industry were the mainstays of the economy until the 1900's when the oil boom served as the impetus for industrial and commercial expansion. Bossier City, Shreveport's sister city across the Red River, was incorporated in 1907. The establishment of Barksdale Air Force Base in 1933 triggered expansion, and since that time Bossier City has been one of the fastest growing cities in the region. Today, Shreveport-Bossier serves as the trade and culture center of the 200 mile radius extending into Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

Galleries and Museums

Shreveport-Bossier City is a cultural center featuring dance, ballet, symphony, theater, and other performing arts. Some of the many attractions are listed below:

R.W. Norton Art Gallery: This gallery is located on a beautiful 40-acre park and features the southwest's largest collection of American Western paintings and sculptures of Frederick Remington and Charles Russell. In addition, rotating collections of works of art are displayed on a frequent basis.

Ark-La-Tex Antique & Classic Vehicle Museum: The museum offers more than 40 models of automotive history in both classic and antique vehicles. Exhibits are rotated every six months.

East Bank Gallery: This gallery features works by regional artists as rotating exhibits.

Eighth Air Force Museum: This museum offers an historical journey from World War I to the present and features military artifacts from uniforms to aircraft.

Kuumba Fine Art & Gift Gallery: The gallery offers paintings and fine woodcarvings depicting African American life.

Louisiana State Exhibit Museum: This museum is renowned for its large murals, frescoes, and amazing dioramas that depict the history and culture of Louisiana and its Indian populations.

Louisiana State Oil & Gas Museum: This museum displays the importance of the oil industry and its 1900 boom town is detailed as well as early Caddo Indian relics.

Mardi Gras in the Ark-La-Tex Museum: This museum offers a fascinating display of the history of Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier. The exhibits include floats, Mardi Gras royalty costumes, and all the trapping of Mardi Gras festivities.

Meadows Museum of Art: The museum's permanent collection features works of French academic artist Jean Despujols documenting the peoples of Indochina. It prevents the highest level of aesthetic achievements of individuals and cultures.

Pioneer Heritage Center: Authentic 1830s-1860s buildings from the pioneer days in Northwest Louisiana.

Spring Street Historical Museum: This museum contains original vault and the only remaining example of a Victorian cast-iron grillwork gallery. It also features maps, videos, Civil War artifacts, uniforms and equipment from both World Wars and much more.

Touchstone Wildlife and Art Museum: Natural habitats of more than 1,000 mounted animals of wildlife from around the world are displayed.

Performing Arts

Numerous groups and organizations provide a variety of musical, dance and theatrical performance. Samplings of these are listed below: 

Shreveport Symphony: A truly outstanding professional symphonic orchestra that offers concerts throughout the year, often featuring national and international artists.

Strand Theater: This ornate theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and offers year-round theater, including touring groups from Broadway.

Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet: Three-full length performances of classical ballet.

Shreveport Metropolitan Concert Band: Free concerts throughout the year.

Shreveport Opera: Opera music and theatre featuring local and touring national performers.

Theater of Performing Arts: African-American theatre.

Louisiana Dance Foundation: Summer dance festival.

Marjorie Lyons Playhouse: Theater at Centenary College.

Intercity Row Modern Dance Company: Modern dance offering African, classical, ballet and jazz themes.

East Bank Theater: A variety of community theater is offered. 

Hurley School of Music: Musical selections offered as a series.

Shreveport Little Theatre: Theatre of various types.

Annual Festivals and Events 

Shreveport/Bossier City offers a large selection of events and festivals for all ages and interests. estivals usually feature touring artists, craftsmen, and musicians and offer ethnic foods of all types. A sampling of these events is listed: 

JANUARY/FEBRUARY: Mardi Gras offers parades, balls, parties, and special events; African American Parade.

MARCH: Louisiana Redbud Festival offers parades, 5k run, crafts, food booths, and entertainment.

APRIL: Dogwood Festival; Holiday in Dixie ; Hal Sutton & David Toms Christus Schumpert Charity Classic (two-day golf event).

MAY: Poke Salad Festival (carnival & parade); Mudbug Madness (crawfish and Cajun food are the highlights); Jazz & Gumbo Festival; Cinco de Mayo Fiesta (Hispanic festival); and ARTBREAK - dance, music, theater, food, fun, and a 5K road race. The Mudbug Madness Festival cannot be missed as it is one of Louisiana’s largest and most popular Cajun festivals with food, music, and entertainment that are offered in Cajun-style.

JUNE: Annual Sunflower Trail & Festival; Black Eyed Pea Festival; Cross Lake Flotilla; and Let the Good Times Roll Festival - celebrates African-American culture, music, art, and food.

JULY: Riverblast - Fourth of July celebration with fireworks, food, music and fun.

SEPTEMBER: Pumpkin Shine on Line – entertainment, jack-o-lanterns, and concessions; Dragonboat Festival – dragonboats race on the Red River;  Super Derby Festival of Racing – Horses, trainers, and riders from around the country compete at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs.

OCTOBER: Boomtown Days; Monterey Days Heritage Festival; Red River Revel Arts Festival; Mooringsport Fall Festival; State Fair of Louisiana; Brew - A premier beer tasting festival

NOVEMBER: Louisiana Holiday Trail of Lights – Shreveport-Bossier, Minden, Monroe-West Monroe, Natchitoches and Alexandria kick off holiday activities for the entire family complete with parades, fireworks, theater productions, shopping and more. Activities run through the New Year.

DECEMBER: Christmas in Roseland

JANUARY TO DECEMBER: Around the clock food, entertainment, and gaming on the Riverboats on the Red River. Scores of special events all year.

APRIL to AUGUST: The Shreveport Sports baseball season.

APRIL to NOVEMBER: Thoroughbred racing at Louisiana Downs.

SEPTEMBER TO MAY: Shreveport Symphony Orchestra.

*For a complete list of things to see and do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit www.SBFunGuide.com.

Recreation and Points of Interest

Sports

Basketball:  Shreveport is home to its own basketball team, the ABA Champions Shreveport-Bossier Mavericks.

Football: Shreveport hosts the annual Duck Commander Independence Bowl in which top college football teams from the Southeast Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference battle.

Entertainment Venues

Bossier Civic Center: The civic center offers meeting space, a banquet hall, open exhibit space, and in-house decorating for trade shows. The center is near casinos, horse racing, art galleries, museums, and restaurants.

CenturyLink Center:  The CenturyLink Center is a 14,000-seat multi-purpose arena that features concerts, family shows, ice-skating shows, motor sports, rodeos, conventions, and community events. Big name entertainers such as Britney Spears and Elton John have performed there to sold-out crowds.

Municipal Auditorium:  The former home of the Louisiana Hayride, today is host to a variety of concert performances.  The venue is well-known for its superior acoustics and versatility of use.  The building features seating accommodations for more than 3,000, a 6,300-square-foot arena, 54-foot proscenium arch, and the largest stage in the area. It is quickly gaining a reputation for an elite concert venue with recent performances by Jack White, Maxwell, and Wynona Ryder.

Shreveport Convention Center: The Shreveport Convention Center is a 350,000 square foot facility that serves as a Convention and Trade Show venue. The convention center is the single largest public facility in the city and an essential part of downtown development.

Local Attractions

Breweries:  Great Raft Brewing and Red River Brewing Company offer local craft brews. The Great Raft Brewing was featured in Bon Appetite and Beer Advocate.

Chimp Haven: Located in Keithville, LA, this is a naturalistic sanctuary that provides lifetime care for chimpanzees no longer used for medical research, as pets or entertainers.

Gardens of the American Rose Center: Nestled within 118 acres of beautiful roses, jonquils, dogwoods, magnolias and more, in serene forest setting, the center is headquarters for the American Rose Society.  More than 20,000 roses are spectacularly planted in 60 individual gardens. The center’s big annual event is Christmas in Roseland.

Sci Port Discovery Center: This 67,000 square-foot facility features more than 200 hands-on exhibits and programs for all ages. It also includes eight interactive discovery areas, an IMAX Dome Theater, daily shows, demonstrations, a gift shop and café.

Outdoor Recreation

Caddo Lake: This large lake, which extends into Texas, typifies Louisiana with its scenic Cypress trees, alligators, varied wildlife, and excellent bass fishing.

Cross Lake: This large lake offers excellent fishing, boating, water skiing, party barges, and sailing and is the location of the Shreveport Yacht Club.

Gaming

Harrah's Louisiana Downs: One of the nation's top thoroughbred racetracks features glass enclosed grandstand, restaurants, and elegant dining during the racing season of April to November. In addition, gaming is a new attraction at Louisiana Downs.

Riverboat Casinos: Six riverboat casinos docked on the Red River offer riverboat gaming facilities including restaurants, specialty shops, and lounges. Each riverboat offers a luxurious hotel with many attractions and entertainment provided by national celebrities.

Shopping

Louisiana Riverwalk: The riverwalk offers visitors and citizens a mixture of options including traditional retail, outlet/value-oriented retail, live performance theaters, restaurants, hotels, and other recreational outdoor entertainment.

Housing

The Shreveport/Bossier community has a wide selection of single-unit, duplex and apartment complex rentals, including some within walking distance. Shreveport newspapers also carry advertisements for room, apartment, and house rentals. During the interview visit, prospective graduate students are provided information about housing and living expenses.