Saturday, January 25, 2014

Shreveport mixes Cowboy and Cajun


You’ll find Shreveport on “Louisiana’s Other Side.” Being very close to Texas, you’ll notice folks wearing western boots and Stetson hats. On the other hand, you’ll hear lots of Zydeco music and enjoy Shreveport’s version of Mardi Gras. And no matter where you eat, the food is delish – because it’s still Louisiana.

Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium
Music palace

The must-see attraction in the city for country music and architecture fans is the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium. The building was constructed between 1926 and 1929 as a tribute to the Americans who fought in World War I, and it’s the finest example of Art Deco architecture in the state. The legendary radio program, Louisiana Hayride, began broadcasting from there in 1940. The show helped launch the careers of Dolly Parton, Mel Tillis, Charlie Pride, June Carter, Johnny Cash and many other country superstars. Elvis Presley was 19 years old when he first performed there, and you can step into his dressing room. This is the venue they were searching for the young singer, and discovered that “Elvis has left the building!” That phrase has become a part of our popular culture.

Boiled crayfish galore
A “what” festival?

Rockin' with a Rock band
Like other Louisiana cities, Shreveport knows how to throw a party. Its annual festivities draw thousands of attendees. For 28 years, the extremely popular Mudbug Madness Festival has celebrated the tiny crawfish. In addition to a vast selection of crawfish cookery, there are eating contests for the entire family, crawfish paraphernalia and vendors selling non-crawfish items and food. Zydeco, rock, country and blues bands let the good times roll on several stages. Play stations, clowns, storytellers and other activities keep the kiddies entertained. Mudbug Madness takes place in May.


Across the Red River from Shreveport sits Bossier City. Down at the riverside lie five deluxe riverboat casinos. You’ll enjoy Vegas-style gambling with slots and table games. Casino-hop or stay at just one to partake of exciting gaming, excellent dining and first-rate entertainment.

Columbia Café serves Cajun cuisine
Café cuisine

The walls can talk at Strawn’s Eat Shop where murals display famous locals, historic figures and former city events. Strawn’s knows it all because it has been preparing scrumptious Southern cooking since 1944. They’re known for their pies that are served all day, including breakfast. Ask to see Elvis’ favorite booth where they say he ordered his peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwiches. Strawn's was named by Southern Living Magazine as one of the five best diners in the South.

You’ll find a few favorite Cajun dishes at Columbia Café, like Softshell Po-Boys and Roast Beef with Gruyere sandwiches. But you can’t get more “Cowboy” than their Black Angus Steak.

There’s also culture, history and great shopping to be checked out while in Shreveport and nearby Bossier City.