Sunday, February 16, 2014

Shreveport, Louisiana

Yesterday, Saturday, we left the piney woods of Texas and moved over the state border into Louisiana.  After parking our rig north of Shreveport, we drove into the downtown area of the city.
Shreveport lies on the Red River.  In the background of the picture above is the Horseshoe Casino.  There are two casinos in Shreveport and five located in Bossier, the city across the river from Shreveport.  Those casinos pretty much dominate the cities skyline.  From the waterfront John and I stopped at the visitor's center, where we were reminded that Mardi Gras celebrations will be starting soon.
At the Visitor's Center we learned about the town's beginning and how it got its name.  In 1833 Capt. Henry Miller Shreve, American inventor and steamboat captain, was commissioned by the U.S. Government to open the Red River to steamboat navigation.  At that time it was no easy task as the river had an 165 mile long log jam which had been forming since the 1400s.  It took Shreve and his partners five years to accomplish the task.  That piece of Shreveport history can be seen in the giant mural which John and I discovered on one of the downtown's buildings.  It is call "Once in a Millennium Moon" created by Meg Saligman in 2000.
Fortunately there was an interpretive sign near the building which explains the mural.  The artist perfected the picture on a paint by number grid.  Paint parties were held all over town, over 2,000 townspeople worked on painting the mural which was applied to sheets of plastic cloth "floated in acrylic" much like wallpaper.  More than 40% of the mural was done by the community.  Nineteen local people from the ages of 3 months to 80 years can be found in the mural.  They represent diversity in race, age, gender and religion and neighborhood.  Cycles of life can also be found in the painting:  birth is represented by a christening cap, puberty by the torah, a veil and garter for marriage, and a veteran's dog tag for death.  Forty heirloom objects, which have meaning to a person, or family can also be found in the mural.  Examples of them are a clown doll, ceramic cup, fork and a cast iron skillet. Near the bottom of the painting is a cornucopia of northwestern Louisiana produce including strawberries, peaches, tomatoes and dewberries.  It is certainly a mega mural with a magnificent message of joy and hope!  In another area of downtown John and I found another impressive mural, pictured below.  We will certainly remember Shreveport for its murals.

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