Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shreveport/Bossier City to Arcadia, Louisiana

Tue, March 22nd - Sun, March 27th

Shreveport and Bossier City are sister cities joined by the Red River.

And they're off! We spent the next four nights at Harrah's Louisiana Downs Casino in Bossier City, Louisiana.

We spent the first two afternoons watching the quarter horse races there. They had 10 races each day, about one every 24 minutes.

Down the stretch, heading for the finish line. Each race took between 15 and 20 seconds, hardly giving a person a chance to jump out of their seat to cheer before it's over.

And the winner is..... There were several photo finishes as we watched.

Followed by photos in the winner's circle.

The staging area, getting ready for the next race.

Each horse (and jockey) has a companion horse and rider to keep it calm, while they are led out to the track and paraded around before they are led to the starting gate.

As each race is run, the ambulance follows right behind the horses, in case of any emergencies. After most races, two water trucks came out to wet down the track followed by these four 7730 John Deere tractors to groom the track.

There seems to be a lot of manpower and expense involved in putting on these races. I don't think there were over 50 people there either day to watch. However, the next day when there were no races going on, there was a pretty good crowd inside watching and betting on the races all over the country.

Louisiana State Exhibit Museum has the most marvelous dioramas made out of beeswax by the same man over twenty some years. It is a round building with a courtyard in the center where they used to keep an alligator in the pond.

Sugar cane is grown in the fertile delta lands of the Mississippi. 20% of the nation's sugar supply comes from Lousiana. South central Louisiana is known as the "sugar bowl".

Poultry is big business here. Egg production is so automated the egg is not touched until it reaches the consumer. Beef production has proven to be one of the soundest of all farm activities.

Ounce for ounce Louisiana yams contain more of the food nutrients needed for normal body development than any other root crops in the U.S.
They are first in the nation in production of early spring strawberries. Their citrus crop is small, but high quality.

In 1839 Louisiana became the leading rice state. Crowley is known as the "Rice City of America". And of course, there is the oil, natural gas, salt, shrimp, crawfish, oysters, etc.

This is the Caddo Parish Courthouse in Shreveport with a statue of the Confederate heroes and their flag out front.

In front of the statue, the marker says, "46th Confederate Veteran's Reunion June 9-12, 1936. Louisiana and Shreveport's tribute of honor and respect memorializing the deeds and valor of the men who so gallantly, nobly and conscientiously defended the cause of 1861-65.

Just a couple blocks to the west stands this huge Methodist church dominating the view for many blocks as you come down the street. It was built in 1913 with a building added in 1940, two buildings in 1964, a TV and performing arts center in 1983 and another in 2010. I think it's the hugest church complex I have ever seen besides the vatican. It covers about three city blocks.

Just behind the church complex is the original city cemetery with graves dating back to the 1830s. In 1905 it became the Oakland Cemetery. It is a beautiful old cemetery in very sad condition with leaning and broken headstones, broken and sunken foundations and wrought iron fences with missing and mutilated sections. There are 1,000 Confederate veterans and soldiers buried here, 800 people in an unmarked mass grave who died during a yellow fever epidemic in 1873 and at least six mayors. It was used in the "Mr. Brooks" movie starring Kevin Costner and Dane Cook. From this cemetery on, the old downtown businesses appear to be totally abandoned and the residential area is sadly delapidated. The homes look as if they have been abandoned since the 1940s, but people are still living in them. A very sad and large, poverty stricken area.

Just across the street from the cemetery is the old City Municipal Building. It was here in October 1954 on the Louisiana Hayride Radio Program that Elvis first performed. The announcer said, "Ladies and gentlemen, you've never heard of this young man before, but one day you'll be able to tell your children and grandchildren that you heard musical history made tonight". The statues are Elvis and James Burton, who played guitar with him that night and again toward the end of Elvis' career and with lots of other famous people in between. The building was used as the jail in the movie "Soul Men" starring Samuel Jackson, Bernie Mac & Isaac Hayes. It was the last film made by either Mac or Hayes.

This Scottish Rite Cathedral built in 1917 was used by Oliver Stone as the White House when filming "W" starring Josh Brolin and was also seen in "Mr. Brooks". Filming of "W" took only 46 days. Another similar building across the street was also seen in some movies.

Just a block or two east is this "Once in a Millenium" mural on two sides of the AT & T building. It was painted in 2001 for the new century. I have included a description below for those who are interested.

The Lousiana Boardwalk along the Red River on the Bossier City side is the largest shopping complex in the state. We went to the movie "Lincoln Lawyer" and liked it very much.

But it looked like Paul Blart, the mall cop, was shirking his duties.

This is a view after dark from the boardwalk. There are five riverboat casinos along here. On the Shreveport side is the Walk of Stars under the bridge including Elvis, Kix Brooks, Terry Bradshaw and many more.

At Jack Binion's Horseshoe Casino there is $1 million on the wall in this hallway that is 11 feet high and 100 feet long. It is 10,000 $100 bills that were brought in an armored car from Little Rock in 1998. I wonder how much interest it could have earned in the last 13 years?

This picture was taken at the Centenary College where the flowers were blooming profusely. It was established in Jackson in 1825 and moved to Shreveport on 1908.

Saturday we stopped at Gibsland to go thru the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum run by the son of one of the police officers, Ted Hinton, who had been tracking them for 18 months and who was involved in the ambush. He wrote a book called "Ambush" by Ted Hinton that supposedly tells the real, true story. They have a three day Bonnie & Clyde Festival in May. This monument is at the spot where it happened just a few miles south of town.

We stayed at this campground near Arcadia where there is a big flea market one weekend every month, thankfully not while we were there.

It was very nice and peaceful here.

We drove south about 10 miles to hike up Driskill Mt., the tallest mountain in the state. It was midday in the 80s and very humid. But we were able to make it the whole .8 miles to the peak of 535 feet in about 20 minutes.

Our reward was a view of Jordan Mountain.

Have a great day,


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