Shreveport is located 320 miles north of New Orleans and 192 miles east of Dallas in northwest Louisiana. It is the commercial and cultural focal point of the Ark-La-Tex, the geographic region formed by the conjunction of three states. Shreveport is served by several airlines with convenient connections to all parts of the country. Along with Bossier City, just across the Red River, the Shreveport metropolitan area has a population of more than 350,000.
Shreveport is named for Captain Henry Miller Shreve, a steamboat captain, who in the 1830’s cleared the great log jam (“Great Raft”) 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. These two cities offer a large variety of attractions, cultural activities, festivals, and cuisine.
Excellent recreation areas include the Ouachita Mountains of southern Arkansas, the forests and bayous of northern Louisiana, and Toledo Bend Reservoir on the Sabine River bordering Texas and Louisiana. Particularly notable is Cross Lake, within the city limits, that offers excellent fishing, sailing, canoeing and water skiing opportunities. Shreveport is the site of numerous annual celebrations of the arts and sports. Among these are: the Red River Revel in October, an eight-day festival staged at the river front; Holiday in Dixie celebration in April; the Independence Bowl in December; the Summer Music Festival in June, comprising ten concerts at the LSU University Theater, solo recitals, chamber music and the Shreveport Festival Orchestra; and the Super Derby Festival in September, one of the nation’s richest thoroughbred horse races held at Louisiana Downs. The Shreveport Symphony, the Shreveport Little Theater and the Shreveport Civic Opera are highly regarded local performing arts organizations. Shreveport and Bossier City have more than 400 places of worship serving Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Islamic and independent faiths.