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Shreveport: A Picture-Perfect Destination



Paintings of Shreveport citizens combine to tell the story of the city’s history.

 

The invitation said “Come see the Heart of North Louisiana.” That was the focus of our trip, and we did see a lot of art. But it wouldn’t be Louisiana without lagniappe – a little something extra.


The big picture, I mean really big – building-size big. Among the many pieces of public art, Shreveport has some of the most amazing murals you’ll see anywhere.


“A Call to Action” by artist Ali Bahler stretches 75 feet across the side of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. Painted in brilliant acrylics, it is highlighted with LED neon flex lighting elements – a great, big salute to Shreveport’s culture and attractions.

My favorite murals are on two walls of the AT&T building – ideal because there are no windows. Eight stories tall and covering 25,000 square feet, “Once in a Millennium Moon” is one of the nation’s largest public art murals.

On the south wall, a woman in a flowing gown holds in her hand a flaming orb symbolizing hopes and dreams for the future. The east wall is a masterful combination of images representing not only the city’s history but the cycle of life.

From a pool of myriad subjects, nineteen people from ages three months to 80 years were selected randomly to represent the diversity of the community. In addition, 40 mementos were included, each with a story to tell. The figures and items are identified on a nearby plaque.
 

The future of Shreveport is in the hands of this figure in “Once in a Millennium Moon.”


Artist Meg Saligman divided the work into a grid. Participating painters filled in the picture like a paint-by-number creation on sheets of plastic which were then attached to the building much like wallpaper. Over 2,500 people worked on the mural, with the community completing almost half of all the work.

Shreveport is also home to some true frescoes created by Conrad Albrizio. Surrounding the entrance to the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum, they depict the industries and people of Louisiana.

Inside the museum are 21 detailed dioramas showing the agriculture, science and industry of the state. A variety of exhibits from a George Rodrigue Blue Dog painting to a thousand-year-old Caddo canoe make a visit here an interesting one.

Perhaps Shreveport’s most visible installation consists of six tall steel roses “planted” along the riverfront – an appropriate symbol of the town that is the headquarters of the American Rose Society. Their gardens are the largest in the U.S. dedicated to roses, with 20,000 rose bushes and companion plants.

The family of oilman R.W. Norton donated their collection to create the R.W. Norton Art Gallery. The holdings span four centuries of European and American art. The gallery sits on 43 acres with gardens, scenic walkways and outdoor sculpture.


N’Awlins North
 

The Big House at Melrose Plantation was built in 1832-33 as a Creole-style cottage.


Three hundred-year-old Natchitoches is not noted as an art town but is itself pretty as a picture. Its historic center has been designated a National Historic District. Businesses along the main street are festooned with fancy wrought-iron filigree. Across the street, gardens lead down to the picturesque Cane River. Spanish moss drips from the trees and you expect to see Shelby, M’Lynn and Truvy, the original Steel Magnolias, sashaying down the sidewalk.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum here is currently home to primitive artist Clementine Hunter’s famous murals of life on Melrose Plantation. Melrose, south of Natchitoches, is a significant site on the Cane River Heritage Trail Scenic Byway.

Born in the late 1880s, Hunter grew up on plantations, at Melrose from age 14. In the 1930s, plantation owner Cammie Henry created a retreat for artists. At age 54, Hunter, a servant, was given paints by a guest and began painting and selling her works for as little as 50 cents. Today collectors may pay up to $10,000.

Visitors to Melrose Plantation can see a number of Hunter’s paintings and her small studio. She painted the murals in the early-1800s African House, one of the most unusual structures on the property. The murals are on display in Natchitoches while this building undergoes restoration.


Creative Community
 

Barry Owen, multimedia artist, at work in his studio in the River Oaks Art Center, Alexandria


With a population of just under 50,000, Alexandria has made a big commitment to the arts. Its designated Cultural Arts District includes the Alexandria Museum of Art, which showcases southern art and artists who worked in the region, and the River Oaks Square Arts Center.

The Arts Center is an aggregation of working artists, gallery space and exhibitions, classes and a gift shop. Visitors can watch artists work and discuss their art – or craft – with them. Items in the shop are selected by a jury process, guaranteeing the quality of works for sale. A purse-pleasing action by the city exempts original works purchased in the Cultural District from taxes.


Last but Not Least, Lagniappe!
 

The main street in the Historic District of Natchitoches, Louisiana’s oldest town


The emphasis on this trip was on art, but there were extras. Here are some of my favorites:

Laysone’s in Natchitoches: Laysone’s has been serving amazing meat and crawfish pies for almost 50 years.

Tunk’s Cypress Inn on Kincaid Lake west of Alexandria: No better place on a summer night than on the patio beside the water with a big platter of boiled crawfish!

Cajun Landing, Alexandria: Owner Lonnie McDonald serves up 50 gallons of seafood bisque with crab, shrimp and crawfish tails a week.

Parc England Boutique Hotel, Alexandria: This property offers large, elegantly appointed rooms and lots of extras.

Cypress Bend Resort on Toledo Bend Reservoir: What a great place to escape! We sipped icy lemonade and snacked on mini-meat pies and jalapeno poppers on a beautiful patio overlooking the golf course and lake. Check out golf and fishing packages. Close to Natchitoches for shopping, not too far from Alexandria, it offers options for those who prefer casting a line or swinging a club. And for posh pampering, a spa treatment is a great way to end a full day. 


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Calendar

September 2018

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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
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Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
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This year will mark the eighth time the John F. Kennedy Awards have been celebrated, honoring individuals making a significant contribution to Oklahoma, its communities and its people, while paying...

Cost: $300

Where:
Skirvin Hilton Hotel
1 Park Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK  73102
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Sponsor: Santa Fe Family Life Center
Telephone: 405-840-1817
Contact Name: James Timberlake
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More than 20 speakers in a one-track session designed for the digital marketing professional, marketer, business owner or anyone interested in branding, PR, advertising, social media, SEO, search,...

Cost: $250

Where:
Tower Theatre
425 NW 23rd St
Oklahoma City, OK  73103
View map »


Sponsor: BigWing
Telephone: 405.475.4185
Contact Name: Janelle Archer
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
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Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
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Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
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A fabulous art auction to raise money to help support Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO.

Cost: $100

Where:
CHK|Central Boathouse
732 Riversport Dr.
Oklahoma City, OK  73129
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Sponsor: Oklahoma A+ Schools at UCO
Telephone: 405.974.3791
Contact Name: Heather Bryant
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The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
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Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

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Join supporters in communities across the nation for the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This family-friendly event raises funds to support the...

Cost: $10 for adults or children six and older

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S. Lake Hefner Drive
Oklahoma City , OK  73116
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Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
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Let’s end childhood cancer. Together! This September, supporters across the country will unite to participate in the St. Jude Walk/Run to End Childhood Cancer, an exciting, family-friendly...

Cost: $10 for Registration

Where:
Stars and Stripes Park
3701 S Lake Hefner Dr
Oklahoma City, OK  73116
View map »


Sponsor: ALSAC St. Jude Oklahoma City
Telephone: 405.403.7762
Contact Name: Emily Drover
Website »

More information

Price Tower Art Gallery in Bartlesville will host Women Artists of the West's 48th annual juried art exhibition, featuring over 200 original art works, created by women in all mediums, subjects...

Cost: Free 2018-09-21,22,23

Where:
Price Tower Art Gallery
510 S. Dewey Ave.
Bartlesville, OK  74003
View map »


Sponsor: Price Tower Arts Center
Telephone: 918.336.4949
Contact Name: Angelina Bourgou
Website »

More information

Escape the ordinary, and learn about OKC from a different point of view. Relax in the climate controlled cabin on one of our 65’ cruisers, or enjoy the breeze on the viewing deck and listen...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

The evening Cocktail Cruise offers stunning views of the downtown skyline, the Boathouse District and Finish Line Tower, the Wheeler Ferris wheel and quite possibly an amazing Oklahoma sunset. Come...

Cost: $15 for Seniors and kids under 12, $20 Adults

Where:
Regatta Landing
701 S. Lincoln Blvd.
OKC, OK  73109
View map »


Telephone: 405.702.7755
Contact Name: Business Office
Website »

More information

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