Louisiana’s Other Side: Shreveport

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It's more than just a mile from Texarkana, and it's more than just a relic from the steamboat days.

April 2015-

The surveyors were off—by a whole 30 miles—but the song is still popular. That song would be "Cotton Fields" recorded in 1940 by blues legend Lead Belly and covered by everyone from The Beach Boys, Elvis, Johnny Cash, and, of course, Creedence Clearwater Revival. Shreveport, La., a city with a metro area of over 350,000 residents, is now the economic center for a tri-state area known as "ArkLaTex."

Shreveport today is revitalized in large part because of the introduction of riverboat gambling in the 1990s. With five casinos in the Shreveport-Bossier area, locals—and visitors (mainly from "Ark" and "Tex")—can find their favorite slot machines, games tables, and even a horseracing track.

If a quiet day fishing by kayak is more your style, Shreveport can provide that, too. Several outdoor recreational areas, including Cypress Black Bayou in nearby Benton, provide visitors an opportunity to fish, swim, camp and explore. Bassmaster fishing tournaments are held frequently on the Red River, and this twisty-turny waterway is what geographically separates old-town Shreveport and Bossier City (pronounced "Bozhur").

The climate here is zone eight, and that allows tropical plants as well as roses and azaleas to bloom aplenty. The American Rose Center in Shreveport has 400 rose varieties in its 65 gardens while over 15,000 azaleas bloom in the 40-acre park at the R.W. Norton Art Gallery.

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