Shreveport - Bossier, Louisiana's Other Side

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The Avenue - Texas Avenue Historical and Multicultural Tour

2 days/1 night

Shreveport-Bossier City has a rich African American and multicultural heritage. On Louisiana's Other Side, you'll find a generous helping of history and an inclusive view of the different influences that make us unique. We have some 26 ethnic groups that influence us, and you can see much of that influence when you take this multicultural tour.

The late Johnny Cochran was born here and lived in Shreveport as a little boy. His family’s home stands today near the historical Little Union Baptist Church, where many civil rights activities took place.

Other historic churches of Texas Street are an important part of the city's history: Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal, Antioch Baptist Church, First Methodist Church, B'nai Zion Temple, Central Christian Church, and Galilee Baptist. Four of these six churches are still active congregations.

First Methodist Church, at the head of Texas Street, appears to loom over the downtown as travelers cross the Texas Street Bridge first and catch sight of the imposing structure. Texas Street ends abruptly at Common Street, directly in front of the church's entrance.

Texas Street, known as The Avenue, was the scene of a good deal of music history. It was also the central business district of the African American community, and was a home to African American entrepreneurship and creativity. The city’s largest black churches, theaters, hotels and restaurants were located there.

Rooftop parties were famous on top of the Calanthean Temple, built by the women’s auxiliary of the black lodge of the fraternal order Knights of Pythias in the 1920s. Count Basie, Jelly Roll Morton, and other jazz bands played at the Calanthean and other clubs on The Avenue. Jelly Roll Morton even created a song that reflected the excitement of The Avenue and Shreveport during that time, “The Shreveport Stomp.”

On Texas Avenue and Marshall Street is a bronze statue of Huddie “Leadbelly” Ledbetter, a legendary blues guitar player and singer. Huddie performed in an area called “Bluegoose,” on the southwest edge of Shreveport’s Central Business District. Bluegoose takes it name from a speakeasy that operated during prohibition. Ledbetter, who was raised in Mooringsport, played the 12-string guitar. Stop in for a visit at the Southern University Museum of Art, which houses key African and African American artifacts. Just a few blocks away is the Multicultural Center of the South, which has displays from 26 cultures in Shreveport-Bossier City.

This tour also takes you to the Municipal Auditorium where Elvis Presley got his start on the Louisiana Hayride, a live radio broadcast. Other great notables are "The Godfather of Soul" James Brown, Little Stevie Wonder, "Soul Sister No. 1" Aretha Franklin, The Late Great Otis Redding, Wicked Wilson Pickett, William "Smokey" Robinson, Johnnie Taylor, Bobbie "Blue" Bland, B.B. King, Hank Williams Sr. and many, many more. Inside the Municipal Auditorium is a great music museum, Stage of Stars and Legends Museum.

The Stephens African-American Museum, the ending point of our historical tour, highlights seven generations of three black families and how they dealt with issues such as racism, segregation and civil rights. Photos, equipment used in daily chores and other artifacts are featured.

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