In the northwest corner of the state, at its junction with Arkansas and Texas, Shreveport/Bossier is often known mostly for its casinos and gaming. Yet it offers much more, from a shopper’s paradise in historic Line Avenue boutiques and the Louisiana Boardwalk Promenade outlet malls, to the city’s thriving artistic and cultural heart.
Art lovers will find it hard to run out of things to do in Shreveport, whether your interest is classic art, contemporary visual exhibits, or film. Start downtown, at the historic Strand Theatre built in 1923. After extensive renovations totaling over $4 million in the late 70s, the theater reopened in 1984 in spectacular glory and has welcomed world-class performances including Cats, West Side Story and 42nd Street. At the completely modern end of the spectrum, the Robinson Film Center was opened by a group of art film lovers who wanted to provide not only a space for art and independent movies, but also an education and media center to further the craft. Two theaters, meeting rooms, and the delightful Abby Singer Bistro on the third floor create a unique movie-going experience, and the whole place is filled with incredible film industry memorabilia. A full bar is available, and you can take drinks and food into the theater.
Artspace is Shreveport’s first multi-genre arts center, dedicated to the creation and presentation of all art disciplines. Not a museum or gallery, artspace bills itself as a place where the public can connect to the arts in new and exciting ways. Fresh exhibits from local artists rotate regularly, and you might also find poetry readings, music concerts or wine tastings on any given night. There is a delightful shop, and the café@artspace on the upstairs mezzanine level offers innovative local fare, as well as the “Someone’s in the Kitchen” series the second Tuesday of each month, where top Shreveport chefs prepare multi-course meals with wine pairings for the public.
From the city center, expand outward to the R.W. Norton Art Gallery located in the middle of a gorgeous neighborhood and set on forty acres of sumptuous gardens. Inside, the museum houses an incomparable collection of American and European paintings, sculpture and decorative arts, including excellent collections of works by Frederic Remington and Charles M. Russell.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, sink your teeth into savory Cajun and Creole traditions and full-flavored Southern cuisine at Herby K’s Restaurant or Ernest’s Orleans Restaurant. Or try the olive mix on the Muffy sandwiches at Fertitta’s Delicatessen & Catering. For the sweet tooth, get your fix of Mardi Gras King Cake at any time of year at Julie Anne’s Bakery & Café.
If You Go:
WEAco Fine Arts Market – Every 3rd Saturday, through December
Holiday in Dixie Festival – April 16-25
Spring Arts Festival – April 22-24
Artbreak: A weekend of art, music, food and theater – April 30-May 2
Mudbug Madness Festival – May 27-30