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Shreveport-Bossier City Bossier Parish, Caddo Parish, De Soto Parish
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Old 03-04-2014, 06:04 AM
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What do you think of the Weather in NW Louisiana? What impact upon social life do you think it has?
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Old 03-05-2014, 07:43 PM
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I think the unpredictability of the weather and the fast changes in the course of a day, is a big challenge to the social and even the business growth in this area. Its difficult to figure out how to make it a good tourist destination. Along with the fact we need to invest more to become a place where people have a high interest to come to.
We can't change the weather, but what can we do to make our growth fit with the irregularity in the weather, along with the extremes, of high heat, to very cold?

Do we consider this aspect when we think of growth?
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Old 03-05-2014, 08:33 PM
Location: Denver
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Weather has nothing to do with it, look at Dallas. Making a tourist destination isn't right. Tourism should be organic for the most park. Shreveport needs jobs, lower crime, and jobs. Not tourist traps or whatever.

Texas not legalizing gaming is all the tourism SBC needs right now.
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Old 03-05-2014, 09:46 PM
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I was at a SBCVB luncheon many, many years ago when La. Downs was all the rage (and the only gambling attraction in NW La.)... the tourist folks were talking stats about the track bringing in more "tourists"... Abe Rittman the then owner of Abe's Sea & Sirloin on Centenary Blvd. (long gone and so is Abe) stood up and protested by exclaiming: "....those people ain't tourists....THEY'RE GAMBLERS!!!" Abe pretty much summed up what no one else was willing to say.

While we do have a good many gamblers... the thing is that once they get to the casinos...they pretty much spend most of their money there. I'm sure we have some spill-over to nearby venues like the Boardwalk and maybe a few places downtown.
But that's one reason the RRED failed and another reason the district was kept pretty dormant by the casino management after the city gave Hollywood/Eldorado management of the district. Casinos want to keep you on property as long as possible so you'll leave all your money with them.

There was a skytram operation in the works to make it easier for folks to cross the Red River so as to encourage tourism foot-traffic between Shreveport & Bossier... that went nowhere fast because the casinos didn't want to support it.
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Old 03-06-2014, 05:53 AM
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It's not good when Casino have that much influence to curtail growth of surrounding entertainment and options for the general public.
How did this happen? As a city its can't submit to being dictated to by Casinos, WK, and such. We can look around and see visually the power wielded by WK, it simply spread where it wants, as well as We allowed Walmart to surround the city. Once that happen, it killed off all the local small business growth.
We never truly acknowledged the many cities that will not allow Walmart to build super stores, this city never should have let Walmart create the Mansfield Rd Store, It should have been left in the area where the infrastructure was built up to accommodate it and support a shopping area.
We have to think these things through to protect the local merchant minded individuals.
Sadly, we can't undo it, but we certainly should be careful about this type of allowance in the future.
Our citizen population does not grasp the fact, if they take all their money to walmart, they result to destroy the rest of the business system. Walmart parking lots are full nearly 24/7, while other business only get a trickle of shopping traffic.

I wonder who would have be thoughtless enough to allow the Casino to control the RRED? You don't do that without strict mandates and committed investment along with insuring this type of investment does not circumvent any economic development planning.

Beside, we allow things to be sold to the wrong entities, which result to mass devastation of areas. such as the old walmart is now a storage areas, and the mall is now a church. Neither of those is positive for business nor does it support the re-emergence of business growth.
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Old 03-06-2014, 12:59 PM
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Mayor Hazel Beard was anti-gambling but saw the pressure from economic development & Gov. Edwards. But to control the expansion on the Shreveport side, she granted Harrah's (Now Sam's Town) exclusivity on the riverfront ... and that's why only one boat was on Shreveport's side for years. So the early years weren't exploited as fully as they could've been...meaning that Shreveport wasn't "all in" as far as becoming a gaming-industry friendly city. After Mayor Hightower's administration gave developer John Elkington the blessing... the RRED development took off and instead of rehabbing the historically-significant bldgs into repurposed restaurants, shoppes, etc.... they were demolished and many of the historical facades' were destroyed and or carted off for salvage. Contracts to politically-connected companies were awarded and criticism ensued on deaf ears.

The ideal spot for a riverboat pavillion was/is where the Barnwell Garden & Art Ctr is. But the aging members of the BG&AC wouldn't give up their spot... even if a casino wanted to pay them big bucks to relocate... the BG&AC was donated to the city with the stipulation it would be in perpetuity. However it would make a lot of sense to take that aging, costly bldg. demolish it and rebuild it somewhere else but that won't ever happen. Too many blue-hairs still around and I think there's a trust-fund issue to make it all but impossible. Another fine example of oldtimers reaching from beyond the grave to maintain the status quo.

Elkington's RRED's management was very poor and businesses came and went almost as soon as they appeared, leaving the district practically empty. There were "security issues" as the RRED attracted considerable numbers of young, Af. American males and there were a number of fights and incidents with the police. Elkington came up with the idea to "close off" the RRED with security requiring people pay a $5 access fee. I think there was some way you could get the money back if you showed a receipt from a RRED biz showing you were a patron and not just some "loiterer". Cries of racism were obvious and all the fuss kept the conservative customers with credit cards away. The small interior shopping mall which joined the Comedy Club became empty as smaller vendors couldn't afford the hikes in rent...with no customer traffic, they folded one-by-one. Then sometime after, the city thought it a great idea to give management control of the defunct RRED to Hollywood/Eldorado Casino in the hopes they would re-ignite the area as an attractive destination point to feed their casino. Nothing substantial really happened... except maybe a few outside music events on a superficial level.

Now the RRED is in the hands of the DDA I believe. Anyone's guess as to what they'll be doing with it. I suppose they'll add it to their huge list of available properties in downtown and hope some entrepreneurs pop up. Oh and BTW... the DDA head, Liz Swaine was Mayor Hightower's Spokes-dweeb... are you connecting the dots yet? The newest RRED tenant: The CoHab of Shreveport moved from Commerce to the District and have become a commercial kitchen incubator for foodservice. They got a generous grant from the DDA. I think CoHab is struggling since they lost their key incubator tenant Twin Labs which moved to larger space due to their recent successes. The funny thing I noted about CoHab is that they based their concept on the CoHab of Dallas... but upon recent google & Facebook page search...CoHab of Dallas is closed due to higher rents and lower interest. But they posted it was a "fun ride and they had some great parties.." 'nuff said.

Over the past 3 or 4 years there have been high-profile news reports of fights and street thug activity at the RRED or Commerce St after hours. Youtube has more than a few posted videos of street fights outside of clubs. There have been high-profile news reports of various clubs having their share of safety issues... there was a rape-case against a high-profile Af American DJ which allegedly took place upstairs in one of the clubs. When the boats came to Shreveport all the local bar/restaurant owners cried Unfair because the casinos were allowed alcohol sales 24/7. Now you have a riverfront commercial zone which allows alcohol sales until 6AM. Folks thought Shreveport would be like Bourbon Street in New Orleans... If you go to many of these nightspots today...several don't open up until after 6pm. So it's obvious where they're business model is going after. There aren't any "classy places" at the RRED... just bars, with one or two places that serve food.

The RRED is a mess in its current state. It was never carefully planned or managed.. it was overpromoted with mentions of Pat O'Brien's and Sambuca's ....but these companies weren't committed...they were only approached by Elkington. There were no real "Anchor Restaurants" just a lot of wanna-be's and fly-by-night operators looking to score big and quick and turn the biz to the next willing buyer. They folded. Comedy Club left for the Boardwalk because they noticed their customers were thinning out due to security concerns and lack of synergy.

So the pattern in Shreveport has pretty much been get something promoted, share the opportunities with politically-connected cronies... hope the concept sticks around but leave it to fend for itself. Unless there's someone's open hand to fill and a way to fill it... nothing happens. The powers that be rely on local apathy and short-memories. And so it goes . . .

BTW... the Southpark Mall, former Sam's Club & Wal Mart on Jewella Ave. all those areas got hit hard when AT&T closed and especially after GM slowed down. SouthPark mngmnt filled the mall with low-rent biz and there were gang security issues... there were one or two shootings INSIDE the MALL which scared off your core customer base. Now it's a "mega-church" ...not exactly a good thing to spur on synergistic commerce.

Last edited by BeenThereDunThat; 03-06-2014 at 01:19 PM..
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Old 03-06-2014, 07:15 PM
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One thing is certain. If you build places and put upscale business in it, the nature of the environment will prohibit a great deal of craziness from becoming a disruption. You don't see people taking any silliness to "4 Star" places. People already know, the 4 Star place or environment will not tolerate it, the system which supports the upscale environment has enough measures in places, to have anyone who is disruptive, arrested and ban them from returning, when they do so it sticks.

If you let people set up shop with graffiti painted signs and other non professional produced exterior, interior appeal.. then you will get people who will be more prone to become disruptive.
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Old 03-07-2014, 10:21 PM
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upscale business's Have to WANT to set up there, what makes you think they want to go down there? And 4 star places really don't want to come to Sleezeport- get real.
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Old 03-08-2014, 12:56 PM
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The only 4 star places currently in place are the Casino Hotels -- Horseshoe and Margaritaville I think are listed on the hotel search engines as such. Don't know about El Dorado... it may be. The city-owned downtown Hilton is listed at 3.5 which is odd considering how much the then Mayor Hightower touted it as being one way to rid Shreveport of its "Po-dunk Status" (his words by the way as commented in a Shreveport Times article years back.)

I did look at hotel reviews and ratings in our area as well as costs and noted how expensive our local hotels are...even the lesser-rated ones. I've seen these operations and many of those are deserving of the bad reviews they get. I can recall attending a SBCVB Hospitality Task-force committee meeting a few years back and the big emphasis was better training of hospitality staff and awareness. The thing is... the SBCVB is pretty much serves at the will and pleasure of the local hotel operators who are only interested in filling beds, yet their service at their hotels has consistently been lousy. Several properties are poorly maintained that are the more visible properties and their staff isn't the most educated. Any in-service training is obviously either not working or not done well. Even at the casinos, I've seen a considerable drop in quality-service from wait-staff. There seems to be a large effort to higher minorities but once hired, their training is either limited or poorly done. I was at a dinner recently and there was just too much open chatter between staff across the main floor of the restaurant and a lack of professionalism. While this may be fine for hillbillies from the country coming in for a weekend of gambling, it didn't make me feel comfortable to want to come there again.

It's funny because I recall when the boats first came here...there was a huge emphasis on professional demeanor and behavior... but now it's one waiter hollering across a room at another about grabbing a water pitcher or check their order..etc. As a customer, you're just someone they have to deal with...no empathy or concern, just another task is how I felt. A busy night, sure....but still not the way they do it in Vegas. Very telling about our area folks, very telling.
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Old 03-08-2014, 01:13 PM
Location: USA
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Many times I've wanted to say "****!" No, service workers here do not get taught professionalism as they should. The constant chit-chat is distracting to the employees as well as the customers. I've seen people stand and stand and wait and wait because no one would wait on them. That's so unbusinesslike it hurts.
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