Students in Centenary College's Art 295: Introduction to Community-Based Arts probably experienced one of the most hands on classes of their academic careers. Instructor Leia Lewis and her class actively engaged the community of Highland from the start of the creation of the The Highland Spirit House Project. Early in the semester KSCLinterviewed Lewis and Dr. Mat Schwarzman about community based arts projects. The local project drew much of its inspiration from New Orleans artist John Scott. Scott was awarded a MacArthur Genius Award in 1992. He spent his life transforming metal and wood into visual stories about black culture in New Orleans. One of his grandest works is the huge public sculpture Spirit House. It was funded through the Percent for Art Program. For more examples of Scott's work click here.
A celebration of all the hard work done by students and community members was held Sunday at Meadows Museum. It will be interesting to watch the progress of this community and college collaboration.
RRBJ doesn't care if you say "Merry Christmas" or not. We're just celebrating the fact this is day one of December 2007. We'll let the goof ball talking heads argue amongst themselves while we get distracted by the pretty decorations.
Thank you MJW's for the use of The Night Life. We lub us some downtown Shreveport when it's twinkling in merry-happy-ho-ho lights.
In addition to selling tasty baked goods, Lila's Cakes and Chocolate is also an eatery with a full breakfast and lunch menu. The last time we dined we had the soup and sandwich lunch special (pictured above). Food is good, service is fast and the ambiance is similar to one of those little places you stumble into on a visit to New Orleans.
The shop is named after the tiny daughter of the owners, Sopan and Lisa Tike. Sopan has over 18 years of experience as a trained pastry chef. Lisa is also the director of the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum in Shreveport.
440 Olive Street, Shreveport. 318 676-1407. Open Monday - Saturday 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
We started RRBJ in November 2006 with a post containing pictures of red trash in Highland. We celebrate one year of publishing with these photos of red. RRBJ seems to be a blog mainly about life in Highland and downtown with the occasional excursion to other nearby points.
Thank you to Trudeau and Noma for the inspiration to begin blogging. We're excited that blogging has also opened up other creative venues for us. We're tickled red for the assistance in finding our way back to the homemade life.
Pray, Children...Pray Originally uploaded by jawbone54. Thank you tojawbone54 for letting RRBJ use his cool shot. If you've got a photo, poem, sketch or anything artsy-craftsy that illustrates life in SB Land drop it off via RedRiverBlogJam@gmail.com.
Trudeau has the latest on the Saturday's doings and memories from last year's festival on his faces blog. Stephanie Netherton's covered this year's festival in today's Shreveport Times in a nice article with the reminder to tote some chairs or blankets so you'll have a place to sit.
RRBJ acquired this sugar skull by Conchita Iglesias-McElwee at SRAC's Day of the Dead street party. Conchita is curating a show that opens tonight at Jackrabbit Lounge, which is located in the area of Centenary's Gold Dome, George's Grill and Lil Joe (home-of-really-big-hamburgers).
To see what others think of how we celebrate dead folks check out Travel Lady Magazine. To find out more about the Jackrabbit Lounge happenings see Trudeau's blog. He's got plenty of other cool things listed for this weekend. But for a really interesting event there's rumors of ArkLaTex Wrestling holding an event at Soundstage tonight. Rock and "rassling" it can't get anymore southern than that.
Whatever you do this weekend try to eat at our local establishments at least half the time you choose to dine out... Keep Shreveport Wild!
If the next big idea for business is authenticity than The Little Shanty Folk Art Gallery on Line Avenue is SB Land's best example of this new way of entertaining customers.
The enterprise is owned and operated by Alania Osborne-Currie and her husband Robert Currie. For the story in The Times click here.
There are chickens in the backyard, laundry drying on the line and an outhouse. The whole enterprise challenges you to reconsider how you shop for art. One of the most interesting bodies of work for sale is by Louisiana artist Micheal A. Smith. He creates sculptures from toothpicks.
The Little Shanty Folk Art Gallery, 7102 Line Avenue, is open six days a week. 318 861-3308.
On a semi-related note: for more about an authentic sense of place listen to this Smart City show.
For the behind the scenes scoop on Jessica's SB Land photo shoot swing by Designers Consortiumon East Kings Highway and visit with Jane Ryder. And to see more of the magical work of this Shreveporter click janeryderdesigns.com.
It's the fashion equivalent to a locally owned restaurant (which is a very, very, very wonderful thing -- no one goes to a city to visit its McDonald's). Designers Consortium, 208 E. Kings Highway, is where to find high quality goods designed by SB Land designers.
Can't think of a better way to start your weekend off than by visiting Designers Consortium for their first Third Friday Gallery Night on October 19. Original fashions, accessories, jewelery and more will be available for browsing and purchasing from 6 until 8 pm. Trudeau'scovered the wickedly talented bunch from the beginning. The group even has a ad on page 31 of this week's Forum. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 318 861-3111.
Just a few of days left. The last couple of years rain has flooded the festival. This year there's too much heat. A cool evening breeze and a beer in a blue aluminum bottle is the best way to enjoy the party.
One of the best things about living in urban part of SB Land is the nearness of country. Dr. Patrick Colyer gave us a grand tour out at the Red River Research Station. Not many folks are growing cotton these days. Most are planting corn.
P.S. RRBJ doesn't know why we haven't blogged in forever (we started this post on September 19 and it's already October so we figured we'd better finish it). It might be the recent on the job injury we suffered or it might be someone has stolen all our words or it might be the fact we can't stop taking photographs. Maybe we'll just post photos for the next few weeks and see if the words catch up to us.
One of the best reasons to organize a dog park for pets and people is so we can all get more exercise. Newcomer Juliana Hoffpauir has already gathered close to 1000 signatures on a petitionto open a dog park and started a blog about her efforts.
Madison, Wisconsin is the most walkable city in America and it has four off-leash areas. What size of a city is Madison? Madison has 223,389 folks and Shreveport has 200,199. But of course to get a complete look at the population in SB Land we have to add Bossier City and that brings our number to 256, 661.
Something RRBJ has found interesting since discovering Madison, it only has one community recreation center. Shreveport has 17 and Bossier City has two. The parks division of Madison also maintains over 260 parks, one public swimming pool, 10 beaches, 4 golf courses. In the winter, the staff maintains outdoor ice rinks and cross-country ski trails. It seems to be a community geared to moving and not sitting in a building. Perhaps building a dog park will dance SB Landers towards healthier lifestyles.
The mind set of summer wraps with this Labor Day weekend. Did you accomplish everything on your hot weather list? Not to worry. It really doesn't cool off until November in SB Land and RRBJ has even been Christmas shopping in shorts in December. Viva la South!
Thank you to trudeau for the use of quenching the dog days in shreveport! Have you read Robert Trudeau's Shreveport blog? Imagine the lovely world we'd live in if the mainstream media covered SB Land culture the way this man does.
Americans are fatter than ever. Mississippi topped a newly released list with the highest rate of adult obesity in the country for the third year in a row and Colorado was the leanest state again (thank the Goddess Louisiana wasn't number 1). The top three states for obesity? After the Magnolia State comes West Virginia and Alabama. Louisiana is number 4. Texas tied with Missouri for number twelve.
Where are the heaviest kids? D.C. is at the top of the list. Texas is number 6, Mississippi number 8 and Louisiana is number 10. (Yeah! Lone Star State kids are fatter than our kids! It's such a hollow win...)
How does Arkansas stack up? The Natural State kids tie with Georgia for the number twelve spot. Adults are at number 8.
Ten of the fifteen states with the highest rates of adult obesity are located in the South. Please somebody and hep a region out and invent us some healthier cuisine.
Click for your own copy of the fourth annual report F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America. Click for tips on getting healthier in Louisiana.
I’ve been gone from Shreveport for almost thirty years [at the time of the writing], but, as you can see, Shreveport has never left me. It remains the subject and matrix of my work, and it always will. Not because my recollections of it are without pain, or because I lived a golden untroubled childhood here. It wasn’t that way. But the experiences I had here, the places I remember, the people I loved–and even the ones I despised–have been as useful to me, as evocative, as Paris of the 1880’s and 90’s was to Marcel Proust. Not in a direct sense, certainly. I have never written an roman a clef about Shreveport, using real people with fake names. Yet at the same time all my characters live here. They fitted smoothly and anonymously into the interstices of time and space in the period between 1863 and 1960.
* * * *
Even today, with thirty years . . . between me and Shreveport, when someone asks where I’m from, I invariably answer without thinking, “Shreveport.” When I start to put together a new story, I think of its setting here, or in New Orleans, or somewhere in between. Even when I write of New York or London or Los Angeles, the people are from Louisiana–simply because those are the people I know in the same way I know myself.
Alix B. took this picture while traveling through Shreveport. It even ended up on her blog. She's on a 9,000 mile trip, via scooter, for Peace. Learn more at Peacescooter.com.
Thank you to fluidattitude for letting us use the photo Love Will Save Us.
In a funny little twist the art becomes art. The photo is a picture of a piece of public art by Shreveport artist Noma Fowler-Sandlin who many folks know as jam queen and owner of Pan's Pantry.
Noma sends this word out: The Shreveport Farmers' Market is closing until October 13, so be sure and come do your shopping and see me, of course, on Saturday, 25 August, from 7 to 11:30. It's at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport, where Commerce intersects Crockett. I'll miss it. Boo hoo. But since I'm getting ready for the Red River Revel, I'll need that day to cook jam. Love and thanks to all my customers, patrons and pals, Noma.
Councilwoman Joyce Bowman wants you to know this law is for the gentle ladies as well as the gentlemen. Would we really need to fine people if we just drove Councilwoman Bowman around and had her look at droopy-drawered folks with her head tilted down through those glasses at the tip of her nose? She's wearing them in the second picture on this page (we'd also like to point out her slacks are belted into their proper position).
The Abolish-Your-Briefs proposal goes before the Shreveport City Council August 28. In case you're wondering, RRBJ doesn't wear saggers. We're very attached to our high-waisted mom pants.
Thank you to lillista for the use of her picture Under.
RRBJ had to fight our way through hordes of elementary and middle school boys (well, there were 3) to get a seat at Southfield Barbershop at 293 Southfield Rd but we made it and got a new haircut from owner/operator Kay. You gotta love a place that doesn't make its employees wear a uniform or a funky polyester smock.
Oscar is the man to see if you need your shoes shined. Where else can you get spiffed up at a "World Famous Shoe Shine Station?" While we were there one Barksdale Air Force pilot floated across the river to let Oscar work on his boots.
In a our continuing effort to keep corporate America from taking over the universe RRBJ says hurrah! every time you spend you money with a local operation. They can Keep Austin Weird we'll Keep Shreveport Wild!
It's the fifth shooting star I've seen in half an hour. There are so many of them tonight; I assume it has something to do with the meteor shower that's coming up in a few days. We're lying on the hood of his car, fingers intertwined, whispering secrets and watching the twinkling sky. He brought me here the first time we ever really hung out, when it was midnight and neither of us wanted sleep.
"I know this place," he said, "It has these towers with these red lights that kind of pulse."
I'd never seen anything like them. There are at least six huge towers, all with dozens of pulsing ruby red lights. The towers are almost invisible in the darkness, making it seem like enormous glowing gemstones are floating in the air.
This is our place, this highway bridge in the middle of nowhere. It's 1:30 in the morning and cars fly by every now and then. Frogs croak from trees in the woods on either side of us and mosquitoes bite at us every 30 seconds. It's noisy and slightly uncomfortable, but it's all that we've got. Generally we can stay there for a few hours until a police officer tells us to move along.
"Owwww, bright lights!" he says, shielding my eyes from the blinding headlights of an oncoming truck.
"Is it a cop?" I ask, squinting through his fingers.
The truck slows down and comes to a stop next to us.
"Now, I know it's a purty night an' all, but this is hardly the place to be watchin' the stars, innit it? Y'all need any help, ma'am?" asks the driver in an accent straight out of O Brother, Where Art Thou. He's got a trucker's cap on over his mullet and he seems friendly, but I'm a little wary nonetheless.
"No, sir, we're just lookin' up at the stars. We don't get to see many of them. We're from Shreveport," I add.
"Well, bless y'all's hearts. I tell ya, y'all should go up to the dam over yonder. It's a purtier sight, and ya ain't got to worry about cops er nothin' over there," he advises us. I didn't even know we could drive up on to the dam. He tells us to go up two stop lights and turn left, and we thank him and wish him a good night.
"That guy is my new favorite person ever," I announce. Auguste agrees with me. We find our way to the dam, but there's a fork in the road. One road that seems to lead to where we want to go says that it dead ends and Auguste doesn't know if he'll be able to turn around. Whilst we mull it over, a white truck speeds by and honks at us. It looks as though our new friend is trying to show us where to go. Admittedly, I'm getting a little creeped out.
We follow and find a whole big parking lot and an incredible view of the lake and the stars.
"Thank you so much!" I say to our guide.
"Yer welcome, ma'am. I just figgered I'd tell you, since it's a more gooder view and all."
"Yes, sir, it is. Like I said, we're from Shreveport, we don't see many stars."
"Well, this place ain't got a goddern thing in it, prolly never will, but we got these here stars. It's a good place to get lost in."
We all look up at the sky.
After saying goodbye, Auguste and I lay there for another half hour or so, excited about our new discovery. It's silent out here, but the mosquitoes have gotten worse, thanks to our close proximity to water. We decide to call it a night and make a mental note to bring bug spray next time. I don't mind the bugs so much, really. I can put up with almost anything if it means getting lost in the night sky.
"I found bliss early. It was reading or thinking in the spread out trunk of a pink flowered mimosa tree in our front yard.
I made my freest art back then. When I was a little kid alone in my room, I danced to music from a tiny record player. I had a built up platform in the bottom of my closet, so I would push the clothes back on either side and dance away in funky costumes I found around the house. Now when I create art, I am seeking to go back to my bliss." Usher May 24, 2010