Tuesday, March 5, 2019
We are staying at another KOA which is so much unlike us. We’ve stayed in three so far.
There were several places in Shreveport (192,000 souls) that we wanted to visit, Holy Trinity Church, the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, a Confederate statue that stands in front of the Caddo County Courthouse, the Mardi Gras Museum and Riverside Park.
We can go years without staying in a one of them. The Shreveport/Bossier KOA is OK as have been the other two.
It didn’t take us long to get downtown using Interstate 20. Unlike the French Catholic influence nearer the coast this area of Louisiana is not dominated by Catholicism.
The first place we visit is the Cathedral of St. John Berchmans, consecrated in 1929. Uh, oh the church is locked! This is the first church that we’ve visited in the South that has not had its doors unlocked.
The parish office is next door and the kind lady there let us in and gave us a short narration of the church and its parish. The church is as beautiful as expected. Unfortunately work was being done on the electrical system so the lights couldn’t be turned on- and boy, was it was dark in there. But we got it- it is beautiful!
Next we head to downtown Shreveport. We’ve been to a several large downtowns on this trip and what has amazed us is the lack of traffic at nine or ten in the morning. When do these places come alive, if ever?
Holy Trinity Church dates to 1896 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, this church was also locked. At least we got a good look at the old gal from the outside.
The Caddo Parish Courthouse has a controversial statue out in front. This monument lionizes Confederate leaders Lee, Jackson, Beauregard and Brigadier General Henry W. Allen, Civil Wartime Governor of Louisiana from 1864-65 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, created in 1905.
Rather than creating memorials to the men who perished which was their norm, this monument and others were aimed at vindicating the antebellum South and controlling the historical narrative of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Just recently a federal judge indicated that the parish can remove the statue from public grounds.
A place of interest that exists in this town is the last working steam powered water plant that finally shut down in the 1980’s, nearly 100 years after it was built.
The plant pumped clean water three miles from Cross Lake. Why pump water that far when the Red River runs through town? Well, it’s called the Red River for a reason.
It carries an ungodly amount of particulates and debris. And we didn’t know this- the water is very salty as it picks up salt deposits from deep within the soil. We’re told by the docent that it’s not as salty as the ocean but pretty salty. Jil read that the river picks up 2400 tons of salt on its way to the ocean.
Anyhow, the water from Cross Lake was aerated, lime softened the water and alum coagulated suspended particles out of the water. The treated water was then pumped into the city’s mains.
The waterworks is now the Shreveport Waterworks Museum. When the plant was shut down it was left intact and is recognized by the Smithsonian Museum.
Also on the premises is a small railroad museum that features local railroads.
Next we cross the Red River into Bossier City and go to the Riverside Boardwalk. I’m thinking it’s a nice grassy area next paralleling the Red River that I’ve seen on Google Maps. That park was on the Shreveport side of the river.
This Riverside Boardwalk in Bossier City and is a freaking MALL!
Well, it does have a concrete walk down alongside the Red River but it’s sure not what I’m expecting. It does offer some great views across the river of downtown Shreveport, however.
Jil picked this place out to visit- score one for Jil. Jil didn’t go shopping- score one for Mike!
Bossier City also has the Mardi Gras Museum. Strike two- it’s closed. However on its grounds are Mardi Gras floats being readied for tonights big celebration- Fat Tuesday.
Fat Tuesday is the day before the beginning of Lent. Lent is a Christian 40 day solemn religious observance that begins on Ash Wednesday, tomorrow, and ends before Easter Sunday.
Fasting is traditional on Ash Wednesday, and every Friday thereafter during Lent so the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is the last day to pig out, so to speak. Thus Fat Tuesday!
We’ve seen what we wanted to see. We’ve driven the streets of downtown Shreveport. We’ve visited the churches, the waterworks, the Riverside Boardwalk, the Mardi Gras museum. We are done.
A couple of things of note: the weather and THE WEATHER. The deadly storm that blew through a couple of days ago was created by a cold and warm front. Both merged and caused death and an incredible amount of damage in Alabama and Georgia. The weather: what remains is cold air drifting down from the Arctic. The temperature here in Shreveport was 37 degrees when we arrived yesterday afternoon with a low of 24 degrees last night. Today was a balmy 47 degrees. Normal is in the mid 60’s. Tonight may break a record low of 24 degrees. THE WEATHER: Another round of severe weather is due in a large multi state area beginning Saturday. The weather guessers aren’t sure where the bad weather will extend but they know it’s gonna be a dusey.
That said we decided to move on to the Dallas area a day early, Wednesday, and leave there on Friday heading towards Abilene. That will take us out of that iffy severe weather zone and closer to home. At least that is the plan.