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In Pictures: Weird and wonderful in Shreveport-Bossier City
By Tom Adkinson
February 24, 2023

SHREVEPORT-BOSSIER CITY, La. – Shreveport and Bossier City are separated by the Red River, but they are joined at the hip by shared history and a collection of unusual businesses and attractions. Their tagline is “Two Cities, One Heart.” In them, you can find the grave of a respected prostitute, a free museum about the municipal waterworks, a statue of Elvis Presley, a hardware store that sells Mardi Gras beads and its own king cakes, a church where Martin Luther King Jr. preached and a padded room where you can smash breakable objects to your heart’s content. Yes, there’s a lot of weird and wonderful in Northwest Louisiana.

Annie McCune: A classy madam

shreveport bossier city
Actress Freda Lassiter offers the knowing smile of a successful madam while telling stories about Annie McCune, a prominent Shreveport businesswoman in the early 1900s. Her audience was a tour group visiting Oakland Cemetery, McCune’s final reclining place. McCune’s business was in a designated red light district that was shut down in 1917, and her influential clientele helped protect her operation. McCune is buried next to her adopted daughter, who died at age 5. Image by Tom Adkinson

Making heavy machinery humorous

Shreveport Water Works Museum
A municipal waterworks plant that operated from 1887-1980 might not sound like much of a visitor attraction, but the Shreveport Water Works Museum is a legitimate historic site – and fodder for an unexpectedly humorous narrative. Tour guide Kevin Haines turns into a standup comic when talking about the last steam-operated pumping station in the U.S. It’s a National Historic Landmark, and tours are free. Image by Tom Adkinson

Recalling early days of Elvis

elvis presley at art deco building
Of all the stars who have performed at Shreveport’s Municipal Auditorium (the list includes Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Johnny Horton, Ledbelly, B.B. King, James Brown and Aretha Franklin), Elvis Presley brought the most attention to the Art Deco building that opened in the 1920s. He performed there for 18 months, honing his performing skills on the Louisiana Hayride radio show. Statues of Elvis and renowned guitarist James Burton are on the sidewalk outside the auditorium. Image by Tom Adkinson

It’s Mardi Gras all year at this hardware store

mardis gras beads
Mardi Gras beads and power tools are peculiar companions in a hardware store, but both are big sellers at Tubbs Hardware and Cajun Gifts in Bossier City – as are king cakes, the confection of choice during Mardi Gras. Owner Don Tubbs reports selling up to 1,200 frozen king cakes every week in season. Tubbs says his competitors call his place “the Barnum & Bailey of hardware stores.” Image by Tom Adkinson

MLK spoke here

Old Galilee Missionary Baptist Church
Actor Adarian Williams channels Martin Luther King Jr. on the steps of Old Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Shreveport. King’s talk here in 1958 was the first recorded civil rights speech in the city. He also spoke at the church in 1962. The church was built into 1877 and closed in 1975. It is being restored with a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. Image by Tom Adkinson

Swing, batter, swing

sbc breakrooomm
There’s not a batting coach at the SBC Breakroom, just protective clothing, plenty of breakable objects and instructions to swing away. The Breakroom, generically known as a rage room or a smash room, provides bottles, lamps, computers and just about anything that breaks, along with baseball bats, crowbars and sledge hammers, for timed sessions of personal mayhem. You provide the energy. Image by Tom Adkinson

Here’s the church, watch for the steeple

shreveport first united methodist church
First United Methodist Church is a beautiful landmark in downtown Shreveport, but you can be forgiven if you don’t linger outside for too long. Today’s impressive steeple is a replacement for one that severe weather tore off the church in 2009 and deposited onto the street below. It made a direct hit on a car, flattening it. The driver survived, much to the amazement of the first responders. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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