A relic for the directionally challenged lives on!

Quite simply, it is one of great landmarks in Shreveport. If there are Seven Wonders of the Ark-La-Tex, this one is certainly on the list. We have architectural greatness in our very midst on display in Southeast Shreveport.

The sad part is, nobody ever notices it.

And part of its greatness is that it has no name. No means of identification. For goodness sakes, there is no Google pin to drop!

For that matter, is it singular or plural?

It’s just two signs – twins, if you will – that read “WEST” and “EAST” outside Lee Hedges Stadium. (That would be the South side of the stadium, as long as we are using compass directions.)

There are so many layers at play here that it almost defies description.

The stadium was built in 1967 and has had three names (Captain Shreve, Caddo Parish, Lee Hedges). WEST/EAST have never changed.

There have been tornados, hurricanes, wind shear, and assorted semi-cataclysmic weather events. Nothing has toppled WEST/EAST.

They have changed the field turf multiple times, re-done the bleachers, the track, re-paved the parking lot and, this year added these out-of-place-looking doors to the front of the stadium. But WEST/EAST is still untouched.

Are you aware of what an architectural marvel these things are? Entry-level construction manuals should have a picture of WEST/EAST on Page 1 as an example of how things should be built. And to look at them, you figure they might have cost about a buck fifty in materials to build.

I hear the smokestacks are coming down at the Arsenal Hill power plant. But not these twin marvels of modern architecture! If they ever get around to adding a Smithsonian Museum in Shreveport, we’ve already got our first exhibit.

You could have left Shreveport 50 years ago, come back and seen WEST/EAST and felt like you’d never left. I might start giving bus tours. “On your left, you will see one of the most indestructible pieces of 1960s Shreveport ever made …”

Hamel’s Park? Come and gone.

Fair Grounds Field is about to be a thing of the past.

Almost every business nearby was a cotton field when WEST/EAST was built.

Think about this: When people bought their tickets and walked right by WEST/EAST in those first few years, they were watching high school football players who are now in their 70s.

But do you know what is the greatest part of it all? Are these relics really necessary? I’m sure some guy back in 1967 said, “Hey, we better put up signs to show which one is the West gate and which one is the East gate or there’s going to be hell to pay.”

Other guy said, “But everybody knows the sun sets in the West. Shouldn’t we just save money on plastic and steel?”

“Can’t take that chance. Grab the post hole digger before the concrete truck gets here.”

I’m scared that if they took a poll of how many people in the stands actually knew which side was West and which side was East – “Can I check my phone first?” – that it might render these landmarks as useless.

In order to dress up the stadium front, they have added some vertical banners that read “Lee Hedges Stadium” and attached them to light poles, right beside WEST and EAST.

Wanna bet which will last longer?

Contact J.J. at johnjamesmarshall@yahoo.com