That was the message on the huge banner outside the Red River Room at the Shreveport Convention Center Thursday morning as officials gathered to unveil Visit Shreveport-Bossier’s 10-year Destination Master Plan (DMP) and new regional brand.
The goal is to increase the visitor economy in the area by uniting the two cities that are separated by the Red River.
“By bringing people from all corners of Caddo and Bossier Parishes together to push common goals, the entire area benefits,” said Stacy Brown, president and CEO of Visit Shreveport-Bossier.
Brown started the press conference by announcing that the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau has officially been rebranded Visit Shreveport-Bossier (VSB) and unveiling a new logo.
“We want to encourage locals and visitors to see that Shreveport-Bossier is a place with enough flavor, style, and soul for two cities,” said Brown. “A lot of areas push that ‘one thing.’ But we’re not ‘one thing!’ We’re so many things. You take a little of this and a little of that, and you find a whole lot of US.”
The VSB chose MMGY Global and MMGY NextFactor to guide the DMP and regional brand efforts, which began in 2019. A Steering Committee made up of community stockholders was formed to advise the consultants.
The committee includes Brown, Brittney Dunn (co-chair), Lisa Johnson (co-chair), Doyle Adams, Pam Atchison, Gabriel Balderas, Tommy Boggs, Mike Busada, Eric England, Butch Ford, Beau Hays, Tim Magner, Amanda Nottingham, Jason Roberts, Liz Swaine, Bob Thames, Henry Whitehorn, and Dr. Woody Wilson.
In 2019, more than nine million day and overnight visitors spent $681 million in Shreveport-Bossier. In 2021, that economic impact jumped to $819 million.
“Eight hundred nineteen million dollars,” said Greg Oates, Senior Vice President, Innovation, for MMGY NextFactor, a consulting firm specializing in travel and tourism. “That’s how much visitors brought to Shreveport-Bossier. That money came from outside (the area) and stayed here.”
Oates said increasing that amount is the purpose of the DMP.
“You’re on track to be a billion-dollar visitor industry,” Oates told the conference attendees.
The Shreveport-Bossier DMP strategic framework focuses on six things:
Increasing and diversifying community collaboration
Accelerating mixed-use development, placemaking and mobility in the two urban waterfronts
Prioritizing support for local creative entrepreneurs in art, culture, film, food, music, retail and more
Capitalizing on the surging demand for sports tourism
Increasing visitor volumes in the meetings and conventions sector
Accelerating business development in outdoor recreation and upgrading event venue
“The municipal governments for both Shreveport and Bossier City have high-priority economic and community development initiatives,” said Oates. “The same applies for Caddo Parish and Bossier Parish. This plan builds on all those initiatives.
“It is critical for government, industry, and community leaders to embrace how the visitor economy supports local small business development which, in turn, builds stronger and more vibrant communities.”
While Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler was not able to attend Thursday’s press conference, Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux was on hand and emphasized the need for the two cities to come together to make the DMP a success.
“We need to think of ourselves as one large community,” said Arceneaux.
Funeral Services to celebrate the life of Ruby Eastridge Keener, 98, will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 26, 2023, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City, Louisiana. Visitation will be held from 1:00 p.m. until the time of service. Burial to follow the service at Campground Cemetery, Bienville, Louisiana. Officiating the services will be Pastor Randy Ziegler.
Ruby was born May 21, 1925, in Bienville, Louisiana, to Barney Lemon Mosley and Anna Lou Hennigan Mosley. She went to be with the Lord on May 22, 2023, in Bossier City, Louisiana.
Ruby was a woman of God who lived her life for the Lord. She attended Waller Baptist Church for 60 years until she moved to South Bossier Baptist Church. She would go to Sunday school and was a part of the Pioneer Club, which would go on different types of trips. Ruby was an amazing cook who loved to feed her family and friends. She could spend hours talking to her family. She absolutely loved her grandchildren and would do anything for them. Ruby was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, and sister who will be greatly missed.
Ruby is preceded in death by her parents; husbands, James F. Eastridge, and W.T. Keener, Jr.; and brothers, Hagen, Stanley, and Max. She is survived by her son, Ron Eastridge and wife, Sarah; grandsons, Ronald Dean Eastridge, Jr., and Jimmy Mallahan; great-grandchildren, Kevin, Kourtney, and Kamron; great-great-grandchild, Lillieanna Rose; and brother, Larry Mosley.
Honoring Ruby as pallbearers will be Randy Wiggins, Dawson Peal, Burt Storti, Jimmy Mallahan, Ron Eastridge, Jr., and Steven Mosley.
Mrs. Nancy Henslee Henderson of Shreveport passed away on Monday, May 22, 2023, at age 78, after a long battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Nancy was born on November 30, 1944, to Martha and Walter Henslee in Galveston, Texas, where she graduated from Ball High School in 1962. After two years at Wellesley College, she married Ralph, her life’s companion of nearly 59 years. Several years and two children later she completed her Bachelor of Arts at Centenary College. She went on to earn her CPA and worked as Accounting Manager for Barksdale Federal Credit Union until retiring in 2003.
Throughout the years, Nancy showed her love of Christ through her devotion to family and her dedication to the ministry of her church. In 1964 Nancy married fellow Galvestonian, Ralph J. Henderson, Jr. The couple were proud parents to two children, Jonathan and Pamela. Nana particularly adored her six grandchildren and loved following their journeys and cheering them on in life. She served the church community in many ways over the years—directing children’s choirs, producing the church newsletter, serving as a deacon and elder, and joining the prayer group to lift others in prayer.
Over the years, Nancy shared her gift of music singing with the Shreveport Choral Ensemble, in Gilbert & Sullivan Society productions, and most recently with The Singing Seniors. Of all her vocal offerings, she most valued singing to the Lord with the choir in worship. She also enjoyed reading, needle crafts, games with family, and traveling. The family would like to extend special thanks to the medical professionals and caregivers who worked to give her quality of life in her final years.
Nancy was preceded in death by both parents and her brother, Lee W. Henslee, III. Her memory will be cherished by her husband, Ralph J. Henderson, Jr., and her children, Jonathan Henderson (Leigh) of Little Rock, Arkansas, and Pamela Leach (Jeffrey) of York, Pennsylvania. She is also survived by her sisters Sarah Buehrer and Frances Arnold, as well as grandchildren: John Parker Henderson (Mallory), Lucas Henderson (Haley), Hanna Meg Leach, Kay Ellen Henderson, Meryl Henderson, and Juliana Leach.
A family graveside service was held at Forest Park Cemetery. A larger celebration of life will be held at Broadmoor Presbyterian Church on Saturday, July 8, 2023, 1:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Broadmoor Presbyterian Church or the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
Bossier City Parks and Recreation says, “If you want to stay cool, come take a dip in our pools.” Bossier City Pools are safe, fun and open for the summer.
Mike Woods at 2200 Dennis Street will be open this Saturday (May 27) from 12-5 p.m. along with the pool at Meadowview Park (4208 Shed Road). Both pools will be closed on Monday (May 29) for Memorial Day but will reopen on Tuesday, May 30.
Bossier City Pools will be open Mon.-Sat. from 12-5 p.m. until August. Also remember to take your children to the city’s Spray Parks to cool off as well. Spray Parks are located at Brownlee Park (4307 Old Brownlee Road), Hooter Park (1520 Hooter Drive) and Mitchell Park (1518 Cox Street).
Origin Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: OBNK) (“Origin”), the parent company of Origin Bank, announced May 9 that it is transferring the listing of its common stock to the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) from The Nasdaq Stock Market LLC (“Nasdaq”). Origin’s common stock is expected to begin trading on the NYSE on Monday, May 22, 2023, under the new ticker symbol of “OBK”.
Origin expects its common stock to continue to trade on Nasdaq until the close of the market on May 19, 2023.
“We are excited to take this next step in our journey as a public company. Since our founding in 1912, we have been committed to providing meaningful value to our employees, customers, communities and shareholders,” said Drake Mills, chairman, president and CEO of Origin. “As a sophisticated and agile community bank serving communities across Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, we look forward to joining many of the world’s leading and most prestigious companies that trade on the NYSE and are excited to leverage the NYSE platform and trading model for the benefit of our shareholders.”
“We’re thrilled to welcome Origin to the New York Stock Exchange,” said John Tuttle, Vice Chair, NYSE Group. “As a highly-respected community bank that emphasizes unwavering support and loyalty to its employees, customers, communities and shareholders, Origin is a welcome addition to the NYSE community of the world’s greatest companies.”
About Origin Bancorp, Inc. Origin Bancorp, Inc. is a financial holding company headquartered in Ruston, Louisiana. Origin’s wholly owned bank subsidiary, Origin Bank, was founded in 1912 in Choudrant, Louisiana. Deeply rooted in Origin’s history is a culture committed to providing personalized, relationship banking to businesses, municipalities, and personal clients to enrich the lives of the people in the communities it serves. Origin provides a broad range of financial services and currently operates 60 banking centers located in Dallas/Fort Worth, East Texas, Houston, North Louisiana and Mississippi. For more information, visit http://www.origin.bank
Ten Bossier Parish teachers are beginning their summer on the receiving end of $10,000 in grants to make their future classroom projects for the 2023-24 school year a reality.
On Tuesday, the Optimist Club of Bossier City once again lived up to its organizational motto “A Friend of Youth,” investing in the educators that engage and inspire the nearly 23,000 students that attend Bossier Schools.
The Optimist Club Teacher Grant program enabled 56 Bossier Parish educators to submit proposals for classroom and instructional needs and 10 were chosen to receive $1,000 each. This brings the Optimist Club of Bossier City’s investment in Bossier Schools and the community to more than a half-million dollars.
Elementary school recipients are: Johnna Kunath, Meadowview; and Angi Reger, Legacy.
Middle school winners are: Courtney Feliciano, Elm Grove; Matthew Graham, Rusheon; and Elizabeth Vance, Cope.
Those receiving grants from Bossier Parish high schools include: Melanie Rosier, Airline; Michelle Doolittle, Bossier High Virtual School; Katelin Breaux, Bossier Parish School for Technology and Innovative Learning (BPSTIL); and Julie Malone, BPSTIL.
And being awarded on behalf of Bossier Schools’ Talented Arts Program is Deanna Glaze.
“For more than 30 years, the Optimist Club of Bossier City has shown unwavering support for our teachers and made a tremendous investment in student learning that is unparalleled,” said Bossier Schools Superintendent Mitch Downey. “We could not be more grateful for our partnership with the Optimists and the longevity of the teacher grant program that has literally impacted tens of thousands of young people and contributed to their success over the past three decades.”
Lacey Brooke Oakes departed this life to her heavenly home on Thursday, May 18, 2023. Lacey was born on March 27, 1987, in Shreveport, Louisiana, grew up in Bossier City and was known for her kind and compassionate nature.
Lacey graduated from Airline High School in 2005. She went on to further her education earning a Bachelor of Science degree in education along with numerous academic honors from Louisiana State University in Shreveport in 2016. She then began her life-long dream of being a teacher. Lacey spent the last several years dedicating her time, energy, and creativity to the students of Bossier Parish Schools where she taught theater at Airline High School. She was a gifted and inspiring teacher who went above and beyond to support and help her students discover their talents and reach their full potential.
Lacey’s greatest joy in life was being a mother to her two children, Macen and Noah. She loved nothing more than spending time with them, whether it was watching movies, going on adventures, or simply just being together. Lacey cherished every moment spent with her family.
Lacey came to know the Lord at a young age while attending Indian Hills Baptist Church. As a young adult she joined Shady Grove Baptist Church and had recently been attending First Baptist Church Haughton with her children.
Lacey possessed many gifts including performing, singing, and drawing, but she was the happiest when she could lift the spirit of others through laughter.
Those who knew Lacey will remember her for her devotion to her family, her infectious smile, her unwavering kindness, and her witty sense of humor. She could effortlessly lighten the mood and bring joy to those around her.
Lacey is survived by her daughter, Macen Nix; her son, Noah Bradshaw; her mother, Karen Loyd Avery; step-father, Randy Avery; grandmother, Marguerite Richmond Loyd; brother, Brock Oakes; uncle, Stirling Loyd and wife, Kristi; nieces, Reide and Amelia Oakes; and cousins, Dade and Emma Loyd, as well as numerous other family members.
Lacey is preceded in death by her grandfather, Darrell Meryl Loyd and her aunt, Joy Tyrell Loyd-Estep.
Honoring Lacey as pallbearers will be Noah Bradshaw, Brock Oakes, Stirling Loyd, Dade Loyd, Cliff Nix, Brian Bradshaw, and Chad Loyd.
The visitation will be held at 1:00 p.m. with the service to follow at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 1815 Marshall Street, Shreveport, Louisiana. Pastor Don Tinsley and Pastor Harrell Shelton will be officiating. Interment will follow at Hosston Cemetery in Hosston, Louisiana.
Funeral Services to celebrate the life of Joseph “Joe” David Ferguson, 76, will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 27, 2023, at Rose-Neath Funeral Home, 2201 Airline Drive, Bossier City, Louisiana. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Burial to follow the service at Converse Cemetery, Converse, Louisiana. Officiating the services will be Pastor Bryan Reed.
Joe was born on January 25, 1947, in Converse, Louisiana, to Joseph Ferguson and Josephine Ezernack Ferguson. He passed away on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, in Bossier City, Louisiana.
Joe was a loving husband, brother, and uncle who is going to be greatly missed.
Joe is preceded in death by his parents; brothers, Bill Ferguson, Jimmy Ferguson, and Sammy Ferguson; and sister, Mary Jo Schmidt. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Ferguson; fur babies, Sugar B, and Roxie; sister, Virginia Sepulvado and husband, Buck; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Honoring Joe as pallbearers will be Steve Armitage, Earl Ferguson, David Schmidt, Jeff Sepulvado, Trey Sepulvado, and Jan Viet. Serving as honorary pallbearers will be James “Cricket” Collier, and Russell Jones.
BOM’s Business Development Consultant, Henry Burns, had the honor of presenting two scholarships at the Haughton High School Senior Awards Day Program. Picture 1: Congratulations to Lowrey Lain on receiving the Bossier City Lion’s Club scholarship from Henry Burns. Picture 2: Allison Marmaduke received the AJ & Mildred Burns Northwestern State University scholarship from Henry Burns. Congratulations to both scholarship recipients!
The term “multitasking” became a buzz word at the dawn of the digital age back in the mid-1960s. If you think you’re good at it, meet Terri Mathews.
“My dad always told me: ‘Terri, I’ve never met anybody who can do in half a day what takes most people a week to do.’”
Case in point: When I met up with Mathews for lunch on Monday of this week, she had already gotten her daughter off to school, set up a trade show event at the Convention Center, set up an event at a local school, met with (and booked) two clients for upcoming events AND checked out the goings-on at Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport.
That’s quite a bit to get accomplished in one morning. Imagine running on that schedule every day.
“It’s just second nature to me,” Mathews says of her multitasking abilities. “It’s just a talent God blesses me with. I don’t let it overwhelm me. In the morning, I get up and say, ‘What do I do first.’ Then I prioritize.”
There’s a lot of prioritizing in Mathews’ life.
In addition to raising a 12-year-old daughter, she is the owner of Gumbeaux Event Productions, a partner in Rock Solid, and the chairperson of the Mudbug Madness festival – which kicks off this Thursday night and lasts through Sunday.
Gumbeaux Productions is a full-service event production company that specializes in providing services and equipment for special events throughout the Ark-La-Tex. Services include sound and lighting design and production, specialty lighting, DJ services, trade show decorating and management, event coordination, and staging and drapery.
This is Mathews’ 30th year as chairperson of the popular Mudbug Madness festival, which has filled Festival Plaza for the past 38 years – except for, of course, the COVID year.
One year after the COVID cancellation, restrictions were starting to be lifted and the Mudbug Madness organizers thought they were planning for half capacity.
“Then, two weeks before (the festival), all the restrictions were lifted,” explains Mathews. “We were scrambling to put a full festival together.”
Not only did the organizers put together a full festival, they enjoyed the event’s best year ever.
As we visit on this morning just three days before this year’s festival kickoff, Mathews’ phone continues to buzz. There are appointments to make for Gumbeaux and six requests from local TV stations for interviews in the next few days.
“Basically, this is a full-time part-time job,” she says – with a smile — of her volunteer position with Mudbug Madness.
Originally from DeSoto Parish, Mathews was a certified marketing director for shopping centers when she began volunteering as the publicity chairman for Mudbug Madness 32 years ago. When the festival’s chairman stepped down two years later, the committee asked Mathews to take over as chairperson.
It’s a daunting task, of course. As festival chairperson, Mathews is responsible for managing the planning committee and everything from overseeing advertising placements, publicity, operations, working with contractors, and on-site management for two weeks prior to the start of the event.
It’s a year-round responsibility that Mathews undertakes in addition to her other business adventures.
So why has she kept at it so long?
“I love it,” she says of the festival. “I feel like it’s my baby. If I didn’t enjoy the people I work with as a volunteer, I would have been gone.”
And Mathews did have opportunities to leave Shreveport. After starting college at Louisiana Tech, she finished at LSUS with a degree in communications and was chosen as a field consultant for Phi Mu sorority.
Her “very first grown-up job” was as marketing manager for Junior Achievement, followed by her foray into the shopping center industry. When the mall business began to go by the wayside, Mathews went to work for another event company as its marketing director.
“In the shopping center industry, I could have gone anywhere,” Mathews says of her opportunities to leave Shreveport-Bossier. “But I love it here.”
And she loves her “job” as Mudbug Madness chairperson.
There have been lows, of course – including fighting weather conditions and the occasional PR issues – but those are outnumbered by the highs.
“To be at Festival Plaza on Saturday night with wall-to-wall people,” she says, “when everybody is so happy to be there – enjoying the music, food, and atmosphere. It’s a good feeling.”
When asked to recall some of the most memorable times from the festival, Mathews laughs and says, “People meeting at Mudbug and then three years later asking if they can get married on the Main Stage. We say, ‘We had a festival and a wedding broke out.’
“And the relationships with the food vendors, artists, and bands.”
The 39th Mudbug Madness festival kicks off with Rewind – a special opening-night event with reunions of three of Shreveport’s all-time favorite bands (The Crawdads, The Boomers and Shreveport’s Papa Mali). Rewind – which will also recognize the festival sponsors and volunteers – will be held from 5-10 p.m. and is open to the public. A total of 29 bands will perform at this weekend’s event.
After the festival winds down Sunday night, Mathews and the festival committee will start planning for next year’s event.
“We work all year long,” Mathews says of the committee members. “We take only one month off.”
That break comes in June, when Mathews plans on staying busy with her “real job.”
And her family.
She and daughter Chloe love to travel together, watch movies, cook, and go to LSU women’s basketball games. And they’re usually joined by their Goldendoodle named Chandler Bing.
When asked how long she’ll continue in her role as chairperson of Mudbug Madness, she says, “Well, I’m 60 now. I’m like Cher – I’m on the ‘never can say goodbye tour.’ Maybe another five years?”
The problem with making homemade ice cream when you were a kid is it seemed to take forever to freeze.
I scream, you scream, we all scream if the homemade ice cream won’t freeze.
It was like waiting for school to let out or Christmas morning to come. Though the object is the polar opposite, waiting on ice cream to freeze is the same metaphorically as waiting for the watched pot to boil.
“Is it ready yet?”
But some things are worth waiting on: A woman. Game 7. That first autumn day.
And homemade ice cream. The best things just won’t be rushed.
Seems like when we were kids that making homemade ice cream was about as common as shucking corn. On our back porch were muddy boots, a mop and broom, emergency dog food in case scraps were in short supply, a deep freeze filled with stuff in white packing paper and clear quart bags, and a gradually rotting wooden ice cream tub and briny crank handle contraption. Always in the bottom of the tub was the white rock salt residue that never quite came out.
Never did I know as a child what the rock salt was for, only that you “needed it” to “make the ice cream freeze.” That’s what the grownups said. Grownups took a lot of time not explaining stuff to us back then.
“But why?” a little person would say.
“Because I said so,” a big person would say.
It was a simpler time.
Naturally, we just assumed the salt kept the ice cream from contracting rickets.
I have since learned (off the streets) that the salt combines in some chemical way with the ice to lower the temperature a bit below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, thus assuring that the mixture inside the Magic Silver Tube, surrounded by ice, freezes.
It’s one of those science deals.
A couple of weeks ago at the beach, my high school friend J.C. Penney (the four-time Louisiana state 4-H Good Grooming Champ back in the day, which is another column for another time) ran out of salt and out of luck while attempting a homemade batch. He bought salt the next morning and added it to the ice. Less than 20 minutes of churning later, the ice cream was tight as Dick’s hat band and cold as a penguin’s nose. Sweet.
Folks don’t seem to make homemade ice cream as much today as they used to. And that’s a shame. Making homemade ice cream taught us some handy life lessons that today’s kids miss out on.
True, food folk have figured out how to make Food You Buy At The Store better. Preservatives and whatnot. Cake mixes are about as good from the box now as the ones you can make from scratch. What I’m saying here is that if you’ve eaten Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, I can pretty much rest my case.
But in the days before electric churns, making homemade ice cream taught you patience and safety. The first thing our dads had us boys do was sit on the top of the freezer while they hand churned. This took a calendar day and you couldn’t feel your frozen butt until Tuesday.
The next growing-up step was to sit on the churn and turn it at the same time. This required dexterity and skill, because you haven’t lived until you’ve been churning and accidentally hit yourself in a delicate area. Some things you can feel, even frozen. I scream, you scream…
Lane closures at a busy Bossier Parish highway intersection have been scheduled for Thursday, May 25 according to the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development.
Closures at the intersection of LA Hwy. 3 (Benton Road) and Hospital Drive (just north of I-220) are planned while crews install traffic signal components. Lanes to be closed, and the times for closure include:
Northbound left turn lane from LA 3 to Hospital Drive – 8 a.m.
Southbound left turn lane from LA 3 to Hospital Drive – 10 a.m.
Southbound right turn lane – to be closed after previous work is completed.
All lanes will be reopened by 5 p.m. This work is related to the asphalt overlay project on LA 3.
Motorists are asked to proceed with caution through the work area and to watch for crews and equipment.
Child abuse and neglect are preventable, and all communities benefit when children and families are well supported. Extreme stress and uncertainty for families may increase the risk of child abuse and neglect raising the need to support families and prevent abuse before it occurs.
Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana (PCAL) stresses that all community members have a role in ensuring children have positive experiences and families have the resources they need when they need them, well before they are in crisis. By focusing on the importance of creating systems and programs that put children and families first, we can help prevent child abuse.
Working with PCAL, VIA LINK offers a statewide program, Louisiana Parent Line, which provides parents with free, confidential, 24/7 access to a live specialist. Translation services are available, and the Louisiana Parent Line can be reached by phone and text 24 hours a day.
“The Parent Line provides parents and other family members with a safe space to express their frustrations, ask parenting questions and get support,” explained LaVondra Dobbs, CEO of VIA LINK. “Parent Line specialists are well trained and experienced in offering emotional support to parents. They focus on de-escalation and crisis intervention. They listen and understand parents’ concerns. Specialists can provide information on different services and referrals. Perhaps most importantly, they can help parents develop plans for coping.”
Yet, the Parent Line is more than a one-time call. Parents can call in as often as they want or need. The goal is to provide emotional support whenever parents need it. The specialists can also offer follow-up calls and help increase the circle of support for families. Throughout Louisiana, this free service is working to prevent child abuse by getting families the support they need.
**All Specialists on LA Parentline are Mandated Reporters through LA DCFS.**
The phone number is 833-LA-CHILD (833-522-4453). You can also text us at (225) 424-1533.
For more information about PCAL, VIA LINK, or the Louisiana Parent Line, please contact Sherrard Crespo, LCSW, Director of Outreach and Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana at email@example.com or visit our website www.vialink.org.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of Shreveport-Bossier music lovers were likely going to fill Festival Plaza in downtown Shreveport. A-Train, the popular local band from the 80s and 90s which hasn’t played together in several years, was going to perform as part of Rewind — a never-before Thursday night kickoff to the 39th Mudbug Madness festival.
But a difference of opinion about the definition of a single word — which was not made clear in the contract between the two parties — has halted the highly-anticipated concert.
That word? Reunion.
Mudbug Madness officials believe reunion means a one-time event. But after the contract was signed between Bruce Flett Productions (representing A-Train) and Mudbug Madness, A-Train accepted an offer to play an invitation-only concert in Shreveport for approximately 300 people.
That concert took place last Saturday night — five nights before A-Train’s scheduled Mudbug Madness performance.
“We did not put in the contract that they could not perform elsewhere, but it was clear, verbally, that it was for a reunion show,” Mudbug Madness chairperson Terri Mathews told the Shreveport-Bossier Journal. “When we heard they had booked another show for days earlier, then clearly it wasn’t a reunion show anymore.”
Thus, the disagreement.
“She was all up in arms that we were—I never really could understand the reasoning on this—but somehow in her mind, (playing a private party) made it not a reunion,” John Howe, a founding member of the band, told the Journal. “We hadn’t played for years, and here we are playing, and the reason we’re getting together specifically is because of the Mudbug festival. So, that kind of looks like the definition of a reunion.”
One thing both sides do agree on is that the contract did not state A-Train could not perform anywhere else before performing at Mudbug Madness.
“We looked the contract over real carefully, and there was nothing that precluded us from doing whatever we wanted to do,” Howe said. “That’s like saying you can’t go eat crawfish anywhere 30 days before the Mudbug fest, because if you do, you shouldn’t come here because you’ve already had your crawfish. That’s just ridiculous.”
Mathews found out about the private concert in advance, but not from anyone with A-Train.
“(Someone) texted me a copy of the invitation, and I immediately reached out to Bruce (Flett, an original member of A-Train). We had a few texts back and forth, and after that, I asked for details about the party, and that’s when John Howe called me. I still asked for details about the party, and I never received them.”
Mathews said she had been working with Flett for the past five or six months. But when the issue arose of A-Train playing another show before its scheduled performance at Mudbug Madness, Matthews said Flett stopped communicating with her.
“Bruce Flett was the guy I dealt with all the way up until I heard about the other booking, at which time he had John Howe call me,” Mathews said. “I have not heard from Bruce since.”
Calls and messages to Flett from the Journal were not returned.
Mathews won’t say how much of Mudbug Madness’ approximately $30,000 advertising budget was spent on promoting A-Train’s scheduled performance. However, billboards were seen throughout town.
“When you talk about all the advertising, it was a significant part,” Mathews said. “We’re a non-profit. We can’t just throw money into the wind.”
Mathews said the festival began its advertising campaign a month earlier than usual, because of the expected interest in A-Train’s performance.
“It was probably five or six months ago when I reached out to Bruce in New York and said, ‘Hey, can we make this happen?’ It was months and months of planning this. We immediately started designing our ads and everything around that show. We are extremely disappointed, and I know a good part of the community is, too, and we hate that.”
Mathews admits the festival lost money not related to advertising but would not go into specifics. Howe said that, per the contract, A-Train received a non-refundable deposit, which was 50 percent of its performance fee. Howe also said the festival paid for an airplane ticket to fly a band member to town for the concert.
When asked if that was true, Mathews replied, “No comment.”
Mathews said Mudbug Madness is not seeking legal recourse for money lost. Howe said A-Train doesn’t plan on paying back the cost of the airplane ticket, or the down-payment amount.
“After all this, they’re asking for the deposit and the plane ticket back,” Howe said. “I’m thinking, ‘What part of non-refundable do you not understand?’”
Howe says it’s Mudbug Madness which owes A-Train money.
“They are in breach of contract, and they owe us the other 50 percent of the performance fee. I would prefer not to (seek legal recourse). The money is hardly worth chasing. They don’t pay a whole lot. Plus, you’ve got the time and the trouble. Who needs that kind of a karma headache?”
While they disagree on the meaning of the word reunion, both sides agree on one thing. A lot of people have been let down.
“There is nobody more disappointed than Mudbug Madness,” Mathews said. “All these people who are up in arms, we feel for them, because obviously they weren’t invited to the other event. We feel bad for them, but this was a verbal agreement to have a reunion show. No, it wasn’t in the contract, but it also didn’t say we couldn’t cancel.”
“We’re terribly disappointed,” Howe said. “There are probably a couple of thousand people that wanted to have a party and wanted to hear us one more time. Those are our friends. We were looking forward to seeing them. Our fans are our friends. They’re part of our past and our memories.”
Festival Plaza will be open from 5-10 p.m. Thursday for the Rewind event. The Boomers and The Crawdads — two former local bands — will perform. Papa Mali’s Shantytown Underground Band will replace A-Train.
“We just had that one spot to fill,” Mathews said. “We had been talking with Papa Mali about next year, so that just fell into place. He was available, and we’re real excited about that. We’ve got 29 other bands over the four days, so we’ve got a lot of music.”
The State Fair of Louisiana has named an interim general manager.
Robb Brazzel, a State Fair employee since 2008, will replace Chris Giordano. In a story reported first by the Shreveport-Bossier Journal Monday morning, Giordano resigned last week after 17 years as general manager, and 27 years with the State Fair.
“I’m very excited about this new opportunity,” Brazzel said. “I look forward to meeting all of the state fair’s partners, sponsors, and supporters, to tell them about plans for the fair and to remind them how important all of them are to our continued success.”
Brazzel has worked to secure sponsorships, served as Exhibits and Concessions Manager, and booked ground attractions and musical entertainment for the fair.
On Sunday, Liz Swaine—Chairman of the Board of the State Fair—told the Journal the organization will conduct a national search for Giordano’s replacement. However, with the 117th edition of the fair five months away, an interim director would likely be named.
The City Council of the City of Shreveport will hold its regular meeting today at 3 p.m. in the Government Chamber at Government Plaza, 505 Travis Street in Shreveport.
The public is invited to both the council meetings on Tuesdays and the Administrative Conference meetings that take place the Monday before with the understanding that items not on the agenda will not be discussed at the scheduled council meetings, but the public is welcome to discuss any topic at the Administrative Conference meetings.
The lengthy report from Special Counsel John Durham regarding the Russia-Collusion Hoax is one for the ages. Its conclusions are both stunning and disturbing to all Americans who believe in equal justice under law.
In his report, Durham broadly concludes what millions of us have believed about this matter (and about many other false allegations about Pres. Trump) for many years now: There was never any basis for an investigation of Pres. Trump because there was never any actual evidence of collusion between Pres. Trump and/or his campaign and Russia.
Durham’s damning conclusion is one that should haunt the FBI and its mother agency, the Department of Justice (DOJ), for decades: by acting as it did, the DOJ and FBI “failed to uphold” its mission of “strict fidelity to the law” in the Trump-Russia probe.
Let me summarize the report.
The FBI lacked “any actual evidence of collusion” when it violated its standards and jumped over several steps to initiate a full investigation. In short, the FBI opened the probe without doing interviews, using any “standard analytical tools,” or conducting intelligence reviews—which would have shown that not a single U.S. agency had evidence of collusion. (Wall St. Journal, 5-15-23)
There was a strong bias against Trump. The Durham report makes clear that partisan hostility played a role in the probe. The report cites a “clear predisposition” to investigate based on a “prejudice against Trump” and “pronounced hostile feelings” against Trump by key investigators. (WSJ, 5-15-23).
Moreover, there were alarming double standards between the FBI’s treatment of President Trump and Hillary Clinton. The Durham Report lays out several instances in which the FBI agents were concerned that representatives of foreign governments were seeking influence by donating to the Clinton campaign or the Clinton Foundation. Yet in one 2014 case, the FBI dawdled over obtaining a warrant from the secret FISA court because—according to an agent—“[T]hey were ‘tippy-toeing’ around HRC because there was a chance she would be the next President” and the FBI was concerned about interfering with a coming presidential campaign. (WSJ, 5-15-23).
Yet, the FBI gave a Clinton representative a “defensive briefing” about the risks of foreign actors. Mr. Trump received no such briefing even after the FBI was already investigating two members of the Trump Campaign, based on information provided to the FBI by Hillary Clinton’s Campaign and other political sources!
The FBI displayed willful ignorance and later, willing complicity. The report lays out numerous examples of the FBI ignoring evidence that it was being used by the Clinton campaign to execute a political dirty trick. This included intelligence the government received in July 2016 alleging that Mrs. Clinton had approved “a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisors to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security services.”
Further, former CIA director John Brennan briefed this material to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, and FBI Director James Comey, yet the FBI ignored it.
It did the same when it learned that collusion dossier author Christopher Steele was working for the Clinton campaign and that Steele and oppo-research team Fusion GPS were spreading disinformation to the press. And it ignored exculpatory statements made by Trump aides in secret FBI recordings. (WSJ, 5-15-23)
The Wall Street Journal concludes:
“The Russia collusion fabrication and deceptive sale to the public is a travesty that shouldn’t be forgotten. That Washington’s establishment refuses to acknowledge its role in this deceit is one reason so many Americans don’t trust public institutions. It will take years for honest public servants to undo the damage, but the Durham accounting is a start.”
There’s not really much else to say. However, the story is incomplete without recalling other recent instances of FBI corruption:
FBI targeting of Catholics to identify informants in its supposed effort to fight “white supremacy” and “domestic terrorists” in Catholic churches; The Hunter Biden Laptop scandal; the failure to prosecute Hillary Clinton for the destruction of classified information; labeling devoted parents as “domestic terrorists” who objected to the Covid masking, vaccine mandates, school shutdowns and the pornographic materials and racial politics their children are taught in public school.
The American people have lost faith in the FBI and DOJ. The corruption identified here is the furthest thing from faithfulness to the law—it’s a mockery of it. As a result, these two institutions have, perhaps irreversibly, wounded themselves.
Bossier Parish parks continue to attract guests in large numbers, and one of the newest is drawing lots of attention, parish Director of Parks and Recreation Warren Saucier reported Thursday.
Saucier told Bossier Parish Police Jury members the park at Fairburn Ave. just off Kingston Rd. has not been completed, with planned equipment and a walking trail still to come. But, he said, residents in the area are already putting the grounds to good use.
“Kingston Park is growing, a lot of people are starting to use it and it’s getting a lot of good use,” Saucier said.
At South Bossier Park, construction on new athletic fields is continuing and is nearing completion. Saucier said the work is “…about 90 to 95 percent complete and they are working on the parking area.”
Saucier said the South Bossier facility will again be the site of a giant Fourth of July fireworks display and preliminary planning meetings have been ongoing.
“We had our second meeting at South Bossier with Jan Elkins (KTBS) and all the entities that are going to be involved with the Fourth of July celebration and it was very productive. We have a division of labor deciding who’s going to do what,” he said.
Also during Thursday’s meeting, police jury members:
• Authorized advertising bids for the FY 2022 LCDBG – Gray Duck Estates sewer rehabilitation project, bids to be received June 27, 2023.
• Awarded bid for Project No. 2023-116, Innovation Drive & Dairy Lane extensions to CW&W for $1.075 million, in accordance with bids received May 16.
• Awarded bid for Project No. 2022-120, Cycle Plant Road improvements to Benton & Brown for $912,000 (cost will be split 50/50 with Empressa Operating, LLC), in accordance with bids received May 4.
• Approved the application of Sean Diel, Airline Lagniappe, to the Bossier City-Parish MPC, for a conditional use approval for the sale of high content alcohol for on and off-premise consumption at Daiquiri Express, located at 5420 Airline Drive, Suite 100, Bossier Parish.
• Approved the application of Mason Kirtland, Red River Parks, to the Bossier City-Parish MPC, for a zoning amendment to change the zoning classification of a certain tract of land being 0.78 acres, more or less, located in Section 16, Township 18 North, Range 12 West, Bossier Parish, from B-3, General Business District, to R-MHP, Residential, Manufactured Housing Park, for a proposed manufactured housing park expansion; southeast corner of Ferndale Boulevard and Highway 80.
• Tabled item to abandon lots 9-15, 16A, and 16B, J.E. Burt, Jr., subdivision, located in Section 32, Township 20 North, Range 13 West, Bossier Parish; located off Palmetto Road.
• Tabled item to abandon lots 17A and 17B, re-plat and correction, lots 17 and 18, James E. Burt, Jr., subdivision, located in Section 32, Township 20 North, Range 13 West, Bossier Parish; located off Palmetto Road.
• Approved plat of the proposed development of Bellevue Road subdivision, Unit No. 5C, being a resubdivision of Lots 1 and 2, Bellevue Road subdivision, Unit No. 5, located in Section 12, Township 19 North, Range 12 West, Bossier Parish; located off Parker Road.
• Approved plat of the proposed development of Padgett Place subdivision, Unit No. 3, being a resubdivision of Lots 10 and 11, Padgett Place subdivision, Unit No. 2, located in Section 1, Township 20 North, Range 13 West, Bossier Parish; located off Maverick Lane.
• Approved application of Javier Ochoa to the Bossier City-Parish MPC for a conditional use approval for the sale of high and low content alcohol for on-premise consumption at a restaurant, H Latin Food, located at 2950 Highway 80, Haughton.
• Approved application of Lynn Beaty, Fillmore Properties, to the Haughton-Parish MPC for a zoning amendment for a 1.5-acre tract of land from R-A, Residence-Agricultural District, to I-1, Light Industrial District, for a proposed warehouse/office, multitenant rental development located on the north side of Highway 80, near McSwain Drive, Section 9, Township 18 North, Range 11 West, Princeton.
• Scheduled public hearing on June 21 to consider the plat of the proposed development of Redwood Place at Legacy subdivision, Unit No. 12, a planned unit development, located in Section 21, Township 19 North, Range 13 West, Bossier Parish; located off Airline Drive.
• Scheduled a public hearing on June 21 to consider the plat of the proposed development of Redwood Place at Legacy subdivision, Unit No. 13, a planned unit development, located in Section 21, Township 19 North, Range 13 West, Bossier Parish; located off Airline Drive.
• Agreed to close case following 30-day review of property located at 119 Ashwood Drive, Haughton.
• Accepted report on the Road/Subdivision Regulations committee meeting.
• Agreed to submit Jeff Thigpen for joint appointment with the City of Bossier City to the Bossier City-Parish Metropolitan Planning Commission Zoning Board to fill a vacancy with the term to expire April 1, 2024.
• Agreed to begin accepting applications immediately for an appointment to the Cypress-Black Bayou Recreation and Water Conservation District Board of Commissioners.
• Approved application of Javier Ochoa and Ignacio Chavez, for a 2023 Bossier Parish beer/liquor license at H Latin Food, 2950 Highway 80, Haughton. (approved by the Sheriff’s Office and Health Department.)
• Approved application of Christian Mudd, Brittany Mudd, Bruce-William Sibley, and Sarah Sibley, for a 2023 Bossier Parish beer/liquor license at Sterling Spirits II, 789 Duckwater Landing, Ste. C, Bossier City. (approved by the Sheriff’s Office and Health Department.)
• Ratified and accepted recommendation of the Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit Board of Appeals on May 3, 2023, in the matter of Lasco Express, LLC, Report No. 2999 issued on December 1, 2022.
• Accepted a proposal from Phillip M. Moon, MAI, for appraisal services for Country Place Utilities, LLC’s, water system in connection with funding through the Water Sector Program (WSP) – Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 of the Parish of Bossier-Subrecipient LA WSP10905 for the Bossier Parish Police Jury.
• Accepted a proposal from Business Valuation Consultants, LLC, for appraisal review services for Country Place Utilities, LLC’s, water system in connection with the funding through the Water Sector Program (WSP) – Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 of the Parish of Bossier-Subrecipient LA WSP10905 for the Bossier Parish Police Jury.
• Adopted a resolution authorizing the Bossier Parish Police Jury to join the Attorney General of Louisiana in litigation against the Federal Emergency Management Agency to challenge Risk Rating 2.0-Equity in Action.
• Approved Change Order No. 2 for Project No. 2021-108, expansion of wastewater collection system – Contract “A” – Highway 80 East sewer system improvements, on behalf of Consolidated Waterworks/Sewerage District No. 1 of the Parish of Bossier.
• Approved the certificate of substantial completion for Project No. 2021-119, DR 4263 PW 910 Paved Roads, Task Order No. 7.
• Approved an agreement between the Bossier Parish Police Jury and Empresa Operating, LLC, for road improvements to Butler Hill Road.
• Approved Change Order No. 1 for Project No. 2021-125, DR 4263 PW 910 Paved Roads, Task Order No. 13.
• Approved Change Order No. 1 for Project No. 2022-109, South Bossier Park – new athletic fields.
• Approved change order No. 3 to add days to the contractor in charge of construction of the new central branch of Bossier Parish libraries.
• Approved a zoning change application for approximately 16.4 acres at Forest Hills and U.S. Hwy. 80.