Shreveport – A Good Bet
Our guest post and monthly column comes from Howard Hian who was recently awarded a Gold Medal/First Place Award from the North American Travel Journalists Association’s annual international writing contest.
A Short History – Shreveport was founded in 1836. During the Civil War, it was the state capital after Baton Rouge and Opelousas fell. From 1948-1960, the iconic Louisiana Hayride Radio Program originated from Shreveport. Elvis made his broadcasting debut and Hank Williams was a regular. The mid-1990s changed the city forever with the introduction of legalized gambling. Tucked away in the northwest corner of the state, along with its Red River neighbor, Bossier City, Shreveport is now the commercial and cultural center, where the borders of Arkansas and Texas meet “The Other Side of Louisiana”
Sleep Easy – An annual writers conference brought me to town. I was pleased to discover that a previous travel story of mine featuring Reno, Nevada had a connection; both are home to the family owned Eldorado Resorts. It’s AAA rated Four Diamond and features comfortable rooms (pet friendly), free Wi-Fi, HDTV, free parking (including valet), a spa, casino and live music in the lounge and in the showroom.
Good Eats – The Eldorado has five restaurants. The elegant Vintage Steak House features 100% prime beef. The wine list is extensive and the in-house bakery creates outstanding desserts (try the St. Louis gooey butter cake). Sportsmans’ Paradise Cafe is the 24/7 place to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Just inside the entrance is a coffee kiosk that features home-made cakes and pastries. The Buffet offers an all-you-can-eat array of Italian classics, Southern comfort food, salads, Mexican dishes and sweets galore.
If you want authentic Louisiana cooking, head for Bergeron’s Boudin and Cajun Meats for a dose of cracklins, smoked meats and crawfish. Marilyn’s Place is a converted gas station serving po-boys, red beans and rice, creole, jambalaya, etouffe and gumbo dishes. For desserts, the legendary Strawn’s Eat Shop has been featured in Southern Living Magazine and on the Food Network’s, Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The strawberry ice box pie is world famous. Icy treats rule at Geauxsicles Gourmet Popsicles. There are over a dozen unusual flavors including mojito, hazelnut, banana and my favorite PB&J. All of the popsicles are emblazoned with Louisiana State’s Fleur de Lis.
Lady Luck – My favorite gambling spot is the Eldorado, especially the friendly, well-run poker room. There are over 1,500 slot machines and 50 table games, including blackjack, craps, mini-baccarat and roulette. There are six other casinos in Shreveport-Bossier City.
Don’t Miss – La Spa in the Eldorado is dedicated to relaxation, health and exercise. There is a state-of-the-art fitness center, Jacuzzi, sauna and steam room, full service salon and a wide range of spa treatments. Margaritaville Resort Casino is the newest hotel in the area. It is across the river in Bossier City on the Louisiana Boardwalk, which also features outlet shopping.
Sightseeing with Captain Sandy via the Red River Cruise provides a lesson in the history, flora and fauna of the region while plying the waterways and visiting bayous.
The Alligator Farm offers an up close look at these reptiles. There is also a petting zoo and a zipline over the alligator enclosure.
Theater and the arts are alive and well in Shreveport. The Louisiana State Exhibit Museum was completed in 1939 as part of the WPA. Considered an architectural masterpiece, it is Louisiana’s only Smithsonian Institution Affiliate and it’s on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Don’t miss the unique “Louisiana in Miniature” dioramas. The RobinsonFilmCenter is home to daily screenings of independent, classic and foreign movies in two intimate theaters. They offer activities for seniors and educational programs. The Strand Theatre a preserved “movie palace,” features a year-round schedule of musicals and concerts.
Travel Notes – It’s always exciting to find a new travel destination; Shreveport is a good bet.
Photos courtesy of Howard Hian.
Sign up for the Eldorado Club card for extra benefits. For hotel reservations and specials, logon to www.eldoradoshreveport.com.
Safe travels and enjoy the journey…
Thanks to the various websites for information, photos, etc.