Downtown’s Bridge to History

    HGTV fans will remember a show called ‘If Walls Could Talk’ that focused on fun facts buried beneath the sheet rock of homes across the country. It was always interesting to see what weird things homeowners had unearthed and even more entertaining to hear the homeowners’ reactions to these bits of history. As I walk through downtown Shreveport each day, I also wish walls and spaces could talk because, oh, the hair-raising and scandalous tales they could tell!  History, lore and legend is everywhere downtown but a fairly significant number of stories that you might classify as tall tales are true. Take for example the story of J.A.L. Waddell, civil engineer and prolific bridge builder of the late 1800- and early 1900s, owner of a remarkable Walrus mustache and even more remarkable forehead curls. Waddell was born in Canada, traveled extensively, spoke and wrote Latin, and authored the definitive book on bridge building. From his photos, it appears he loved wine, good food and mustache wax, and enough documents remain to prove he may have loved bridges and bridge building more than anything else. Most of his life was spent in Kansas City, Missouri and it is quite likely that he never came through Shreveport, yet we have something that connects us to him in a very personal way. We have a bridge designed by him, a mostly...

Read More