The snow, ice and bone-chilling cold temperatures forced many (if not most) governmental agencies, courts and downtown businesses to close most of the week, creating another blow to budgets and the local economy. Though it likely is pricier now, some 20 years ago it cost the City of Shreveport $200,000 per day to call an ‘Inclement Weather Day.’ When such days are officially called, employees that are non essential are paid for their days off but essential employees- police, fire, public works and others- must be paid at time-and-a-half.
Businesses suffered this week in a big way, especially those already reeling from a year of Covid closures and occupancy restrictions. One downtown businessperson posted on Facebook “as if we didn’t lose enough work days in 2020.” Another said that her downtown restaurant could not take a prolonged shutdown and even a day or two was going to hurt badly. Unfortunately, the bills continue even when revenue stops. Events that had been planned for this upcoming weekend were also postponed out of an abundance of caution and fears that it might take longer to get water and electricity back on.
On the infrastructure side, downtown intersections are slick with ice but the city center seemed to escape rolling blackouts. On Wednesday morning, reports started boiling in about widespread water outages. Water was off most of Wednesday, but was back on to most locations by Thursday morning. A Boil Water Advisory is still in effect.
The Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission and other social service agencies opened additional space for those in need and the HOPE Connection and Salvation Army partnered to provide indoor sleeping accommodations. Persons in need of assistance were asked to call the 211 help number or the Salvation Army at 318-424-3200.
Be aware that a number of businesses likely will not open until Friday or Saturday (or later). Parish Taceaux has posted that they plan to reopen on Saturday at 11 am for brunch. The Lot Downtown SHV at the old Sportran bus terminal at 400 Crockett Street has decided to postpone their planned weekend music and vendor fest; the new date will be announced soon. The best rule of thumb will be to call before you go to make sure the business is open and the event is still being held.
Meanwhile, there was beauty in the week, too. As the coating of white settled downtown, things looked very much like a lovely winter wonderland.