Shreveport Common APP Reveals Mysteries of Area’s Most UnCOMMON Neighborhood
Blast Into the Past With Us September 22nd at the SHREVEPORT COMMON APP Launch Party at Central ARTSTATION
(Shreveport, LA) One touch of the screen and you’re transported to the past, faster than even H.G. Wells could get you there in his Time Machine. It’s how we use today’s whiz-bang technology on our smart phones and tablets to give us a very real glimpse into some of the great themes of history. The Free public launch of the SHREVEPORT COMMON APP is Thursday, September 22, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Central ARTSTATION, 801 Crockett St. in downtown Shreveport.
The Shreveport Common APP is the most recent example of how Shreveport Common brings teams of artists, photographers, storytellers, musicians and historians together to add color and excitement to the authentic culture that makes this nine block area at the western edge of downtown Shreveport one of the richest of our history. Interact with this artistic team at the launch party on September 22 along with Nolan Baker and Michael Farrington of Shreveport Arcade, designers of the app, and Shreveport Common directors, Vickie Marshall and Wendy Benscoter, who will teach you how to use the Shreveport Common APP.
How does it work and what can you expect from the Shreveport Common APP? It is a living app that will change as the Shreveport Common neighborhood changes and that works on a GIS system that matches location to building or place. When a SMART PHONE is lifted in front of a building, the user is presented with all the options for that building or place, including tours, music, stories and history. Each place of interest will have links to additional information including events, tickets, and more. A 3-D component allows the user to walk between the buildings or places of interest using an animated experience tied to the GIS. The user is also able to use their fingers to swipe or click to connect or move forward to other sites. The APP will also be available off-site through SMART PHONE or Computer/website.
The Shreveport Common APP lets you listen to actual resident’s stories, clips from well known musicians including Huddie (Lead Belly) Ledbetter and even the theme song of one of the country’s leading variety shows broadcast live from the Municipal Auditorium just as it was played every Saturday night from the stage, “We’re gonna have a wonderful time at the Louisiana Hayride tonight” (author unknown). The Municipal Auditorium is one of the important locations on the app where country music greats such as Hank Williams, Kitty Wells and Slim Whitman got their start, and where in 1954 a young Memphis truck driver named Elvis Presley first broadcast on.
The Shreveport Common APP encourages you to virtually ascend one of the matching marble staircases of the Scottish Rite Temple into a pictorial tour of the elaborately molded 500-seat auditorium where the ancient rituals of the Scottish Rites of Freemasonry were held. This is Shreveport’s only example of the Beaux Arts style and boasts interiors ornamented with freestanding columns, colored marble floors and openwork ceilings and a wardrobe room where the satin and bejeweled robes of the Freemasons can still be seen today. Edward F. Neild, himself a member of the Shreveport Scottish Rite and one of President Harry S. Truman’s architects for renovations to The White House, designed the 1917 structure.
Neild built other historic buildings along the Shreveport Common APP —one that is especially interesting because it functioned as sort of the “Black Wall Street” of Shreveport during the day, but in the evenings the jazz was hot and the joint was jumping on the rooftop to musical giants including Count Basie, Cab Calloway and Jelly Roll Morton. The Calanthean Temple, built in 1923 under the leadership of Mrs. Cora Murdock Allen by the local chapter of the Grand Court Order of Calanthe was the center of life for the African Americans of Shreveport in its day and housed the offices of prominent doctors, businessmen and attorneys. The high-rise style (for its time), five-story building was the first large-scale commercial enterprise to be built by a group of Black women.
Shreveport Common was the diverse, authentic cultural hotbed of the three-state region known as the Ark-La-Tex those many years ago–a niche neighborhood where more than 8,000 people lived and worked, and the place where musical careers were launched, women made history whether by building skyscrapers or as “madams” of a legal red light district and where 1,200 victims of the third greatest epidemic of yellow fever ever to strike the U.S. are buried.
The work to revitalize the area began with the move of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council to Shreveport’s most historic Fire Station at the corner of Common and Crockett Streets in the heart of Shreveport Common after SRAC raised $7.2M of mostly private funds to create and program Central ARTSTATION. In 2015 this UNcommon Shreveport Common cultural community was named the #1 Community Development Project in the Nation by the National Development Council.
The Shreveport Common APP has been financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, Department of the Interior through the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of Cultural Development, Division of Historic Preservation. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of policies of the Department of the Interior, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of Cultural Development, Division of Historic Preservation, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendations by the Department of the Interior, Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of Cultural Development, Division of Historic Preservation.
Join the large team of historians, architects, city officials, artists, photographers, story tellers and Arts administrators who are making it possible for the people of Shreveport to experience the intrigue of this historically important neighborhood Thursday, September 22nd at 5:30 p.m. at Central ARTSTATION as we launch theShreveport Common APP.
Download the FREE Shreveport Common APP today and visit shreveportcommon.com or call the Shreveport Common offices at 318-673-6500 for more information.
The efforts of a very large team went into making
the Shreveport Common App a reality.
The SHREVEPORT COMMON APP Team
Shelly Ragle, City of Shreveport, Director of Shreveport Public Assembly & Recreation
Pam Atchison, Executive Director Shreveport Regional Arts Council
Wendy Benscoter, Project Director
Vickie Marshall, Executive Director Shreveport Common
Dr. Gary Joiner, PhD
Associate Professor & Director, History & Social Sciences Department LSUS
Ashley Dean, Graduate Assistant Department of History and Social Sciences, LSUS
Chis Brown, Archivist Centenary College
Roger Moore, American Institute of Architects
Julieann Banks – Musician/Literary Artists – NWLA Artist Roster
Angelique Feaster Evans – Theatre/Storyteller – NWLA Artist Roster
Tama Nathan – Visual Artist – NWLA Roster Artist
M. C. Rollo – Visual/Photography – NWLA Artist Roster
Maria Schmelz – Visual Artist/Photography – NWLA Artist Roster
Ron Smith – Visual Artist- NWLA Artist Roster
Robert Streeter – Visual/Literary – NWLA Artist Roster
Ron Hardy – Musician – NWLA Artists Roster
Garland Jones – Music Consultant
Katie Bickham – Literary/Editor
Nolan Baker, Founder/CTO, Shreveport Arcade
Michael Farrington, Creative Director, Shreveport Arcade
Scott Crain, Videographer
Clint McCommon, Producer
Casey Jones, Photography/Marketing