Current State Building at 1525 Fairfield Ave. Photo courtesy The Shreveport Times and photographer Henrietta Wildsmith.

The Times broke the story this week that the State of Louisiana offices currently housed at 1525 Fairfield Avenue will be moving downtown to a building that will – in effect- be all new construction at 500 Fannin Street. We are thrilled to welcome the 400+ employees and to see the State’s downtown ownership expand.

Shreveport Times story

Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne told Times’ reporter Makenzie Boucher, “We are pleased that we’re gonna be able to move forward with this. The building that we’re in right now we have had to pour a lot of money into it just to maintain it and the employees of Shreveport deserve a much better facility within which to work.”

A lot of consideration went into the decision. The current state building is 1940s vintage and is going to require significant investment soon for repairs and upgrades. The state already owns, manages and maintains the Second Circuit Court of Appeal at 430 Fannin, a building that is adjacent 500 Fannin. Because of the proximity of the two structures, the state could save money and manpower on property management.

There are many reasons why the decision to move the offices is a good one, but it did not come easily, or quickly. A timeline compiled by Downtown Development Authority and the non-profit Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation show that DDA/DSDC had been working on the move since early 1997, more than 25 years.

Site of the future State Building. The former Joe D. Waggonner federal building will be gutted, taken down to the studs and rebuilt.

Early DDA/DSDC conversations with the state centered on a variety of options, including new construction. Focus briefed lingered on the former Joe D. Waggonner building in 2000, but returned in earnest in 2019. During the years since, DDA, DSDC, the Shreveport City Council and the Caddo Parish Commission all sent Resolutions supporting the state office move to downtown and Mayor Adrian Perkins met with and talked with state officials on several occasions.  In the fall of 2021, DSDC contributed $10,000 to have a structural report on the Joe D. Waggonner building updated to assist in the State’s decision.

There’s a saying that ‘Good things happen to those who wait.’ While possibly true, we believe the additional ‘Better things happen to those who work for it.’ A lot of people have been working for this for a long time, and we hope to share some of those kudos in the weeks and months to come.

In the meantime, the State is doing all the things the State needs to do to move the process forward. Stay tuned!