Montage courtesy Centenary Archivist Chris Brown and photographer Robert M. Watt.

A shell of a building adjacent to the Antioch Baptist Church on Texas Avenue is famous in its own right. 1053-55 Texas Avenue housed a former Masonic Hall and the Pla-moor Club. Both of these, and a variety of professional offices there, played a central role in a stretch of buildings important to Black Shreveporters from the early 1900s until the early 1960s.

Photo, Courtesy Centenary Archivist Chris Brown (who is awesome).

The Pla-moor -like the nearby Calanthean Temple- was once a happening place, featuring regular performances by musical luminaries like Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong.

The building is included in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing feature of the St. Paul’s Bottoms Historic District. According to the Register: “The two story brick building adjacent to Antioch Baptist Church housed at one time or
another during the historic period a Masonic lodge; the Plamoor Ballroom (a social institution for black Shreveporters); and a myriad of businesses and offices. The later included offices for doctors, insurance companies, and Charles Roberson, considered to be the city’s first black attorney, plus a beauty shop, dental lab, tailor, and photography studio. Among the most important businesses with an office there was Universal Oil, Gas & Mining, a black firm organized in 1930. According to Mr. Burton (Shreveport historian and author Willie Burton), it was “the only Negro oil company in existence to that date [1930] and was manned and directed entirely by Negro personnel.” In the 1930 and ’34 city directories auto storage is listed at 1053 Texas. In the 1940s the black VFW and USO were located in this building.

as the plaster, tile and bricks continue to fall, more of the building’s past comes into view, but sadly, it comes one step closer to demolition by neglect. To see more of the historic Pla-moor advertisements, click here. 

Photo courtesy of Robert M.Watt.