Reasons for Shreveport to have hope

In Allendale Strong by John Perkins

Originally published October 8, 2021 in The Inquisitor

A young woman pulled up in a City of Shreveport truck to meet me and inspect a situation that neighbors were having with erosion of a muddy hill running off and eventually into the city’s storm drains.  Smiling and energetic, I’ll call her April, she sprung out of her city truck and expressed great interest in the muddy mess that was causing distress in this small corner of Shreveport.  April took lots of pictures and asked great questions.  After her investigation was done, she seemed excited to help.  She told me, “This is what I do, I love taking on these issues and getting them solved”.  I actually believe April will solve it.

In my email this week came word from readers who were excited and inspired to see neighbors in Broadmoor taking action on the Arthur Circle question.  There is a long history of Caddo Parish School Board (CPSB) closing neighborhood schools without regard to the neighbors, changing the property from a living green space that adds value to the neighborhood, into a dark, closed, derelict building.  Ike wrote to tell me of the neighborhood pride that Mooretown took in Bethune High which was named after a great local Educator, and the disappointment when the building became Oak Park Elementary.  Oak Park still serves the community, I know because I volunteered there before COVID.  A group of us helped students who were struggling to keep on grade level with reading and math.  But what about Dr. Bethune and her legacy?  The legacy of Bethune High and their alumni who loved their alma mater as much as Byrd or Booker T Washington?

On social media, I see my new friends that formed Caddo Alliance for Freedom to let Caddo Parish and our Shreveport Metropolitan Planning Commission know of their displeasure with city zoning rules enforced five miles outside of Shreveport city limits.  I first met their leaders when I was showing up to neighborhood meetings on MLK and hanging out at Government Plaza.  They introduced themselves to me excitedly, let me know they had drawn inspiration from the hard work that neighbors in Allendale were doing to protect that neighborhood’s integrity.

Did you take part in Shreveport Neighborhood Night Out?  I was invited to join friends in Allendale for the celebration behind the Us Up North restaurant on North Allen Ave.  There was music and great barbecue, plenty of friends walking up with their kids, enjoying beautiful weather together.  Driving home that night I passed neighbors listening to live music, smiling and waving at me over the top of the grill.  Sometimes Shreveport can be a special place.

Let’s build on this.  Let’s support neighborhood organizations that are finally getting busy and telling their government what they want Shreveport to be rather than sitting on their couches waiting to see what happens next.   Let me know what your neighborhood group is doing.  I’d love to tell your story here.  PerkWrites@gmail.com