At one time Shreveport was known as the "Pipeline Capitol of the World." A map of the United States pipeline infrastructure pictured a spider's web of lines detailing existing pipelines, at the center sat Shreveport. Home to long defunct companies, now in the dust bin of corporate history, Texas Eastern, United Gas among them, we were positioned to lead the South. Short sighted, arrogant, the leadership of the companies, elected city fathers and social leaders, content with the status quo stood by as the industry, jobs and tax base moved on to Houston, then a hustling city not much larger than Shreveport.
Like a Model T chugging down an Interstate ignoring the traffic zipping past, Shreveport lurched from on ineffective administration to the next. Most damaging were the ones used to advance a select group of pals, cronies or groups with knives to sharpen. Inept would be a kind word for other Mayors and their administrations. Nevertheless, honest bumbling was as damaging, opportunity not recognized or seized is just as deadly as awarding contracts to pals and undeserving supporters.
That was then, this is now. Houston is now a International power, home to generations of Shreveport's children and grandchildren. Shreveport is hard to fly into.
Yet ,We again find ourselves at a crossroad. The red ball has fallen on our number again. We have one more chance to become the next Atlanta of the South.
The Haynesville Shale, the Film Industry, our status as a regional health care powerhouse, Barksdale AFB, Bossier's Cyber Center,LSUS the list goes on, most of the pieces are in place for Shreveport/Bossier to be great.
All of the pieces, save the Heart. We need City leadership not bent on lifting any one group, but imbued with the commitment to lift all of us. A few more wealthy lawyers with connections or well placed politicians will not serve as in the past.
Overlaying our problem is race. We are divided. The connected black and white operators help themselves in turn with each election, ignoring the citizens of each color as they trade places.
Somehow, we must find a leader who is committed to our future. A leader with a vision and the determination to see it achieved.
We haven't found him or her in a long time.