Saturday, December 31, 2011

Shreveport Dog Park Alliance fund raiser, 'Wine and Beer Tasting with a BITE!' Sat, Jan 14, 7-10 pm, Barnwell Art Center

Shreveport Dog Park Alliance  by trudeau
Shreveport Dog Park Alliance , a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

We are having a fund raiser, Wine and Beer Tasting with a BITE! Sat-Jan 14, 7-10pm, Barnwell Art Center, says Cynthia Keith.

The BITE? Wines and beers have animals on the labels!

For a $35 donation enjoy the silent auction, live music, funniest animal photo contest, heavy hors d' oeuvres, Lion coffee, Raising Cane's sweet tea and soft drinks.

See Shreveport Dog Park Alliance facebook page (event page: Wine and Beer Tasting with a Bite) for info/funny animal photo entries.

Dress in the colors of your pet or animal prints, but please leave pets at home for this one.

Please respond if you are attending, for more info call me at 469-1325.

Cynthia Keith -Top Dog, Shreveport Dog Park Alliance

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Better Shreveport-sponsored Holiday Bike Ride in Broadmoor postponed to Tues, Dec 27, begins at Johnny's Pizza at 5:30 pm

Our Holiday Bike Ride starts at Johnny's Pizza on Preston at 5:30, Tuesday, December 27, writes Stephanie Pedro.

Hope to see you there! I will have some hot cider for us to sip on before we set off, then beer and pizza at Johnny's afterwards!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Route for Holiday Lights Tour Decided at Last Meeting, More Tours to Be Made at the Next

In attendance: Robert Trudeau, Kathryn Brandl, Elizabeth Roselli, Brian Salvatore, Ryan Tew, Maurice Loridans, Feico Kempff, Susan Keith, Ian Webb, Cynthia Keith, Steph Pedro.

SELF-GUIDED BICYCLE TOURS

Ian talked about the maps he’s been developing of self-guided tours to take via bicycle. Adding to those tours has been our theme of the month. Loren has been in communication with Centenary archivist and local music historian Chris Brown about making a musical tour, and the group is set to have a second annual holiday lights tour this year on the day after Christmas.

(Although the idea is to see the lights via bicycle, not so much decorate one's bike, who knows what folks might chose to do? Some of us won't soon forget how Maurice Loridans decorated his helmet for mardi gras cyclovia!)

The group first discussed the future of such tours. Robert has suggested a podcast that would be done while you ride, or walk. Loren mentioned the interactive musical soundtrack that’s been created as an app to use for walks in Central Park, as described in the New York Times recently. The app uses the walker’s GPS activates different audio sounds. Ian mentioned the possibilities of musical and historical tours.

Regardless of future possibilities, though, the current format Ian is using is a .pdf file that people can print out as a map and take with them. Ian doesn’t want to post all the tours until he has a good amount of them. He’s found a site for storing all the pdf’s. Robert talked about his favorite ride down Texas Avenue and seeing the old Blue Goose site, so that could be integrated into a tour. Ian said he’ll be able to rank them by which rides are most often downloaded. Ian said people can send links from google maps or whatever and his team can put them into .pdf form.

The group then discussed various routes for the Christmas light ride. After considering various areas to bike through, as South Highlands, but group settled on Broadmoor, like last year, partly because of the easily hill-less riding it provides, as well as a fairly spectacular set of lights we can go by which Susan Keith mentioned.

The group spent most of the rest of the meeting deciding on the route and drawing it on google maps. Stay tuned to this blog for details of when the ride will start. But it will likely start and end at the Johnny’s Pizza parking lot, and after the tour people can eat pizza there at Johnny’s, if they like.

MISCELLANEOUS

Loren announced that the IRS has formally approved our filing as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. We will scan and post the letter and put in our google docs for our reference

Loren also noted the success of the last two meetings. The last one was a social gathering over drinks at the Lake Street Dance Hall downtown, and the other was an advocacy meeting where we did such things as writing letters to city officials, enter survey data, and draw maps. (Loren apologized for not posting summaries; he explained the deadlines of a publisher for a manuscript and Centenary's Registrar for grading finals conspired against it.)

Steph announced that 90% of our radio shows at KSCL have been saved on their server. They will be made available as podcasts by a Centenary student volunteering at the radio station starting January 10th. It was mentioned that the easiest way to access them would be as MP3’s; it was noted that one of us could make those transformations ourselves.

Maurice met a person who lives near the Coates Bluff trail on the Bossier Parrish side. He is a retired architect, and it was noted that perhaps he might be able to help us design the pier.

Robert reported that he’s learned a photography teacher at Magnet, Terrance Flores, has taken students on the trail; another example of students using the trail as part of their education.

Steph asked if we’re still on board with our improvements for capacity building. The group decided we will make strategic planning our theme for January.

The group discussed connecting with other communities. Rotating meeting locations may not be as effective as making a video showing what we do. A student leison could go to different communities and show the video and talk to people about how to do what we or how to connect with us. Steph mentioned she could shape up what one gets out of ABS and make a flier.

Feico noted U.L.Coleman’s development near Coates Bluff.

Brian noted the city losing two professional sports teams, the Mudbugs and the Pilots; he said it seems they’re leaving because of the lack of educated, upper-income people here, and that improving our education and income levels should be among our primary metrics for what constitutes a better city.

Robert noted that Craig Durrett mentioned that bike paths should be incorporated into the widening of 3132. The group was glad about that. It was noted that as editor of the editorial page of the Shreveport Times, Craig is an important contributor to the public discourse about what would improve the city.

The next meeting on December 19th will center on the theme of tours for the city, trying to create more, but the one after that on the 26th will be on bicycle, in the form of the Christmas light bicycle tour! Stay tuned to the blog for details!

Friday, December 16, 2011

I-49 chat on KSCL at 5 pm, Mon, Dec 19: Fuller Center's Lee Jeter, and State Rep Roy Burrell


Completing I-49 will not be easy. Several routes for the highway are currently being discussed - with no easy or clear choice.

Lee Jeter, of the Fuller Center, and State representative Roy Burrell are among the well-spoken and well-educated voices discussing the issues.

Interviewers Robert Trudeau and Stephanie Pedro.

Stream at kscl.fm
Questions and remarks: 318 869 5297.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Angie White, Slow Food North La, and Martha Marak, Food Bank of NW La, guests on radio Mon, Dec 12, 5 pm


Guests for Time for A Better Shreveport, Mon, Dec 12, are Angie White, who will
talk about the Slow Food movement - http://www.slowfoodnla.com/ - as
well as her econ dev work.

And Martha Marak, director of Food Bank
NWLa. - http://www.foodbanknla.org/index.cfm - who will talk about an
institution that is one of the city's proudest points of light.

Co-hosts will be Stephanie Pedro and Maurice Loridans, tentatively.

Stream at kscl.fm
Questions straight to the interview booth: 869 5297.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011



ABS member, Cynthia Keith and Baxter the dog park dog, enjoying the view from the future home of our first regional dog park inside of the city park, Hamel Memorial Park. Read the article from the Shreveport Times for more info http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20111202/NEWS01/112020312/Parkin-Dogs?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Cimg%7CFRONTPAGE%7Cp Join us on our Facebook page for Shreveport Dog Park Alliance.

Monday, December 5, 2011

First Ever ABS Social Meeting Tonight!


Our new monthly format includes a social meeting on the first Monday of every month. Last month we used it for a slide show on the Occupy Movement, but this month, we're not letting our social meeting get occupied by anything!

Join us tonight for a beverage and chat. 6:00-7:00 at the Lake Street Dance Hall (pictured above). Hopefully we'll come away with ideas for self-guided bike/ped city tours -- the theme of this month!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Time for A Better Shreveport: Philadelphia Center's Deborah Allen andthe TEDx Red River series organizer, Cole Brand

Join us at 91.3 fm, KSCL, from 5 to 5:30 pm every Monday for interview with community activists.

Remarks: 869 5297.

Streaming: http://kscl.fm



ABS meeting this week is the social mixer. The site is Lake St Dance Hall. That's right, the projector & overhead screen, maps and laptops will be replaced by curvilinear beverages and freely overlapping discussions.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Upcoming Meetings on I-49 Corridor a Chance to Shape What Happens?

Here's three chances to influence the future of our city in two ways: to influence public opinion on I-49, and to influence the capacity of public opinion to shape our city for the good of public interests.

To quote from the flier: "These three community-wide input meetings are being scheduled as the project moves into the environmental assessment phase. They will provide opportunities for you to learn more, voice your opinion and give the planning team specific ideas about design alternatives for this interstate
connector."

Tuesday, December 13th 6:00 pm
LA Technical College
2010 N. Market Street

Wednesday, December 14th noon
Shreve Memorial Library
424 Texas Street
Bring your lunch!

Thursday, December 15th 6:00 pm
J.S. Clark Middle School
351 Hearne Avenue

There's a dark side and a bright side to these meetings. The dark side is that they might be just for show. The bright side is regardless of that, that the more the public meets and communicates, the stronger its voice gets. But for that to happen, we have to go to the meetings, and we have to talk about them. ABS was founded to strengthen the public's voice by facilitating that talk, and here's something that deserves talk.
And we may have to express ourselves, because not every meeting has decision makers that are listening; not every urban planner is well-trained in soliciting community input; not every metropolitan planning organization even uses planners!
So, the folks in charge could be holding these meeting just for appearances; to look like their listening to public opinion. It's possible their minds are made up already. And there's plenty of people who've been trying to influence them; wealthy, politically connected property owners, for example, who would make money by the interstate taking a certain form. Sadly, we know their interests can dominate the discussion and in the end decisions are made in their favor. Read any textbook in urban sociology and you'll see studies showing it happens.
But there are also studies showing private interests don't always win. Sometimes the public does.
Obviously, individual interests can and should matter. But the costs and benefits to a community can and should outweigh individual interests. The dark side is that money and power influences the negotiations over any decision.
But on the bright side, the public is a player in those negotiations, and with potentially dominant power. There is always a court of public opinion that can rule loudly and with real consequences if enough people care to speak up.
Moreover, that court gets more powerful and useful the more its used. In participating in the dialogue that shapes public opinion, we get stronger as a community. We get practice in articulating our views, in sharing them and communicating them. We get to know different leaders and organizations from different neighborhoods, schools, and community organizations. And we figure out how to pool our resources to make the rulings we make matter. As people connect with each other, a web of diverse social networks eventually spreads across the city. As those networks are connected and then used to voice a single point of view, it gets heard loud and clear.
This makes all of us players in the negotiations over I-49. And the real bright side is that just trying to be heard on this issue makes us a more powerful court for future decisions. Let's make our court of public opinion one that private interests have to worry about. Let's go to the meetings and talk, there and afterwards, and push the public interest to the forefront!

Monday, November 28, 2011

KTAL Story on ABS Trail-Making Project


Thanks to KTAL's Morgan Thomas for a great story on our trail-making yesterday. (Though my role was overstated; here's to Jon, Maurice, and Jordan!) It was especially nice that she mentioned that ABS now has an advocacy project every month.

We should try to publicize our projects more in advance and hope some folks join us for some work!

Speaking of which, we meet tonight to do advocacy work on various projects on laptops. So yesterday we were earthy, today we're digital. We'll be at the Wright Math Building on Centenary's campus on Woodlawn (2 blocks north of the new laundromat on Kings) from 6 to 7. Come one, come all!

City of Shreveport 2012 Capital and Operating Budgets


Dear Citizens,

Please pick an item of interest to you by clicking the budget links below, and seek out information on what the cost includes.  See if your item of interest ties in with the Master Plan.  It's your duty as a citizen to help our Mayor and City Council make the best decision with how we spend our money.  This is your money, Shreveport!

2012 Operating Budget
2012 Capital Improvements Budget

Friday, November 25, 2011

Another review of Shreveports latest and greatest attraction: Coates Bluff Nature Trail

"Great trail. Party of 10, plus 5 dogs, loved it," reported Chris Brown on Friday as he introduced his family to the Coates Bluff Nature Trail.

When you're ready to walk the half-mile path, you can park at Caddo Magnet High / Valencia Park or at Montessori School for Shreveport.

The path runs parallel to the mostly-dry Bayou Pierre river bed.

Sycamores, hackberry trees, native pecan, rattan and switch cane are typical of the growth on the trail. There are 2 tree trunks to crawl over and one fallen tree to crawl under. There's a beaver lodge on the watery section.

Find photos and maps here.

Advocacy Events Sunday and Monday

Sunday, Nov. 27, 1 - 4 pm, volunteers are encouraged to come and help complete work on the access trail for the Stoner Hill Elementary School to the Coates Bluff trail. Bring work gloves. Should be fun and fulfilling time in the woods. We'll meet at Montessori School teachers parking lot on Sevier St. If you arrive late, just head down the trail and you'll find us!

Monday, Nov. 28, 6 - 7 pm, ABS members will be drafting letters and crafting web pages on various projects (and any project YOU have in mind!). We'll meet at the Wright Math Building on Woodlawn, two blocks north of the new laundromat and right across from the Centenary library.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Architect-artist Mike McSwain on KSCL, Mon, Nov 21, 5 pm

Architect and artist Mike McSwain will discuss architecture (Robinson Film Center, the Cyber Innovation Center and BPCC campus are among his works), his travel sketches - based on recent visits to China - and SciPort, where McSwain is board chief.

Stream the on-air chat at http://kscl.fm/

Friday, November 18, 2011

Trail Access for Stoner Hill Elementary This Month's Advocacy Event

In attendance: Ken Hawkins, John Gililand, Joel Hooper, Jon Soul, Maurice Loridans, Kathryn Brandl, Loren Demerath, Elizabeth Roselli, Cynthia Keith

Being the second Monday of the month, this was the month's themed meeting. This month's focus: nature trails.

Saturday was the official opening of the Coates Bluff trail for the season. The trail had been freshly cleared of the summer's growth, signs were posted along the trail about various features and trail development notes, and promotional fliers led to a good turnout throughout the morning.

The group discussed how it could host trail tour day in the future with an eye towards a bigger crowd; we could issue press releases in advance, which we didn't do this time. It could be part of a “Best Walks in Shreveport” series.

Jon noted that he was shown the practice of roving interpretation by Rachel from the Caddo Parrish park system.

One of the goal's of the meeting was to decide the advocacy event that would follow in two weeks.

The group talked about possibly making a trail along the “Red River Link” drawn on google maps; it’s a utility easement for (Enterprise Products) EPCO; it was mentioned they may see it as a public relations positive to help make a trail along it. It was noted we could have a conversation with about that possibility. Susan happens to have their contact information having had to deal with them on an issue in the past. (And Loren happily noted that's the kind of resource sharing that makes groups like ABS productive! Here's to connectivity!)

The feature of the trail that would be a most welcome addition involves access to the Stoner Hill Lab Elementary School. The group decided that in two weeks, on Sunday afternoon at 1:00, we will meet at the Montessori School back parking lot and then work to create a trail loop from Stoner Hill Elementary's back gate. It will involve some cleanup and clearing, and all are welcome of any ability.

A secondary task that we might take up if there are enough people is to clear a path on the east side of the bayou to become a bike path heading north. Once that section reaches the “Red River Link” at the level of the back gate to Valencia Park, the trail would turn east towards the river and run along the property line between Riverscape and Coleman's property. It was noted that the easement would mean that the path could likely remain on a meridian even if a road were eventually built along the property line; though it was also hoped one wouldn't be, since it would hurt the natural forest and wildlife habitat which the area currently features.

Jon, Maurice, and Lorne agreed to go out on Friday afternoon and scout the route for the bike path. (Which they did--the forest was beautiful and the terrain for the trail looks promising.)

Next Monday, being the 3rd of the month, will be the monthly ABS board meeting, though non-board members are more than welcome to attend with ideas for ABS, as always!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Louisiana Highway Department Will Not Give Crash Data To College Student for Service Learning Project



Centenary College Student, Trevor Stine, is using U.S. Census Bureau's On the Map to tell Shreveport's story of how Caddo Parish, Louisiana residents are relocating their homes in the City's core for bigger sprawled out homes on the outskirts of town due to perceived crime, and low quality education in Shreveport. In addition, the state highway department has helped fuel the exodus out of Shreveport's core thanks to good arterials to get them to work in under 20 minutes.


Trevor is working with the citizen advocacy group, ABetterShreveport.org, as part of Centenary College's service learning program required by all students. ABetterShreveport.org's mission is to improve the quality of life in Shreveport using proven best management practices in transportation, economic development, education, permaculture, and urban planning in general. Each student gets to select the nonprofit organization of their choice, and Trevor wanted to work with ABetterShreveport.org to help them get maps of the City and Parish's demographics and economic stats on maps for citizens to learn about our stark situation regarding quality of life. No other entity (public or private) in Shreveport has maps of the area's demographics online as of 2011.


Under the direction of Strategic Director, Stephanie Pedro, Trevor requested crash data from the Louisiana Highway Department, LA-DOTD, and he received this response:


Good Morning Mr. Stine,

I have spoken to our local traffic engineer and the crash report data that you requested is protected by 23 USC 409 and is not given out to the public. 23 USC 409 is the designation of a legal statute established by federal law. I apologize that I cannot assist you further with you questions but please feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns you may have. Thank you for contacting the DOTD.

Have a great day,

Susan Stafford
Public Information Officer
Department of Transportation and Development
www.dotd.louisiana.gov
318-549-8402 Office
318-230-8985 Cell
susan.stafford@la.gov


If no other entity, including our own DOTD, is mapping out important data that could lead to better decision-making, then why is this information not being shared with college students who are offering to dissect this data for free?  Hopefully Streetsblog and Secretary LaHood will pick this article up and share with us how other communities are dealing with 23 USC 409.


In addition, it appears that LA-DOTD is already having problems with their code: 
From Louisiana Injury Lawyer Blog:  In Quinn v. State of Louisiana, DOTD, 2009-0085 (La.App. 1 Cir. 12/23/09), writ denied, 2010-358 (La.4/23/10), the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal, in an opinion not designated for publication, held that once the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) chooses to exercise the privilege set forth in 23 U.S.C. §409, that protects from discovery any reports, surveys, schedules, lists or data compiled or collected for the purpose of identifying, evaluating or planning the safety enhancement of potential accident sites and hazardous roadway conditions, and which prevents the plaintiff from discovering any evidence of prior accidents at a location involving an alleged highway defect, that it follows that DOTD is then precluded from offering any evidence establishing an absence of other accidents at the same location at trial. In other words, "DOTD cannot have its cake and eat it too. If plaintiffs cannot discover and use the evidence of prior accidents, then DOTD should not be able to use evidence of the lack of prior accidents to prove no defect, all the while preventing plaintiffs from verifying the accuracy of DOTD's representation that no accidents occurred."

Monday, November 14, 2011

ABetterShreveport Meeting Monday, November 14, 2011 @ Wright Math Building, 6-7pm

Tonight, ABetterShreveport will hold our themed meeting: City Nature Trails. Perhaps we can review the MOU for Coates Bluff, and review the grants that Michael Renfrow told us about at a previous meeting, and review the grant that Angie informed us of over the weekend.

We are always open to new ideas that go along with tonight's theme.

6pm-7pm, Wright Math Building, which is down the street from Centenary Square at the corner of E. Columbia.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

How to find and build the next Coates Bluff Nature Trail, Shreveport

Creating a follow-up nature path in Shreveport to the beautiful Coates Bluff Trail is an important quest for many members of ABS.

And there's help available: Angie White sent us a flag on a grant possibility via the National Trails Fund.

The meeting Mon, Nov 14, 6 pm, is dedicated to explorations of those possibilities. We'll meet at our new meeting place Centenary's Wright Math Building, which is down the street from Centenary Square at the corner of E. Columbia, and right across from Magale Library.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Re-opening of the Coates Bluff Nature Trail, Shreveport

Jon Soul drew together people from Montessori School for Shreveport, Caddo Magnet High, Stoner neighborhood and A Better Shreveport to celebrate a new season of hiking on the Coates Bluff Nature and Historic Trail.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lydia Jackson v Greg Tarver? Population decline? Glover and a city audit? : political and demographic analyst Elliott Stonecipher chats at 5 pm Mon, Nov 14, KSCL

Elliott Stonecipher is a native and resident of Shreveport, Louisiana, says his bio. He received his B. A. Degree from Louisiana Tech University and his Master's Degree from LSU. He is President and owner of Evets Management Services, Inc.

Mr. Stonecipher began his career in public education, and began work in the Department of Education at age 25. Three years later he left government to begin work in public opinion polling and campaign consulting. His firm later shifted to a concentration of work in various forms of geo-demographic analyses for clients in the financial services industry, as featured in such publications as The American Banker.

For over 20 years, Mr. Stonecipher and his company have also provided opinion research in change-of-venue studies in criminal court cases, particularly those involving capital murder charges.

In 2002, Elliott Stonecipher was a consultant for, and co-authored the final report of, a post- 9/11 U. S. Government study into possible bio-terrorism attacks in the U. S., under the sponsorship of the U. S. military and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The study results were published in the CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases magazine.

Since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Elliott Stonecipher has committed to pro bono work on a range of local, state and national issues, including reform of governmental and political ethics, and reform of national policies governing the U. S. Census Bureau.

Mr. Stonecipher frequently serves as guest lecturer in colleges and other public venues, and has taught Demographics on the part-time faculty at Centenary College. His work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, and he has appeared on CNN and Fox News Channel.

Stream the Time for A Better Shreveport interview at http://kscl.fm. Remarks: 869 5297. - Robert Trudeau

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nature Trails to be Focus of Monday's Meeting; Opening of Coates Bluff Trail Saturday

This Monday night from 6:00 to 7:00, ABS will have a themed meeting on nature trails in Shreveport. On the heels of Saturday's opening of the Coates Bluff trail (8:30-11:30), the group will discuss the possibility of additional trails, both in that area, and others around the city.

This past Monday ABS hosted a discussion of the powerpoint and "teach-in" by moveon.org on the Occupy Wall St. movement and the "99%". In attendance were Loren Demerath, Steph Pedro, Cynthia Keith, Susan Keith, Adrienne Critcher, Brain Salvatore, Keith Hardwick, Kimberly Powell, David Young, Maurice Loridans, Alan Dyson, Carolyn Manning, Katherine Brandl, Robert Trudeau, and Elizabeth Roselli. The meeting was not a typical one for ABS; the group watched the powerpoint slide show, listened to Loren and Steph reading the narration for it, with discussion interspersed throughout. It was a stimulating meeting!

Because that was the first Monday of the month, that meeting was to be our monthly social meeting, to take place at some alternative forum. It has since been agreed that this month's social meeting will now take Monday the 21st, 6 to 7, at the Lake Street Dance Hall at the corner of Marshall and Lake St., downtown.

The fourth Monday of every month is to be an advocacy event. This month, depending on what the group decides at the next meeting, that event might occur on Sunday instead, if the event happens to be an outdoor project, such as trail making.

To summarize:
Monday the 14th: themed meeting on city nature trails
Monday the 21st: social meeting at Lake St. Dance Hall
Sunday or Monday the 27th or 28th: advocacy event

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Poll watchers: $125 for a long day on Nov 19, says Melissa Flournoy

Guerin Tai Chi Shreveport by trudeau
Guerin Tai Chi Shreveport, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

Says Louisiana Progress director Melissa Flournoy, "I need help identifying some college students or others that might want to be poll watchers on Nov. 19th from 10 to 8 pm. They will be paid $125 for the day.

I need to track down some poll watchers by tomorrow morning."

Apply to m1flournoy@gmail.com.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Coates Bluff Nature Trail re-opening get-together Sat, Nov 12, 8:30 -11:30 am, Montessori School for Shreveport


Sat, Nov. 12, is the official trail opening.

8:30 - 11:30AM -- parking, bathrooms, and info tables available at Montessori School for Shreveport (MSS).

Meet trail-loving people from
- MSS
- Stoner Hill Elementary
- Valencia Rec Center
- Stoner Hill Neighborhood Association
- Caddo Magnet High
- Centenary College
- A Better Shreveport
- Walter B. Jacobs Nature Park

Info: jonksoul@gmail.com

Maintenance has been completed on the Coates Bluff Nature Trail, says Jon Soul.

Cyclist Fatality in West Shreveport

Last Friday, 11/4/11, a cyclist was killed by a pick up truck driver on Wesport Av. West of Pines Road in Shreveport. The victim was Eastbound and was struck by an Eastbound Pick up estimated to be traveling at 50 MPH.

The accident happened in pre-dawn dark and the rider was wearing dark clothing and had been traveling on the wrong (Westbound) side of the road. According to the driver of the pick up, the cyclist swerved into the Eastbound lane just prior to the collision and he tried, unsuccessfully to swerve to avoid the rider.

The rider was on his way to work at a Waffle House Restaurant and his wife was following on another bike but was lagging a half mile back due to leg pain. She arrived at the tragic scene and lay beside the decedent begging him not to leave her.

The police were able to corroborate the driver's account that the cyclist made a practice of traveling in the wrong lane and moving right when oncoming traffic approached by the wife's statement. Another witness backed the driver's story that he swerved to avoid something and then saw the cyclist "flying off the bike."

As a bicycling advocate and safety guy, I was concerned that the driver could have just made up the "suicide swerve" account which has been widely used to clear drivers nationwide who may really have just hit a legally riding cyclist from behind due to being inattentive. Here, however, I am satisfied that the very poor and illegal practices of the cyclist in traveling in the wrong lane, failing to check over his shoulder before merging right, and not having required lighting were the main reason for this tragic accident.

Unfortunately, I believe riders in this victim's situation are just trying to get to work to make a living and do not have the time or interest or resources to learn how to be safe with bicycle transportation. I wish they would at least learn that the rules are essentially the same as for drivers of cars. My heart goes out to those he leaves behind. He was a veteran and was well regarded by those who served in his unit.

My information is based on news accounts and the accident report.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

How the 1% Crashed the Economy Teach-in


Wright Math Building, Centenary College, Rm 103
07 Nov , 06:00 PM

Our teach-in will tell the story of how the 1% changed the rules, crashed the economy and what we can do to take the country back. It gives everyone a chance to share their own experiences, talk about problems and solutions together, and learn from one other.

Sign Up Here!

On-air chat with Michael Butterman and new Shreveport Symphony Orchestra manager Lois Robinson on KSCL Mon, 5 pm

With the Cirque de la Symphonie concert being performed on Sat, Nov 12, 7:30 pm, and Sun, Nov 13, 2:30 pm, an interview with the directors of the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra is apropos.

On-air chat from 5 to 5:30 pm on KSCL, fm 91.3.

Stream at http://kscl.fm. Questions and remarks, 869 5297.

ABetterShreveport.org will then meet at 6 pm at the Wright Math Building, across from Magale Library on Woodlawn Ave., room 103.

Monday, October 31, 2011


C'mon on down to Texas Avenue this Saturday for the Texas Avenue Makers Fair. Over 100 "Makers" of original and handmade goods such as clothing, jewelry, prints, pottery, hats, furniture, Gumbo, Jambalaya, cake balls, coffee, and much, much, more! Street performers and many added surprises! Admission is free-plenty of free parking

When: Sat, November 5, 10am – 5pm
Where:  Corner of Texas Avenue and Common Street-Downtown Shreveport

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Monthly Themes and New Meeting Place Decided at Last Meeting!

In attendance: Robert Trudeau, Brian Salvatore, Garrett Johnson, Susan Fontaine, Jon Soul, David Young, Maurice Loridans, Ken Hawkins, Katherine Brandle, Cynthia Keith, Pam McPherson, Megan McPherson, Loren Demerath

UPCOMING EVENTS

A celebration of “El Dia de los Muertos” (The Day of the Dead) held by the local Latina group, Voces Castellanas, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., Saturday, October 29th at Columbia Park, and will feature arts and craft displays and activities, as well live music and dance performances.

The 3rd Makers Fair of the Texas Avenue Community Association will be on November 5th from 10 to 5 at Texas Avenue and Common St., featuring home-made arts, crafts, food, and music.

The Dog Park wine and beer tasting fundraiser originally scheduled for November 5th will be postponed until January 14th at the Barnwell Center. (The LSU-Alabama game has been moved to the evening and would overlap. Note: there's an elephant buried at the site of the future dog park. Good omen, huh?)

BICYCLE COOP PROGRESS

Maurice reported on some progress in creating a bicycle depot and cooperative. In conversations with people about a possible location at the Calanthean Temple it may not be as suitable as another possible site that has emerged on Texas Street. Maurice envisions three stages to the depot:

1 – a site to use tools held by the cooperative and get guidance in repair and bicycle use.

2 – a site to store used donated bikes which people can use for parts to build bikes which they can then keep.

3 – a site to provide the parking and shelter of bikes (some people own bikes of high quality and would not be willing to park them on the street), and to provide shower and changing facilities for commuters.

MONTHLY PLANNING

The majority of the meeting, though, was used to focus on the primary item on the agenda: to plan the themes for the months of November and December.

To reiterate the decision made at the last meeting, ABS' new format of each month is as follows:

  1. First Monday: a social meeting at a bar, cafe, or resaurant
  2. Second Monday: a themed meeting focusing on some particular issue or project (at the Wright Math Building, room 103 [see below])
  3. Third Monday: a board meeting on general ABS issues
  4. Fourth Monday: an advocacy event, such as letter/email writing, website construction, research, etc. (It was noted that events such as trail cleaning or bayou cleanups that require more time and light, the event could take place on the preceding Sunday or Saturday.)

In light of the new format, possible topics for the themed meetings and advocacy events of November and December were discussed (though December an advocacy event, depending on how people want to treat the holiday period).

It was noted that there are two bayou cleanups that will be occurring in November: Daniel Gehrig's on the 5th (meeting at 8:30 a.m., parking at the library on Riley Lane; for info see the facebook group “The Duck Pond Cleanup and Restoration Project”) and the Centenary living-learning community focusing on sustainability will be helping Jon Soul with a cleanup of Anderson Bayou on the 6th (meeting at 1:00 p.m., parking available at Sevier St. parking lot of the Montessori School). All are welcome to help in both cleanups.

Jon also announced that the Coates Bluff trail will be opening “officially” on November 12th, with clean up and trail clearing before that. Jon and Loren are also eager to make the trail on the east side of the bayou that we hope will become a bike path, and will connect to the bike path currently going under Clyde Fant to the existing riverside bike path. With poison ivy on the wane, but the colder temperatures not here yet, it was noted that now is the best time for trail clearing.

With all that in mind, the group decided that Forest and Bayou Paths would be the theme for the month of November. The exact nature of the advocacy event will decided as the month progresses.

As for December, Maurice noted that Ian Webb of River City Cycling would like to collect as many bicycling tours as possible, presumably with maps and appropriate accompanying materials. Those could be digital with links of information. For example, on online map accessible via cell phone could route a bicyclist through a tour of notable city architecture, musical sites, historical sites, public art, even notable holiday light displays. At notable stops, riders could pause to access information, even music, via phone. Last year, ABS sponsored a social bike ride tour of holiday lights, with stops at ABS members' houses for mulled cider (at Carolyn Manning's), cookies (at Kari Brownholland's) and gumbo (at Loren Demerath's). Several families participated as well as regular ABS'ers. It was cold, but we didn't feel it, warmed by food, drink, and good company!

In light of those memories of the past, and hopes for collecting new tours for the future, the group decided December's theme would be City Tours.

NEW MEETING SITE: WRIGHT MATH BUILDING, ROOM 103

Because ABS meetings have consistently been filling room 206 in Centenary Square, we decided to move the meeting to a roomier locale. Katherine Brandle, a Centenary math professor who works in the Wright Math Building, said room 103 would be a good fit. There is a parking lot in back and in front, and the table in the room can be arranged easily to suit us. Also suitable is the projection equipment there, since we often look at maps and online materials during meetings. So the Wright Building it is! Thanks Centenary Math Department!

NEXT MEETING: MORE PLANNING AND T.B.A. ISSUES

The next meeting will consist of more planning, such as specific advocacy events and themes for other months. Other issues may be raised as well, so stay tuned. As a new practice, we'll post the agenda for the meeting on the blog Monday morning.

Sankofa Fall Get2gethers

Monday, October 24, 2011

Letter to Times from David W Young on the Mayor's Forum and ABS

I attended the Shreveport mayor's community briefing Oct. 10.

I applaud the mayor and City Council on their ambitious efforts to revitalize the historic communities of Allendale and Ledbetter Heights through Shreveport
Commons and Choice Neighborhoods.

I received many calls about my picture in The Times holding a sign reading, "We Want A Better Shreveport."

A few mentioned the sign and had interesting thoughts on its intended message.

To clear the air, I'd like to introduce A Better Shreveport to those that don't know about it.

A Better Shreveport is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life in Shreveport. Since moving back home, this is the most interesting and inspirational group I have been introduced to.

Through a small core group, this organization provides a voice for advocates of forward-thinking community projects such as a dog park at Hamel's Memorial Park, Coates Bluff Greenway, a bike-pedestrian master plan and the Velo Dendro bicycle tour Saturday.

This isn't an easy process as their advocacy and passion can sometimes cause discomfort, but it is a necessary effort in a community with so much opportunity.

I encourage you to get involved in groups like this that can make a real difference in shaping our community's

future. You can find out more at abettershreveport.org, abettershreveport.blogspot.com, on Facebook and at 5 p.m. Mondays on KSCL-FM.

- David W. Young

Post-ride remarks from Hallie Dozier, leader of Shreveport's Velo Dendro 2011

"I really enjoyed it. You did a great job pulling it together," says Hallie Dozier, forester and leader of Shreveport's Velo Dendro.

Along the way, Hallie saw several tree-based priority items -

- The trees in Oakland Cemetery: "Need help in contacting whoever would be in charge of the Oakland Cemetery so I can try to set up an arborist service day there next spring and get some of the trees in better shape."

- The champion sycamore at AC Steere park: "Need to contact whomever is the correct person to see about doing another possible arborist service day on the sycamore at Steere. If nothing else, it needs to be mulched."

- Additional rides to be considered: "If ABS decides to add any kind of other rides (history, architecture, recording studios, great food, etc.) please make sure you let me know so I can join! And please feel free to pick my brain for any nuggets of wisdom that might be stuck there."

She also passed along a helmet encouragement via an untimely death notice:

A Bossier City teenager died Sunday afternoon after falling off his bicycle, police there report.
According to a release, 13-year old Marcus Griffin was riding his bike on the road in the 2400 block of Hoyer Street at around 2:30 p.m. when the chain on his bike apparently locked up, causing him to tumble over the handlebars. The youth's head struck the pavement, witnesses told fire personnel, the release said.
Griffin was taken to LSU Hospital in Shreveport where he was pronounced dead, police said.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Learning from Velo Dendro 2011: the number of riders drops to about 50

First, it was a smooth ride. Everyone seemed happy with the experience. And the crowd was of an effective size, said Hallie Dozier.

Yet where were those additional 25 to 30 riders that we expected?

Looking forward to analyzing the lower turn-out in the meeting on Monday.

Please see slideshow of snaps at flickr.com/photos/robert_trudeau.

Friday, October 21, 2011

New Monthly Meeting Format and Other ABS Improvements Decided at Last Meeting!

In attendance: Garrett Johnson, Susan Fontaine, Carolyn Manning, Katherine Brandle, Steph Pedro, Jennette Ginsburg, William Hartman, Loren Demerath

DUCK POND CLEANUP

The group discussed Daniel Gehrig's planned upcoming cleanup of the duck pond on November 5th.

It was mentioned there might be conflicts of interest with fracking, and the brief discussion around that it was noted the more we're in need of funds for our projects, the more vulnerable we are be getting comprimised in what is in the interests of the city, the environment, etc.

VELO DENDRO

Garrett reported that all bases are covered with Velo Dendro, and that Robert has noted a need to get “corkers” assigned when we begin that day.

MAYOR'S MEETING ON DOWNTOWN

Letters to the Shreveport Times on the meeting have been written by ABS members Jennette Ginsburg, Robert Trudeau, and David Young; they'll also be shared via the blog (see Robert's below), whether or not they are published in the newspaper. There had been questions from some at the meeting about who ABetterShreveport is and whether we were there to protest (we were not). Jennette's letter was about public prayer. It was noted that there is seems to be a lack of awareness sometimes here of how public prayer makes freedom of religion difficult. Robert's letter noted, among other things, that the Mayor didn't recognize any of the community groups in attendance at the meeting.

DOG PARK

The wine and beer tasting fundraiser is coming up on the 5th of November. There'll be a silent auction, and we're still accepting donations for that. We can now take credit cards under ABS with an app we now have. Over 50 people have bought tickets already, and we're hoping for 200.

CAPACITY BUILDING ACTION PLAN

The rest of the meeting focused on an action plan for building ABS capacity.

Job Descriptions: It was agreed that people would come to the next meeting with their own ideas of descriptions of board and officer and committee chair positions. It was noted that people may notice that they may already do what board members are supposed to do, or that they don't and are board members. We wear hats as committee chairs in addition to being a board member or a member. The board structure and duties of the Philiadelphia Center board members was discussed as an example (Garrett is on the board there as well). In sum: members are to draft a standard job description for each officer position, standard board member position, and committee chair person position that they hold, or if they desire one. The deadline is 10/31 when we'll discuss it.

Board manual: it can come out of the position descriptions. Susan, Steph, Susan and Loren will be on the board manual committee (page 8-9 in the report has ideas; a lot of the content exists already; we can borrow from elsewhere; due in mid January).

Adoption of professional ettiquite procedures: we can adopt the ones we want to give us more structure. If we want to build our capacity, we may have to make decisions. We can invite David Beiler in November or December to speak on Roberts Rules, and answer questions such as how might be able to minimize what we use.

Accessibility: this was discussed in terms of meeting purposes and schedule. The Lake Street Dance Hall could be the site of our social meeting {though we later discovered that is closed on Monday and so Robert and Loren decided Columbia would be site}. It was noted social meetings could also be a bike ride or a walk. It was decided the social meeting will always be the first meeting of every month. The programmed meeting will be the second; the board meeting the third; and the advocacy event the fourth (e.g., write letters, painting sharrows, attending other events/meetings at other times). Timeline: beginning of the month at Columbia. It was also noted that we need a point person for maintaining a calendar. Every month Steph will do that and throw it to Robert for the newsletter. The meeting minutes can continue to be sent out just to the board and posted on the blog, but with an announcement of what's next and highlights from the last meeting via mailchimp to the larger list used by the newsletter.

Archive radio show: use archive.org says Sara Hebert; we'll wait for Robert to take that up. 2 months for the timeline.

Database: Susan and Garrett will be the team for creating and maintaining the database of members and info such as dues being paid, contact info, day job, fields of expertise, skills, what they can bring, etc.; A membership benefit package was also mentioned as a possibility by Susan. An annual membership drive could follow from that. Benefits of dues could be discounts to fundraisers; Loren noted that a transparent budget is also what should justify our dues. Timeline: 2 or 3 months. (Loren also approved paying a monthly $10 fee budgeting software as suggested by Steph and Susan in the course of this discussion.) We'll have quaterly statements as well. Organizational fundraising would be a seperate committee. Velo Dendro could be the same thing as the paddles for the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society.

Newsletter: this is Robert's domain; hopefully he can get one out announcing our social hour and new format soon {and he did!}.

Media release template: done.

The media contact list: structured but needs to be updated; Carolyn (with Robert as Co-Chair) will take that task and finish in six weeks.

NEXT WEEK:

Next week we'll have a meeting planning session for November and December; what should our themed meetings and advocacy sessions be about? Come with ideas!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Robert Trudeau: One person's response to the recent forum presented by Shreveport MayorCedric Glover

Shreveport's abominable streets were addressed in some detail by Mayor
Cedric Glover in the recent forum held in the Municipal Auditorium.
That was the meaty part of his presentation. Otherwise, the Mayor used
his powerful voice to rehash downtown development stories at
considerable length.

The forum was overdue. It was somewhat helpful.
Alas, the presentation was distinctly old school.

Following a video celebrating the Mayor and SRAC's successful
Shreveport Common grant app,a long and detailed lecture was read by
the Mayor. Meanwhile the city department heads were imprisoned in the
front rows of the auditorium as though they were members of the king's
court.

Allow me to make suggestions for future forums.

a) On that giant screen you might project factoids and illustrations -
use a perceptive photographer for your images - that highlight and
summarize the
text of the speech.

b) Add an additional screen to the presentation and allow participants to post
questions for the Mayor via Twitters (edited) projected on the screen
(we were told that you enjoy Twitting).

c) Position the city department heads at labeled tables around the room so they
are available to public questions from the start of the forum.

d) Respond analytically to the audience. You recognized the ministers
- why not note the presence of 2 rows of people associated with A
Better Shreveport?

e) Use public appearances to offer some level of transparency in
government. Example: "This meeting cost $3000 and the funds came from
the __ budget. We expect to use photos from this event in applying for
the next downtown rehab grant," etc etc.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Recommendations for Improving ABS Discussed at Last Meeting; an Action Plan on the Agenda for the 17th

In attendance: Jennette Ginsburg, Steph Pedro, Carolyn Manning, Garrett Johnson, Robert Trudeau, David Young, Brian Salvatore, Loren Demerath, Katherine Brandle, Cynthia Keith, Maurice Loridans, Feico Kempff, Susan Fontaine, Jon Soul


The meeting’s focus was to review Jennette Ginsburg’s report (posted on this blog) made about how ABS might improve its capacity for accomplishing its mission. Jennette reviewed the basics of her report, where she describes the results of a survey of organization members she administered, and recommendations she made based on those results.


Among the recommendations are to clarify job descriptions, and to use action plans--including tasks, time frame, and who’s responsible.


The group expressed its gratefulness to Jennette for her hard work on the report.


The group discussed the recommendations and general issues raised by the report.


One such issue is the idea of seeking to have a unified message representing the group, particularly in controversial discussions, though it was also noted that expressing diversity of opinion within the group is consistent with its initial mission of externalizing conversations about a better Shreveport.


On job descriptions, it was noted that we can start by writing our own, then have a discussion from there.


As to communication with the larger membership of some-time attendees to meetings, it was noted that we no longer send emails to that larger group. Our intention has been to use the newsletter instead. It was noted that people can feel like they’re part of the group if they get regular stuff, such as a monthly newsletter, and weekly minutes report. We probably need to reiterate in every newsletter, that to comment on issues go to facebook, to read up on the group’s structure and projects go to abettershreveport.org (though it’s out of date), to see latest posts, go to the blogspot; and ideally, they should be centralized. There should at least be facebook links in the newletters and minutes reports. Garrett said that facebook is where the dialog happens; we could link to every blog entry in facebook. A goal could be to match the blog viewers to the facebook viewers.


The group decided to go over the action plan for implementing recommendations on the 17th. It was suggested that people bring back the action plan (which can be found in the report) with notes on it to the meeting on the 17th.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Downtown Development Authority Events: Lunch on the Lawn and nationally-known Visual Merchandising Expert visiting Cohabitat to consult our community!


The Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Shreveport Unlimited have partnered to bring Susan Shaddox to downtown Shreveport October 13-14. Shaddox is a nationally-known Visual Merchandising Expert who has worked with businesses around the country to provide high impact-low cost ways to increase interest and sales. Shaddox not only works with businesses on their window displays but also fa├žade appeal and other aspects that may turn potential customers away.

Shaddox will be meeting with downtown businesses, building owners and entrepreneurs on Thursday, October 13 from 5:30-7:00 pm at CoHabitat, 610 Commerce Street. That evening, Shaddox will focus on visual displays that promise big bang for little bucks. Free wine and beer will be served!

Monday, October 10, 2011

ABetterShreveport members will sit together at the Mayor's meeting tonight



Please try to get there before 6pm to sit in our ABetterShreveport section.  We will have messages on dowels for those who wish to hold them.

Velo Dendro Shreveport: Sat, Oct 22, 8:30 am, at Columbia Cafe

Velo Dendro is a bicycle tour of Shreveport's trees sponsored by A Better Shreveport. A relaxed ride, it has drawn 80 to 100 riders per event in its first 2 years.

Please register at 8:30 am at Columbia Cafe. Registration is $10 and includes T-shirt, snack and lunch.

The tour is led by LSU forester Dr Hallie Dozier, a former Shreveporter. Matthew Linn, proprietor of Columbia cafe, is tour co-producer. Robert Trudeau and Garrett Johnson are the coordinators for 2011.

Those taking the entire tour will return to Columbia Cafe for lunch, which is included in the $10 registration fee.

The tour visits Betty Virginia Park before winding through old Broadmoor, taking a break at Centenary College and going via Olive St to the Stoner Boat Launch (water & fruit). There the group spins down the Fant bikeway to downtown. Group photos at Riverview Fountains. Thence we return to Columbia Cafe.

This year A Better Shreveport will be overall sponsor of the event. Joining as sponsors are Pratt Industries, Columbia cafe, the Bike Pedaler and River City Cycling.

If you'd like to help with planning or an event task, please email Robert Trudeau, coordinator, at trudeau11@gmail.com.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Please join our Facebook page!  Although we have three times as many viewers of this blog as Facebook, some members have voiced that they prefer commenting on Facebook rather than our blog.

You can also post on this blog and then send the comment to FB by clicking the Facebook icon at the bottom of the post.

Happy Blogging...because our news matters too.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mayor Glover to share information on downtown development

An informative event approaches that should be interesting:
Mayor Cedric Glover will share important information regarding initiatives that will directly affect downtown, the Texas Avenue Community, and the City of Shreveport.

The Mayor will focus on the following community initiatives:

  • The Shreveport Common Plan
  • Choice Neighborhoods/Ledbetter Heights Initiative
  • Capital Projects
  • Demolition of the Annex Building/Greyhound Relocation
  • Status of I-49 Inner City Connector Project
  • Adjudicated Property
  • Update on Ledbetter Heights Community Center (1996Geo-BondPropositionNo.2)
Date: Monday, October 10, 2011
Time: 6:00 PM
Place: Municipal Auditorium 705 Elvis Presley Boulevard Shreveport, Louisiana

A proposal to rejuvinate the duck pond!

Daniel Gehrig recently was a guest on the radio show and later filled us in on the details of a potentially beneficial project for our city. Here's his post:

Recent news stories have describe the extent to which the ecological condition of the duck pond has degraded. Although these pieces highlight the current condition of the duck pond, further assessment reveals an even more troubling picture. The duck pond’s water level is not only low, but it seems that we are in the middle of an increasingly severe drought. Whether the severity of the current situation is due to anthropogenic forces or natural cycles, the latest drought illustrates how drastically some vulnerable ecosystems can change. Moreover, the duck pond also suffers from an increasingly dominant cluster of invasive flora and fauna. The City of Shreveport is aware of these problems and is working with Louisiana Environmental Solutions, a subsidiary of Phillips Energy Partners, to develop a plan that will restore the duck pond to a healthier, more natural state.

The “duck pond” is a very vague term, but it is generally thought of as the body of water located to the east of East Kings Highway between Shreveport Barksdale Highway and East 70th Street.

The duck pond and other such bodies of water in the area were formed by hundreds of years of erosion and weathering during which natural forces gradually shaped the area. Once a filled flood plain, this area’s potential was unlocked when Captain Henry Miller Shreve cleared the Great Raft of deadwood from the Red River. Using his personally designed steamboat named the Heliopolis, Captain Shreve cleared the 150 mile logjam that caused the river to flood this area, draining what is now eastern Shreveport. Because of Cpt. Shreve’s actions, many bodies of water, like the ones on the map, were disconnected from the river. Since 1839 when Cpt. Shreve’s completed his work, the only way the water in these basins have been able to be recharged is through precipitation; the effects of a lack of precipitation can be seen today.

In addition to the extremely low water level, another significant issue the duck pond is facing is the relentless encroachment of invasive flora and fauna. Among the most damaging are the nutria (Myocastor coypus), Chinese Tallow Tree (Sapium sebifera), and mimosa (Albizia julibrissin). Invasive species of plants and animals are harmful to native ecosystems because they disrupt the natural balance needed to promote biodiversity. Invasive species can also have a significantly negative economic impact. As an example, the nutria, which is native to South America, has very few predators in Shreveport. It is well adapted to eat the vegetation that grows here and has even been seen eating bread. These rodents not only fill a niche otherwise occupied by native animals, but they also exhibit destructive feeding and burrowing habits. Overall, many would agree that their existence in our area is more harmful than beneficial.

The last significant problem we will try to address is one of litter. The Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society will provide a number of volunteers to help with the project; they clean the Duck Pond quarterly so should be able to offer a good amount of experience.

Their quarterly cleanup focuses on removing as much litter as possible. Litter impacts water quality, harms wildlife habitat, and wastes resources. In addition to the aesthetic problems that litter causes, there is the more serious issue of the effects on wildlife. In this case, the animals most adversely affected by the litter are the ducks that live in the area. Litter comes in many forms, ranging from small cigarette butts to large shopping carts and abandoned crawfish traps. Plastic bags, glass, metal, Styrofoam, tires, and derelict fishing gear are all examples of trash that often ends up in our rivers, lakes and in our duck pond. Sharp glass, strangling plastic, and cigarettes that animals mistake for food harm the local wildlife.

Compounding the problem, studies show that approximately 1 in 5 people are intentional litterers. They feel no sense of responsibility and expect that someone else will pick up after them, an “it’s someone else’s job” attitude that is typically not the case. Also, liter begets liter. Once an environment is littered, people are more likely to continue the behavior. Hopefully this project will raise people’s awareness of the harmful effects of littering; litter abatement and educational projects are crucial to the upkeep of our natural areas and the reputation of our city.

The City of Shreveport understands these problems that face this popular park and is determined to solve them. Because of the large area that the park covers, Louisiana Environmental Solutions will focus on the main portion located between East Preston Avenue and Shreveport Barksdale Highway. The plan being developed will have three main stages to address the three main problems we have identified:

1. Remove all of the trash from in the pond and the surrounding area.

2. Eliminate as many invasive species of plants and animals as possible and reintroduce native plant and animal species. We will also develop a long-term plan to keep the ecosystem healthy.

3. Refill the Duck Pond to the normal water level.

If other details can be worked out, we might also remove a significant portion of sediment that has settled at the bottom of the Duck Pond, make a few minor architectural changes, and install an aeration fountain. In addition to the Bayou Chapter of the Ozark Society, we are closely working with The US Fish and Wildlife Service to identify what plants and animals should be removed and the correct plants and animals to reintroduce.

We know that this is a big project and will take much effort, that’s why we are reaching out to a host of organizations. Although we have a strong team, we need to have as much community support as possible. The volunteer portion of the project will start November 5th at 8:30 am. There is much work to do. The work is also labor intensive so come ready to get dirty. If you have ever enjoyed the Duck Pond, are concerned about the environmental quality of our city, or are simply looking for a way to give back we would appreciate any help.

If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at Daniel.Gehrig@H2Operation.com. Thanks you for your help and hopefully we can work together to make Shreveport a better Shreveport!

Thank you Daniel! Sounds like a great idea!