Thursday, January 26, 2012


In attendance: Elizabeth Rosselli, Cynthia Keith, Kathryn Brandl, Robert Trudeau, Carolyn Manning, Loren Demerath, Ken Hawkins, Susan Keith, Steph Pedro, Maurice Loridans, Feico Kempff


Everyone at the meeting was very sorry to hear Maurice’s very sad news: his son-in-law’s 30 year-old brother, Nathan Crowson, was killed while riding a bicycle in Baton Rouge over the weekend. Nathan was riding on an arterial road at night, but in that area there is no
alternative. Nathan did not own a car and depended on bicycling for transportation. There will be a “ghost bike” placed at the position by BRASS in remembrance of the tragedy.

The group began to talk of frustrations with the city in its lack of planning and design for alternative transportation. To this day there is not a single bike lane in the entire city, even on newly built roads. Normally all that would be required would be painting the lines of the streets differently.

In discussing possible causes of this shortcoming it was noted that the Metropolitan Planning Commission apparently does not talk to the Community Development Office, contrary to what one would expect. The MPC seems to have a background in facilitating private development and does not attend to how general quality of life can be enhanced by using best practices. It was noted that the head of the MPC is a developer and the planner has come from engineering. It was speculated that the city may have underfunded the continuing professional development of the people in those positions. Paying for their attendance at conferences or workshops, for example, would have informed planning commissioners, planners, and engineers of the standard best practices for accommodating walking and bicycling. Indeed, when visitors to our city see no bike lanes, no bike paths, no dog park, little success in downtown revitalization and containing sprawl, etc., and when such things are standard in other cities, they’ll have to wonder about the quality of city administration.
The group decided to make a web page linked to ABS that shows not only what new roads look like, but how they could look using best practices, and, perhaps, to ask what is accountable for the discrepancy and how that can be changed. The title of the pages could be “Contrary to the Plan” considering that the Master Plan includes frequent mention of the need to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians.

It was noted that other cities manage to carve out space for bike paths and bike lanes. In Orlando, Florida, Carolyn noted she could almost not find a street without bike lanes. She even got out of her car and measured street widths there and here, and discovered our streets are the same size.

It was noted that if the excuse shouldn’t be money; Portland, Oregon received federal money to put bike lanes on most of the streets in the city. Shreveport would have access to that money too, we just need to ask for it.
The bicyclist killed in Baton Rouge, Nathan Crowson, was a thirty year-old father of a five year-old. (I feel compelled to express what’s been said at ABS meetings often before: it is unnecessarily dangerous for people who choose to bicycle for transportation in cities such as Shreveport. Those people often chose to bike not for economy, or even for the clearner environment, but because it’s better exercise and more fun than riding in a car. Cities that take that seriously will rise to the top in quality of life and will grow. Cities that don’t, won’t, and that describes Shreveport to this point. If our city is going change, our city officials need to change, at least by learning what the best practices are in urban planning.)

Speaking of best practices, the group then discussed how certain best practices in parking have been used for downtown development. Ken noted that Lafayette has transformed its downtown with a parking garage that’s multilevel and free. Steph noted that the West Village of Dallas has one. Loren noted that Northampton, Massachusetts does too. Robert suggested there may be a sister organization in Lafayette that could send us a video snippet of Johnston St. in Lafayette to illustrate it. Lafayette is half our size, and Northampton is half of that (though Loren noted how those communities have more sizable proportions of a “creative class” connected with higher education than does Shreveport; Sociologist Richard Florida’s research shows that low-income college students and graduate students are often willing to live [and bicycle] as other members of the middle class are not). It was noted that Liz Swaine is having trouble with property owners in getting a parking garage. Maurice pointed out that the owners of the private lots will be enemies of any free downtown parking. The master plan talks about garages on the perimeter, or just behind the buildings along the main street.

Cynthia mentioned that Paypal would help the dog park fundraising as well as projects ABS might want to raise funds for in the future. It was noted that doesn’t cost anything to set it up, but they take a small percentage of each contribution. It was agreed that we would do it; Carolyn knows how and will do it for us.

It was noted that ABS has so many different projects and ideas to pursue, more members would help, and that we could do more to draw people into the group, and to specific projects. Centenary’s Office of Global Engagement has been one ally, pointing some students to our projects; Trevor Stine and his transportation mapping project for ABS is an example of that. Elizabeth Roselli, a Centenary Sociology Major who is doing an internship with ABS, is another example of the benefits of the Centenary connection the group has had.
Elizabeth noted that the blog and/or homepage could be more focused and describe more specifically what potential projects could be. Ken noted that a top ten list of projects might be good, and/or a list of achievements as well. Steph noted that we post an annual report with that kind of information, but they’re not ordered and numbered; it was agreed that such things could be more prominently featured. Steph suggested that we might try to create a “Prezi” presentation to present our top ten list of working ideas, to show who are, and what we’ve accomplished.
One project would be show through prezi presentation what all the different non-profit quality of life organizations are in Shreveport, to have faces of people display who work there with contact information, and to show how they overlap with each other in various ways. Another project is to post archived radio shows, and Loren promised to remind Michael Laffey about that.

On Saturday morning, Maurice and Steph will assist state archeologist Dr. Jeff Girrard along with one or two more volunteers to do a GPS of the tombstones and the Coates Bluff trail.

The group decided to join LANO (Louisiana Association of Non-profit Organizations). There is a monthly fee to pay, but we’ll get a professional trained treasurer out of it, as well as a variety of other resources. [Later in the week Loren ran into Leia Lewis at the run-throughs of the TedX Talks and she said she can present to ABS the system of resources she’s been developing for LANO. Loren promised the group would set aside a week to hear about it practice using it.

The group was happy to hear the total is likely to be around $12,500! Official tabulation to come!

Without any prodding by Robert or Loren (really!) the group decided to not meet next Monday night, but instead attend the local TedX talks at Cohabitat (where Loren and Robert are both presenting). Cohabitat is at 610 Commerce St., one block west from the Barnwell Center. Admission is free. Loren will be presenting on how the dynamics of ABS help us understand how organizations provide energy, while Robert will be presenting on celebrating Mardi Gras DIY style. (The Asiana Festival and Leia Lewis' Sankofa will also be presented that night.)



Technical difficulties getting started prohibited Loren’s taking attendance, but he believes the meeting included David Young, Brian Salvatore, Steph Pedro, Kathryn Brandl, Garrett Young, Elizabeth Roselli, Maurice Loridans, and others. Rough notes are as follows:

Garrett reported on the bike coop; will be in May when they need everyone's help; Maurice and Garrett and Ian webb met recently about it.

A coop could help with education and safety training as well as serving as a used bike and parts depository. Steph went to a bicycle clinic recently for young people and found that 60% of the bikes had training wheels on them because so many don't know how to ride; and that's for all income groups.

In terms of location the highland center was discussed because of recent changes; Rutherford House is
another possibility as well as places downtown; the YMCA is also a possibility, especially if they get an additional new space; Caroline Eckel is working with them.

Cora Allen Day is coming up; this is in honor of a Shreveport, African-American lady who built the Corinthian Temple in the 30's. Robert's doing the illustrations for the children's coloring book for third graders, and there will be an essay contest for eighth graders. There will be a ladies breakfast as well. Also, on March 7th school kids will be at the Municipal Auditorium watching the video about Cora Allen and they'll be filmed for their reactions. Cora Allen may have been the first black woman in Shreveport to buy her own car and as well as to go to Europe.

As it was Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, the group watched the slide show from

It was noted that King blossomed out of civil rights. It was asked who has carried it forward? Maybe not an individual, but organizations have, like colorofchange and

It was noted we have two separate communities in Shreveport and there's a lot of separation by race. Other communities are trying to resolve that by having dinners with purposefully mixed race.

Blanc et noir had a dinner at Brothers and it was sadly homogeneously black.

Tutu Baker was a black-white commission formed after Cedar Grove.

It was noted ABS members could go to the Tuesday morning breakfast club; once a month a gathering of black community leaders; head of the local NAACP chapter is head of it.

Best to meet with an already established group, otherwise can be uncomfortable.

There’s also a musicians group that meets (over breakfast?) at the McDonalds at Jewella and Greenwood.

It was suggested that ABS take a month talking to every neighborhood association and asking what concerns them. Can talk to churches as well. We need to go to them and find out what they need and are interested in.

The group discussed how I-49 divides the city, and then how it may not be facilitating growth to have the extension go through the city. Truck stops and distribution warehouses such as in Dallas would
destroy the neighborhood. We need to specify what economic development.

With the bike-ped plan funding from the community foundation Steph and Carolyn are starting counts. Pledge cards for amount of biking; education outreach is in the cards too. Not enough funding to actually draw up a plan though.

As to people who get on facebook and say we should work on XYZ, they need to persuade us and contribute their own leadership to it. We may need to reiterate there again the grand plan of ABS; come in and champion a plan and the group will help, but we're not an army waiting for orders from anyone. We're a “thinkubator”; thinking about ideas to get them going. If you have an idea, put it into discussion and see how far it goes. Putting in a request isn't enough. You have to persuade others to join you.

BTW, Elerbee Road residents thought they were getting a bike lane...

TABS, Mon, Jan 30, at 5 pm: a Sustainability Learning Community at Centenary College with profs Jeanne Hamming and Troy Messina

Jeanne Hamming by trudeau
Jeanne Hamming, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

"GreenHouse, Centenary's Sustainability Living Learning Community, allows students who share an interest in environmental and sustainability issues to live and study together in a designated residence hall. Students who participate in the GreenHouse will enjoy access to team-taught learning-labs, special events and programs, service-learning and internship opportunities, and close contact with faculty outside of the classroom," says the college web site.

Dr Hamming and Dr Messina are the faculty moderators for the program.

Stream at KSCL.FM
Questions: 869 5297

And you are encouraged to attend the A Better Shreveport meeting, 6 to 7 pm, in the Wright Bldg, Centenary.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Baton Rouge Cycling Death

It didn't have to happen

Monday, January 23, 2012

Time for A Better Shreveport, KSCL, Mon, Jan 23, 5 pm: Cole Brand and April Dahm

Cole Brand will update listeners on the region's first evening of TEDx (technology/entertainment/design/independent) talks. TEDx RedRiver will be presented on Tues, Jan 31, 6 to 8 pm at CoHabitat, 610 Commerce St.

April Dahm will talk about Texas Ave Comm Assoc upcoming events, including the day honoring Cora M Allen, builder of the Calanthean Temple.

The program, 5 pm on Mondays, is Time for A Better Shreveport. Hosts will be Robert Trudeau and Carolyn Manning.

Stream the program at
Questions, comments: 869 5297

Friday, January 20, 2012

Public Meeting for the LA 3132 Inner Loop Stage 0 study Tues, Jan 24, 6 to 8 PM LSU-S University Center Ballroom

louisiana highways by trudeau
louisiana highways, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

The Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG) in conjunction with Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) will hold a Public Meeting for the LA 3132 Inner Loop Stage 0 study at the following time and place:
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
LSU-S University Center Ballroom
One University Place
Shreveport, LA
The purpose of this Public Meeting is to provide information on the status of the proposed project and obtain input from the public regarding possible alternatives. Representatives of LADOTD, the Northwest Louisiana Council of Governments (NLCOG), and the project team will be present to receive comments and answer questions related to the proposed project. All interested parties are invited and encouraged to attend.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Link to Eric Brock a look back article series...MLK Made an Important Speech in Shreveport

MLK Made Important Speech in City--a look back Aug 6%2C 2003

This was the first ever recording of Dr. King in 1958 when he was just 29 years old.  He spoke to a crowd of more than 500 at Galilee Baptist Church. Dr. Simpkins made the recording.

This article was published in the Forum on August 6, 2003.

Friday, January 13, 2012

MLK Day Celebration Meeting --Linking the Civil Rights Movement with today’s movements

Monday, January 16, from 6:00 to 7:00, ABetterShreveporters will gather, reflect, and commit to rebuilding the American Dream and Dr. King’s dream in 2012. We will honor Dr. King by ensuring the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement stays alive and vibrant in today's struggles for an economy that works for all. We will be at our regular meeting place, room 106 in the Wright Math Building on Woodlawn Ave., one block up from the Gold Dome.

We will watch a 4-minute video and then have a discussion following.

Of all the movements that came after the Civil Rights Movement, which ones have you participated in? What draws you to them?

In recent years, MLK Day has become a day where people provide short-term community service to under-served communities. While these services are well intentioned, they don’t necessarily address systemic causes of poverty and exclusion. What are some meaningful ways we can learn about and address systemic causes of poverty?

History of the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King, and Resurrection City

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in 1929 to a family deeply rooted in the African American
Baptist Church. Both his father and his maternal grandfather were Baptist ministers, and also
leaders in the local NAACP chapter in Atlanta, GA. Dr. King was exposed to social and economic
justice work very early on through his family, and while he first resisted his family heritage
rooted in Christianity, he came to accept his religious calling at Morehouse College.

After he became a pastor in Montgomery, Alabama in 1954, Dr. King joined other religious
leaders to protest the arrest of Rosa Parks by organizing a year-long bus boycott. The boycott
eventually led to the Supreme Court ruling that bus segregation was unconstitutional. In 1957,
he co-founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and coordinated civil rights
activities, and in 1963, organized the Birmingham Campaign to protest for civil rights. In the
same year, he gave his legendary “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington for Jobs
and Freedom to a crowd of over 200,000 people, calling for equality for people of all races and

Massive protests formed a movement that fought for desegregation, economic and political
equality. The protests led to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Voting Rights Act of 1965, the
first bills that protected the rights of people of color. Dr. King also spoke out against the
Vietnam War, and in 1967, he formed the Poor People’s Campaign to fight for economic justice
for all, with the goal to strengthen the federal government’s anti-poverty policies. While Dr.
King mobilized the African American Christian base, he also formed alliances with domestic
labor groups and international anti-colonial struggles.

After Dr. King’s assassination in 1968, other SCLC leaders carried on the Poor People’s
campaign. They secured 15 acres of land in Washington, DC, and over 2,800 people camped out
in Resurrection City, managed by Reverend Jesse Jackson. On June 19, 1968, over 50,000
marched to the Lincoln Memorial, where the March on Washington had taken place, to demand
a living wage for every employable citizen. Resurrection City was eventually disbanded by the
police, but it seems it returned in a new form in 2011!

The Civil Rights Movement was a truly extraordinary time that involved thousands of leaders
and millions of everyday people. Decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and Voting
Rights Act, communities of color, LGBT, immigrants, and many other organizers continue to
fight for justice and opportunity for all.

1. “King, Martin Luther, Jr. (1929-1968)” King Online Encyclopedia. The Martin Luther King, Jr.
Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.
2. Kelly, John. “Before Occupy DC, there was Resurrection City.” The Washington Post. December 2,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Advocate for the abused and neglected children of your community; participate in Volunteers for Youth Justice

Volunteering to serve as an advocate for the abused and neglected children of your community is an opportunity provided by Volunteers for Youth Justice.

By giving your time this year to a child in need you won't only feel good about the work you are doing, but you will help someone else in the process. That someone is a child, that without you might not have anyone on their side, writes Melody Hermes.

Volunteers for Youth Justice is a local non-profit serving the needs of abused and neglected children for 30 years. One of the programs we provide to the communities of Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, Jackson, and Webster Parishes is that of CASA.

Court Appointed Special Advocates - Specially trained volunteers serve as officers of the court and "friends" to children in need. These volunteer advocates are assigned by judges to speak on behalf of children who have been placed in foster care due to abuse or neglect. Their primary objective is to ensure that each child is placed in a safe, permanent home. Children with a CASA will spend a third less time in foster care.

Please join us for CASA Training:
January 21st and February 4th
8:30am to 4:30pm (breakfast & lunch provided)
820 Jordan Street, Suite 360,
Shreveport, LA 71101
***Seating is limited so please call, or email for reservations***
For more details you can contact:, or call 318-425-4413 and ask for Vickie.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

WHAT: Wine & Beer Tasting-with a BITE!
WHO: Shreveport Dog Park Alliance-fund raiser
WHEN: Saturday, January 14, 2012 7-10pm
WHERE: Barnwell Garden & Art Center, 601 Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport
COST: $35 donation -Attendees will enjoy wine and beer tastings from bottles that have animals on the label, that’s the BITE!
Also included are heavy hors d’oeuvres, Lion coffee, Raising Cane's sweet tea, soft drinks, silent auction, live music, and funniest animal photo contest.
WHY:Proceeds will go toward building a regional dog park to be located in
Hamel’s Memorial Park on the riverfront
DRESS: Dress in the colors of your pet or animal prints
MORE INFO: Cynthia Keith 469-1325

Shreveport Dog Park Alliance facebook page

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Monday's Meeting Postponed for Championship Game

After all, championships with Shreveport connections, must help make a better Shreveport, right? At least a little bit! Seaux, geaux Tigers!

"Shreveport's Got A Hold On Me": interviews with Chris Brown and Dan Garner on Mon, Jan 9, 5 pm, KSCL fm 91.3

Historian Chris Brown has completed his seventh collection of recordings associated with Shrevetown. This edition is called "Shreveport's Got A Hold On Me."

"You’ll hear songs by Shreveporters, songs about Shreveport, songs recorded in Shreveport, and songs released on Shreveport record labels. Featured artists include Clarence Williams' Blue Five, Paul Howard And His Arkansas Cotton Pickers, Tommy Cassel, Floyd Cramer, The Sensational Jones Singers Of Shrev. La., The Family Tree, Tommie Young, and more," writes Brown at his musical history blog, Shreveport Songs.

He'll discuss his work and play samples Mon at 5 pm, on Time for A Better Shreveport, KSCL, 91.3 fm. His seventh annual all-Shreveport radio show on his own weekly show, Romp and Stomp, is scheduled for Tues from 8-9pm.

Stream at

Also on Time for A Better Shreveport on Mon: musician-producer Dan Garner.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Magnet High geography class treks Coates Bluff Nature Trail, Shreveport

The first of Caddo Magnet High teacher Robert Trudeau's classes to enjoy Coates Bluff Nature Trail hit the path on Wed, Jan 4.

"The carpet of leaves on the trail meant not having to worry about mud on our shoes," said Trudeau. "We hiked the entire trail and were back in the 90-minute period. I was delighted to see that we have to squitch under another tree trunk this year."

Above, the student group hikes past Valencia Community Garden on their way to the trail entrance.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Michael Hughes, Hughes Recycling, and Hal Struckman, Eco-Mulch, Shreveport, on Time for A Better Shreveport Mon, Jan 16, 5 pm

Michael Hughes, Shreveport by trudeau
Michael Hughes, Shreveport, a photo by trudeau on Flickr.

Xmas tree recycling in Shreveport is easy at Eco-Mulch, says Hal Struckman, owner. The discarded tree will be mulched that day, he says.

Struckman will join Michael Hughes, Hughes Recycling owner, in an on-air chat at KSCL on Mon, Jan 16, says Robert Trudeau.

Chris Brown, music historian, will be the guest Mon, Jan 9, says Trudeau. Brown will spin a selection of blues, country and soul tunes from a Shreveport compilation he recently completed. His latest collection is called "Shreveport Got A Hold on Me." Check his new blog, Shreveport Songs.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Attorney Sam Jenkins, City Councilman, District G, and Gary Joiner, historian-cartographer, on Time for A Better Shreveport on Mon, Jan 2, 5 pm

Time for A Better Shreveport, the weekly radio show from the grass roots civic organization A Better Shreveport, takes a look at city issues with attorney Sam Jenkins on Mon, Jan 2, 5 pm.

Jenkins represents District G, West Shreveport, and will discuss the common ground between the priorities of East and West Shreveport.

Also in the Centenary College studio to talk about Shreveport history is cartographer-historian-author Gary Joiner.

Joiner is excited about software, Lidar, that is enabling digital explorers to comb the Louisiana terrain in more detailed way than ever. Joiner has a new CD being released to the public in which he tells the history of the city on the Red River.

Stream at kscl. fm.
Questions, remarks: 869 5297.

Hosts are Robert Trudeau, Carolyn Manning and Loren Demerath.

A Better Shreveport meets at 6 pm Mons in the Wright Bldg, Centenary College. Business is done by 7 pm.