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Bayou Economy: An Exploration of Bayou-Generated and Bayou-Sustaining Industries

To those who have not drifted lazily along a glistening mud-bank, sprawled across the flat-bottom keel of a Jon-boat beneath a magnificent canopy of reaching Cypress boughs, illuminated by the fiery oranges and blinding-whites of fractals of shattered light piercing through long-needled Pines, the value of the Louisiana bayou cannot be explained in articulable terms. Likewise, the magnitude of its contribution to the health and prosperity of the state and its inhabitants cannot be measured in dollars or in miles, for neither abstraction can readily accommodate the scale necessary to describe the bountiful abundance which has, so silently, and for so long, sheltered and nourished and sustained its inhabitants.

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Religion, Education, and the Species

Primacy and the Subordination of Man: Among all the various flavors of Christian teaching across the many cultures and languages which have embraced it, great differentiation is to be found, from nation to nation, city to city, and church to church, in the specific beliefs which adherents possess. This differentiation results from generational alterations to inherited forms, which themselves were more of the same, caused by innovative interpretations, incomplete inherited forms, omission in subsequent transmission of those forms, and structural changes related to language, region, dialect, usage, etc. Taken together, these many forms are like the proverbial coat of many colors, representing a rich living tapestry of concepts and traditions which provide insight into each contributor’s growth, understanding, disposition, and cultural outlook. Most of these forms are complementary, some are contradictory, but in hierarchical terms, they all share at least one common unifying principle: …

Review: The Black Side of Shreveport, by Willie Burton

Burton, Willie. The Black Side of Shreveport. Shreveport: Southern University of Louisiana, 1983, 159. Reviewed by Steven Harkness.
With the Emancipation Proclamation, Abraham Lincoln set a race of people free from the indignity of slavery. With the Union victory over the Confederate states, the government promised reform via Reconstruction. With the contentious election of Rutherford B. Hayes  though, the political will to carry those reforms forward in earnest fell subordinate to the need for compromise and continuity. Within a generation, the cause of the black citizen passed from pipedream to political controversy to conflagration to compromise to catharsis. The white man would not help, and would not keep his promises, and could not be counted on for meaningful change. All truth existed on a continuum, and this truth was more true in the south than in the north, more true in the cotton belt than in many other southern areas, and perhaps nowhere at all more t…

Review: Legendary Locals of Shreveport, by Gary Joiner and Andrew Prime

Joiner, Gary and John Andrew Prime. Legendary Locals of Shreveport. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2016, 126. Reviewed by Steven Harkness.
The most important criticism of Gary Joiner’s who’s-who of Shreveport history is that he isn’t in it. Joiner’s local street-cred as a man of letters is perhaps unmatched in the community. He has authored, co-authored, edited, introduced, collaborated, and consulted dozens of titles. His efforts to preserve and present the region’s cultural history are such that his own role in its development becomes inextricable from any study of the subject. Dr. Joiner has participated in legal contests and radio broadcasts and has aided and advanced the cause of thousands of students, researchers, and curious souls just trying to place themselves in the scheme of things. Gary Joiner is nearly ninety-seven years old and still lectures in the morning!
Legendary Locals of Shreveport is broken into five chapters, which cover much of the sociological spectrum. The…

Review: Shreveport: The Beginnings, by Holice H. Henrici

Henrici, Holice H. Shreveport: The Beginnings. Lafayette: University of Southwestern Louisiana, 1985, 89. Reviewed by Steven Harkness.
When one speaks of “the founders,” one often speaks with reverence and idealized gratitude, as if speaking of noble and worthy men whose steadfast examples of virtue and ethics are the very stuff upon which the roads were laid and the schools were built. It is as though their lives transcend the individual human experience and become models for the conduct and development of the community as a whole. Their words and deeds become mythologized into symbols and philosophies of cohesion and cultural identity. Shreveport was not founded by such men, however. Shreveport was greedy, vicious, and corrupt from day one. To get a taste the ruthless depravity with which a handful of men set about staking out their own claims on the American Dream, it is necessary to look no further than Shreveport: The Beginnings, by Holice H. Henrici,
In broad form, the book te…

Shots Fired, Souls Forgotten: Gun Crime in Shreveport

On the 9th of October, KSLA News 12 reported that “Police found 20 year old Que’Lexus Hunter and a 1-year old girl, each with a gunshot wound to the leg.” Neither the nation, the state, or the city ground to a halt in disbelief or protest or outrage. According to another source, “Detectives learned that shots were fired into the residence from outside of the home, hitting Hunter and her baby.” Toward the end of these articles, and countless dozens of 2 others, if not hundred just like it, the reporter will inform the public that any information they can provide to law enforcement regarding the crime or the perpetrators is appreciated. For Hunter, and hundreds just like her, and many hundreds more who were less fortunate, that is where the story ends. The assailants appear and disappear as suddenly, as if apparitions in some Hollywood movie, presumably to live on with naught but the guilt of their actions and a vague fear of punishment as consequence. The KLFY news station website rep…