Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Visitors see virtually no cultural signage in Shreveport; venues and the public deserve big banners and music that say "Welcome to Louisiana"

Art Museum Banners
Originally uploaded by astonjay32
In a recent editorial entitled "Simple changes can increase tourism," the Times quoted a small and recent study of visitors whose result was that we need to "Clean up and make the local sites easier to find."

The Times said, "Visitors said they had a hard time finding information about the city. And once they were here, they said it was hard to find their way around." You are probably saying, with savored sarcasm, "No-o-o-o; Gee, whiz."

It is quite apparent that Shreveport does little to designate its facilities. This neglect affects visitors and residents, too. It means that local people don't know where the art and history centers are located.

On a regular basis I ask people whether they have been to or know about the Southern University Museum of Art Shreveport. It is right across the street from Robinson Film Center, but few know a dern thing about it.

Multicultural Center of the South, also on Texas St, is in the same category. Of course, the number of local people who have never visited Artspace is huge.

Giant, colorful banners that offer a unified design are what I suggest
for Shreveport. Installing such signs would be audacious in a city that has never had a clue about presentation of its riches.

Pardon me for adding one more expense to the signage list: on Fridays and Saturdays I'd love to see a brass band on the streetcorners in front of the four facilities on Texas St. One band moving up and down the street would do the trick.

We're talking about creating an unusual and provocative ambience. As a city in Louisiana, we almost have a responsibility to use street jazz. Let's shoulder the burden of reminding visitors as well as ourselves that we've got cool sites to see. It may require a little leap of faith, but it's OK: Shreveport, too, is a rhythmic and melodic destination.

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