Friday, June 22, 2007

What's the sound of your city? A brief proposal to exploit the sounds along the Red River to add personailty to Shreveport-Bossier

Originally uploaded by Paul J Whaley
In Europe the cities and towns have ancient bells hanging from the towers. The bells ring and ripple, they intone with vast, round tones. Twelve noon seems to be a major deal with the keepers of the bells. But each hour may be marked with a minor but stylish flourish.

Shreveport has a few institutions that bring bells to the city. First Baptist Church brings a lovely, spare sound to East Shreveport. I'm not sure who else broadcasts the bronze. King's Highway Christian Church?

Regardless, I am not here to make a case for carillons. It can be argued that the steamboat whistle is Shreveport's signature sound. There's some 150 years of tradition to buttress that point.

Since I'm not a denizen of downtown except after hours, I don't know how magnificently our Red River boats blow. Do they all join in at noon? Is there a boat with a noticeably rich whistle? Is there a sounding that marks each hour of the day?

If not, we're neglecting a resource. While the casinos are still open, encouraging a coordinated and full use of the boat whistles on the Red is a way to create a sonic personality for a city that ought to consider a myriad small upgrades.

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