Friday, December 30, 2011

What to do with the Red River Entertainment District, formerly Shreve Square: put the emphasis on day life rather than night life

In the Times editorial "Reboot of Red River District on," Liz Swaine, executive director of the Downtown Development Authority, is quoted thusly, "What is loud and clear is that no one wants to go back to what it was. The desire is for more and different restaurants, amenities such as a bakery, coffee shop, dry cleaner, a place that sells Louisiana-made goods."

The Times pointed out that "the presence of CoHabitat, a shared workspace for professionals who work independently or on a freelance basis, just down the street has spurred new creative interest in the area that needs nourishment to grow."

We agree on emphasizing the day life of the charming space under the bridge. And have some ideas about resetting the tone of the daytime activities.

The district might create an alliance with SciPort and the Red River Waterway Visitor Center. I would like to see a program that send students - or tourists or senior citizens - to all 3 locations, one after the other.

At the District there could be River-centered workshops for students, visitors and senior citizens built around these themes:

1. model boat sketching and building - flatboats, steamboats, futuristic pontoon bridges.
2. architecture of the turn-of-the-century: make sketches and assemble models.
3. music and dance of the Red River valley - making percussion instruments and learning dances.
4. Creating stories and videos about the history of Shreveport based on historic source material. What about the story of the doctor who shot the town bully?
5. Best practices workshop: perusing photos of smart uses of riverfront development in many cities - from Little Rock to London - and making a sketch or writing a dream of how that might be implemented on Shreveport and Bossier's banks.

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