Exploring Shreveport Architecture
Northwest Louisiana is a stunning corner of the country, known for its Southern charm and infusion of Creole and Cajun cultures. Nestled in this area is the thriving city of Shreveport, which has architectural landmarks that continue to wow visitors. Next time you’re in the area, you need to check out some of the following architectural highlights that the city showcases.
Shreveport is the birthplace of pharmacists Abe and Julain Saenger, though the pair also showed a large interest in cinema. They constructed many buildings on Milam Street, including the Strand Theatre, with the help of architect Emile Weil.
The theatre is one of the many highlights of older architecture in the city, which will turn 100 years old next year!
Known for its corner entrance and openwork cast concrete dome, the Strand Theatre showcases other baroque-style architectural elements like massive arches, twisted columns, cartouches, scrolled ornament, and more. The theatre is just as impressive inside, with its oval marble lobby, grand staircase, gilded ceiling, and deep balconies–you’ll just have to see it for yourself!
Another great example of the wide range of architectural styles that grace downtown Shreveport is the Slattery Building. At the time it was built, it was the tallest private commercial structure in Louisiana.
Its neo-gothic style is remnant of the characteristics of early medieval structures, with a twentieth-century influence. As you can see in the exterior of the Slattery Building, this architectural style is evident through its strong vertical lines, pointed arches above windows and entryways, steep gables, ribbed vaulting, and tall towers.
All of these elements combined give the building a dramatic appearance that is just as riveting to visitors to this day as it was when it was constructed nearly 100 years ago.
Shreve Memorial Library
Constructed around the same time as the above two buildings, the Shreve Memorial Library showcases its own unique architectural style of Italian Renaissance Revival. This was a very common style across the country at the time, inspired by early 16th-century Italian Renaissance architecture found in palazzos in Rome, Venice, and Florence.
As you can see at the Shreve Memorial Library, this style is denoted by the formal design features like columns, round arches, and balustrades, and is typically made out of masonry or stone construction. Additionally, the exterior details were made by Paul Heerwagen, who also designed the interior of the Strand Theatre.
The last must-see architectural highlight of Shreveport that we’ll discuss here is the Municipal Auditorium. Made in Art Deco style, this building showcases intricate brickwork and a lavish interior that is slated by many as the finest example of Art Deco in the state.
It was designed by architect Samuel Weiner and was dedicated in November of 1929. In its earlier days, the auditorium would host the military and serve as a barracks for troops, though it quickly came to house one of the most influential programs for rising stars in the country, including Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Elvis Presley.
The perfect crossroads of both history and architecture, anyone visiting Shreveport cannot pass up the opportunity to check out the Municipal Auditorium.
There are countless other architectural highlights across Shreveport like The Standard, the Caddo Parish Courthouse, the Spring Street Historical Museum, and many more. So next time you’re in the area, go on your own self-guided architectural tour and check out some of these fascinating buildings across the city.
Bailey Schramm is a writer in partnership with wrought iron door manufacturers, Abby Iron Doors.