Shreveport, Louisiana is the third largest metropolitan city in the state of Louisiana, USA. It is located in Caddo Parish, and as of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 200,145. Bossier City lies across the Red River in Bossier Parish, and together, the population exceeds 330,000. Shreveport is the commercial and cultural center of the Ark-La-Tex, the area where Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas meet. Shreveport exercises a great pull over this region for example: people in East Texas watch and donate money to the Louisiana Public Broadcasting Service because Texas does not fund a PBS in northeast Texas.
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According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 305.1 km² (117.8 mi²). 267.1 km² (103.1 mi²) of it is land and 37.9 km² (14.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 12.44% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 200,145 people, 78,662 households, and 50,422 families residing in the city. The population density is 749.2/km² (1,940.5/mi²). There are 86,802 housing units at an average density of 324.9/km² (841.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 46.66% White, 50.80% African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.79% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.45% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 1.55% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 78,662 households out of which 30.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% are married couples living together, 21.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% are non-families. 30.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 10.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.48 and the average family size is 3.12.
In the city the population is spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 21.1% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 87.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $30,526, and the median income for a family is $37,126. Males have a median income of $31,278 versus $21,659 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,759. 22.8% of the population and 18.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 33.3% are under the age of 18 and 16.3% are 65 or older.
The town was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Company, a development corporation established to start a town at the meeting point of the Red River and the Texas Trail. The Red River was cleared (and made newly navigable) by Captain Henry Miller Shreve, who commanded the US Army Corps of Engineers. An 180-mile long raft of debris had previously clogged passage. In his honor the company and the village of Shreve Town were named. On March 20, 1839 the town was incorporated as "Shreveport." In 1871, it became a city.
Shreveport was originally contained within the boundaries of a section of land sold to the company by the indigenous Caddo Indians in the year of 1835. In 1838 Caddo Parish was made out of Natchitoches (pronounced "NACK-a-dish") Parish and Shreve Town became the parish seat. Shreveport remains the parish seat of Caddo Parish today.
Originally the town was as large as 64 city blocks deivided by eight streets running west from the Red River, and eight streets running South from Cross Bayou, one of its tributaries. Today the 64 block area is the city's central business district and is a National Register of Historic Places listed area.
Shreveport and Bossier City have six historic districts and a plethora of NR listed landmarks. In fact, Shreveport is second only to New Orleans among Louisiana cities with many historic landmarks. In particular, the McNeill Street Pumping Station, an 1887 waterworks that is still in use, is a unique example of its type. Also located near Shreveport is Barksdale Air Force Base, opened in 1944 as Barksdale Army Air Field. It came into national attention recently when President George W. Bush was taken there during the September 11th attacks. It also came into national attention when B-52 bombers based from there participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Their attacks on fixed hard targets and the famed Iraqi Republican Guard Medina Division using state of the art JDAMs and other munitions marked a new era in U.S. air power where precision guided munitions were used more than "dumb" bombs with devastating effect. See Shock and Awe.
The Red River, opened by Shreve in the 1830s, remained navigable until 1914 when disuse, owing to the rise of the railroad as the preferred means of transporting goods and people, allowed it to begin silting up. Not until the 1990s was navigation of the river again possible to Shreveport. Today the port of Shreveport-Bossier City is being developed once again as a shipping center.
In present time, Shreveport is a very busy metro city, host to various riverboat casinos and second in Louisana tourism only to New Orleans. The city boasts the world's largest rose garden, appropriately enough called The National Rose Garden. The Red River Revel is a yearly event featuring local music, food and entertainers and draws in hundreds of thousands of individuals from across the tri-state area. Other annual festivals include Mudbug Madness, a celebration of the crawfish, Holiday in Dixie, and the Louisiana State Fair.