Shreveport, Louisiana, 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. In 1902, Elder Henry Johnson, an Adventist evangelist, and his wife were sent to Shreveport to hold tent meetings. Here are his first impressions of Shreveport and Louisiana. “When we left Boone, Iowa, there was some snow on the ground; when we arrived at Shreveport, April 3, two days later, the flowers were in full bloom, reminding us of the month of June in the North. The warm weather has been somewhat trying on us, but we are now beginning to get accustomed to it. The nights are cool, and thus we can sleep well. The city of Shreveport has about eighteen thousand population, one-half of which are colored. There are more colored people in Louisiana than in any other State, with perhaps the exception of Georgia. They do nearly all the manual labor. Shreveport, the second city in size, is located in the northern part of the State. It has several factories, railroad shops, and eight railroads. Around Shreveport it is somewhat rolling, although the surface of Louisiana generally is extremely low and wet. For sixty or seventy-five miles just before reaching Shreveport we passed through dense forests standing in water. We have been told that portions of the southern part of the State are covered with water nearly all the time. The principal products are cotton in the north and rice in the south. The lumber industry is becoming a great thing. Northern capitalists are making investments all over the State and many sawmills are erected. Good timber land can be had in abundance for two dollars an acre. Much of the fine cypress finishing lumber comes from this State. The cost of living here is fully one-third more than in Iowa, although eatables could be raised in abundance, did the people have sufficient ambition. A little four-room house of modern build rents easily for twenty dollars per month. The fear of yellow fever limits building and investing. A scourge would drive from the city all who could go, and the value of property would drop to nothing. This, a business man tells me, is the cause of high rent” (Johnson, 1902).
Johnson, Henry. (1902, Apr. 29). The Worker’s Bulletin, p. 166.