Featured photo: Downtown Shreveport photographed by Casey Habich.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you may be a University of Tulsa football fan who’s heard the news that the 2015 Camping World Independence Bowl planned for Saturday, Dec. 26 will feature Tulsa taking on the Virginia Tech Hokies. I’m not going to b.s. you: You likely know more about the match-up of these teams than I do. I’m a local arts and culture blogger, a casual college football fan and a Shreveport local who feels that it’s his duty to buy a ticket, sit in the stands, eat some nachos and have a beer at every Indy Bowl because it’s his hometown bowl. Honestly, there are worse civic duties out there.
But there are some things that you may not have heard about Shreveport and Bossier City (Bossier City is Shreveport’s “sister city,” if you will) in your local coverage.
1. Shreveport-Bossier is home to lots of incredible Louisiana food
New Orleans doesn’t have a monopoly on incredible, sometimes historic restaurants serving up outstanding Cajun and Creole fare. In business since 1936, Herby-K’s is an authentic Louisiana seafood dive on par with any other in the state. The place has an incredible atmosphere, and serves a famous twist on the po’ boy called the Shrimp Buster, an open-faced fried shrimp sandwich which involves pounding jumbo shrimp flat before frying them. Thrillist named Herby-K’s one of “the best Louisiana restaurants not in New Orleans.”
If you manage to save room for dessert, consider heading to Strawn’s Eat Shop for the diner’s famous ice box pies, which have been profiled in Southern Living magazine six times. Thrillist calls Strawn’s “one of the 21 best diners in America.” There are loads of other great places, too. We’ve collected many of the famous spots into one brochure, Eat Here: A Food Lover’s Guide to Shreveport-Bossier.
2. We’re experiencing a craft beer boom
If you like good, local beer, you’re in luck: the craft beer business is booming in Shreveport-Bossier. Great Raft Brewing, located 2.9 miles from Independence Stadium, is pretty widely regarded as the best brewery in Louisiana. Their tasting room is one of the most beautiful that I’ve seen anywhere, Louisiana or otherwise. Not only are their flagship lagers outstanding, the Independence Bowl happens to be played at a time of year when GRB is rolling out small-batch limited releases left and right.
In Bossier City, the Flying Heart Brewing folks brew a half-dozen or so ales in a really cozy environment with a cool tasting room, food trucks on-site, and a nod to the local community’s deep United States Air Force roots. Most of the beers feature names and artwork that allude to the fact that Barksdale Air Force Base – home of the B-52 bomber – is right down the street. You can also sample the creations of Red River Brewing Company in lots of area bars and restaurants – they’re opening a tasting room in 2016.
3. Casinos and more downtown
If you’re staying in or near downtown Shreveport, a huge variety of entertainment options will be within spitting distance. You could swing through a casino or three (technically, you could swing through six – there are six riverboat casinos clustered in downtown Shreveport-Bossier), take the kids to Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center, rated one of America’s top science centers by Parents magazine, catch live blues music at Noble Savage Tavern or shop at something like 60 stores – including Express, Levi’s, J. Crew and Banana Republic outlets, among others – at the Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets.
The Camping World Independence Bowl folks have also planned a college colors pub crawl following the game, as well as other events for game day.
Hopefully, you’ll make that drive and enjoying Shreveport-Bossier as Tulsa takes on the Hokies. If you’re looking for lots more info on Shreveport-Bossier, browse the online edition of our official visitors guide here.