1 of 5
Discussions began on how to create desired amenities on Cross Bayou's 180 acres,
2 of 5
Mac Ball of New Orleans architectural firm Waggoner & Ball Architects, LLC, draws a rendering of what Cross Bayou might resemble when the vision is realized.
3 of 5
Tracing paper and markers laid concepts onto maps.
4 of 5
Uprights redirect water flow in storms to help retain river banks on Cross Bayou.
5 of 5
Working on the mapping.
Visions are not all ethereal, shimmering before they blow away, especially if dedicated people put their efforts into bringing them to reality. Recently, Shreveport community members gathered for a day and a half of developing such a vision for the area known as Cross Bayou. Professionals from Providence Engineering, Waggoner & Ball Architects, city and county, and local construction companies, college students, and interested community members shared their experience and community knowledge in devising Cross Bayou's future.
The first day began with introductions and speeches, followed by a noon-time 45-minute cruise up Cross Bayou and back. Piloted by Captain Sandy Jackson, the 35-passenger Spirit of the Red bore participants past casino vessels (all sea worthy), under bridges that provide nest space for birds who sweep mosquitoes from the air, past the site where the Confederate ironclad Missouri was constructed, past pasture for Sheveport's mounted patrol, and behind the historic waterworks and railroad museums before returning to its point of origin.
In the afternoon discussions, participants explored the way that Cross Bayou ties into other points of interest in the downtown, and what they offer: food, entertainment, art, business, culture, music, and historic context. They mapped how traffic does and might flow to the area, and how the existing waterworks and railroad museums contribute to the city as a whole. They looked at what could be done with the land that the scrapyard is expected to vacate and how much clean-up may need to occur.
Amid all these expected aspects of an urban center, Cross Bayou actively produces food. Dupont Fish Market, on Cross Bayou's northern bank, catches some of the fish it sells from the waters of Cross Bayou as well as the Red River. And it contains a historic structure. The Waddell "A" truss bridge is one of a mere pair of its kind still standing, built in 1890 and moved to Shreveport in 1926.
On the second day, the participants collaborated to build a workable design concept. The Cross Bayou Corridor vision is for a "major mixed-use residential asset and attraction for downtown Shreveport" by 2035. Bike and pedestrian paths link it to downtown and the city as do "convenient water taxis." It contains small shops and restaurants, entertainment venues, wooded parks and shaded paths.
The next steps in getting there are a major site cleanup and scrap yard relocation along with an environmental study, presumably funded by the Environmental Protection Agency.
By Lani Duke