Situated west of Downtown Shreveport, the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is one of the most treasured buildings of the city. Constructed in the 1920s, the Auditorium is noted for its lavish interior and intricate brickwork and has been conceived as the Art Deco construction’s finest example in the State of Louisiana.
Samuel Weiner, a noted architect, designed the building and it was dedicated to the Great War’s soldiers on Armistice Day, now known as Veteran’s Day, November 11, 1929. Shreveport Municipal Auditorium played hosts by using the property as barracks for the military troops and accommodating the early aircraft warning system more generally recognized as Radar.
The Louisiana Hayride, a new program that began in 1948, started a weekly showcase of skilled performers, songwriters, and singers. Due to the start of careers of numerous international stars through the Louisiana Hayride, the program was coined as the Cradle of the Stars. Johnny Horton, Johnny Cash, and Hank Williams are just a few of the talented acts that became famed and popular after performing on the notorious program.
On October 16, 1954, the most prominent performer, Elvis Presley, made his debut performance and began his career on the Louisiana Hayride’s stage. The Hayride was broadcast nationally on CBS radio and became an Armed Forces Radio’s staple program. Despite the end of the weekly programming in 1960, the Cradle of the Stars was regularly scheduled all over the 60s. Several African American musicians performed at the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium at the same time. This includes Lead Belly, B.B, King, Bobbie Bland, James Brown, and Aretha Franklin.
Regardless of the many renovations in the structure’s century-long lifespan, the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium has preserved its original wooden stage. Tours are also offered by the Auditorium which allows visitors to hear the songs and learn the tales of the countless stars that have graced the historical stage of the most iconic performing arts venue of Shreveport.
Shreveport Municipal Auditorium features over 3,000 seating accommodations, a 54-foot proscenium arch, concession/catering areas, box office services, Shreveport’s largest stage, and a 6,300-square-foot arena. The building was completely restored in 2004. Group experiences provide a tour of the Elvis Presley exhibit, the history room, the dressing rooms, and the Colonial Pageant memorabilia.
Nowadays, the rotating lineup at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium includes dance shows, concerts, theatrical performances, and more within the same famed and historic walls of the Auditorium. The 7.5-foot tall bronze statue of Elvis Presley which stands outside the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is also a must-see while visiting the area. The King of Rock & Roll flaunts a microphone stand, a goofy grin, and a guitar as he gazes into the streets. Adjoining the Elvis Presley statue is James Burton’s statue, a Hall of Famer for Rock & Roll who served as the guitarist of Presley for many years.
The historic stage of the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is still filled with music. As the former abode of the Louisiana Hayride, the Auditorium presently hosts a variety of programs and events that interest not only the locals of Shreveport but the tourists, which include live local concerts, family shows, sporting events, and touring acts. Recently, the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium was designated a National Historic Landmark.