Shreveport

Last Modified: September 13, 2008Shreveport - a Winter Wonderland

By Allen Marsalis

When you think of Shreveport, you think of snow right?  Huh?  Before terms like global warming, El Niño, and La Niña came to be part of our vernacular, we racked up a number of snow days in the 60’s and 70’s.  Yes, I built a big snowman in Shreveport. In fact, more than one!
 
Although exciting to watch, light flurries were no big deal compared to white stuff on the ground.  The real prediction among adults and kids alike was “will it stick?”  More times than not, our snow melted as soon has it hit the ground.  But to the delight of some, mostly children, occasionally the snow would keep falling until the ground froze and the snow began to accumulate. When that happened, everything would shut down.  Then all the neighborhood kids emerged bundled up with all modes of transport slung over their shoulders, ready to hit the snow.
 
Some snowfalls were only a few inches but I recall a couple that were close to eight inches or more of snowfall on the ground.  That is enough for some serious sled riding, inner-tubing, snowman construction, snowball fights, snow angels, you name it.
 
For kids all over south Shreveport, “Thrill Hill” was the place to go when it snowed.  Everyone who lived in the area knew that steep section of Gilbert Drive just north of Pierremont that became our winter slope on snow days, and what a slope it was!  But of course we had no skis back then.  We appeared with all sorts of contraptions from cookie sheets to aluminum ladders, and a few of us even had real wooden Flyer sleds that we could steer; well sort of.  I even remember one boy with a toboggan that would hold at least 4 riders.  Without any steering, that was a real thrill ride.
 
Back in the early 60’s I even remember once or twice when Shreveport firemen would come out and open up a fire hydrant and let the water coat Thrill Hill and freeze so we kids could play.  I recall one special trail that we made in the snow. We would start out at the top of Thrill Hill and slide all the way down the hill and back up the other side, over the hillcrest, and then down again making a  right turn into a neighbor’s driveway and then sliding past their house and into their back yard and as far as we could go.  That path seemed like a mile long at the time although I’m sure it was less than half that.
 
We would sled ride for hours until we were nearly frozen.  Then we came inside and peeled off our galoshes (which we called ga-losh-ers) and sipped some hot chocolate in a cup to thaw ourselves out.  Does anyone remember the skin that would form on the surface of a cup of hot chocolate? And why doesn’t modern day hot chocolate develop a thin film like that anymore?  Maybe it is because we microwave everything, or maybe its just one of those little mysteries of childhood.  Sorry for digressing.
 
When I grew older, I remember a fairly heavy snowfall while attending high school.  I drove a “muscle car” and I practiced making “donuts” in the stadium parking lot at Captain Shreve until getting my fill of sliding round and round in circles and figure eights.  Ever since that afternoon, I am comfortable driving in ice and snow.  Even though I am from Shreveport, I’m pretty good at it, so I am pleased to put a dent in that stereotype that we Shreveporters don’t know how to drive in the snow.  Maybe they should add this activity to student driver education classes.
 
Our last good snowfall was on January 1st of 2001 during the Independence Bowl, you know, back when the I-Bowl was on January 1st.  That game was televised nationwide on ESPN proving to millions that it does snow in Shreveport!
 
So as we slide into spring without any snow yet again for another year in a row, don’t just take my word for it. Ask anyone!  Maybe children in Shreveport Bossier will have better luck next winter when the cold wind blows again.  Join me and never give up that hope!