My family lived in Shreveport when I was a little girl. I have vivid memories of being dropped off at St. Joseph Catholic School – decked out in my plaid uniform jumper – by my dad, who waved good-bye to me from behind the wheel of his silver Cutlass Supreme with a T-top. I remember the tall pine trees and egg hunts at Columbia Park after services at King’s Highway Christian Church on Easter Sunday. In my mind’s eye, Shreveport is beautiful and idyllic.

Now that my grown-up family lives in East Texas, we are just a short hop away from Shreveport. I’ve enjoyed visiting some of the haunts of my childhood and seeing how Shreveport has evolved. It’s an easy trip on I-20 to the “big city,” where many hidden gems – and the tall pine trees – await.

TO EAT

The state of Louisiana is widely regarded as a gourmand’s dream. My husband considers himself a foodie and declared long ago that if he didn’t hail from the great state of Texas, his second choice would be Louisiana. Because of the food.

For lunch check out the legendary Herby-K’s, which bears the nickname founder Herbert J. Busi Jr. acquired during his college days at LSU. Herby-K’s has been owned and operated by the same family since 1936. In 1945, Herby-K’s introduced the dish that secured its position on must-eat lists to this day, the Shrimp Buster with secret Shrimp Buster sauce.

“It’s a long way from the Gulf, but they know what to do with shrimp: Pound thin, until the tails splay flat and the heads resemble tennis racket heads. Fry hard. Serve open-faced, on a crusty roll, with a side of house-made tartar sauce.”

- Garden and Gun, November 2008

100 Southern Foods That You Absolutely, Positively Must Try Before You Die

In addition to the extensive selection of po'boys, Herby-K’s offers a wide array of seafood selections with a Louisiana flair as well as a children’s menu and a full bar.

For an afternoon snack, stop in at Strawn’s Eat Shop, the famous purveyor of heavenly ice box pies. Strawn’s has been in business since 1944, and the pies that put them on the map have been featured in Southern Living Magazine in 1994, 2003 and 2009. A hint: strawberry is the way to go.

For dinner my dear friend Kati recommends one of her family’s favorite restaurants, Frank’s Pizza Napoletana. Frank’s is notable because it’s the area’s only pizza made in the old world style of Napoli, the birthplace of pizza. Frank’s uses a 6,900-pound Stefano Ferrara handmade wood-fired Neapolitan pizza oven made by Stefano himself in Napoli. The oven cooks a pizza at 850-950 degrees in just 80 seconds!

Frank’s offers nearly 20 varieties of pizza. On a recent visit I tried the Fig & Pig – a heavenly mix of port-glazed mission figs, Prosciutto di Parma and white truffle oil. Another recommendation: The Big Hurt, a scrumptious combination of meats, all of which are butchered and processed in house. The wine selection is extensive, with nearly 70 varieties offered by the glass. The menu includes Italian specialties other than pizza, a kid’s menu and desserts that are all house made.

Herby-K’s

  • 1833 Pierre Avenue • 318.424.2724
  • Mon-Thu 11a-9p • Fri-Sat 11a-10p • Closed Sun

Strawn’s Eat Shop

125 E. King’s Highway • 318.868.0634

Mon-Sun 6a-8p

Frank’s Pizza Napoletana

  • 6950 Fern Avenue • 318.230.7130
  • Mon-Fri 11a-9p • Sat 11a-10p • Closed Sun

TO DO

Mardi Gras is one of the biggest parties of the year in Louisiana, and Shreveport is a great place to celebrate. Shreveport is home

to 15 krewes – or organizations that put on Mardi Gras parades or balls – each with a distinct personality.

The Krewe of Centaur Mardi Gras Parade is one of the largest Mardi Gras parades in Louisiana and takes place in downtown Shreveport. There are plenty of elaborate floats to see, each throwing beads to onlookers. The Krewe of Highland Mardi Gras Parade processes through a neighborhood and is an eccentric party – in addition to beads (and more beads), parade-goers often catch Moon Pies, Ramen noodles and other funny things thrown

from floats.

If you have kids with you, Sci-Port Discovery Center is a must see. The interactive museum has exhibits for all ages, including POP – Power of Play Children’s Museum – that opened in November 2016. POP’s exhibits are science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) related and geared toward kids ages 8 and under. POP allows kids to explore a mirror-image of their parents’ world with childlike imagination and wonder.

Shreveport is home to many great boutiques on Line Avenue and Youree Drive. Start on Line Avenue at King Hardware, where half the store is hardware, the other half a kitchen and gift boutique. Next try Lewis Gifts for beautiful home furnishings, including luxury bed linens. One of my personal favorites is The Paper Tulip, just a few doors down from Lewis Gifts and carries Scout Bags, which I love, and my absolute favorite designer of all time, Lilly Pulitzer (ladies, children AND home!).

Krewe of Centaur Mardi Gras Parade

Krewe of Highland Mardi Gras Parade

Sci-Port Discovery Center & Power of Play Children’s Museum

  • 800 Clyde Fant Parkway • 318.424.3466
  • See website for prices & hours • www.sciport.org

King Hardware

Lewis Gifts

  • 5807 Youree Drive • 318.868.6700
  • Mon-Fri 9:30a-5:30p • Sat 9:30a-5p • Closed Sun
  • www.lewisgifts.com

The Paper Tulip

TO STAY

The Remington Hotel Suite Hotel & Spa is a boutique hotel with 22 rooms that is housed in a former pharmacy downtown. Celebrities from Morgan Freeman to Gerard Butler have stayed at the hotel, which also offers breakfast, a bar and spa.

If you want local flavor, check out the Fairfield Place Bed & Breakfast Inn. The inn sits on Shreveport’s grand avenue of historic homes and was built in the 1870s. Though updated with modern amenities, the grounds have New Orleans-style courtyards that offer a step back in time. After a full breakfast – included in your stay – take a stroll south on Fairfield Avenue, past some of the prettiest historic homes in Shreveport.

The Hilton Shreveport is a full-service hotel located downtown. Convenient to many restaurants and the river, the hotel is modern and comfortable.

The Remington Suite Hotel & Spa

Fairfield Place Bed & Breakfast Inn

Hilton Shreveport