Conan! What is good in Shreveport?
August 13, 2016 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Hey MeFites! I'm going to be traveling to Shreveport, LA next month. I've never been there before, I know it's a smaller city, and I'm hoping you can help me find some things. As seen in my previous travel-related asks, I am a special snowflake of a traveler, so I will put more under the cut.

I'll be in Shreveport a little over 24 hours. I need food, tea, and recommendations for any cool local sites or museums.

With food, I am vegetarian, allergic to wheat and soy. I have no idea what's available in Shreveport. I'd love a place where I can get grits for breakfast. I love tacos, Indian food, pizza, and I am very open to trying new foods and like almost everything. I need to be able to ask restaurant staff questions along the lines of "hey, what's in this?"

Tea. I just want a cup of tea. Maybe several cups of tea. If all there is is Starbucks, I can handle that, but if there's a local spot I'd love to know about it.

Local things - I love museums, weird art, zines, history, gardens... a lot of the nerdy stuff typical for most of MeFi. I have some mobility limitations and am there for work, so I can't do any kind of extended hiking, but I am open to a lot of stuff.

Thanks in advance!
posted by bile and syntax to Travel & Transportation around Shreveport, LA (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I visited Shreveport last December and have two suggestions, which were the wise recommendations of locals. The R.W. Norton Art Gallery is free and definitely not-to-miss. It's slightly different in a refreshing way that works, like all the walls have giant quotes painted above the framed pieces. It's all one level so I believe it should be quite accessible. The large garden out back is huge with wide paths and interesting flora. It should be even more lovely in the summer! I'd gladly spend another afternoon or long morning there.

I cannot say enough good things about the Robinson Film Center downtown: it's an arthouse cinema that seems to be a meeting place for artists and other alternative folk in the region. Its café was tasty -- I believe there will be vegetarin options -- and has a great view of the city. If I were to go back, I'd definitely plan to get dinner and see a movie there.

I share many of your interests so I feel confident in those aforementioned tips. However, I also branched out a bit. For example, I visited the Eldorado Casino; I didn't gamble but got their steak deal. Their noodle bar looked pretty darn amazing and should have vegetarian options. I also checked out the Bass Pro Shop right across the Red River and was really impressed because I'd never been to one before. However, their large hunting and fishing sections might be too off-putting to you as a vegetarian so I might just skip it.

A few other tips: Shreveport is small but some of the distances are great, like the art museum is a decent drive out from the center. If you won't have your own car, I'd plan to use taxis or Uber or the like to get between most locations. I also found that a lot of the places listed on TripAdvisor or in local travel materials were actually closed when I visited: if you call the number listed during normal hours and no one picks up, I'd probably save yourself the trip. I liked a lot about the city but was definitely caught off guard a bit by its two extremes in housing side by side: you will see Southern Living-style decadence right next to incredibly rundown, almost deserted areas. There is obvious and subtle stratification everywhere but it was a bit more jarring than usual for me.

I also visited Texarkana, TX/AR, and Jefferson, TX, which are both about an hour north; a boat tour of Caddo Lake was a highlight of my trip as well. There's also the Germantown Colony Museum near Shreveport that I would have visited if time had permitted. It sounds like you'll be sticking mostly to Shreveport, and I'm sure you'll have a great trip there! Please write back to share your impressions.
posted by smorgasbord at 10:58 AM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: AFAIK there are only two Indian restaurants in Shreveport (not only is it a small city, it's not particularly cosmopolitan). I've been to India's Restaurant (no, really, that's the name) and it was pretty good. It's not a vegetarian restaurant but presumably you can carefully order from the menu. There's also a newer one called Indigo, which I haven't tried.

Athena is a Lebanese/Greek place which might also be worth a look for you.

Unfortunately, the strengths of southern Arkansas/northern Louisiana are things like fried catfish and barbecue ribs. In my experience, dining around this part of the US can be pretty hit and miss for vegetarians or people with less-common allergies: one place will have organic local gluten-free whatever and a vegan section on the menu; another place will be baffled and confused by your existence and try to serve you fish or chicken.

You can always try a drive-through margarita shack, though! (Seriously, hope you have a good and interesting time.)
posted by wintersweet at 11:54 AM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't know if they are in bloom or not but the American Rose Center can be beautiful at certain times of the year.

The Louisiana Exhibit Museum is filled with dioramas of historical Louisiana scenes which fascinated me as a kid and honestly were still pretty interesting when I've been back as an adult.

Be careful about the grits, you'll need to find out if they are cooked with bacon fat.
posted by ilovewinter at 12:09 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The North Louisiana Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is September 9th through September 15th!
posted by Corinth at 12:51 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm from there but haven't been in awhile, but Yeero Yeero, is this little greek place on Youree and Southport. They have an exotic iced tea that is amazing, they also have vegetarian options.

There is also a snowball stand (or use to be) right near the Youree Drive middle school that offers like way to many snowcones flavors for a lovely sugary ice treat.

In terms of things to do, Shreveport is unfortunately known for is gambling. There are nice parks, and lakes to swim in but be wary of heat stroke, and all kinds of bity bugs.Conditions of parks vary with how much rain we have had. And fire ants. Beware.

The rose garden is nice, and I dont think I've ever been to the art gallery. There is the statue of the wooden cannon for brief civil war history somewhere.
posted by AlexiaSky at 5:55 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The rose garden is about an hour drive. Also be warned that the airport is pretty far away from everything too.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:21 PM on August 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

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