I’m not going to dance around the subject; 2013 as a year was the shittiest I have experienced. In retrospect, the year has been a failure personally in spite of some achievements through graduating college and reaching the ripe, young age of 22. While the world seems to keep serving me sandwiches in the form of turds, however, the SBC has grown in ways that has solidified the area’s growing reputation as a cultural center for the Ark-La-Tex.

In terms of political intrigue, the Shreveport area has been fascinated by the controversial firefighter “safe” havens and Mayor Glover’s distrust of all parks involving dogs. Local favorites Bears Fairfield and Olive Street Bistro found themselves either burnt up or burnt out (don’t worry; Bears will be back for another season shortly). While these stories are important and necessary, I believe that they go beyond the scope of this paper and can be more accurately surmised in other, more mainstream publications. Every city has their internal disagreements that need to be reported; my vision for Shreveport-Bossier City’s growth champions the alternative.

I feel annoyingly repetitive in my articles in the sense that I rabble and rant about the burgeoning arts scene of the area, but my praises do not come unwarranted; groups such as UNSCENE! and other projects organized by both the Bossier Arts Council and the Shreveport Regional Arts Council nurture it. There has been great collusion between artists and musicians through these organizations, and the cross promotion has helped both artistic avenues blossom further in the area.

I can safely say that the music scene is one of the main driving forces of the arts in the area. Music for the Shreveport-Bossier area in general has greatly improved through the presence of smaller, independent acts such as Born Ruffians coming through and performing successful shows. Local bands such as Super Water Sympathy, Hwy Lions and The Dubonauts have found increased success in the area and across the map through tours of musical duty stretching across the states.

It is through these local acts that pride in the area develops. While the Avett Brothers had to cancel their strange appearance at the CenturyLink (the venue shift from The Strand still puzzles me), the Louisiana Music Prize pushed the promise of local talent and succeeded in its first year. Beyond even the performance of Mystikal at the festival grounds, another successful MSPS captivated Shreveport’s alternative and individual tastes for a night full of sounds and gyrations. Both the Makers Fair and the Louisiana Film Prize maintained an aura of success, bringing more revenue to the area through do-it-yourself ethic fueled by the promise of big returns. Film production was also unsurprisingly important in 2013 through the presence of “Dark Places” with Charlize Theron and “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints.” Even this publication saw itself reborn like a phoenix from the ashes of the former Shreveport Catalyst, bringing with it a new dedication seeking to improve both the paper itself and the area served by the paper.

My favorite development, however, has been in the homebrew beer scene. The past year saw incredible growth through the addition of two new local breweries in the form of Great Raft and Red River. You may have sampled some of their wares at Shreveport’s premier BREW festival, which worked through the controversial hand of the ATF to push the area toward intoxicated happiness. Since late 2013, however, both breweries’ tasty and potent potables can be found in restaurants around town with tasting opportunities sprouting up rapidly.

If these events are any sign of the direction that Shreveport-Bossier City is heading toward, I have no doubt that the area will be nationally known as a center of counter-culture. We as a city have constantly lived in a black hole between the shadows of Dallas and New Orleans. Yet, through our growing appreciation of arts and desire to grow into a hub for independent thought, the Shreveport-Bossier City area will shine through and earn its recognition. With the help of readers such as you, the Heliopolis hopes to remain a piece of the greater picture being created within this quaint corner of Louisiana.

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