This is an entry in the We Said Go Travel Writing Contest written by Johnna Crider from America. Thanks for your entry Johnna!
It’s a cool late summer morning; cool meaning it’s just under ninety degrees, and the sun has yet to rise. All is silent as the sky begins to glow with the birth of dawn. The stars are still out and the moon has set. This is a place of tranquility for the moment. I walk down the ramp to the floating dock along the edge of the Red River. Humidity thickens the air like roux in a gumbo and I can actually taste the wetness of the air. The Texas Street Bridge, the only bridge in the world that has neon lights attached to it, glows vividly against the sky in an array of colors; my own personal aurora borealis.
The river is dark and silent as it flows in a southeasterly direction. As the early morning fishermen pass by, currents drift under the floating dock to make it bounce. It’s hard walking on such a contraption so I have a seat onto the concrete after making sure I’m not anywhere near spiders. They, along with alligators and water moccasins are abundant in this area. So are mosquitoes, but fortunately, I have bug repellant.
The sun rises over the Bossier City side and the Louisiana Boardwalk turning the Horseshoe Casino’s golden glass tower into fire. The river for a moment reflects the sky before it, too, changes from its dark color into a reddish gold flowing body of water. The temperature also begins to slowly rise.
Why do I love this place? Is it the humidity that frizzes out my hair? Is it the food or the over one hundred degree temperatures that flourish in the summer? It could be, but no. I have lived in several cities around the US and, including my birth town, the city I was born in, but coming to Shreveport-Bossier City, LA is like coming home.
Home is where your family is and where you know you will be safe in any given situation. Home is where you had your first moments–your first kiss, your first taste of gumbo, your first dance, your first love, your first everything that is major to you. You can go anywhere in the world but there is nothing like the place you call home. There is this energy–this feeling of comfort, that when you step foot on that place you have been and used to see every day, you are home.
Shreveport is my home and there is no place I’d rather be. I grew up dousing hot sauce on everything. My favorite foods are jambalaya, gator gumbo, crawfish etouffee, shrimp Creole, Natchitoches meat pies, dirty rice, red beans and rice. In Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a holiday that must be celebrated no matter what the religion is. I remember my first piece of King Cake: it had the Baby Jesus in it which meant that I had to buy the next cake for the next party. The best way to make grits is to make sure there’s plenty of cheese and cayenne pepper in them. Add in crawfish and scrambled eggs and you have a decent meal. A wonderful dessert would be bourbon pecan pie with real bourbon. Or maybe bread pudding with ice cream. My mother used to say that if you took away the rice and hot sauce, people in Louisiana would starve.
Shreveport is in North Louisiana. The accents are different from those living in New Orleans. The food may be a bit different, maybe less spicier depending on who cooks it for you. Shreveport is home to many serving in the Air Force since Bossier has Barksdale AFB. It’s also host a huge casino and gambling industry that has five riverboat casinos. My first job was working in one of those casinos. Shreveport may be a tiny dot on the map compared to some major cities, but to me, it’s comfort. It is and always will be home–that place of comfort you can go to when you need to de-stress. It is my place of inspiration.
About the Author: Johnna Crider is an artist born in Cartersville, Georgia but grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana. She works for a charity, has her own jewelry collection that she designs and is a published poet. You can find out more about her at http://facebook.com/damejohnnacrider