Shreveport, Louisiana, the state's third largest city and the seat of Caddo Parish. Shreveport is on the Red River in northwestern Louisiana, near the Texas and Arkansas borders. It lies on the west side of the river, opposite Bossier City. Cross Lake, a reservoir, adjoins Shreveport on the west.
Shreveport is the principal refining and distributing center for the extensive petroleum and natural-gas fields of northern Louisiana. In addition to refineries, there are chemical plants, and firms that make oilfield machinery and pipeline equipment. Other major activities are the processing of cotton and grains, lumber milling, the making of wood products, and the manufacture of electrical equipment.
Two annual events bring many visitors to Shreveport—the Louisiana State Fair, held in the fall, and the Holiday in Dixie festival, held in the spring to commemorate the Louisiana Purchase. On the state fairgrounds are an art gallery, a planetarium, and the State Exhibit Museum, which contains displays illustrating the state's economy and natural resources.
The privately sponsored R. W. Norton Art Gallery has a collection of American and European painting and sculpture. Centenary College of Louisiana is one of the oldest colleges west of the Mississippi River.
Shreveport was founded in 1837. It was named for Henry Shreve, a riverboat captain who arrived in the vicinity in 1833 to clear obstructions from the Red River. Opening of the river to steamboats stimulated growth of the new town, and it was incorporated in 1839. During the Civil War, Shreveport served as the state capital. Discoveries of nearby oil and gas in the early 1900's marked the beginning of industrial development.