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Road Trip To Texas 2017 Part 6 by Francesc Lopez

West Monroe, LA.

We arrived at West Monroe mid-afternoon and quickly found the Auditorium where Elvis performed. The school grounds were deserted since this was a Saturday afternoon in July. We walked around the Auditorium trying to find an opening to take some inside photos, but we didn't find any. The Auditorium looked very modern, and we had our doubts that this building was old enough. Luckily, after later research, we found that the 1955 school yearbook had a photo of the same Auditorium.

On February 18, 1955, Hank Snow and the Rainbow Ranch Boys were the main attraction for both concerts in West Monroe. The concerts also included the Duke Of Paducah and the special added attractions of Elvis Presley with Bill and Scotty, and Jimmy Rodgers Snow. A musician by the name of Jack Hammons was also added. Jack, a local country and gospel singer, recorded some songs for the Starday Records label such as "Mr. Cupid" and "That's The Way To Fall In Love"

After this, we planned to return to our hotel in Texarkana, but were glad to find a route back that included Minden and Shreveport.

Minden, LA.

Minden is a small city just a few miles East of Shreveport. Even though we were aware that the drive-in movies where Elvis performed was demolished years ago, we wanted to find the exact location.

The exact address is 1506 Shreveport Rd, Minden, LA 71055. It was difficult to locate, because the road has some businesses without postal addresses. After asking a couple of people where the drive-in used to be, we found the place.

The location now is a storage facility and an ambulance parking lot. The owner is storing some old cars too, as well as vintage signs around the area that used to be the drive-in. The aerial location where we took the photos matches the 1976 photo below.

Elvis was scheduled for two concerts in Minden on July 15th and July 22th. It is possible that the first date was cancelled at the last moment, because although there was a newspaper ad for the 15th, local reaidents do not remember Elvis performing two times in their city. He did perform on the 22th, and according to reports, on a flatbed truck.

Shreveport, LA.

We quickly left Minden, since it was getting dark, and rain was on the horizon. We found the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, where Elvis Presley performed numerous times between 1954 to 1956 on the Louisiana Hayride. The Louisiana Hayride was a radio and TV country show broadcast from the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium from April 3, 1948 to August 27, 1960.

The Municipal Auditorium, located at 705 Elvis Presley Avenue in downtown Shreveport, was built in the 1920's and designed by Samuel Weiner. On November 11, 1929 it was dedicated to the Soldiers of the Great War on Veterans' Day. According to the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium website: "In its early years, the auditorium played host to the military by serving as barracks for the troops and housing the early aircraft warning system more commonly known as Radar".

In October 2004, a statue was erected in front of the Auditorium, commemorating the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley's debut at the Louisiana Hayride. On August 21, 2005, a statue honoring James Burton was also unveiled in front of the Municipal Auditorium.

Elvis Presley returned to Shreveport on June 7, 1975 for two concerts, and a year later on July 1, 1976 for his last concert in Shreveport. These last three concerts were held at the Hirsch Coliseum.

The Hirsch Memorial Coliseum was built in 1954 and dedicated to William Rex Hirsch. It ia a small venue of 4,000 seats located at the State Fair of Louisiana.

It was already getting dark as we prepared to leave Shreveport for the long trip back to our hotel in Texarkana. But we decided to stop at a restaurant to eat some Louisiana food. We ate alligator and frog legs, but decided that both taste like chicken, so it may havent been that exotic after all. We arrived to Texarkana after a long day.