Friday, July 15, 2011

Home of "The Louisiana Hayride"

Shreveport Municipal Auditorium is perhaps best known as the home of "The Louisiana Hayride." Built in the 1920's, and noted for its intricate brickwork and lavish interior, the Auditorium is considered the finest example of Art Deco architecture in the State of Louisiana. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 2008.

Designed by noted architect, Samuel Weiner, the building was dedicated to the "Soldiers of the Great War" on Veterans' Day, then known as Armistice Day, November 11, 1929. 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.

On April 3, 1948, a new radio program called "The Louisiana Hayride," began a weekly radio broadcast from the stage of the Auditorium, showcasing talented singers, songwriters, and performers.

During its heyday from 1948 to 1960, the Hayride helped launch the careers of some of the greatest names in American music. Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Johnny Horton, are just a few of the acts that went on to stardom after performing on The Hayride.

But, without a doubt, the most prominent performer to begin his career on the stage made his performance debut on Saturday, October 16, 1954. That is when the world was introduced to Elvis Presley!

[Photo borrowed from Internet]

This bronze statue of Elvis is prominently displayed in front of the Auditorium ...

And on the base of the statue is the following inscription:

"Ladies and gentlemen, you've never heard of this young man before, but one day you'll be able to tell your children and grandchildren that you heard musical history made tonight."

And continues ...

"With these prophetic words, Elvis Presley was introduced to the country from the stage of the municipal auditorium on The Louisiana Hayride radio program in October of 1954. From a working class background, Elvis would rise to become the king of pop culture and an ambassador of a new age ... and arguably, the most beloved artist of the 20th century."

Sculptor: Eric Kaposta — Dedicated October 16, 2004.

Today, the Municipal Auditorium serves the community as a versatile venue for sporting events, touring acts, live local concerts, graduations, family shows, parties, and debutante balls in Shreveport.

If you would like to learn more about its history, or plan a visit, you can visit the website at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium.

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