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Bossier City ( BOH-zhər) is a city in Bossier Parish, which is located on the northwestern border of Louisiana in the United States.
As of the 2010 census, Bossier City had a population of 61,315. The 2013 estimate was 66,333. Bossier City is located on the eastern bank of the Red River and is closely tied economically and socially to its larger sister city Shreveport on the opposite bank. The Shreveport – Bossier City metropolitan area is the center of the region known as the Ark-La-Tex.
On April 20, 2017, in their joint "State of Bossier" address, hosted by the Bossier Chamber of Commerce, Mayor Lo Walker and Bossier Parish Police Jury President Bob Brotherton described the growth of the city and parish as "outstanding". With 69,000 in a 2015 study by Louisiana State University, Bossier City has become the sixth-largest in the state and the fastest-growing one. Walker said that the city and the parish "work extremely close together, and our business and civic leaders and military make us an outstanding parish.” The parish grew at 19 percent; the city at 10 percent. According to the Bossier Economic Development Foundation, the city could potentially reach 80,000 by 2019. Ongoing projects contributing to growth include the Walter O. Bigby Carriageway (the north parkway extension named for former state representative and judge Walter O. Bigby), Shed Road construction, and the South Bossier redevelopment districts.
Bossier City is not the parish seat. The parish courthouse is located instead in Benton, about 12 miles (19 km) to the north of Bossier City.
In the 1830s, the area of Bossier City was the plantation Elysian Grove, which was purchased by James Cane and his second wife Mary D. C. Cane. James had come to the area with his first wife Rebecca Bennett, and her brother, William Bennett, and his wife Mary Doal (Cilley) Bennett. They ran a trading post across the river on what was then Caddo Indian Land, a portion called "Bennett's Bluff". The trading post partners and William's father Samuel Bennett became a 1/7 partner in the new Shreve Town, which eventually developed as Shreveport.
Elysian Grove plantation was located along the Red River for access to transportation. It was located where the Texas Trail crossed the Red River. The trading post on the west side operated a ferry between what were to become Shreveport and Bossier. The plantation loading and unloading dock later was recorded as Cane's Landing in the old ferry log books. For a very short time, Cane's Landing was known as Cane City. The Canes and Bennetts were among the earliest settlers in the area. Mary D. C. Bennett gave birth to the first white baby of the area, William Smith Bennett Jr., who died at an early age.
In 1843, a section of land east of the Red River was divided from the Great Natchitoches district and Claiborne Parish areas and was called Bossier Parish. It was named in honor of Pierre Evariste John Baptiste Bossier, a former Creole general, who became a cotton planter in Bossier Parish. He was one of the first European settlers in the area.
In the 1840s, the Great Western Migration of Americans and immigrants began, and the parish grew in population. Many early settlers passed through the region on their way to the West. By 1850, more than 200 wagons a week passed through Bossier City, many intending to settle in Texas. Some of these settlers stayed in Louisiana, attracted by the fertile soil and river valley. In 1850, the census listed the population at around 6,962.
During the Civil War, companies of Confederate soldiers shipped out of Cane's Landing aboard steamboats for distant battlefields. Mrs. Cane hosted hundreds of Confederate officers and troops who were heading off to war. Mrs. Cane's plantation was fortified to protect Shreveport by three batteries, with Fort Kirby Smith in the center. The others were Batteries Price, and Walker & Ewell.
Fort Smith protected the area from an eastern invasion. The Civil War reached Bossier Parish in 1861, and ended in Shreveport four years later, when the Trans-Mississippi Department surrendered. In the 20th century, Bossier High School was constructed near the former site of the fort.
Shed Road, the first all-weather turnpike in the American South, was constructed in the 1870s and operated from 1874 to 1886. It extended for 9 miles (14 km) from Red Chute to the Red River. There was a plantation at the end of the elevated and covered roadway, which was accessible by a ferry boat. The covered road made the transportation of goods easier before the arrival of the railroads.
Anna B., granddaughter of James and Mary Cane, felt the area would prosper and began promoting the idea of a riverfront city. Anna B. and J. J. Stockwell sold lots in 1883. The area grew quickly, as did transportation through it.
Cane City was said as being incorporated by former Governor Newton C. Blanchard and renamed as the village of Bossier City. Blanchard named a Shreveport businessman, Ewald Max Hoyer, as the first Bossier City mayor. Hoyer continued to reside in what is known as the Bliss-Hoyer House in Shreveport's Highland neighborhood. Bossier City has grown from an area of one square mile to a city containing more than 40 square miles (100 km2). Continued growth led to Bossier City's classification being changed from village to town by Governor John M. Parker. Later, Governor Earl Kemp Long issued a proclamation classifying Bossier City a city.
The "golden spike" commemorated the completion of the east-west Vicksburg, Shreveport and Pacific Railroad. It was driven at Bossier City on July 12, 1884, by Julia "Pansy" Rule. It was the first such spike to be driven by a woman. The north-south Shreveport and Arkansas Railroad was completed on April 6, 1888. The Louisiana-Arkansas Railroad was completed on November 2, 1909. The Dixie Overland Highway from the East to the West Coast was built in 1918. These railroads and highways combined to make Bossier City a hub for future activity.
The discovery of crude oil, to the south, in 1908, thrust Bossier City into the nationwide oil boom. Bossier's central location to the rural oil fields made it a major player in the oil patch. Several international oil companies are located here. The advantages brought by black gold fueled many civic, social and economic improvements.
A fire on June 23, 1925, consumed one-half of downtown Bossier City. Local citizens were unable to battle the blaze. The loss spurred civic improvements including a modern water system capable of fighting such fires, a new City Hall, a modern fire alarm system, modern sidewalks and the first city park.
In the 1930s, construction began on Barksdale Airfield (now Barksdale Air Force Base). The land on which the base is built was unincorporated property south of Bossier City in 1929. This land was annexed by the city of Shreveport and donated to the federal government (see [Military] section below). Through the years, Bossier City expanded, eventually encompassing the area surrounding the base. The first unit assigned to Barksdale was the 20th Pursuit Group. Before World War II, Barksdale was a training school for the Army Air Corps. During the war, Barksdale trained pilots, navigators, and bombardiers. Later the base became one of the key bases of the Strategic Air Command in the new Air Force. Barksdale is the headquarters for the 8th Air Force.
In the 1890s, Cane City had a population of about 600. Bossier City now has a 2012 estimated population of over 64,000. First a cotton-exporting river landing, next a railroad town, then an airbase and oil-boom town, Bossier City is now known for its tourism and casino gambling.
Three casinos in the city have financed a number of municipal projects, many completed during the administration of the late Mayor George Dement. Recent improvements include the CenturyLink Center, Louisiana Boardwalk, Benton Road Overpass, and the Arthur Ray Teague Parkway, located along the eastern side of the Red River. Dement also procured Amtrak service between Bossier City and Dallas, Texas. Dement was succeeded as mayor in 2005 by his administrative assistant and former mayoral opponent from 1989, Lo Walker, the first Republican to hold the city's top executive position.
Bossier City is located at 32°31′4″N 93°41′29″W (32.517651, −93.691397) and has an elevation of 174 feet (53.0 m). The city lies primarily on the banks of the Red River, and has a largely flat topography. The northern city limits are noticeably more hilly than the rest of the city. Many small waterways flow through the city, such as Flat River and Red Chute Bayou, which provide drainage for many areas of the city.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 43.2 square miles (111.8 km2), of which 42.4 square miles (109.7 km2) is land and 0.81 square miles (2.1 km2), or 1.89%, is water.
Bossier shares most aspects of its climate with its sister city of Shreveport. The city has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with hot, humid summers and mild winters. During the warmer months, the city is prone to severe thunderstorms which feature heavy rain, high winds, hail, and occasional tornadoes. The city has a slightly above average rate of tornadoes when compared to the US average. Due to the flat topography of the city and the prominence of smaller waterways that are prone to backwater flooding from the Red River, the city occasionally experiences severe flooding events. A notable occurrence of severe flooding occurred in March 2016 after torrential rains caused a rapid rise of many local waterways, displacing upwards of 3500 people from their homes across the area. Freezing and ice storms occasionally occur during the winter months.
As of the census of 2010, there were 61,315 people, 25,200 households, and 14,901 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,382.6 people per square mile (533.8/km²). There were 23,026 housing units at an average density of 563.9 per square mile (217.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 70.44% White, 18.74% African American, 0.57% Native American, 2.73% Asian, 0.25% Pacific Islander, 1.44% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.95% of the population.
There were 23,197 households, out of which 36.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.7% were non-families. Nearly 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 8.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.09.
In the city of Bossier City, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 30.4% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $36,561, and the median income for a family was $42,642. Males had a median income of $30,632 versus $22,174 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,032. About 11.4% of families and 14.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.9% of those under age 18 and 11.3% of those age 65 or over.
Bossier City residents are zoned to Bossier Parish Schools. Public schools in the area are listed below:
Bossier City is served by the Bossier Press-Tribune and Shreveport Times. In addition, City Lights and SB Magazine are newsmagazines in the Shreveport–Bossier area.
See Shreveport, Louisiana
"Bossier City" is a song by David Allan Coe, in which he sings, "And it sure smells like snow in Bossier City..." Johnny Rodriguez recorded a song called "Achin' Bossier City Backyard Blues" in 1972. Turnpike Troubadours 2007 freshman album is entitled Bossier City, and includes the title track "Bossier City".
Shreveport Radio includes Bossier
From the 1930s to the 1970s, Bossier was regionally and even nationally known for its entertainment district known as The Bossier Strip, which followed U.S. Highway 80 through the city. Nightclubs proliferated from the Texas Avenue Bridge to the Bossier-Webster parish line. Prior to the 1940s, The Strip was as well known for such entertainment as Las Vegas, Nevada.
Bossier City and Shreveport share an all-women's flat track roller derby team named the Twin City Knockers. The team is the newest competing sport in the area, founded in January 2010. Bouts are hosted at Hot Wheels skating rink in south Bossier.
The CenturyLink Center (formerly CenturyTel Center) in Bossier City was the home of the Bossier–Shreveport Battle Wings of the AF2, as well as the Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs of the Central Hockey League. The arena has hosted top performers, including Britney Spears and Aerosmith, as well as rodeos, ice shows, and children's entertainment.
The 2005 Red River Classic PRCA Rodeo to be hosted at the CenturyTel Center was cancelled due to the arena's use as a shelter for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
The city hosts four riverboat casino gambling resorts along the east bank of the Red River: Margaritaville, Horseshoe, Boomtown, and Diamond Jack's. Horse racing and gambling on slot machines is also available at Harrah's Louisiana Downs, which opened in 1974.
Bossier City is contiguous with Barksdale Air Force Base, home of the 2nd Bomb Wing, 8th Air Force, and 307th Bomb Wing. Barksdale was formally dedicated on February 2, 1933, and is one of the area's largest employers. Barksdale AFB encompasses 22,000 acres (89 km2) and hosts the majority of the B-52 Stratofortresses used by the United States Air Force. The land in Bossier Parish on which the base is built was never actually within Bossier City limits. It was unincorporated land south of the town annexed by the city of Shreveport once the site had been selected among 80 candidates. The real estate was purchased from over 800 property owners via a $1,500,000 municipal bond issue approved by Shreveport voters in 1929 in fulfillment of a pledge that the citizens of Shreveport made to the U.S. government. The last of these bonds matured on December 31, 1959. After acquisition, Shreveport then donated the land to the federal government per their agreement, while the federal government assumed all the costs of building construction and equipment installation. Shreveport had originally proposed a site adjacent to Cross Lake (Shreveport, Louisiana) in Caddo Parish, but the United States Department of War deemed this location inappropriate due to the lack of suitable terrain for the facility's future expansion. Subsequent to the establishment of the military installation, Bossier City grew and expanded southward and eastward, eventually enveloping the area surrounding the base. Technically, of course, Barksdale AFB is neither in Bossier City nor Shreveport but, like all military bases, is an autonomous community with its own infrastructure.
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