SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Tuesday was a big day for Shreveport-Bossier, as the Texas Street Bridge became the Bakowski Bridge of Lights.
The official lighting ceremony began at dusk with a mass wedding ceremony followed by a light show and fireworks.
The bridge holds 13,000 LED lights across 3,000 square feet.
Newlyweds Chris and Rusty Mabu say it was a night to remember.
“It’s so breathtaking, so breathtaking and heartfelt,” said Chris Mabu. “I agree, said his new wife, Rusty. “I want to thank Shreveport-Bossier for doing this for all of us.”
“I’m extremely excited. I grew up in this community. When I think about the bridge being lit, it takes me back to my childhood here whenever I would go downtown and see those bright lights,” Shreveport Mayor Adrian Perkins said Monday.
“I think that’s going to be a tourist-bringer and for weddings, and the lights can go with the rhythm of music and all kinds of different colors, and I want to appreciate the Bakowski family for all they did,” said Bossier City Mayor Tommy Chandler.
A combination of funding for the $2.4M project to interactively illuminate the bridge with 375 color-kinetic LEDs and turn it into a work of public art came from a combination of public and private funding, including $1 million from Dr. George and Sandra Bakowski, who inspired the idea to relight the Texas Street Bridge.
Local optometrist, Dr. George Bakowski, and his wife donated $1 million to the project, which took four months to complete.
“The local community has supported me and my practice for 45 years, so I decided to give back to the community,” said Dr. George Bakowski. “Knowing that the bridge lights were out, my wife and I decided to light up the bridge again.”
“It means a lot to me and from what I’ve heard from and the people here and the people involved, it means a lot to them too,” Shreveport Regional Arts Council Marketing Manager Casey Jones said.