In downtown Shreveport, the three-day Let the Good Times Roll Festival continued at Festival Plaza, with performances from local, regional, and national artists, along with food, fashion, and culture in a celebration of unity of the African American community.
While New York City R&B trio SWV had to cancel their performance set for Saturday night, a smaller but enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a performance by the local Murff Brothers to kick off the lineup Saturday afternoon.
“This is my first time ever hearing them play, they’re nice,” says Becky Johnson, who came all the way from Alexandria.
Aside from the Murff Brothers performance, Louisiana Daiquiri Café also took part in the pre-Juneteenth celebration: a mural, celebrating people and places in Shreveport, which took months to complete, was finally unveiled.
“We wanted to make sure we unveiled this wall celebrating individuals that have passed and those that are still with us that has influenced and led the community and influence other people to do great things in Shreveport,” said Jonathan Reynolds, manager and partner at Louisiana Daiquiri Café.
The mural features people like Larry Anderson, who spent seven years playing in the NFL.
“This portrait behind me on this mural is me in my young days as a Pittsburgh Steeler. I was drafted by the Steelers in ’78 as a fourth-rounder, and I stayed with them for four years,” Anderson said. “I’ve never would have imagined that something like this I would be involved in it.”
First responders in Bossier City may not have been in the NFL, but that did not stop them from playing flag football with children at Mitchell Park on Saturday.
“Connecting with little children all the way up to adults, you know, everybody has a story and whether it’s a good story with the police or bad story with the police, it’s our job to change the narrative of those interactions that people have with police,” said Bossieri City Police Chief Chris Estess.
Bossier Parish NAACP Chapter President Lee Jeter said Saturday’s pre-Juneteenth celebration was the first time the NAACP collaborated with first responders.
“It takes all of us to make up this community when everyone has a respect for the culture of the community then the community does better.”
Let The Good Times Roll continues Sunday with Glorious Praise Singers of Shreveport/God’s Plan kicking off the afternoon’s lineup, which will also include Muzikology The Band, Avery*Sunshine, and headliner Slick Rick.
June 19, 1865 marks the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation to enslaved people in Galveston, Texas.
President Joe Biden signed legislation in 2021 making Juneteenth a federal holiday. Prior to that, Juneteenth was only celebrated in communities that maintained a generational reverence for the historical relevance of the day.