FROM THE PUBLISHER
Wow! It is hard to believe Forum has been around for 30 years. When we began in 1988, fax machines were the latest business tool and at that time revolutionary. The devices are now relatively obsolete. We started out doing paste-up, shooting film and driving photos and layouts to our printer in Alexandria. All of that is now done at our desktops and files sent by the then-unheard of World Wide Web.
Since 1988, the once-neglected Red River is navigable and glitters with casinos and hotels. I-49 South is long completed! Our main corridors for driving are inundated with chain restaurants, national retailers, franchises and the like. Back in 1996, we did a feature on the arrival of the "chain gangs." Red Lobster was the first to announce they would establish stores here. Next was Barnes & Noble. We were big time. As the economy slowly improved, the number of franchises also began to increase. In the early 2000s, they exploded. LSUS on Youree Drive had been amidst cotton fields out on the edge of nowhere. The area is now unrecognizable with hardly a field of any kind in sight.
Not wanting this milestone anniversary to pass unnoticed, we thought it time to spiff up our brand and add a regional designation to our publication for a broader, more modern appeal. The logo was created through an online design contest. We made our top choice, collaborated with the designer and voila! We love the result. 318 Forum may be our brand new brand, but we will still offer the local and familiar content that is so important and desirable to our readers.
318 Forum is the largest publication in North Louisiana. We are bigger than the daily Times. 318 Forum published 23,500 copies of this issue. The daily Times is around 21,000. Printed publications are still the most powerful marketing tool for making an impactful and long-remembered message for advertisers.
Something new in this issue: A special pull-out, "Culture Calendar 365." The year-long calendar is sure to be a keeper and keep you amazed and entertained. This fantastic arts sampler is sponsored by Dr. George Merriman Freedom From Obesity, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council and 318 Forum.
And finally, on the following pages, we will share a few of our most important and favorite covers from our past representing just a few of the leaders, legends and folks we know and love: Our town! See how many faces you recognize and remember from these covers going back 30 years. (The covers on this page are a few of my personal favorites.)
Thank you to our many loyal readers and to our advertisers, long-time and new. We really appreciate your support. Here’s to another 30 years, in whatever form that takes. We will see you tomorrow and, God willing, long after.
— Jay Covington
Publisher, Executive Editor