• Louisianian of the Year
At the end of a challenging year, the Great Raft Brewing team is celebrating brand manager Bob Thames and his philanthropic achievements. He was recently named to Louisiana Life magazine’s Louisianians of the Year list for 2020.
Each year the magazine combs the state in search of Louisianians doing great things at home and, potentially, around the country or even the world. They look for individuals who stand out in their professions, give back and represent what is best about the Pelican State.
At Great Raft, Bob works with a network of distributors, restaurateurs and bar owners to keep the brewery’s newest products in stock and on the shelves. As COVID-19 numbers climbed in early March, Bob began considering ways to give back to the shuttering service industry that had supported him for so many years. What started as a one-time raffle led to two months of fundraising and the eventual distribution of over $27,000 directly into the hands of unemployed servers and bartenders in the Shreveport-Bossier area.
“If I’ve learned anything from 2020, it’s that to move forward we have to give back,” Thames said. “Give what you can, to who you can, whenever you can. It’s the only way we’ll all get through this.”
Bob’s service to the community has been recognized by several other organizations, including receiving coverage in The Shreveport Times and being a featured guest on several podcasts and web series. In September 2020, the Bossier Chamber of Commerce named him one of the top three Patriots of the Pandemic at an awards ceremony.
To learn more about Bob’s work during COVID-19, and about all of the Louisianians of the Year, visit https://www.myneworleans.com/louisianians-of-theyear-9/. To learn more about Great Raft Brewing, visit www.greatraftbrewing.com.
• Farmers’ Market Calendar
The Shreveport Farmers’ Market 2021 calendar is now available for purchase. The calendar features recipes from 12 favorite culinary experts utilizing ingredients found at the Shreveport Farmers’ Market. Calendars are $15 each and can be purchased at these locations: 318 Art & Garden, The Agora Borealis, C&C Mercantile & Lighting, Canatella Interiors and Enchanted Garden.
You can also contact the Red River Revel office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. to purchase.
• Local Horror Film on Amazon
A feature horror film, “Squatter,” shot in Shreveport and Mira, La., has now been released on Amazon. Several movie scenes in the first half of the film highlight Northwest Louisiana’s environment, names, roads, country and culture. The film is about a washed-up former bluechip athlete (most recently a wrestler in Japan) returning home to rural Northwest Louisiana and goes on a killing spree after discovering his childhood home in foreclosure. All cast and crew are from the Ark-La-Tex, including Anne Nichols Brown (“NCIS”) and Kurt Deville (“Black Panther,” “Olympus Has Fallen”). Jimmy Tyson of Shreveport is the executive producer/director and writer, and Glen Grefe (“Snitch,” “Apocalypse Rising,” “Drive Angry”) is the producer. Bossier native and Los Angeles producer Grits Carter (“God’s Not Dead”) was production manager and post producer.
The production partnered with local educational entity Alumni Arts Presents (Northwest Louisiana’s top-listed LED career-based Training Film Program) as outlined by the state’s new Film Forward Tax Credit program requirements.
Local companies and business involved in the production and economic and film development include Alumni Arts Presents, Bayou Moon Entertainment, Bossier Arts Council,Brewniverse, Shreveport, Digital Media Institute, Flying Heart Brewery, Landrum Arts LA, Logan’s Roadhouse, Marilyn’s Place, Ono’s Hawaiian Grill, Retro 521 Coffee, Cafe & Venue, SBC Zombie Walk, Swampy Sloth Studios, The Ella Project, Wainwright Park Media, Windhorn Productions and Works In Progress Louisiana.
Local production companies include Golden Ticket Studios and Stoner House Entertainment.
• Changes at Bickham Dickson Park
In partnership with the City of Shreveport, the federal government has taken over C. Bickham Dickson Park’s operation and management, which now becomes part of the Red River National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). In 2019 the Shreveport City Council agreed to a 99-year lease of the park to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The park has been closed off and on since 2014 mainly due to flooding. Discussion began in 2015 between the City of Shreveport (City) Mayor’s Office, the director of Shreveport Public Assembly and Parks (SPAR) and The Nature Conservancy of LA (TNC) about the future of the park. TNC recommended the NWR as a possible win-win alternative for managing the park.
The purpose of the National Wildlife Refuge System is to conserve America’s lands and waters, including the fish, wildlife and plants, to benefit future generations of the American people. Refuge Manager Pat Stinson said, “We will open the park, renamed the C.B. Dickson Unit, to fishing, boating with trolling motors only, canoeing, kayaking, hiking, bird watching, nature photography and nature study. Camping and hunting will not be allowed.”
The first parking lot is open. The second gate will remain closed as it will take a while to do all the clean-up, such as removing debris, tackling invasive plants and installing signage. The opening is planned for spring.
The Headquarters Unit and Visitor Center of Red River National Wildlife Refuge is located along the Arthur Teague Parkway south of the Jimmie Davis/70th Street Bridge at 150 Eagle Bend Point, Bossier City, La. Due to COVID-19, the visitor center is still closed, but the refuge property and hiking trails are open. For additional information about Red River National Wildlife Refuge, call 318-742-1219, view our website at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/red_river/ or visit our Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RedRiverNWR.
Shalisa Roland and Alex Einerson
• PRAL Presents Awards
The Public Relations Association of Louisiana (PRAL) Northwest Chapter has recognized Shalisa Roland with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau as the 2020 Member of the Year and Alex Einerson with Holy Angels as the 2020 Communicator of the Year.
The Member of the Year Award recognizes and honors a PRAL member who has demonstrated dedication to professional development and the advancement of the organization. Shalisa Roland was honored with this award because she is an outstanding member and asset to the organization.
The Communicator of the Year Award recognizes and honors a community professional and PRAL member who has demonstrated exemplary communication skills throughout the past year.
Alex Einerson was selected as Communicator of the Year for her excellent crisis communications efforts.