Shreveport historian Ernie Roberson talks about the years of the city's economic boom for both white and blue collar workers and the events that occurred to make those good times a thing of the past.

Roberson also explains the economic evolution of the city, from a white collar energy giant of the early 1950s, to a blue collar, union town of the 1970s, to the city of today in search of a new economic identity.

Roberson says that Shreveport's economy was already beginning to change as the 50s drew to an end with the coming loss of the communities white collar energy related jobs. "It all started with United Gas," he says, "One thousand jobs were in the building (at Fairfield and Jordan," adding that Shreveport was referred to as "the gas capitol of the world." But the city fell victim to financial shift in the energy world that caused major industry moves to Houston, Texas and the majority of those jobs were lost.

Roberson then chronicles the move to - and loss of - labor intensive, blue collar jobs in the area, a near twenty year manufacturing migration that was dealt a final blow with the Clinton era NAFTA treaty.

So, what has been Shreveport's economic salvation? "If it hadn't been for Barksdale," Ernie says, "And it hadn't been for the growth during the Vietnam War, we'd have been - then and now - in even worse shape."


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