Shreveport/Bossier City held their second Tea Party yesterday on the Fourth and this one had the dual function as a Freedom Celebration. I'm going to go out on a limb and estimate @2500 people were there but I'm terrible at these estimates. If I can find a better source, I'll update that number but as of yet, I can't find anything in the local media with an estimate.
There were a few members of the media present; I spoke to KTBS and to the Bossier Press, but I saw KSLA there also and there was probably a Times person there but I didn't see anyone specifically. Most of the coverage on television last night was about the Riverfront celebration rather than the Tea Party and I can't find anything in the online edition of the paper about the Tea Party except their photo gallery.
The day was HOT - the huge clock/temperature board fluctuated from 104 to 101, but at that point it really doesn't make a difference. I will say right out of the gate here that the organizers for this event are hard-working, dedicated, and creative people. I was on the e-mail loop for a lot of the planning (even though all I did was blog), and I want to give a huge thank you to these people. Rob Gaudet, Kim Ebey, Naomi Lopez Bauman, Janet Boyett, Royal Alexander, Penny Harville, and Carissa Strozier just to name a few. These guys worked tirelessly and pulled off a great event yesterday. We're lucky in this community to have them.
That said, there were tents and activities set up around the perimeter of the Civic Center Lawn. There was an education tent, a Tea Party Store, a tent where you could buy water, Soldiers' Angels was there accepting donations and gas cards for veterans, a First Aid tent, and concessions. The Sno Cone line was long all day long (photo in previous post).
I don't think the crowd was a large as the Tax Day Tea Party but one must also take into consideration that there were 20,000 people on the Shreveport side of the Riverfront for Percy Sledge and free fireworks, so that could easily have drawn off some folks. The extreme heat may have also kept some folks in, or holiday family activities. Considering those factors, it's awesome that this event drew the crowd that it did which says something about the level of discord with events in Washington.
One of the more popular booths was the Mike & Spike tent. They broadcast everyday from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m. on 105.3 FM. They were offering a chance for citizens to Be Heard by videotaping your statement or comments and sending them to Washington. The line to speak was 25 or 30 people deep at one point. One woman explained that she has a daughter with a genetic illness; she lived in South Texas and the child needed emergency medical care. They were rejected at three hospitals because they were all full. She explained that they were at capacity with primarily illegals who were entitled to free health care. A man spoke about gun rights and the shortage of ammunition. Another man, a retired teacher, spoke about the Diversity Education curriculum and said that in his opinion our administration has more in common with Lenin and Putin than Jefferson and Washingon. People were angry and upset about many issues and Mike & Spike got an earful yesterday.
There was a long list of speakers on the main stage. To start off the activities the emcee called for all the veterans in the crowd to come assist with the posting of the colors. A large number of men and women made their way to the front. Ken Krefft did a moving recitation of The Declaration of Independence (following which, one man noted that Krefft did it all without a teleprompter).
Penny Harville read the Janet Contreras letter (a copy of which is here) and was interrupted with applause and cheers. There were also speakers on health care, cap and trade and one from Soldiers' Angels, to name a few. The ever popular CL Bryant was also there to wrap things up. I'm hoping someone posts a video and if they do, I'll come back and link it up. La. Outlaws was there again with great music!
It was a lovely event, despite the heat. People brought dogs, picnic baskets, ice chests, fans, children with bubbles and sparklers, patriotic signs, blankets to sit on, lawn chairs, umbrellas, tents, flags of all kinds and a friendly, patriotic spirit. It was a peaceful, family-friendly event. There were young people, old people, veterans and people of all parties. What everyone had in common was a frustration with unchecked federal spending and growing government.
Another big thanks to the organizers of the event and I hope they keep me in their email loop for upcoming events.
My Flickr pictures of the event are here.
The S/B Tea Party page is here.
Their Facebook page is here.