Rumor, innuendo and web fuel false election story - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Rumor, innuendo and web fuel false election story

By Jeff Ferrell – bio|email

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – Some people were appalled that a white candidate running for mayor of Shreveport would hold a rally in a black neighborhood and try to entice them with chicken wings and free limo rides to the polls.  And that's the story that's spreading like wildfire on the web and social networks, going viral.  The problem is:  That's not what happened. 

Just ask the organizers of the Bryan Wooley for Mayor campaign event.  Donor and volunteer Virginia Evans told me, "We didn't have chicken!  We had hamburgers and roast beef, prime rib."  That fact didn't stop a mass of emails, social network messages, and the like from spreading as fast as the speed of light across the worldwide web. 

Critics tried to paint that rally, publicized by this flier, as a political stunt, allegedly promising chicken and free limo rides to the polls in the predominantly African-American community of Martin Luther King Drive in north Shreveport.  Evans, who also happens to be African-American, says there was not even a hint of racism at her rally.

Evans insisted, during our interview at her home Friday night, that the Wednesday (9/22) event was her idea alone to help bring attention to the MLK neighborhood and its needs.  "No business(es) coming to our community, the streets are in bad shape." 

As for those free limo rides, Evans says only a few senior citizen ladies took her up on the offer, and it was only for early voting.  Mayoral candidate Bryan Wooley told us, "I got opponents on my right who made an issue about the size of my signs and I have opponents on my left who are trying to play the race card saying this is racial." 

An arsonist struck at Evans restaurant hours before that rally at Wings and More.  It forced the entire event to be held outside.  Despite that, Wooley added, "for us, it was a great opportunity.  Folks that participated loved it, enjoyed it and appreciated the opportunity to engage in the process and we had a great time." 

Shreveport Fire Chief Brian Crawford confirmed to me that an arsonist struck about 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, in the back of 'Wings and More.'  That restaurant's name, some suggest, likely led to the false conclusion that wings were served at the rally.  There's no evidence so far linking the rally to the arson fire.

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