SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) – The race to become mayor of Shreveport is about to get a whole lot more interesting. An expected third mayoral hopeful is expected to 'throw his hat into the ring' later this week. And, he's already raising some eyebrows.
His name is Parker Ward. He is a soon-to-be high school senior and a former Elvis impersonator. And this 18-year old Libertarian has one message for anyone who chooses to take him lightly in the race for Shreveport mayor: Watch out.
"This is an actual Elvis scarf that he wore across his neck," pointed Parker Ward inside his home in southwest Shreveport. Ask Ward about his two favorite subjects, Jesus and Elvis, and he'll tell you everything he knows about both.
In fact, his love and fascination with Elvis led to a 13 year run, from the ages of 3-to-16 as an Elvis impersonator, performing mostly at birthday parties and festivals. "That's what's given me my skill to be able to talk with people," credited Ward.
He lives with his aunt, Tammie Wilhelm, who won't soon forget her first reaction to Ward's intended run for Shreveport mayor. "I mean I thought he was actually crazy. I did. I honestly, I honestly did," revealed Wilhelm. She added, however, that feeling didn't last long. "Now I think, I think it's a good idea. I really do."
We wanted to know what some of his fellow classmates at Southwood High School thought of Ward's pending announcement. We caught up with fellow junior Jacorey Washington who told us, "Oh, Parker's a very good person," before Washington gave a thumbs up and smiled to our camera.
With no large war chest, Ward plans to run an internet-based, grassroots campaign. And Crescent Landing Catfish Restaurant in southwest Shreveport will be the place where it officially kicks off. That news conference is scheduled for this Thursday (5/27) at 5 p.m.
Restaurant owner Chester T. Kelley said he has no plans to endorse any of the candidates, choosing to stay neutral. But, Kelley did acknowledge Ward's loyalty to the end, as a campaign staffer, during Kelley's most-recent failed bid for congress.
Kelley continued, "I'm always intrigued how his sights are set so high at such a young age. But at the same time he has the enthusiasm certainly that you would want one to have for that position," said Kelley.
Ward's first big challenge: Getting a thousand signatures to get on the election ballot. Until then, he has time to polish up his Libertarian message. "It would be less government, less taxation and personal freedom," concluded Ward.
Besides Parker Ward, State Representative Roy Burrell announced his intention to run for mayor at a news conference Saturday afternoon. Shreveport Councilman Bryan Wooley was actually the first candidate to officially announce his intention to run.
Current mayor Cedric Glover is by all accounts expected to seek re-election. But, there's been no official announcement, yet. We'll keep you posted.