O.J. Simpson pops in for a visit

Seen in Shreveport: NFL Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson
The late Barry Hutton, who once ran the Hertz Rental Cars franchise in Shreveport, often would share the story of how one of O.J. Simpson's earliest commercials was filmed at Shreveport Regional. (Source: YouTube)
The late Barry Hutton, who once ran the Hertz Rental Cars franchise in Shreveport, often would share the story of how one of O.J. Simpson's earliest commercials was filmed at Shreveport Regional. (Source: YouTube)

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Southern Trace: "Good course."

East Ridge: "Those greens are smokin'. Those are some great greens."

That's the assessment of golfer O.J. Simpson, who's been in the Shreveport area playing golf with friend and car dealer Bernie Woods.

"But the people are nice. That's the thing with me. The people are terrific."

While the NFL Hall of Famer concedes that Woods beat him on the course Tuesday, Simpson says he won the other matches.

"We don't bet. It's bragging rights. It's all about bragging rights," he said while leaving Copeland's of New Orleans in Shreveport.

While in town for a few days, Simpson said he's been visiting friends and celebrating anniversaries and birthdays. "Even had a nephew propose marriage this weekend.

"Had a great time. Played some terrific golf, met some great people at these golf courses. Ate a great meal here. John gave me a great meal here at Copeland's. It's been terrific."

Simpson says he'll be back in July for a family reunion.

His mother, the late Eunice Simpson, was a native of Rodessa, a former boomtown in Caddo Parish.

"When I was a kid, as far back as I can remember, I'd spend my summers in Rodessa, which is right out of town, and Vivian, that's where my grandparents' farm was," Simpson said. "My mother, as I said, went to high school here. And every summer, we were down here."

The 2000 book "Tabloid Culture: Trash Taste, Popular Power and the Transformation of American Television" recounts a story about Simpson's affinity for that area.

"I still need Rodessa and my roots. It may seem like such a dead place to some. But when you're in the middle of New York, Los Angeles or Detroit, Rodessa seems very alive," Simpson is quoted as saying.

"I need it very badly. I need to get back there to get in touch with myself. I'd like to return again, and I'd like to send my children down for a vacation. It's home to me."

That's not Simpson's only tie to the Shreveport area.

Johnnie Cochran, the attorney who famously defended Simpson during his trial and acquittal over the death of his wife, was born in Shreveport.

And the Internet is replete with videos of commercials showing Simpson, as spokesman for Hertz Rental Cars in the 1970s and 1980s,  leaping over counters, chairs and rope barriers as he runs through airports.

And the late Barry Hutton, who ran the Hertz franchise in Shreveport at the time, often would share the story of how one of the earliest of those advertisements was filmed at Shreveport Regional and how he would drive Simpson and his entourage around town.

Copyright 2018 KSLA. All rights reserved.