SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — It looked and sounded like a typical end-of-summer musical concert.
But to many who gathered for the inaugural Labor Day Jamz concert in west Shreveport, it has the potential to be far more.
Organizers in Lakeside-Allendale and elsewhere that contend such community events can serve as a template for helping kickstart a neighborhood revitalization effort.
Co-organizer Jacqueline Mason couldn't agree more.
“This is a solution,” said the administrator of Good Samaritan Funeral Home on Laurel Street, which is the concert’s major host and sponsor.
Mason explained why they wanted to hold the concert.
“Something that we decided to build and create a network and a family within this neighborhood, kind of like we used to have a long time ago.”
Mason and others argue that nostalgia can serve as a strong reminder of what their neighborhood looked and felt like before crime infested their streets.
The event also coincides with the funeral home’s 50th anniversary in hopes of serving as a model for other businesses to follow to resurrect those good ol’ days, she said.
Shreveport Councilman Willie Bradford said he was impressed with all the effort to make the concert happen. “This is what community’s about — giving back.”
People do their part simply by showing up and making friends, he added.
"Things like these help us recognize our neighbors, our people throughout the city."
Organizers described how ultimately it is the personal relationships, often fostered at such community events, that serve as the glue that binds neighborhoods together through thick and thin.
And concerts like this one are a great way to get the ball rolling, they added.
Bradford called the event a major part of any long-term solution to breathe new life into Lakeside-Allendale.
"All great things that happened today. It's a win, win, win for the city, for the community and for this organization that's putting it on."
NFL agent and Good Samaritan owner Winnifred Jackson said the goal is nothing short of revitalizing Lakeside-Allendale.
"By giving them inspiration, to show them that we're in it with them. We're not just a business. We're a business for the community."
The concert’s other major co-sponsor was The Hollingsworth Group, Sports and Talent Management Agency.