KSLA Salutes: The Dragon’s Lair

“This was a way to get out with our friends from work to come and spend time together and explore something we have never explored before."

KSLA Salutes: The Dragon's Lair

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - It’s a Thursday night inside the Dragon’s Lair War Games and Hobby Supplies store — and that’s where you’ll find John Steinagel and his friends playing Dungeons and Dragons.

Steinagel is an airman at Barksdale Air Force Base and found this place last year. The lair is opened every day except Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and is located at 1240 Shreveport Barksdale Highway Suite 106.

“This was a way to get out with our friends from work to come and spend time together and explore something we have never explored before," he said.

He soon started to realize he wasn’t the only airman coming here.

“We’d see other military people in uniform, flight suits, and different things like that," Steinagel said. "Officers, enlisted people, just all walks who’d be in here playing something.”

Sothearith Iem — also known as 'So’ — runs the Dragon’s Lair and has a special connection to the military — he served in the National Guard.

“I was the very last one processing through MEPS," he said. "It was the very end of the month. I was actually going in as a dog handler.”

However, a recruiter convinced him to go in as a hospital care specialist.

“The guys in charge of intake goes ‘Hey everybody that’s a 68 Whiskey stand up,' so myself and others stood up and he goes ‘You see these people right here, take care of them, these are your combat medics," said Iem. "I was like ‘wait what? I’m a hospital care specialist.’”

That was in 2006 and for the next ten years, he served until he retired.

This store had many owners before it was finally sold to Iem, and since then it’s become a place where he’s helped connect people.

“There are multiple groups out there right now that are still together that I’ve introduced here in the store that are still playing every night," he said.

For Steinagel, he enjoys the balance it gives him from his job.

“You go to work," he said. "You put effort into work, but you also have to balance that with time to decompress. This is a nice way of structuring that for us.”

The Dragon’s Lair might not be for everyone — but the doors are always open for those looking to have a little fun.

“If you’re even a little bit interested in it, at least take that first step like we did and just come to a place like this and just ask questions,” said Steinagel.

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