SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Our long march back to some kind of normalcy in our lives involved some of us having to wait in line for hours beginning on Monday, May 18 — at the Office of Motor Vehicles.
Even worst, Monday’s OMV visitors had to stand line for hours outside in what turned out to be a hot, sunny day in Shreveport. The OMV is offering limited services at 11 offices statewide — like issuing and renewing of driver’s licenses, personal identification and some title services.
These services had to be done with social distancing measures in place, not to mention the mandatory use of face masks once inside the building.
For all the dozens and dozens of people who stood in line at the main OMV office on Normandie Drive in Shreveport, all it took was one question to lead to a chorus of similar responses:
Person #1: “What kind of questions you asking for?”
Reporter: “I just want to know how long you’ve waited out here?”
Person #2: Three hours!
Crowd together: “Three hours!” “Three.” “Three.” “Ridiculous.” Nobody in there!"
By the time we arrived, emotions were beginning to reach a boiling point for many of those who had already endured two months of waiting to conclude their business at the OMV, which had been put on hold ever since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived.
One OMV visitor, who wanted only to be identified as "Rick" couldn't hold back frustration any longer as he spoke with us.
"Nobody in there but one person at a time; three hours. They'd say this is their new thing. I'd done been to Bossier, Minden, all are closed. Shreveport is the only one open. Shreveport's the only one open around here."
With no water, no bathroom, no seating, along with the glaring heat the conditions were especially tough for seniors and those with medical conditions, just ask Miz D.:
"They didn't prepare for us."
That was quickly followed by fellow OMV visitor Lehman Jones who couldn't help but offer his perspective as well.
"Why just open up one?"
That's when Miz D add, "They only had one (OMV office) in this area.
Jones concluded, "I don't understand. that. Why open up one?"
In fact, Jones had to make a long drive to visit this OMV office in southwest Shreveport.
"We're from Monroe. We had to drive all the way from Monroe."
Some just tried to take it all in stride, including Jones who said in a loud voice to others in the line:
"Well, it's so hot now corona's dead anyway," started Jones, bringing a laugh from the crowd.
He concluded, "It don't live in heat," said in a wry grin that brought even more laughs.
Just as we began to leave this Shreveport OMV main office we spotted people at the front of the line, who upon hearing our interviews, brought "Miz D" into the shade at the very front of the line.
Waiting for three hours is pretty tough not to express frustration. Just ask “Rick” who made a pointed observation.
"You know, they gotta prepare and study. Ah c'mon, man. I mean business is business. Do your business. I mean, c'mon. If I can go shopping at Walmart or Kroger, what I can't go in there and get my driver's license renewed? "C'mon."
While the OMV main office is on Normandie Drive, some decided to come to a smaller, satellite OMV office on East 70th street, just blocks east of the Interstate 49 interchange.
Just before Lakeycher Harrie began to back out and leave we asked if she expected to wait at this express office for a while as well.
“I did. But we went out there on Normandie Drive. Their line is much longer. So, we were expecting to be waiting. But it went pretty fast.”