Shreveport mayor responds to criticism that he’s failing the Black community

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 3:01 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux is responding to comments suggesting he’s snubbing the Black community.

The comments in question were made at a recent community crime forum that was held Saturday, March 25. KSLA’s Domonique Benn was a panelist at the event, and addressed the concerns of people who live on Cooper Road.

“At my station, we hold people accountable and so Monday morning, I will call him and I will ask, ‘What do you have to say about shootings that happen on Cooper Road?’ Cooper Road matters too,” Benn said at the forum.

Domonique sat down with Mayor Arceneaux to get answers.

Just one day after a violent Friday night and Saturday morning, community members packed into the gym at David Raines Community Center. It was a meeting planned for weeks, but came at the right time. Citizens were there to talk about rising crime in the area.

”We are cooperating with both federal and sate agencies to try and be as effective on the enforcement end as we can. There will be some deterrent so that people that are committing these violent acts realize that there are consequences to those acts,” the mayor said.

A panel of special guests and invited state and local leaders were there, as well as those in the community who want answers about the violence. Noticeably missing was Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux. A news conference the mayor called late Saturday afternoon also raised some eyebrows. The news conference was held downtown near the area where six people where shot hours before, but those at the meeting say the Black community deserves the same respect.

Eight people were shot on Logan Street Friday night in the Allendale community hours before the downtown shooting.

“You have never once called a press conference. These are Black problems, the businesses in Shreveport, but what about us?” said Terrance Winn with the PIPES organization, who put together the community meeting.

Mayor Arceneaux agreed to talk about the criticisms. He watched Winn’s interview.

“Why wouldn’t you be here? But you will throw a press conference because one of the crimes happened in downtown,” Winn questioned.

“Obviously, I disagree. I understand his frustration. I will also point out all victims were Black people, so the idea I don’t care about Black people is absurd,” the mayor replied.

The mayor says he’s not ignoring one segment of the community. He says he told community organizers he wouldn’t be able to make the meeting because of a prior obligation happening at the same time to honor murder victim, Devin Myers, at Huntington High School. Mayor Arceneaux says he had to cut that short to rush to the news conference held downtown about the shooting, but Winn says the timing, location, and perception of the news conference is questionable.

″You are really failing us as a leader. You have never done it,” he said.

“Generally speaking, it was to have a news conference, and I do those here and some locations are not easy to set up, and downtown seems the best place to be,” the mayor said.