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Wanted - Shreveport Memories Of Elvis

July 01, 2006 | Other
Elvis Presley, who began his professional career in Shreveport in the 1950s, gave his last performance here 30 years ago Saturday.

And just 13 months earlier, he’d given his penultimate concerts in Shreveport, shows mildly criticized by The Times’ amusements editor. That resulted in fans who were anything but amused and made it impossible for him or anyone else here to get any work done for several days.

Memories like those, from both the start and the close of The King’s long career, give Shreveport and Shreveporters a special claim to Elvis Presley. And The Times would like to hear from people who have memories to share of those last performances here.

If you have a memory or a photo of Presley’s last shows in Shreveport to share, send them by e-mail to The Times in care of japrime@gmail.com. We’ll share them with readers, giving you one last fling with The King.

On the site of that same newspaper we also found this memory:

Elvis milestone set here three decades ago

It was 30 years ago today that Elvis Presley performed for the last time in Shreveport, the city that gave him his professional start.

Presley, who died in August 1977, was told at an audition at the Grand Ol' Opry that he had no future in music and to go back to driving a truck. Luckily for the listening public, he instead headed to Shreveport to season at the lean and hungry Louisiana Hayride, which was home to stars ranging from Hank Williams Sr. to Slim Whitman. So his shows here, among the last in his career, were a coda to those that were truly his first.

But Elvis was in a class by himself, as one Times online reader reports in an anecdote sent from Hazlehurst, Miss.

"When Elvis came back to Shreveport for sort of a 'homecoming' concert after being gone from the Louisiana Hayride a couple of years, a friend of ours (asked) if we'd like to go with him, and afterward go backstage and visit Elvis," wrote former area resident Larry Robertson, who now is a retired Methodist minister.

The sort of friend who could get you backstage to meet Elvis was none other than the late David Houston, also a Hayride performer. Houston sang in Robertson's church choir.

"Since David had been a longtime performer on the Hayride, and knew Elvis, we were all delighted to go with his free tickets," he wrote. "We all piled in David's Super 88 Olds, and off we went. It was packed and the concert was power-packed ... awesome for us college-age guys. But David said that Elvis would not be staying backstage, but rather would leave the building immediately after his concert ended and go to his hotel."

Sure enough, at the end of the concert the announcer said "Elvis has left the building!"

They all hopped in Houston's car, and zoomed over to the Captain Shreve Hotel, and joined a line of folks seeking Elvis.

"Sure, the whole world would like to see Elvis," Robertson recalled the desk clerk saying.

"Well, call up to his room and tell him David Houston is here," Robertson recalled Houston saying. "He did, and looked surprised at the answer he got from Elvis."

They got the room number, and were told to go on up. When they did, they got a surprise.

"When we got there, we saw Johnny Horton with Elvis," he said. Robertson said the three singers chatted while he and the people with him "just stood around flabbergasted that we were really with The King and the 'Battle Of New Orleans' Horton."

Robertson sought autographs, and Horton and Presley said OK.

"The only thing I could find for them to sign was the back of a picture in my wallet of my 1939 Buick Special black 4-door," Robertson recalled. "Elvis said, 'Man, I had a Buick just like that!' or words to that effect. I told him the story how it had been in storage for 14 years in Chicago and was brought to Bossier by a car dealer on Barksdale Boulevard, where my Dad and I found it while hunting for a family car. Dad paid $700 cash in 1952 for it. It looked like Al Capone's get-away car. Not a dent or a scratch on it."

After 30 minutes or so, the group left and went to meet friends at the old Amber Inn.

"No one would believe it until I showed them the autographs," Robertson said.

By John Andrew Prime / jprime@gannett.com
Source:Shreveport Times