SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) has presented Phoenix awards every year since 1969 this year the society recognized a Shreveport organization doing all it can to preserve history and culture at its 2023 conference in Puerto Rico.

Shreveport Common was recognized internationally for its revitalization efforts throughout town. The 2023 Phoenix Award was presented to the organization for its transformation of neglected historic areas into creative, cultural community.

“It has taken a village,” said Commons Executive Director Wendy Benscoter. “to imagine and implement this creative placemaking revitalization.”

The organization worked with The City of Shreveport, SPAR, and The Shreveport Regional Arts Council(SRAC) to revitalize the downtown area.

“All of these efforts have taken what was really tremendous blight and devastation. And like a phoenix rising; because after all, it is the Phoenix Award, we’ve been able to bring the arts out of the ashes of that fire and rebuild an entire nine-block community called Shreveport Common – to be an uncommon destination where you stumble across the fun,” said SRAC Executive Director Pam Atchison.

Atchison said the team works together to re-interpret history through the eyes of an artist while making sure it is authentic to the area – and sustainable.

“So we’re interested in celebrating the authenticity of the area and making sure that everything we do is authentic to what it was while number two being creative. How can we not just relive history? There’s lots of places in the nation that are about recreating history, but how can we reinterpret history through the eyes of an artist to something highly creative,” Atchison asked. “The third goal for us in our mindset is how can it be sustainable. You know, Rome was not built in a day we hear that over and over again. And how many 1000s of years later do we appreciate Rome.”

Shreveport Common hosts many events throughout the city each year.

“What makes Shreveport Common such an exciting place is not only the historic architecture in the great buildings and the people who are here, but my golly, it’s the events and there are 35 events, major events every year. Why there’s one coming up this week,” Atchison said.

Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux said he was proud of the recognition Shreveport Common received.

“The Phoenix Award affirms the outstanding dedication and hard work of the countless people from The City of Shreveport, SPAR, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, and Shreveport Common, Inc., who helped revitalize an area in the heart of Downtown and make it something we can all be proud of,” Arceneaux said.