Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fish Stories: Action in Shreveport, la., Centers on the Red River

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fish Stories: Action in Shreveport, la., Centers on the Red River

Article excerpt

THE DUPONT FISH MARKET here is the kind of place I like to write about - rustic, colorful, soaked in history and hard work. But as a travel attraction, it would probably appeal most to seasoned fishermen.

The long, nondescript building, expanded several times, stands at 161 Market Street, but people know it as far away as California.

"I started the business in 1940," says graying patriarch Dan Dupont. "We seine the Red River with our two boats, but sometimes, we truck 'em more than a hundred miles for different kinds of fish."

In a back room I saw a sight I had always thought I'd never see - a 300-pound, 8-foot-long alligator gar. The huge, tooth-studded jaws and alligator head on a thick fish's body were Black Lagoon stuff, even though frozen white and stiff.

"I though such big gar were extinct," I said.

Dupont pere chuckled. "I've seen 'em as big as 350 pounds," he said, adding that the market for gar meat is good. The meat is firm and sweet when properly cooked.

"I'll make some for you," offered Fay Pierce, Dupont's daughter. But we missed connections, so I still don't know what gar tastes like. I hope it tastes better than it looks.

Snugged against the Red River, unseasonably shallow when I visited, Shreveport/Bossier is an attractive metroplex of approximately 250,000. Governed separately, Bossier and Shreveport are one community, connected by the Red River.

"We've got plenty to offer anyone," says Preston Friedly, president of the Shreveport/Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. "Right now, everybody's excited about the three brand new gaming boats that are anchoring here. But record fish are caught here, and some of our smaller lakes, like Caddo out by Oil City, are almost primeval in their beauty."

Caddo Lake is where the first off-shore drilling platform was constructed, about 1905. Young cypress trees sentinel the copper-colored water. In nearby Oil City, artifacts of the time fill the city's museum.

The 8th Air Force, one of the last B-52 wings, calls Barksdale Air Force Base home. …

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