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Fort Humbug

With a lack of equipment or skilled labor, three forts and twelve batteries were quickly constructed in the area. Federal spies reported that Shreveport was heavily armed with cannons, and Admiral Porter and General Nathaniel Banks, who believed this, turned around. Of course, Fort Turnbull, the original name of the fort, was nothing but felled trees, cut and fashioned to look like cannons.  General John Bankhead McGruder was correct when he described it as nothing but a “humbug.”1 And the name stuck.

Fort Humbug was the last stronghold of the Confederacy in Louisiana.2

Reuben N. McKellar, Commissioner of Streets and Parks, first saw the sixty-five acres of Fort Humbug as a possible park in 1927.3 He stated that the earthworks of the fort were still visible.4 He and his men began to clear the land. On June 3, 1927, Confederate Memorial Day, the Fort Humbug Confederate Memorial Park was dedicated, with the Shreveport Chapter 237 taking the responsibility of the park’s upkeep.5

The entranceway features brick columns topped by an iron grill bearing the name of the park. The federal government built a Department of Commerce Aviation Radio Station on the property in 1931. They later moved, and intentions were made to use the cottage they left on the site as a meeting house, although this never came into being.6

In 1939 the Louisiana National Guard built an armory here, using the fort as the headquarters of the Shreveport unit. It served as a military induction center for Northwest Louisiana during World War II. The Shreveport Chapter donated a number of World War I cannons that had been on the property to the metal drive during World War II.7

On December 10, 1947 the Corps of Engineers broke ground for the twelve-story Veterans Administration Hospital, which stands on forty acres. A park was proposed to be built on a triangular-shaped plot of land bounded by the hospital, the Red River, and the Cotton Belt Railroad bridge that passes over the river.8

“A fort of loosely thrown up dirt, mounted with wooden guns, a camouflage conceived by the citizens of Shreveport, too small a band to offer resistance to any enemy attack, but putting on this mask of bravery to defy federal gunboats which might venture up the river.” – Commissioner Reuben McKellar.




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