In thought: Aspen exports ideas to Shreveport |

In thought: Aspen exports ideas to Shreveport

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

ASPEN – Shreveport, La., and Aspen don’t have a heck of a lot in common. There are, however, a few expatriates from the north Louisiana city living in the upper Roaring Fork Valley, including two Aspen Times staffers, one pizza-shop owner, a couple of lawyers and a semiretired architect.

It’s usually cold, sunny and dry in Aspen, and it’s often muggy and cloudy in Shreveport – known not-so-affectionately as “Shreve-Pit” to some of us who left the buckle of the Bible Belt for the mountains and don’t plan on returning. The average cuisine might be a little bit better in “The Pit,” given its tenuous connections to the rest of Louisiana (think fried catfish or frog legs with hush puppies, black-eyed peas and sweet tea). The hiking, skiing, crime rate, intelligence quotients and all-around good vibrations make Aspen a nicer place to live and work.

Perhaps things are starting to turn around “down thay-er.” On Thursday night, the Aspen Ideas Mini-Fest will be at Shreveport’s Robinson Film Center, one of the few places where Democrats and progressive-thinking Shreveporters can meet and drink and dream about new ideas for their city without being chastised by the Bubba crowd.

According to The Times, the Gannett-owned newspaper in Shreveport (and only daily paper) that nobody admits to reading, a panel of local experts in economics, culture and psychology “will offer insights into happiness.” The Aspen Ideas Mini-Fest program is being co-sponsored by The Times – a pretty good newspaper back in the days when it had true competition – where few employees have found happiness over the past few decades.

The event will include a video from the Aspen Ideas Festival, along with a question-and-answer session between audience members and panelists, not unlike the format of the local festival. It will explore how a person’s location and culture affect personal feelings and the good of the community, said the director of the Community Foundation in Shreveport, the event’s other co-sponsor, according to The Times.

This all sounds so forward-looking and touchy-feely in the Aspen mold. If the Aspen Institute can help the last official capital of the Confederacy become a happier place, so much the better. And if Shreveport wants to send some Shrimp-Buster sandwiches from Herby K’s restaurant to Aspen in exchange for the assistance, that would be a great thing, too.

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