The Boom or Bust Byway is filled with rich history, homemade food, striking sunsets, lush landscapes, and most importantly, hardworking, down-home people that make this backroad journey worthwhile. The wholesome community breathes the byway air, manages the byway museums, prepares the byway food, and soaks up the byway sun. See where the locals like to eat, explore and unwind.
“I am excited to be part of the Boom or Bust Byway. There’s a history of booming and busting with the oil and agriculture industry. There are hundreds of oil wells and rows of crops dotting our landscapes. You have to see it for yourself.”
– Karen Logan
Karen Logan’s heart rests in the small towns along the Red River that make up a significant portion of the Boom or Bust Byway. As president of Red River Crossroads Historical Association, Karen focuses on highlighting people who work together for the betterment of the community. The people of Gilliam, Louisiana have contributed to the success of Red River Crossroads Museum, which features the history of the surrounding small towns and recognizes unique aspects of the local culture. The museum contains Caddo Indian artifacts and material from the early settlers in surrounding areas, as well as books that hold the history of the plantations along the Red River.
The association sponsors the Sunflower Trail & Festival and other local history programs throughout the year. Logan organizes this festival every summer. Visitors travel near and far to capture the sight of beautiful sunflowers in full bloom. The festival is fun, family-friendly and free. In addition to the festival, there is a self-driving trail that gives visitors the opportunity to experience vast fields of sunflowers, cotton and corn.
The Sunflower Trail brings the communities together in an effort to showcase the hidden gems throughout the rural areas of North Caddo parish. The farmers volunteer to plant the sunflowers along Highway 3049, and they even plant some in their yard. While the sunflowers are flourishing, Logan loves to watch visitors experience the countryside by taking one-of-a-kind family photos, picking sunflowers and laughing with one another.
Many of the byway’s visitors are just passing through the area and are welcomed with open arms through homemade foods, rich history and more of the byway’s hidden treasures. There are historic churches to explore, beautiful homes to admire, antique shopping experiences, and events to attend.
“I love living in this agricultural community with its rich history, good food and wonderful people,” said Logan.
Gain this agricultural experience she loves so much on your road trip along the Boom or Bust Byway. While you’re there, stop by the Red River Crossroads Museum in Gilliam to say hello to Karen!
Dr. Ann Lars
“Do not overlook small towns. Instead, be on the lookout for quaint locations, picturesque scenery, great food and friendly people.”
-Dr. Ann Lars
Dr. Ann Lars is native to Vivian, Louisiana, but spent much of her adulthood in Ohio and Michigan. Dr. Lars returned to Louisiana in 2014 with her husband and son, where they all became active in the community. In addition to her strong ties to the community, Lars has a background filled with inarguable accomplishments. With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University, a Master of Education degree from Louisiana State University Shreveport, and a Doctorate of Educational Administration degree from Eastern Michigan University, Dr. Lars certainly brings a presence of ambition and prominence along the byway.
Dr. Lars considers herself to be a visual, spiritual, and committed person. As the current public relations coordinator for the annual Vivian Black History Parade, we see her strenuous communication efforts come to life every year through the parade.
She watched as the minuscule parade attendance grew gradually year after year. At this year’s festival, a wide variety of community participation cruised through downtown Vivian, including local and regional businesses, first respondents, government officials, families, schools and other organizations. As the parade began to expand over the years, new thresholds were crossed.
“It was rewarding to have former Shreveport Mayor Ollie Tyler participate as our Grand Marshal a few years ago. That means that the word spread farther than it did in past years,” said Lars.
Of all the towns that hold the Boom or Bust Byway route, it’s no surprise that Vivian is her favorite. She sees Vivian as a cadre of treasure troves and diverse people to be explored and not ignored. Although, Dr. Lars has a deep-rooted love for Vivian, she’s able to see each town’s uniqueness along the byway independently.
There are so many unearthed gems to be discovered. Dr. Lars shared a few of her favorites along the byway. Her favorite places to eat are Café 180 and Cool Beans Coffee Shop in Vivian. She enjoys attending popular festivals such as Christmas on Caddo in Oil City. Sometimes, Dr. Lars finds it most relaxing to rest in nature on a solo getaway overlooking the ripples of Caddo Lake, listening to singing birds, and reading at nearby parks.
Dr. Lars advises road trippers to never overlook the small towns. You should properly prepare for your journey on the Boom or Bust Byway because you will miss the quaint locations, picturesque sceneries, great food and friendly people without a plan.
On your next Boom or Bust Byway road trip, consider the advice of Dr. Lars. Stop and smell the flowers, eat some good Southern foods, visit a museum or say hello to Dr. Ann Lars in person at the next Vivian Black History Parade.