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My Hometown: Shreveport, Louisiana

Michelle McCrary stills finds new things she enjoys about her childhood hometown: Its bustling arts district, riverbank attractions, and renowned local eateries, to name a few.

By Cassie Kreitner

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The McCrary Family
Scarlett Hendricks
Scarlett Hendricks
Scarlett Hendricks
Joel Holland
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Shreveport, Louisiana

Population: 200,145

Claim to Fame: Known as the Hollywood of the South, the city has recently become the third biggest venue for movie-making in the U.S., after New York City and Los Angeles.

Our Shreveport Family: Michelle; Mike; Michael, 13; Sammy, 11

Mike and I grew up in Shreveport and have been together since eighth grade. We love living here and couldn't imagine leaving. Shreveport has all the conveniences of a big city, but it's small enough that you'll still run into familiar faces. Barksdale Air Force Base is in the middle of the Shreveport-Bossier area, and huge crowds gather to send off and welcome home the troops. Mike is an Army National Guardsman, and the community was extremely supportive during his two deployments to Iraq.

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Laissez les bons temps rouler, or Let the good times roll, is our unofficial state motto, and we always have fun at Festival Plaza, which hosts around a dozen happenings each year. Our favorite is the Red River Revel in October. Nearly 200,000 people attend the weeklong event, which showcases work from local artists along with live music and exhibitions. Michael and Sammy look forward to participating in Lee's Kung Fu and Tai Chi's martial arts demonstration—the boys take classes at the center three times a week.

Downtown Shreveport's Texas Street is lined with historic churches and is also a thriving arts district—home to theaters, museums, and galleries. We practically live at the Robinson Film Center, where independent and foreign films are shown, along with Friday night cult classics. In 2010 the boys produced and starred in a short film, Fried Night, which was screened in the student division of the Louisiana Film Festival.

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Many of the restaurants Mike and I frequented as kids are still here. One of our longtime favorites is Strawn's Eat Shop, a classic 1940s diner famous for its Strawberry Icebox Pie. It's even been featured on the Food Network and Travel Channel! Hand-painted murals of celebrities and well-known locals who have dined at the restaurant decorate the walls.

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Encouraging our sons to be philanthropic is very important to us. Every October on World Zombie Day I coordinate a "Zombie Walk" food drive at the Mall St. Vincent. At least 50 cities across the world host similar events. Last year a few hundred people arrived in costumes and we collected 800 pounds of food for the Northwest Louisiana Food Bank. Attendance has increased every year, and it's great to see people come together and support a good cause!

Originally published in the June 2011 issue of Family Circle magazine.

This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings, and availabilities are subject to change. Please contact each hotel and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before taking your trip.

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