Shreveport is ready for football. For MU fans worried about playing a bowl game in hurricane-ravaged Louisiana, fear not.
Shreveport, located in the northwest corner of the state, was left relatively unscathed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Known as the “Gateway to East Texas,” Shreveport is the commercial and cultural center of the area where Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas meet.
The city was founded in 1836 by the Shreve Town Co., a development corporation established to start a town at the meeting point of the Red River and the Texas Trail.
Today, Shreveport is host to several riverboat casinos and, traditionally, is second only to New Orleans for Louisiana tourism. Among its attractions is the National Rose Garden, the world’s largest.
Bowl week festivities will include the Minuteman Luncheon and a pep rally on Thursday, Dec. 29. Bowl officials will present the annual “Spirit of Independence Award” to Lt. Gen. Russel Honore for his work directing hurricane recovery efforts.
From Columbia, the trip south is about 580 miles and should take about 11 hours to drive.
The 30th Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La., will pit Missouri against SEC representative South Carolina. MU is looking to win its first bowl game since 1998 and rebound from a late-season skid in which it dropped three of its last four games.
The Tigers enter the game with a 9-13 bowl record. Their most recent win came when they beat West Virginia in the Insight Bowl.
MU has played in the Independence Bowl once before and lost 27-14 to Arkansas in 2003. The Razorbacks scorched the Tiger defense by rushing for 300 yards, an Independence Bowl record. Brad Smith gained 251 yards, but his team failed twice to convert on key fourth-down plays.
In last year’s game, Iowa State beat Miami of Ohio 17-13.
- TICKETS AND TRAVEL
Tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. today. Tickets can be purchased through the MU Athletic Department by calling toll free 800-228-7297, 884-7297 in Columbia or by going to mutigers.com. Tickets are also available through the official Independence Bowl site, independencebowl.org.
The MU Alumni Association is offering a travel package that includes a round-trip flight, motorcoach transportation in Shreveport and a ticket to the game. The tour departs on the morning of Dec. 30 and returns after the game. Packages cost $799 for adults and $689 for children. For more information, call 888-649-9681 or go to doddsathletictours.com/mizzou.
- BOWL SCHEDULE
Dec. 26: Teams arrive
Dec. 28: FCA Breakfast, 7:30 a.m., Convention Hall, $5
- Minuteman Luncheon, 11:30 a.m., Expo Hall, $25
- Pep Rally, 5:30 p.m., Louisiana Boardwalk
Dec. 30: Kickoff, 2:30 p.m.
MORE ON SHREVEPORT
For more on the city and the bowl game, call the Independence Bowl fan hot line, 800-524-0704. To learn about hotels, restaurants and other resources, you can visit the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Visitor Bureau Web site, shreveport-bossier.org.