Vicksburg, Miss –The Vicksburg District of the Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Multicultural Center of the South entered into a Volunteer Services Agreement on 27 June 2013 to staff the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Visitor Center located in Shreveport, Louisiana. Colonel Jeffrey Eckstein, now former Commander of the Vicksburg District, and Janice Gatlin of the Multicultural Center of the South signed the agreement, which went into effect on 10 July.
The Multicultural Center of the South, located in Shreveport, was established in 1999 to educate the general public and visitors about the rich diversity and history of Shreveport, Bossier City, Northwest Louisiana, and the South. It is the only institution of its kind in the state which celebrates the 26 cultures in the Shreveport-Bossier area. “I’m very pleased with the partnership between the two of us. It is going to be a win-win situation for all parties involved – the Multicultural Center, the J. Bennett Johnston Visitor Center, and especially the young people,” stated Janice Gatlin.
While the Corps will continue to provide overall management, utilities funding, and repairs to the exhibits and facilities, the center will team with other non-profit organizations to provide volunteers to assist in the academic and operational activities at the center.
The visitor center which is managed under the Vicksburg District’s Louisiana Field Office displays exhibits that educate and inform the public about the water and the Corps’ role in development, preservation, and enhancement of the water resources in the region, as well as the geology, paleontology, and Native American cultures. The center is located at 700 Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport, Louisiana.
The J. Bennett Johnston Waterway extends 236 miles from Shreveport, Louisiana, to the Mississippi River and provides navigation, flood damage reduction, ecosystem restoration benefits, and numerous recreational opportunities. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Red River Waterway Commission have partnered together since the mid-1960’s to make the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway navigation and recreation project a reality. For more information, visit: