- Associated Press - Friday, April 4, 2014

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) - Shreveport’s historic Municipal Auditorium has re-opened in Shreveport after a restoration project.

Thursday’s ceremony marked the completion of a nearly $6 million renovation.

Improvements include new seating, air conditioning and electrical wiring.

Shreveport Mayor Cedric Glover noted that, through the years, the 1929 building hosted many famous people with Eleanor Roosevelt stopping by in 1937. And the auditorium was the birthplace of the Louisiana Hayride on April 3, 1948.

Thursday’s celebration began with a Mike Tyson look-a-like walking into a makeshift boxing ring set up in the center of the auditorium. He introduced Glover.

Glover thanked those involved in the renovation effort, before taking part in the official ribbon cutting ceremony, which included a smoke and light show and confetti cannon.

Architect Mike McSwain said his goal was to have visitors not even notice the improvements.

“Because this is a historic property, we tried to bring it back in every way to the way that it was, even though we had to modernize it,” McSwain said.

“We had to meet the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance. But, everything that we did we asked one simple question: Is that the way it would have been done originally,” McSwain said.

A 2011 bond issue helped pay for the majority of the project, with help from state historic tax credits.

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