More than a half-century after inducting its first class of sports legends, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame is realizing its fondest dreams and greatest aspirations.
In a Grand Opening on Friday night, June 28, the doors swing open on the stunning $23 million Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum, a 27,500-square foot structure at 800 Front Street in the National Historic District of Natchitoches. The vision of a true museum home for the state’s all-time greats was outlined well before the state Hall of Fame was created in 1958.
In preparation for the beginning of planning, all of the artwork and memorabil¬ia which was on display at Prather Coliseum was turned over to the state museum system after the 2005 induc¬tion celebration. Gov. Blanco was set to recommend state bond commission approval for a $7.6 million museum building in September 2005 – but the devastating strike of Hurricane Katrina in late August shelved the concept. Remarkably, Townsend and Montgomery spearheaded its quick return to the state budget agenda, with well over twice the level of financial commitment.
Today’s local and state government lead¬ers have played crucial roles in advancing the project. Recently retired Mayor McCul¬len and city officials including current Mayor Lee Posey, local legislators Sen. Gerald Long and former Rep. Rick Nowlin, along with current Rep. Kenny Cox, have partnered with Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Lt. Gov. Landrieu, and dynamic current Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne along with legislators around the state have helped the museum come to life.