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Andrew Currie Community Center

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Features

  1. Lighted Ballfield
  2. Outdoor Basketball Court
  3. Picnic Area
  4. Playground
  5. Recreation Center
  6. Trail

Andrew Currie was born March 4, 1843, in Ibricken, Kilmerry Parish, County Clare, Ireland, the son of James and Mary Griffin Currie.  He came to the United States at six years of age with two brothers, landing in New York City.  He resided in New York and Niagara Falls until 1859 when he decided to make his home in the south, coming to Shreveport by way of New Orleans.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Currie joined the Caddo Rifles under the command of Captain Shivers, and his company was sent to Virginia.  After remaining with the Caddo Rifles for some time, he received permission from General Robert E. Lee to leave that company and return to Shreveport for enlistment in another company that was forming here.


While serving on Col. Dunning’s staff, Currie was captured at Arkansas Post, taken to Camp Morton, Indiana, and held three months until an exchange of prisoners was effected.  He then joined the Provost-Marshall’s command but was again taken prisoner while on a scouting expedition near Rome, Georgia, and returned to the Federal camp in Indiana where he was held until the close of the war.

Currie remained in Vincennes, Indiana, with a mercantile firm who were southern sympathizers for a year and then returned to Shreveport where he entered the sheriff’s office as a deputy.  Later, he was elected constable having been the first person to occupy that office.  He took an active part in the reconstruction policies of his adopted city and as a reward for his energy he was appointed Mayor of the city by Gov. Nicholls in 1878, becoming the first Democratic mayor to serve following the war.

Currie proved to be an excellent selection by the governor as mayor.  Overzealous support for railroads, financial panic of 1873, and Reconstruction government had placed the city in very precarious financial straits.  When Currie took office the fire department’s engines and other apparatus had been seized by the Caddo Parish Sheriff, and creditors were threatening to confiscate all of the city’s real property.  However, by 1884 Currie and the City Council had stabilized the city’s finances.

During his long term in office (1878-1890), Currie curbed the excesses of the city’s railroad mania, but still succeeded in attracting new lines into Shreveport.  At the same time Currie attempted to expand city services in a variety of areas including water supply.  In 1882, or early 1883, Currie began soliciting proposals from private firms specializing in the construction of water-works.

Shreveport’s initial entail in public water supply - the municipal fire cisterns - had been prompted by fear of fires, and this same fear apparently provided the stimulus for Currie’s attempt to increase the city’s involvement in the water supply area.  Shreveport had suffered a series of serious property fires in the early 1880’s that revealed quite dramatically the deficiencies of the existing municipal fire water system.  The fire department made use of two cisterns in fighting the fires.  But there had been a long drought so one of the cisterns was low on water.  Its supply gave out in the middle of attempts to douse the blaze.

Currie was an insurance agent as well as chief executive officer of the city.  He had a double interest in taking steps to prevent the recurrence of such catastrophes.  Currie resigned in 1890 to look after his business interests.  He was later elected to the state legislature as a Senator.  And in 1896, President Cleveland appointed Currie postmaster of the city where he served  for five years.

Currie brought the Cotton Belt and V.S. & P. (now Illinois Central) railway systems to the city, built the first bridge to span the Red River, established the water-works plant and donated the first children’s playgrounds in the city.  During his service in the legislature Currie fathered the bill to establish the Louisiana Polytechnic Institute at Ruston, secured the passage of laws for the sale of state lands for the purpose of constructing levees and fought unceasingly for the abolishment of the Louisiana Lottery.

He was a member of Holy Trinity Catholic Church and donated the land for the present Catholic Cemetery on Texas Avenue.  He was married in 1876 to Annie Fort Gregg of Marshall, Texas.  They had two children, Andrew Jr., oil operator of this city, and Mrs. A.L. Wallick, of Columbus, Ohio.  Andrew Currie died on February 8, 1918.  He was talked about daily for years after his death.

We salute Andrew Currie!


City of Shreveport, Louisiana