A toast to Frank Williams
Colleagues and friends gathered Aug. 23 at the University Club to bid Williams a fond farewell upon his retirement as executive director of the Downtown Development Authority.
You may remember that his appointment was not without a great deal of controversy.
And admirers and friends like John Hubbard, Shreveport City Councilman Monty Walford and DDA deputy director Janie Landry talked about his accomplishments with a great deal of fondness.
They called him a great visionary, a lover of art. They talked about how he was quick to ask about the health of the crew who worked for him.
Williams, it seems, didn’t always call meetings and appoint committees.
He took action.
He walked the streets.
Shreveport City Councilman Monty Walford said that he and Williams tackled some cruising problems downtown on the riverfront area in an unorthodox way, but got it done — without any press notice. (I wonder where all of us were when this was going on!)
"A lot of positive changes were brought to my attention, things not glorified, but they changed downtown. I appreciate all he has done. He has made my job so much easier in downtown," said Walford.
Landry pointed out that there were little things, like bright new directional sings that took a lot of coordination and a lot of effort, but make a difference in the look of downtown.
"He brought with him a desire to bring cleanliness and orderliness to downtown.
And Williams, who loves art, got a mural put up on a wall in the Red River District, and a multicultural garden at Municipal Plaza.
"That meant a lot to Frank," said Landry.
"You left a imprint on downtown in a positive way," added John Hubbard.
One thing left undone: revitalization of Cross Bayou.
One speaker predicted that some day that will become a reality, too.
"It is a jewel downtown waiting to be developed," said Landry.
I always find Frank cordial, helpful — and he answers his telephone calls!
Good luck! Frank. We’ll see you around.