William Joyce’s Guide To Shreveport

He’s big in the world of animated films and remains loyal to his north Louisiana hometown.
Taylor Bruce

It’s my favorite thing when people come,” William Joyce says, amid multihued, lively descriptions of his riverside home city. The delightful mom-and-pop gaiety betrays his life’s work as an animator and writer, the creative fount for hit movies such as Robots, Meet the Robinsons, and upcoming projects with Twentieth Century FOX and DreamWorks. But, even after great success, the prized storyteller has never permanently relocated to California. Instead William invites Hollywood here, escorting Tinseltown pals to his preferred steak house, Cajun kitchen, and red leather barstool, places where the proud native son does linguistic cartwheels over Louisiana’s third-largest city. “The accents and the attitudes are so literary,” he says. “Like everybody just crawled out of a Tennessee Williams TV set.” William is the village dreamer, a man who cherishes Shreveport as his idea incubator, who goes nowhere without his steel nib sketching pen, and who relishes the chance to shepherd visitors on a quintessential town tour de force. Take him at his word(s). Here’s how.

Fertitta’s Delicatessan & Catering
Joyce: “A perfect time warp, inside and outside, except now it’s air-conditioned. Order a muffuletta. The side order of nostalgia is free.”
Our Take: Inventor of the “Muffy,” this redbrick, corner deli in the Blue Goose District was also the city’s first imported foods store. Take home 16 ounces of Papa’s Olive Mix ($7).
Go: Weekday lunch Info: 1124 Fairfield Avenue; www.papafertitta.com or (318) 424-5508

Cush's Grocery & Market 
Joyce: “Calling this a grocery store is like calling Louis Vuitton a place to get a suitcase. The small, bright, woodframe building evokes the idea of an old-fashioned neighborhood market.”
Our Take: Because William’s butcher paper doodles hang on the 12-table cafe’s walls, it’s the most superb, though unofficial, museum meal in the state. Finish off the avocado-and-shrimp salad with a cupcake.
Go: Weekday at lunch, earlier than later Info: 9535 Ellerbe Road; www.cushsgrocery.com or (318) 795-9006

Village Grille 
Joyce: “The single coolest place in Shreveport. It’s got that dark, no-windows, Sinatra thing down. A timeless pleasure of ring-a-ding charm.”
Our Take: The candlelit steak house, which creates a hideout vibe just beyond downtown proper, encourages good conversations. The thick Chicago Prime steaks encourage regulars.
Go: Business dinner, midweek Info: 1313 Louisiana Avenue; (318) 424-2874

Herby K’s
Joyce: “Tiny, tiny little dive. Classic and eccentric. The lady that runs it is the sweetest thing. Honey-dripping Southern accent.”
Our Take: Much in the neighborhood dried up, but the home of the famous Shrimp Buster, an open-faced po’boy topped with  attened fried shrimp and a secret red sauce, still brings in crowds.
Go: Family lunch outing on Saturday Info: 1833 Pierre Avenue; www.herbyks.net or (318) 424-2724