George Otstott admits he built the gazebo and created the park at the corner Vale and Lafayette for a selfish reason. “I wanted a place where we could have bands come and have band music,” Otstott revealed.
After attending the US Military Academy at West Point, Otstott acquired a taste for martial music, particularly Susa. He figured the best way for him to have a chance to hear “The Stars And Stripes Forever” in Jefferson was to build a bandstand.
After visiting several gazebos around the country, Otstott settled on plans for a structure seating 50 musicians. Otstott acquired the property had been the used car lot for Coke Chevrolet and construction began.
On Labor Day 1993, September 5, the gazebo was dedicated with a band concert for the use of the citizens of Jefferson. Coincidentally the Friends of the Jefferson Carnegie Library began enrollment the same day.
The park remains the center of Jefferson’s July 4 salute, and yes, 55 members of the Shreveport Symphony play some music by John Phillip Susa that night.
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