If you’re spending lots more time online as a result of COVID-19 and the ongoing “stay-at-home” orders that have been issued by many state governments, you’re not alone. If you’re anything like me, you also feel an intense need to help your community somehow. One small way that you can help is by voting for a North Louisiana Main Street to take home $25,000 courtesy of America’s Main Streets and STIHL.

Regionally, several historic main streets are competing for the prize, which is determined by the votes of website users. Site users can vote for HomerMinden or Springhill up to 25 times per day, now through April 19, when semifinalists will be announced. You can browse all of the nominees here.

Jimmy Hand, executive director of Main Street Homer, is already making plans for how he would invest the $25,000 prize.

“We would reinvest it back into the community, it’d go into infrastructure,” Hand said.

Hand added that, of the 61 buildings in Homer’s historic downtown, 25 are in need of repair. The America’s Main Streets contest is just one of dozens of grants and funding opportunities that Hand and his team are pursuing, but winning the America’s Main Street contest would mean more than an infusion of cash—it’d also give the winning Main Street a claim to fame.

So, if you’ve got a little extra time on your hands, and you feel like helping a small-town Main Street, why not head over to the America’s Main Streets website and cast a vote (or 25)?

The historic Spring Theatre, a single-screen movie house, is a centerpiece of downtown Springhill’s Main Street.

One great way to get better-acquainted with historic small towns located within an easy drive of Shreveport-Bossier is by exploring North Louisiana’s Boom or Bust Byway. The Boom or Bust Byway follows Highway 2 and is defined by the Louisiana/Texas border and Hwy. 3049 to the west and Lake Claiborne to the east. Along the way, byway travelers pass through towns like Vivian, Plain Dealing, Sarepta, and Homer.

The Boom or Bust Byway has a new app that can be downloaded for iOS (Apple) devices here or for Google devices here. They also have a terrific blog, written by blogger Shalisa Roland, that frequently highlights fascinating local businesses and points of interest along this scenic drive.

Like the Boom or Bust Byway Facebook page.

20×49.com is a publication of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.