— It was a quiet Wednesday morning in the Shreveports town of Riverview.
The sun was out and the air smelled of fresh-baked bread and stale cigarettes.
The town’s mayor, James Baughman, was waiting for his wife, Jennifer, to arrive from Louisiana to visit her family in the city’s historic French Quarter.
When she arrived, she noticed that her husband had an old pair of sneakers on.
They were the last ones Baughmann had owned, and he wore them when he worked as a cook at the Baughmans’ home in the neighborhood.
Now, Baughmania had taken hold of Shreve.
The city’s population grew by more than 100,000 since the oil industry started booming in the mid-1970s.
Shreve now ranks as the nation’s sixth-largest city, with about 7,000 residents.
Shrewsbury was among the first places to see the boom, becoming a hub of a $5 billion industry in the early 1990s.
Many Shreve residents became rich off the boom.
But the boom also turned many of the town’s young people into jobless or underemployed.
The economic downturn hit Shreve harder than most, and some businesses shut down.
Baughnman said his town was in danger of going out of business.
He was hoping to keep it afloat with a $1 million investment in a $100 million retail center, but Baughnam said that wasn’t possible.
It wasn’t until the last days of 2016 that Baughm’s hopes for Shreve began to crumble.
Burt’s Creek, which had long been a mainstay of the community, collapsed during the boom and flooded the streets.
That left only a handful of businesses open and few people to pay the bills.
As Baughnan’s son-in-law, Brian M. Brannen, recalled the last few months of his father’s life, he thought about what his father could have done to keep Shreve going.
The son of a well-to-do Shreve father, Brannn was the man behind the business.
Brannon’s Creek was the towns largest employer.
In his spare time, he had an interest in the oil and gas industry.
In 1995, when the boom was still in its early stages, he started a local business that sold gas and other products to other local businesses.
He later moved to Shreve, and in 2002, the town of Shrewsburg purchased the business for $300,000.
The family quickly moved to the business and opened it to the public.
But as Baughanns son-at-law recalled, there were problems brewing in Shreve County.
He said the oil companies were pushing too hard to get their products to Shrewsworth, and they were pushing to extend the lease on the business from five to 10 years.
As the oil bust spread, many of his employees were laid off.
The local economy had shrunk, too.
Broughman said he began to wonder what the future held for Shrewspans economy.
The Shreve Springs Business Improvement District had grown from four to 17 employees since the boom began.
Now it was struggling to keep up with the influx of new customers.
Bancroft & McLean, which manages the business, hired a consultant to study the impact of the oil downturn on Shreve’s economy.
Barenholz concluded that Shreve would be a dead town within five years.
Shouterville, a small town just south of Shove, was also struggling.
But it was a different story in Bancrodts office.
Boughman was not the only one to notice.
B.H. Brogan, the executive vice president of Shoutville, was starting to worry.
The energy boom had a profound effect on the town.
Brogans family owns the local newspaper, the Shout-ville Herald.
In 2013, it went through a tumultuous year.
In December, it was forced to cut a major story about the oil field and the county.
The paper ran an article about the boom with a headline that said, “Bouganns Creek Oil Boom is Already Declining.”
The article, which has since been removed from the paper’s website, was the first time that Broughs Creek was featured in the newspaper.
Broans family had a message for the newspaper’s readers: “If you want to see this place thrive, you better be ready to die.”
Brogan said that he wanted to take a more proactive approach with Shout.
He wanted to be more proactive in the area.
“We’re trying to be a real resource for the town,” he said.
The story went viral.
Broanns wife, Sherry, said her husband was in tears as she read the story in the Herald.
“It was heartbreaking,” she said.
Broagan’s wife had been working for the Shove oil company