Tom Arceneaux is passionate about Shreveport. In 1979, he chose to return to the city he loves to make it an even better place. Since then, he has focused his life on restoration - restoration of people, restoration of relationships, restoration of neighborhoods, restoration of the city. His life of service to Shreveport and its citizens testifies to his passion and commitment.
In 1981, Tom recognized that blighted buildings were destroying neighborhoods. He volunteered on a Shreveport Chamber of Commerce task force to examine property standards in Shreveport to fight blight. Those efforts led to the adoption of the City’s first Property Standards Code.
Tom lives in the Highland neighborhood, choosing to be part of the restoration of the older, central neighborhoods of Shreveport. He knows from personal experience the frustration of slow-moving enforcement and the refusal of owners of blighted properties to restore them or to sell them at a price that will permit someone else to restore them. He understands the disturbance of gunshots in the night.
From 1982 to 1990, Tom served Shreveport’s District C as its Councilman. While on the Council he revamped the City’s budget process to make priorities and decisions more understandable and more transparent. He was a constant advocate for the enforcement of property standards.
When national nonprofit AMIKids wanted to enhance a local school for adjudicated teens, mostly from Shreveport, it turned to Tom to recruit a board of directors for the successful school, AMIKids Red River. That Board led to a Board for an alternative school for middle school students in Caddo Parish called AMIKids Caddo.
Tom served 13 years as a member of the Board of Directors of the Highland Restoration Association, including five years as its President. He fought to protect and restore the historic Highland neighborhood. He fought for positive zoning changes, fought negative zoning changes, and kept pressure on City officials to enforce property standards. He understands the dynamics and challenges of inner-city neighborhoods.
Tom and his wife Elizabeth, a professional interior designer, have restored three homes on Jordan Street in Highland. They are committed personally, professionally, and politically to restoring and rebuilding Highland and other inner-city neighborhoods.
Tom and his wife Elizabeth have restored their families, blending in love three children and six grandchildren. During their nearly 29-year marriage, they also taken in young people who needed a new start. All the while, Elizabeth has served a prayer ministry based in South Africa, resulting in over 30 ministry trips overseas.