I went t get my haircut last night, and I was telling my hairdresser that I was exausted from all the bishop news yesterday. And she asks why is he so important? Then I got paranoid that I hadn't adequately explained it so I actually called work later to tweak the story.
And I thought I would explain a little more here. Basically a bishop is a leader of a geographical region, or diocese. He is a priest who gets promoted and is the head teacher, preacher and pastor of an area.
He is particularly important because Catholics believe in "apostolic succession." After Jesus' death, the 12 apostles spread out across the known world to preach the good news. And Catholics believe that those teachings and practices have been handed down from leader to leader ever since. If you look up former Bishop William Friend on Catholic Hierarchy (which is pretty cool, if you're into Catholic politics), you can find the bishop that ordained him, and the one who ordained that bishop, and so on all the was to the 16th century. Before that, choosing Bishops was a little less formal process, plus I'm guessing the records get foggy.
So Catholic faithful see the bishop as the person trusted by the church - past and present - to carry on its teachings and lead the people to God. In the case of Shreveport, that means supervising 44 congregations and 40,000 believers.