The pins on the datasheets make it look like the same thing, just different pinouts.
did you ever try it with the 74HC595?
I'm going to today, with this tutorial: http://code.google.com/p/arduinoshiftreglcd/ it looks like a great tutorial.
Are you going for the two or the three wire approach?
Can I replace the SN74LS164N in this project
Quite simply yes.
Any progress? What kind of diode are you using?
I ended up using this to get my LCD working with the SRLCD library and that SparkFun IC, 74HC595.