|"Smokey City" Pittsburgh, midday 1940|
|Sam Houston (1793-1863)|
But this is not about expressions of civic pride for Pittsburgh. This is about Space City/Bayou City/H-Town. And there are at least a half-dozen more nicknames for that southeast Texas metropolis down by the Gulf of Mexico created by two New Yorkers (the Allen Brothers) in 1836 and named after the President of the Republic of Texas, Sam Houston. Yes, Texas was indeed an independent country between 1836 and 1845 and some down here seem to long for those days to return.
As far as I can tell, Houston generally gets picked-on in one of three ways: for having hot humid summers, no zoning, and one of the fattest populations in the United States. But the weather is really no different from Florida, there are beautiful residential communities to be found all over the city, and at least four other Texas towns rank higher than Houston on the “fat list.” Besides, “Fat City” is the nickname for New Orleans.
|Murder By The Book, Houston|
What is the real Houston? Let’s start off with a pithy description given to me by a Houstonian. “Houston is Los Angeles without the pretensions.” Having far more friends in Los Angeles than Green Bay, I hasten to say those are not my words, but at least it’s a place to start.
So, how do those two great cities compare?
|Downtown Los Angeles|
Both cities have terrific restaurants, shopping, and civic pride. Both have lovely residential communities, though the price of a home in Houston is likely to be one-tenth that of a similar one in LA.
|1956 film of Edna Ferber novel|
Stop! you say. Everyone knows Houston is redneck, while LA is
|Houston's Wunsche Bros. in Old Town Spring|
|Honorable Mayor of Houston|
And, oh yes, this redneck, conservative town just elected a new mayor, Annise Parker. A Democrat, female, and the first elected mayor of a U.S. city with over a million residents who is openly gay—something NYC, LA, and Chicago haven’t come close to doing.
Now, about managing that public image thing…win a Super Bowl (or seven), it does wonders.
|Downtown Pittsburgh today|
Jeff – Saturday