Things are kind of nutty here with SXSW, so while I work on a bunch of posts for next week, please read a little love letter I wrote to Austin a few months ago.
Stopped at a traffic light last Friday afternoon, I glanced up at a familiar restaurant marquee that usually carried a quip relating to the latest music festival/bike rally/music rally/bike festival in Austin that week. However, this time the words bore a different sentiment: “Go Texas! Win it for Leslie!” The light turned green and I found myself driving south down Congress Avenue with tears pooling at the bottom of my eyelids.
Every Austinite knows who Leslie is. He is the city mascot. The epitome of what makes Austin unique. For those who do not know him, Leslie Cochran is a homeless man who wears a leopard print thong. He has run for city mayor multiple times and has been reviewed 53 times on Yelp. He is an extremely articulate and sweet-natured man. No one has a bad thing to say about Leslie.
Which is why it’s so surprising that unnamed assailants beat Leslie to unconsciousness two weeks ago. Leslie was in bad shape and listed in critical condition. The townspeople formed a vigil and the local news gave daily updates on his health. It was looking like Leslie was not going to make it, but miraculously he pulled through and was released from the hospital last week. He has since thanked the locals for their support, stating that he would have not made it through otherwise. Though a percentage of his medical bills have been taken care of, there will be a fundraiser on November 1stto help pay the rest.
By the time I read the sign last Friday, I knew that Leslie was alive and well. What made me tear up was the realization that I live in a town that cares immensely for an eccentric homeless man. It’s also a city where that same homeless man can run for mayor multiple times and still get thousands of votes.
Last month marked my one year anniversary of moving to Austin. I moved here with no road map and only what I could fit in my car. The plan was to stay a few months and then see where my ADD took me next. However, whatever energy that made me curious enough to move here has made me stay here. I could tell after my first night in Austin that I was someplace special and I haven’t wanted to leave since. Each day this city inspires me more and more and at moments I can honestly say that I’m in love (that could also be because I haven’t had a boyfriend in a long time).
So in honor of this city that took me in with open arms after fleeing a tumultuous relationship with Los Angeles, I will begin using this blog for part-time Austin “goings-on”, part-time hipstercrite musings.
not sure who the owner of this picture is, but thanks
I recently moved back to Austin (after a 20 month stint in Seattle). Reading your blog and hear you talk so warmly about this city helps reinforce to me that moving back was a great idea. Thanks for your sharing your lovely writing and thoughts about this city!
I think I am officially in love with Austin.
It's been a slow build up, but your Leslie story really solidified it. Next road trip destination.
Hey hipster. What do you know about Jennifer Gale? Did you live in Austin when She/He was still alive?
Keep it weird.
I really can't believe all the stuff that is going on with Leslie, but I am glad you wrote about it.
I enjoyed that.
I look forward to more Austin happenings. I might just have to add it to the travel list. 🙂
I like this. A lot.
Seeing Austin take care of their homeless is quite inspiring.
And the word "Austintacious" gives me small jolts of happiness. I'm gonna go not repeat it to myself multiple times.
Yeah, very nice post. I liked it a lot.
Austin does have something special about it, the culture in south Austin is awesome! I am glad you are liking your new home 🙂
We (my husband and I) moved to Austin from a tiny little town in southwestern Missouri and so far I love it here. It still amazes me that I've gone almost six months here and nobody's been an asshole to me about my hair or tattoos. In Joplin, I was one of the "freaks" and people didn't even treat me like a person. Austin is definitely a cool place to be. 🙂
Aimee, Michelle, UnitQM, Chelsea, and Fenno- We're in the right place, aren't we?
To Everyone Else- What are you waiting for? Move here already!
I was in Austin, but recently relocated to Cincinnati, which is my home. But I am not too upset because I visit Austin so frequently I get the best of both worlds!
I've always thought that how a city treats its homeless is a pretty good reflection on that city and its people.
This made me want to visit Austin one day.
Your city sounds like the sort of place I could call home. I have GOT to stop reading all of these Austin blogs. I'm getting a serious location-crush and it's giving me a funny home-sick feeling for a place I've never even been.
come check out He's big giveaway
The very first night I went out in Downtown Austin, about a week after moving there, I had my first Leslie sighting. If only I'd known at the time what a good omen that was.
A week before I moved away, I was out on 6th and he was out and about. I wanted my picture taken with him for a keepsake but he wouldn't pose with me! Sad day.
I still have love for Leslie though. He'd better still be around if/when I move back. He owes me a picture.