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Is the Houston Heights turning into Little Louisiana?

this is a discussion within the Everything Else Community Forum; Consider this—Houston might actually be the biggest city in Louisiana. This is a controversial statement, I know, but bear with me. Houston experiences the same sweltering and sticky climate that afflicts New Orleans and Lafayette. Our Bayou City braces for ...

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Old 01-19-2017, 02:43 AM   #1
 
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Is the Houston Heights turning into Little Louisiana?


Consider this—Houston might actually be the biggest city in Louisiana.

This is a controversial statement, I know, but bear with me. Houston experiences the same sweltering and sticky climate that afflicts New Orleans and Lafayette. Our Bayou City braces for the same natural disasters—hurricanes and floods—as the Bayou State (Houstonians barely know the tornados that afflict northern and western Texas or the ice storms that paralyze Dallas). Like South Louisiana, the Houston area has seen large-scale sugar and rice production. The I-10 corridor is lined with oil refineries from east Houston all the way to Lake Charles. You can still hear Cajun and Creole music regularly on the radio on noncommercial stations like KPFT and Majic 102, a commercial R&B station.

I could go on, but here is the kicker to my bold declaration. I invite you to drive past the Spanish moss-draped live oaks and swampy prairie landscapes west of Houston on Interstate 10. I promise, it won’t feel as though you’ve entered “real Texas” until you hit the Peach Ridge Road exit out by Brookshire, where the ground finally starts to get a little roll to it. That, and not the Sabine River, is where you are finally truly leaving Louisiana.


According to the “best guesstimate” of Jim Gossen, chairman of Houston-based Sysco Louisiana Seafood, Houstonians now annually consume more crawfish than the entire state of Louisiana. “That’s a guess of mine, but it’s got to be a tremendous amount,” Gossen says in his South Louisiana drawl. “As many trucks as I know that are coming here from as many farms, it’s gotta be pretty incredible. Houston’s metro area is about six-and-a-half million people, and there’s only what, four-and-a-half million in Louisiana? Everybody that has a farm [in Louisiana], they have trucks coming this way.”

Gossen’s HQ is just across Loop 610 from the Greater Heights area. The Lafayette native has been there a long time, but it seems Louisiana is finally coming to him. In the years since Katrina and over the course of the last oil boom, the Houston Heights has famously gentrified, but it’s more subtly become Louisiana-ized, a city within a city that is starting to vaguely resemble New Orleans and nearly mirror Baton Rouge.

My wife and I moved to Timbergrove Manor, a neighborhood just west of the Heights proper, in 2010, five years after Katrina and just as the fracking boom was picking up speed. In those days I was biking through the Heights daily to and from work downtown, and I started to notice that increasingly, second-story porches were sprouting purple-and-gold LSU flags, black-and-gold Who Dat banners, and the occasional Fleur-de-Lis. There were also an inordinate number of late-model cars with Louisiana plates, often festooned with LSU and Saints bumper stickers. Little Louisiana touches were everywhere. A tree in the front-yard of a house a couple of blocks from ours sprouted a weird LSU face, and as I was wheeling our garbage bin out to the curb one afternoon there was an unaccounted for Abita bottle cap in my driveway. Gradually it dawned on my wife, who comes from New Orleans stock on her dad’s side, that we were suddenly living in an ethnic enclave of sorts.


The Houston Heights’s Cajun Invasion from The Texas Monthly
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:46 PM   #2
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Re: Is the Houston Heights turning into Little Louisiana?

lol
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