In Defense of Beaumont

As a former Austinite and reluctant Beaumont immigrant, I never thought I’d write this blog. I’m one month away from my third year living in Beaumont, Texas, and it is time for Beaumont to start loving itself.

A City In Review

If you’re alive and you live in Beaumont, chances are you’ve heard about how “sad” we are. Well, now we are one of the worst places to raise a family. It’s a bad year for Beaumont, apparently.

But if you talk to locals, the trend of happiness in Beaumont has been anything but downwards. Changes are happening in this city that I never dreamed possible: a thriving craft beer scene, outdoor activities like picnics at McFaddin-Ward House, a Monday lunch dedicated to food trucks, affordable and unique boutique shopping, trivia nights at three separate bars, and more.

We have had some setbacks, though. The Pig Stand remains in decay, Star Bar recently closed down, there’s only one place you can grab a happy hour drink in downtown Beaumont, and I still get blank stares at fancy restaurants when I ask about their craft beer selection (what, you mean Lone Star?).

Regardless of the set backs, I still feel like this town has taken two steps forward for every step back. Selfishly, I attribute a lot of that success to cat5. Realistically, I know a lot of good was happening in this town before cat5, only now someone is talking about it.

So, How Can Beaumont Love Itself?

Local Beaumont advocates would say, the first step to loving Beaumont is to stop comparing it to other cities. Sure, it’d be nice to live in the city Beaumont is becoming rather than being the people pushing a boulder of change up a very ingrained negative attitude, but Beaumont is not/never will be/shouldn’t become another Austin.

If you can’t stop comparing Beaumont to other cities, try focusing on what this city has that others don’t, in a positive way. I’m only an hour from the beach, I never need a winter wardrobe, with humidity like this you’ll age a lot slower, and rainy afternoons are perfect for dream-dream-dreamin’.

Or we can talk about opportunity. Part of the joy in living in a town like Beaumont, where everyone knows everyone, and the call you need to create change is only one handshake away, is that one person can make a difference a hell of a lot easier than in cities like Houston or Austin, where real estate is sky high and traffic is a four-letter word.

I’ve had the unique opportunity to build a film and music festival from the ground up, write articles about up-and-coming businesses that are shaping the way we think about Beaumont, and introduce belly dance to Southeast Texas.

When In Doubt, Talk To People

I always say that for every Beaumont naysayer I meet, there are ten behind him/her ready to point out five places that make Beaumont a great city to live in.

Yesterday was one of the best days I’ve had in Southeast Texas in a long time. That’s because I got out there and I talked to business owners who not only are doing great things, but they are still looking for new ways to make Beaumont better. Granted, it was of an alcohol-related change, but innovation of any form still creates a ripple effect of transformation.

Again, How Can You Make A Change?

We all need to stop hating on Beaumont, myself included. We can’t help the people who moved away from Beaumont talk up our town if we’re living here in a house full of negativity. Yes, there are some things Beaumont needs to change. We’re segregated, stuck in our ways and wary of outsiders. We think if something is Beaumont-bred than it can’t be any good. Businesses and people that succeed in Beaumont tend to move away (it’s easier to find Sweet Leaf Tea in Austin than in Beaumont, even though it originated here and re-located to Austin).

We can’t change other people, but everyone from Beaumont is an ambassador of our great city, quirks and all.

EDIT: Wow! Ok, I didn’t really expect many people to see and/or read this. I’ve been trying to work on my writing skills by well, writing more often, and this blog has become an outlet for that goal. I recognize that this blog is a little drink-heavy. As a bar reviewer for cat5, I have to admit my perspective of this town is skewed. A friend of mine, comedian Alan Ponce, commented on a cat5 facebook thread with much stronger reasons that alcohol for loving this little town I live in:

Alan also mentioned these events, unfortunately I haven’t been able to find links and additional information on them:

  • Live action role play (LARP) fighting with real swords at the park on Thursday’s (open to anyone with a friendly interest).
  • Table top gaming every Friday and Saturday at Book Stan, the second largest comic book shop in Texas.
  • Pinterest Saturday at Full of Scrap on Dowlen.

Feel free to share your favorite parts about Beaumont in the comments!

Shameless Plug: If you’re interested in discovering Beaumont the same way I did, come to the Boomtown Monthly Meeting tomorrow night!

6 Responses to In Defense of Beaumont

  1. McGarrity says:

    I think the music scene in Beaumont could use some mention as well

    • Christina says:

      Good point! If I could listen to two Beaumont bands for the rest of my life, I’d pick Sun and Shadow and Silas Feemster. Also, I’m quickly becoming a vintage country fan after watching B.B. & Company do their thing at MacKenzie’s last Thursday night.

  2. Alan Ray Ponce says:

    There is soo much stuff to do that isn’t bar related though. I’m a comedian and i spend a lot of time in bars and it gets old. Not knocking the bars but were surrounded by so much stuff to do. If you want to dance and drink then Crockett is your answer, but if you want to live then just look around you. The SCA (society for creative anachronism ) practice their fighting every week and no one notices because it isn’t on Crockett or it seems weird. Youre surrounded by awesome stuff. Just ask

  3. Christina says:

    Other local bars/restaurants are really stepping up their game. While MLG has the largest selection, Luke’s often has a few Karbach’s on tap plus a good bottled selection. Tradewinds normally has a Saint Arnold seasonal on tap. Tibideaux’s has a great LA/TX selection on draft PLUS $2 drafts during happy hours (even their craft offerings!). Cafe del Rio just added Karbach and Logon is grabbing up some taps (though they have yet to announce what they’ll be carrying.

    Where else do you go when you’re in town?

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