July 14, 2014 By ChristinaI appreciate that you want to take part in breaking down the prevailing media stereotype about what defines beauty. Yes, stretch marks, scars, love handles, and Read More »
April 29, 2014 By ChristinaOn the anniversary of popular local restaurant Goodfella’s last meal, I’m finding myself reflecting on a recent twitter conversation I had with beer enthusiast @the_pint_chaser, Kyler Read More »
April 23, 2014 By ChristinaI’ve been a fan of Humans of New York (HONY) for about six months now, about the time Brandon Stanton, the human behind HONY, was gaining Read More »
October 22, 2013 By ChristinaLocal customers aren’t going to the mobile space, they are already there. If your business doesn’t have a website, an up-to-date Yelp account and a utilized Read More »
October 19, 2013 By ChristinaThis week, I had an exciting opportunity to examine the theater habits of Southeast Texans. Ok, maybe that doesn’t sound exciting to most people, but the Read More »
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
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:
- Live art class at The Art Studio
- Live stand up Mondays at the Logon and Tuesday’s at Jerusalem Hookah.
- “The Giving Field” a community garden on eleventh that grows berries and vegetables.
- The skate park just opened up.
- Salsa dancing at Divine Winery.
- The guys from riff tracks are doing a show at Tinseltown on Thursday.
- You can fish at colliers ferry park or go hiking at edge water park on the end of tram.
- Take in a show at the community theater.
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!