Tourism

Taylor Swift fans in Texas are ready for the Eras Tour

For the first time in three years, Medicaid recipients have had to re-apply for the benefit as a major safety net installed during the pandemic disappears – and millions of Texans may lose health coverage.

Taylor Swift is coming to town, and the excitement is off the charts for the superstar’s Texas swing, starting this weekend in Arlington.

Also take a deep dive into deep fakes.

Texas Standard: August 2, 2022

7 years in prison: a Texan gets the longest sentence handed down so far in the prosecution of January 6th riots at the capitol. We’ll have the latest. Other stories we’re tracking: a once in a decade rewrite of the state’s public school curriculum gets underway amid debates over how race and LGBTQ issues are addressed in the classroom. Also the planned demolition of Uvalde’s Robb Elementary school, and how the city plans to honor its namesake. Plus extreme heat and the disparate impact on communities in one of Texas’ largest cities. And the story of a Texas radio show that picked up where the progressive newspapers of the 60’s and 70’s left off. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: March 15, 2022

The Texas National Guard has a new leader. Will that mean a new direction for its operation on the border? Operation Lone Star continues under new leadership. We dig into what’s next for the border security mission backed by Governor Abbott. Also make sure to shake out your piggy bank, your nickels may be worth more than five cents, thanks to a shortage. Plus a decline in heritage tourism in Mexico. We’ll tell you why spring break hasn’t brought back the expats like it once did. All that and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: September 8, 2020

The governor’s plan for a DPS takeover of Austin Police, how would that work exactly? The politics of policing, it’s not just Austin in the spotlight: the Dallas police Chief facing calls for her removal after protests this summer over police brutality, we’ll have the latest. And back to school day for many statewide, many first time teachers and students eager to go bilingual. And the border wall on a pre-election day fast track, and fighting the scourge of mosquitoes with more mosquitoes? Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: June 30, 2020

A plea to Governor Abbott as COVID-19 cases set new records in Texas: do more to curb the spread, or let us take steps to do it. A return to stay at home orders? That’s one thing leaders in Travis county are asking for the power to enforce, as hospitalization rates in and around the Texas capitol city approach 70 percent. Also the pandemic sparks extended food benefits for millions of Texas kids. And though the current plan is for many Texas schools to reopen in the fall, many teachers may not be in the classroom. We’ll hear why plus a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: April 17, 2020

In the great tourist towns of Texas, it’s far from fun and games this weekend. From the Gulf Coast, Hill Country and Big Bend, how tourist towns are coping with COVID-19. Plus a double hit to small businesses in Texas’ already economically disadvantaged latino communities. And you’ve got questions? Dr Fred Campbell’s got answers. Our go to expert from UT Health San Antonio fields listener concerns about the Coronavirus. Plus a Texas salute to American singer songwriter John Prine. Those stories plus the week in Texas politics with the Texas Tribune and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Texas Standard: January 27, 2020

As The impeachment trial resumes, how closely are Texas women listening? We’ll take a closer look at an important demographic in this election year. Other stories we’re tracking: Scores of Houston families on the long road to rebuilding after a massive explosion late last week: we’ll hear the latest. Also the Trump administration issues new orders to deal with so-called birth tourism. We’ll have the what and why. Plus after a seven year studio silence, a groundbreaking singer songwriter reemerges. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

Jasmine Allen (Ep. 48, 2019)

This week on In Black America, producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. speaks with Jasmine Allen, owner and Director of Events at Destination Birmingham, an event and meeting liaison agency specializing in event production, meeting management, and tours showcasing Birmingham, Alabama.

Cabeza de Vaca: The First Texas Tourist

The first person to waltz across Texas – okay, waltz is the wrong word (just tipping my hat to Ernest Tubb there). The first European to walk across Texas was Cabeza de Vaca. And he did it barefoot and mostly naked. Why? We shall see.

His full name was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. Bet they just called him “Al.” “Alvar” means “guardian.” Turns out that he tried to be just that for the indigenous peoples of all the Americas, North and South.

He started out as a Spanish Explorer in the New World, with an expedition of 300 people in Florida in 1528. Within a few months, Indian attacks and starvation had driven the Spaniards to the coast where they quickly built 5 crude rafts to escape into the Gulf. They hugged the coastline and made it to the Mississippi River, which pushed them out to sea where they were separated by currents and storms. Many died from drinking sea water. Many fell overboard and drowned. Cabeza de Vaca’s raft and one other, along with about 80 survivors, washed up just south of Galveston Island.

Aboriginals on the island saved them from starvation, but many of the Spaniards still died of malnutrition and illness. Many of the native Texans died, too, likely from European viruses that Cabeza de Vaca’s group carried. Within months, only he and three others of his expedition were still alive. That was out of the original 300, a 99 percent death rate. Not exactly a confidence builder.

And then the fun really began. The tribe turned hostile. They made slaves of these castaways – forced them to dig for edible roots, gather firewood and keep fires going all night to ward off the swarms of mosquitoes. They were beaten if they didn’t work hard and sometimes they were beaten just for fun. The castaways were stuck in captivity for several years, though Cabeza de Vaca himself got some relief as they allowed him to trade with other tribes on their behalf.

Despite the horrors they endured, a tiny hope sustained them – Cortés was only 1,000 miles away down in Mexico. Maybe they could reach him and their countrymen. Finally, as their tribe migrated south one summer, they seized the opportunity and escaped.

They headed southwest, following the coastal route that is today highway 35. They had no clothes and no shoes. They walked mostly naked and barefoot through increasingly brutal terrain of mesquite thickets and cactus and sharp coastal grasses. They ate pecans, at what Cabeza de Vaca called the “river of nuts,” which ironically was not the Nueces River – nueces meaning “nuts” – but the Guadalupe. They also ate prickly pear fruit, prickly pear itself, mesquite beans and roasted corn (elotes). Bet they would have given about a million gold Escudo coins for a Whataburger.

One thing they did have going for them is that they became known as shaman or healers. They were called The Children of the Sun by tribes in the region. Many in these tribes flocked to them to be healed. They did the best they could, blowing gently on their patients’ bodies and making the sign of the cross over them. Sometimes they recited rosaries. Fortunately, most people they treated were cured, or at at least reported feeling much better.

Their reputation preceded them and the tribes they encountered greeted them as holy men and demigods. This was quite a welcome reversal from their lives as slaves.

Despite the difficulties of their journey, Cabeza de Vaca still marvelled at the beauty of the coastal plains of Texas. He saw buffalo, which he called huge cows, and even tasted the meat once or twice. He declared it better than European beef. He later wrote: “All over the land there are vast and handsome pastures with good grass for cattle, and it strikes me that the soil would be very fertile were the country inhabited and improved by reasoning people.” He was a bit ethnocentric on the criticism, but it turned out he was a healer AND a prophet – predicting the great cattle ranches that would flourish in Texas 300 years later. Back in Spain, he would argue for peaceful coexistence and cooperative colonization with the American Indians. The Crown was so amazed by his idea that they imprisoned him to kill it.

Though the exact route is not known, many believe that Cabeza de Vaca and the castaways trekked southwest through present day Falfurrias and Roma where they crossed the Rio Grande and then turned Northwest. They walked all the way to the Pacific Coast. Ten years after they left Spain, they made it to Mexico City.

Cabeza de Vaca was the first European to get a good look at the magnificence of Texas and to leave behind a record of what it could become. He was Texas’ first tourist and he was Texas’ first travel writer. He gave Texas a five star review for its potential. And in terms of making the most of the land, our ancestors fulfilled his prophecy. In terms of getting along with the native Texans, well, not so much. Let’s just say, it’s complicated.

Texas Standard: June 6, 2017

Are Facebook and Twitter innocent channels for communication, or participants who profit from terrorist propaganda and planning? We’ll explore. Plus, after last weekend’s attacks in London, the UK turns up the heat on social media platforms. We’ll look at the implications with a leading Texas scholar. Plus, how much of the legislature can you miss and still call your self a Texas legislator? What appears to be a test of that question, and the Texas Democrat at the center of the storm. It seems to be a no-brainer: a museum of Texas Music History. Yet plans for such a place fell flat at the capitol. Why? We’ll find out. Those stories and so much more today on the Texas Standard:

June 2, 2015

Search operations continue in the aftermath of the Texas floods. Clean up and recovery are no where near complete…so what do you do if you run a bed and breakfast? A look at the tourism industry in one of the Texas towns hit hardest by the floods. Also, Governor Greg Abbott says marijuana legalization in Texas stops with a bill he signed into law yesterday but activists see it as a step toward looser pot laws. Plus, how is the affordable care act working in Texas? Astronomers searching for dark energy, and a trip to the small town of Giddings: