Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Beaumont: What Houston Should Aspire to Be

It may be some years before Beaumont elects a gay mayor. And while residents there can rightly take pride in the Babe Didrikson Zaharias* Park, they have no poopy-precious downtown development tool such as Discovery Green of which to boast. There appears to be but one standalone Starbucks in the entirety of Beaumont, and the city’s nightlife opportunities have been much diminished since the Red Carpet Inn burned down many years ago. Yet there is one place where Beaumont has it all over Houston. According to what is no doubt the handiwork of some internationally recognized advertising and marketing genius, Beaumont has the cleanest restrooms in Texas. That, anyway, is what a billboard somewhere west of Beaumont proclaims.

It is possible that this message has been greeting visitors for many months, if not years, and we had previously missed it. We usually keep our eyes on the road and our hands upon the wheel, but last week we were riding shotgun and happened to be wide awake as our jolly caravan approached Jefferson County. We were just sorry that we had no pressing need to avail our self of a public toilet at that particular point in our journey.

Our personal knowledge of Beaumont’s public facilities is scant and much dated––we’re better acquainted with those in Vidor––yet we have no reason at all to disbelieve the town’s haughty claim to superiority. It was, after all, on a billboard.

We ask: Can Houston offer the same assurances to the road-weary traveler?

*A real person of notable accomplishment––if you can't identify her and at least two of the sports at which she excelled, please pack your things and go back to whereever it is you came from ASAP.

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