Texans sure like reading about Texas

Above: 2021 brought new ghost lore for Brackenridge Park.

In the end of the year push to publish An Ostrich-Plumed Hat, and Yes She Shot Him Dead, I almost forgot the all-important round-up of your favorite posts from 2021. Most readers appear to favor stories about their hometowns, whether it is San Antonio (still Alamobsessive as ever) or Austin. Or maybe this represents a two-year confinement blip, where you are looking for comfort close to home and aren’t fully prepared to play boulevardier yet.

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Brackenridge Park: A ghost gives chase to his daughter’s murderers

On nights when the moon is full, sometimes the distant sound of a horn disturbs the sleep of those in homes perched on bluffs above the Olmos Basin. Not a truck horn from the highway nearby, but the horn of the hunt.

It’s followed by the frantic baying of hounds heading toward Brackenridge Park, where their continued howling awakens some in River Road. Those who peer out their windows report seeing a blur of Vizla hounds racing through the underbrush followed by a lone horseback rider, the tails of his formal coat flapping in the wind.

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Postcard from Bordeaux, France: Cathedral home to royal weddings and horsefeed

Above, Cathedrale-Primatiale Saint-Andre de Bordeaux

It seems as though almost a dozen streets lead directly to the grand plaza surrounding Saint Andre Cathedral, and all are rewarded with stunning views of its portals, the spires topping its bell towers or the adjacent Pey-Berland Tower. Now well disguised by later French Gothic transformations, the original Romanesque church dates to around the year 1000.

This church was the site of the wedding of 13-year-old Eleanor of Aquitaine (1122-1204) and the man who not long after their nuptials became king of France, King Louis VII (1120-1180) – making her queen. That marriage wasn’t a happy-ever-after story, and its failure led her to wed a much younger man, Henry of Anjou (1152-1189), who also would make her a queen, but of England. Will not distract you from the cathedral with the fascinating history of how her marriage to Henry II made the Aquitaine region of France part of England for three centuries.

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