Neighborhood of My Youth, Demolished Erased: Signs of Poetry in the First Ward

A reader sends in photos of several signs posted near the corner of Spring and Goliad streets, in the shadow of the 45 overpasses not too far north of Downtown. And there they are, like halved pears, stripped skinless, golden in heavy syrup. Our tipster wants to know who the artist is. (And really, don’t you?) Also, if this qualifies as . . . graffoetry? Grafauxetry?

More First Ward sign findings below:


And this one, a couple blocks south, on what’s left of Crockett St.:

Photos: Swamplot inbox

21 Comment

  • Spare me. I think the neighborhood of this clown’s youth had long disappeared before anything was torn down. Can’t really understand waxing poetic over the loss of what had become boarded up crack houses.

  • Pretty harsh, ScottC. Obviously, this “clown” wants to us to remember that it used to be a vital neighborhood before everyone fled to the suburbs and the inner city declined.

  • ScottC:
    Spare you what, exactly? I see no harm done in posting a sign expressing sadness at the demolition of a neighborhood. If you don’t like it, perhaps there’s a sitcom somewhere you’d like to tune in to.

  • @ScottC: Real estate is more than new builds and teardowns, permits and profits. Real estate touches our lives in a very special way. I still remember like it was yesterday riding my homemade go cart down the hill at the end of our street in our little subdivision in the east where I lived as a little kid. I fondly remember lying on the warm driveway after coming home from a cold morning’s swim class and seeing the tulips pop up through the last of the winter’s snow in the front yard. Decades later, I returned to the neighborhood and was surprised at how small and cruddy the houses were compared to what you can get for 300k in Houston. And then I saw that my old 1800 sq ft colonial was listed for 600k. While I cannot understand why my neighborhood survived and the artist’s didn’t, I do understand the sentiment behind the art and really appreciate it.

  • I live in the first ward and have met the artists responsible for this work. They are surprisingly not local, coming from all across the country and are using their accounts with elder first ward residents to recreate a reflection (and their own interpretation)of years past. Unfortunately, while some installations can be appreciated as art, a recent addition of used tires to an illegal dumping ground near my house, painted with words of “poetry” along the sidewalls, has made me not always appreciate their presentation method.

  • An elder first ward resident’s recreation and reflection (and their own interpretation)of years past:

    White man is bad!

  • Change is part of Houston inner city living. I grew up in Montrose in the early 70’s. Every place of significance from my childhood is gone. Replaced by a post office, coffee shops, strip malls, and townhouses. Lots of townhouses.

    While this artist’s pain is real, it’s not special. You can never go home again.

  • ScottC – I agree!

  • Spare you from what, creative expression? Yeah, the world would be a much better place if we were all less creative and more generic…

  • Do they count as off-premise signs?

  • Response to JP:

    “Check the artists out:

    I wish they would stop putting this graffiti crap all over the neighborhood. It’s not art, its trash. I also take offensive to the ignorant “people of color being pushed out” BS liberal rant. This neighborhood doesn’t “belong” to anyone, but those that pay taxes and live here now. It’s not about race. It’s about MONEY. The neighborhood is now desirable. If you want to stay here, make more money. Legally.

    I love capitalism.

  • The said “art” is nothing more than vandalism burdening either private property owners or the taxpayers when the city has to dispatch crews to clean up public property. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the blossoming art district in the First Ward, but I can’t tolerate something akin to graffiti.

    As far as historic character, many mainstays of the neighborhood are being upgraded or maintained. Look at the fire station on Houston Avenue, the bakery across the street from Dharma Cafe, and 1720 Houston Ave currently under renovation to house a graphic design company.

    The above point is accurate…neighborhoods belong to those that live in them and pay taxes…whether that include “young, hip urban professionals” living in townhouses or a family that has lived here for decades in a 1920’s home. Simply put: Neighborhoods evolve and change over time. I have no problem with someone reflecting on the history of the First Ward, but please don’t deface our neighborhood.

  • Stop with the white black thing. Stop it. I had a lot of friends in the first ward years ago. Most of them are gone. You need to know that when you do rent a house, that you could be forced to move and I know people who don’t have a lot of money and bought houses in the neighborhood back in the day. And they were not rich and houses were cheap. Like 10,000 or 20,000. They are still there and like that the neighborhood is not so dangerous anymore, Some of them sold and made money. Man everything keeps changing in Houston.

  • I don’t see how these signs are called graffiti. They are SIGNS. They are PORTABLE.

    You may not like what they say but they are somewhat tastefully done.

    If they are on public property, call the city and have them removed.

    If they are on private property without the owner’s permission, let the owner deal with it.

    If the owner of the property approves, then tough.

    Or, you could become a vandal. Go get your handsaw and cut them off at the knees!

  • Pyewacket 2 wins this round!


    I’ll come place a lot of random stuff on your property and you can just “deal with it”.

    You respect the wrong people.

  • I think I must be missing something….since the sign posters are apparently known, what with a website and all, couldn’t the property owners file a visual blight complaint by calling 3-1-1 and enjoy watching the perps get slapped with a $500 fine if they didn’t approve of the signs being on their property, or is that just for graffiti reported on a structure?

  • @Not Your First Ward:

    I don’t understand. If it’s on your property, why don’t you remove it? It doesn’t look like it’d be that difficult. Or are you just trying to raise a stink in the neighborhood?

    What other random stuff are you talking about? Maybe these photos don’t capture all the “random stuff” so please share. Tell us what is really bugging you.

    There has to be more to your story than just these few signs.

  • I don’t understand what passes as “art” these days. There is no talent whatsoever, no beauty, nothing that stirs the soul.

  • Right, I agree. It’s not “art” to me either but neither is it graffiti. I don’t even see it as defacing anything.

    They are SIGNS. Take them down if they are on your property.

    Much ado about nothing.