On My Block: 12th & Chicon

The area around 12th & Chicon streets is in the midst of a radical change that's been decades in the making. KUT is exploring what happens when a place becomes valuable to a new group of people.

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Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

For the past few months, we’ve been reporting on the rapidly changing neighborhood around 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin as part of our On My Block project.

Today, we hear from a local restaurant owner who’s bringing a taste of his hometown of New Orleans to the neighborhood. Darold Gordon owns Big Easy Bar & Grill near the corner of 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin.

You can check out more stories in this project at our On My Block Tumblr

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

For the past few months, we’ve been spending time in the area around 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin, reporting on the changes in this part of the city for our On My Block project.

We’ve met a lot of people in the time we’ve been there so far. Today, we head to a funeral home on 12th Street to meet Barry Franklin of King Tears Mortuary. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

People grumble about how fast Austin is growing. But growth can also bring chances for creative collaboration. That’s what happened at Dozen Street bar near the corner of 12th and Chicon streets, when a musician from Philadelphia started hosting a regular Wednesday night session for fellow players.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Charles Urdy, 82, met his first wife at Charlie’s Playhouse, a now-shuttered club on East 11th Street in Austin.

“I just walked in,” said Urdy, a former Austin City Council member and professor at Huston-Tillotson University. “A friend of mine and his girlfriend and this young lady were sitting at a table together, and I just walked in.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

This week, we launched a project that we expect to span several months, at least. It's called On My Block: Voices from 12th & Chicon. We've opened a temporary bureau at the intersection of 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin. We're there to tell the stories of how people are affected by the kind of rapid changes in the racial, socio-economic and cultural makeup of this historically black neighborhood.

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