“There’s something that’s been bugging us Texans. And it’s time that we set the record straight … There ain’t no saguaro in Texas. It’s not the kind of cactus we’ve got.” Rev. Horton Heat
TRAVELS WITH MAGGIE
It’s always been my belief that every question deserves an answer. So today I’m going to answer the one from a reader who commented on the photograph of a statue that went with my Jan. 10th blog about the Women’s Museum in Dallas.
The statue features a woman atop a huge saguaro cactus, and the question was: “Do saguaro cacti grow in Texas?” Honky-Tonk comic singer Rev. Horton Heat says; ”No.” The plant experts agree, but with an addendum: No wild saguaro grow in Texas.
You might be able to forgive Rauol Jossett, the statue’s creator. He was a native Frenchman, who carved the plaster and cement statue in 1935, just two years after immigrating to the United States. Perhaps he got his idea from western movies of the period that featured huge saguaro in their supposedly Texas backdrops. Or maybe he copied the idea from other artists whose work depicts the huge armed cacti in their Texas landscapes.
No wonder Horton Heat wanted to set the record straight.
But now that I’ve answered the reader’s question, let me tell you what else I learned in my research. The Women’s Museum statue is called “Spirit of the Centennial.” It was created as part of the renovations to turn a 1910, double-duty stock coliseum-by-day/music-hall-by-night building into an administration building for Texas’ 1936 Centennial Celebration.
The model for Jossett’s sculpture was Georgia Carroll, the lead singer for the Kay Kyser Band. She later became the band leader’s wife and an actress. She just died earlier this month.
The administration building was converted into the Women’s Museum in 2000, and is located in Dallas’ Fair Park, where a stroll through its Texas sized, 277-acre grounds can turn up six other giant-sized ladies created by Jossett. Let me know if you find them all.
Meanwhile, I love questions. Anybody else with one?