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The Party's Bayou

In its early days, Houston thrived from the commerce that bustled along the banks of Buffalo Bayou. In recent times, however, living near one of the city's reputed bayous has been more of a liability than an asset. Change is nigh, though. Today's "Blue Bayou," the grand opening of the 23-acre Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade along Buffalo Bayou, kicks off an aggressive campaign to put the "bayou" back into the Bayou City. "Ultimately, our goal is to have hike-and-bike trails on both sides of the bayou from Shepherd all the way to the port," says Trudi Smith of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

The preservation project has included the revitalization of trails to bring pedestrian traffic downtown and the reinvigoration of green spaces with native landscaping to prevent flood damage and erosion. In addition to the restorative work, two public art projects add to the beautification: artist John Runnel's Dream Boats and the Blue Bayou lunar lights. Dream Boats consists of 20-foot stainless-steel boat sculptures marking the 13 street-to-bayou entrance points along the trails. And the lunar lights, which debut today, are a series of LED orbs atop light posts and under bridges that change gradually from blue to white in tandem with the phases of the moon.

Today, "Blue Bayou" celebrates these improvements with musical entertainment by Two Star Symphony and Moodafaruka near the Sabine Street entrances, as well as wandering performance artists playing guitar, juggling fire and walking on stilts beginning at 7 p.m. Don't feel like walking? Take a free boat ride from the Sabine Street south canoe launch to Sesquicentennial Park to enjoy concessions and get a bayou view of the restoration. At 8:45 p.m., watch the first illumination of the lunar lights followed by a fireworks display over the Sabine Street Bridge.

Finally, cap off the evening with the Aurora Picture Show's Floating Cinema, a 20-foot screen on a barge showing Peter Hutton's Two Rivers, Andy Warhol's Sunset and James Benning's Ten Skies. (Fun fact: Sunset was commissioned by Houston's own de Menils in the ´60s.) Miss all this action, and you'll definitely have the blues.
Sat., June 10, 7 p.m.-midnight


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