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We once described the area immediately to the east of the George R. Brown Convention Center as a "silent, godforsaken stretch of no-man's-land" that is neither the Warehouse District, nor the Third Ward, nor the East End.

We employed that bulky definition because by 2000, its 1980s and '90s name - Chinatown - was no longer apt. Area boosters agree, and now the area has a new name and flashy Web site.

Those of you who have been witness to the genius on display in the re-branding of Houston neighborhoods in recent years- NoDo and Midtown come to mind -- will doubtless be unsurprised by the districts' new name: EaDo.

Get it? It's East of Downtown? It's one of them right fancy names, just like one of them-there NoLitas, SoHos and TriBeCas they got in Noo York.

"I would like to see them inject a little more creativity," says Thomas Escalante, champion of Houston's distinctiveness and owner of Sig's Lagoon record store / gift shop. "Houston needs to create its own identity, not copy the identity of older places. You keep on doing that and you just end up with a copycat community."

Long ago in Old Houston, neighborhoods weren't named by marketing consultants, loft-flippers and other such assorted douchebags. And back then, places had cool, poetic names. The 400 block of deep Milam was a sink of vice and sin called Catfish Reef. Lower Washington Avenue was a swanky district called Vinegar Hill. A good chunk of Fourth Ward, or FoWa for short, was given over to Houston's Red Light District (ReLiDi) and was known as The Reservation, while the toughest corner in Fifth Ward (FiWa) was known as Pearl Harbor. Mid Lane near the non-yet-built Galleria was a Mad Men-like seen of whiskey-fuelled poolside soirees that earned it the name Sin Alley. Even the Richmond Strip seems evocative compared to these moronic, truncated, New York-wannabe handles.

- John Nova Lomax

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Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


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