Tuesday, October 13, 2009

austin hearts leslie.

If you're not from Austin, then you might not get our community's genuine affection for our local "Keep Austin Weird" mascot, a homeless-by-choice, cross-dressing, former mayoral candidate named Leslie.

But Austin loves Leslie - in large part because Leslie loveslovesloves Austin.

Which is why I've found myself praying daily for his complete recovery. Albert "Leslie" Cochran, 58, suffered serious head trauma about two weeks ago (EMS was called when he fell down in front of a taxi, and while the news coverage is clear about head injury, I've read that he had a brain aneurysm which caused him to fall and that he hit his head when he fell, so the nature of the trauma is unclear), had brain surgery to relieve cranial swelling, and for several days was not expected to survive.

Now, he has been upgraded to "fair" condition, but is apparently rather vegetative, with limited hope of full recovery. His sister, Alice Cochran Masterson, says Leslie will likely require assisted living arrangements for the rest of his life, and probably won't ever be able to return to his home out on the streets again.

Which is a huge loss for downtown Austin, where Leslie hung out - both on the street and from his infamous thongs. He was smart, irreverent, hilarious, as eccentric as they come, big-hearted and, in his way, inspirational. Who among us can honestly claim to be as authentically ourselves as Leslie was 24/7/365?

So please say a little prayer for Austin's Queen of Weird-Ass Soul. Our sidewalks will be dimmer without him.

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