One Square Mile: Texas is a documentary series that is sponsored by the good people of Southwest Airlines. Each week for the next nine weeks, Southwest will take you on a unique journey across the Lone Star state. This week Southwestis taking the One Square Mile: Texas Sneak Peek to the East Texas town of Nacogdoches.
While Nacogdoches isn’t a place that Southwest serves, the nearest airport is Houston’s Hobby. Fly Southwest Airlines to Houston’s Hobby Airport, rent a car, and head North on I-59. After a short, somewhat scenic 2.5 hour drive, you pretty much drive right into the heart of it.
Nacogdoches—and East Texas—is generally, a bit more Southern in appeal than the rest of the state. If Fort Worth is “Where the West Begins” then East Texas certainly serves as the bridge between “The South” and the western portions of the United States.
Here’s a list of the Nacogdoches folks you will meet in Southwest Airlines: OSMTX: Sneak Peak:
William “Bill” Arscott—Where to begin? Bill was the only person that we interviewed this season who we knew already. He was our film professor at Stephen F. Austin and is widely known across the Texas filmmaking circuit as the professor who likes to “blow things up.” He’s a total character. Of all his accomplishments, he is proudest of is his 50-year marriage to the love of his life, Jo Anne. Together with their six children they call Nacogdoches home. Originally hailing from Michigan, he’s a Korean War Veteran, and a father figure to thousands of SFA students who have had the privilege to study under his guidance.
Brother June Gentry—As the director of Godtel ministries in Nacogdoches, June’s a man of many words and is passionate about what he does. Godtel is a homeless shelter and ministry located in downtown Nacogdoches, and Brother June and his wife have operated the ministry for 40 years. He writes the majority of the songs he performs.
Buckley—Luckily, almost anything grows in Nacogdoches, and no one knows that better than Buckley who is in charge of the Nacogdoches Farmers Market. Born in McAllen, TX, Buckley went to high school in Naples, Italy, and was in the very first group of Peace Corps volunteers before moving to Nacogdoches from San Diego in 1976. He is fluent in Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian and has taught in the fields of nuclear physics and astronomy. I believe Buckley would be the first to tell you that the best tomatoes in the world grow in East Texas.
Maye Ham—As the head of the African-American Heritage project in Nacogdoches county, Maye was working as part of a fundraiser for a building her organization is hoping to restore in the Zion Hill neighborhood.
Jessica Sowell—Jessica is the assistant sites manager for the City of Nacogdoches. Originally from Fort Worth, Jessica attended SFA and fell in love with the history of the town. She and her husband recently purchased a house in Nacogdoches and plan on calling it home for many years.
Isaiah Fulcher—A Dallas native with strong East Texas roots. Isaiah’s grandparents and extended family live in Nacogdoches. He’s spent many summers and holidays riding horses and being a part of the community his family calls home.
Ally Fuller—In case you’re wondering, yes, Ally Fuller is a descendent of Stephen Fuller Austin, aka: “The Father of Texas.” Ally is a home-schooled student, who aspires to be a singer/songwriter.
Commella King—A mother to all who know her, Commella has been cooking her entire life and has been with the local restaurant, Butcher Boy’s, for the last 13 years. Her favorite things in life are church and her husband. An interesting fact: Commella does not like to cook at home.
Java Jacks—Long before Starbucks was a part of our collective existence, Java Jacks was brewing up cappuccinos and espressos for people in and around Nacogdoches. Java Jacks’ Brent roasts and sources his own beans and because of this, their coffee is known across East Texas as the best. Due to time constraints, this segment didn’t make it into the full episode, but you can view it online in the near future.