Oh, shit: RIP, Leslie Cochran of Austin

8 March 2012

I’d heard the “keep Austin weird” slogan before I moved there, but I didn’t expect to experience it so vividly on my first day. Walking to my new office on one of those blistering August days, I ran into Leslie in front of the university bookstore.

He was, as always, in fishnets, heels, a tube top, and a long feather boa.

In addition to his campaigns to be mayor of Austin, Leslie was the mascot for the Hell Marys (the Catholic schoolgirl-themed women’s roller derby team) — he made a great entrance in a nun’s garb that he’d open wide to reveal the ubiquitous heels and a thong. But mostly he just appeared everywhere — at my favorite coffee shop near campus, on 6th Street for the nightlife, on South Congress on those Thursdays when everyone showed up to hear music and get a bite at Guero’s.

He’s been in bad health for several years, after barely surviving a vicious attack late at night. A few weeks ago he survived brain surgery to repair lingering damage from that attack, but now I learn the damage was so great that he died today in an Austin hospice. This news has affected me deeply; it feels like one more reason that city is behind me now. RIP, you angel of Austin.

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2 Responses to “Oh, shit: RIP, Leslie Cochran of Austin”

  1. Hattie Says:

    Somewhere I have a picture of him with one of the Bush dynasty spawn.

    • Didion Says:

      Please don’t hold it against him. He was fighting the good fight as much as a homeless, cross-dressing, welcoming man can…sometimes you just can’t choose who decides to throw themselves in front of a camera with you. Sigh.


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