Mayor Parker's River Walk Comments Draw Attention of SA Mayor

Houston Mayor Annise Parker isn't backing off a comment she made earlier this week about San Antonio's River Walk, but laughed-off the controversy today after the mayor there said Parker was envious.

It's shaping up to be the "war of the waterways". Earlier this week at an event to announce a national award for Buffalo Bayou, Mayor Parker said this:

"As I travel, I am often asked by people who are familiar with San Antonio to why don't we turn Buffalo Bayou into a River Walk like San Antonio and the answer is the River Walk is a cement ditch. There's no nice way to say it. The River Walk is a cement ditch."

After hearing the comment, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said he likes the mayor, but it's clear to him that Houston is jealous of the popular River Walk, which draws millions of visitors a year. But Mayor Parker isn't backing down, although she laughed when she heard that her comments caused a stir in San Antonio.

"It is in fact a cement ditch. It is a wonderful tourist amenity apparently, but we have a live water course that we're focusing a lot of attention on and they're very different amenities. I am surprised that they took offense and it certainly wasn't intended to do that. I'll have to call Mayor Castro and give him a hard time."

Houston has spent millions of dollars to spruce up Buffalo Bayou and was named this week as one of the Great Public Spaces of 2012 by the American Planning Association.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...