Helen Thorpe

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Articles by Helen Thorpe

Oil and Water

Jan 20, 2013 By Helen Thorpe

Offshore drillers are finding mammoth reservoirs in places that were once considered barren, which is why the Gulf of Mexico is booming again.

The Exterminator

Jan 20, 2013 By Helen Thorpe

Does Tom DeLay kill Democrats on contact? Not exactly, but as the president can tell you, the profoundly partisan Republican congressman attacks his enemies relentlessly.

Whose Art Is It, Anyway?

Jan 20, 2013 By Helen Thorpe

Most everyone agrees that Dominique de Menil did the right thing when she paid for two stolen Cypriot frescoes and had them painstakingly restored. But her decision to build a chapel to house them in Houston has proved controversial.

Tex Mecca

Apr 30, 1999 By Helen Thorpe

What are tens of thousands of Muslims doing in Arlington? Adjusting to life in America, debating the merits of assimilation, and trying to convince the world that they’re not terrorists.

News Makers

Jan 1, 1999 By Helen Thorpe

Coming January 1 to a small screen near you: A round-the-clock, Texas-specific, CNN-style cable channel. Its creators will be watching. Will you?

The Man Who Wasn’t There

Dec 1, 1998 By Helen Thorpe

Who gives a hoot about an owlish auteur with nary a directing credit in twenty years? All of Hollywood, that’s who—which is why Austinite Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line is the most anticipated film of the season.

Less Is Mauro

Jul 31, 1998 By Helen Thorpe

Barring a miracle, Garry Mauro will lose to George W. Bush in this November’s gubernatorial election. So why is he acting like a winner?

Metal of Honor

Apr 30, 1998 By Helen Thorpe

I wanted to see lightning strike the steel rods that artist Walter De Maria installed in a New Mexico field. I didn’t, but the trip was still illuminating.

“Boom” Is a Four-letter Word

Jun 30, 1997 By Helen Thorpe

No one will admit we’re in the middle of one, even as the economy surges. How come? Because the last time we had it this good, bragging only hastened the arrival of another four-letter word: “bust.”

Naval Gazing

Apr 30, 1997 By Helen Thorpe

As the Navy’s top civilian leader, Texan John Dalton has navigated one scandal after another. He might also be charting a course back home—and to elected office.

The War for the Colorado

Apr 30, 1997 By Helen Thorpe

Battles over the river’s precious waters are pulling in everyone from pecan growers in Central Texas to shrimpers in Matagorda Bay, not to mention thirsty cities like San Antonio and Corpus Christi. Who will be left high and dry?

Cancer Patience

Jan 1, 1997 By Helen Thorpe

To perfect a promising new gene therapy, doctors at Houston’s M. D. Anderson need time. Unfortunately, that’s one thing people with malignant brain tumors don’t have.

Social Climbers

Nov 1, 1996 By Helen Thorpe

This month, a ragtag group of wanderers will descend on Hueco Tanks state park in West Texas, where they’ll spend their nights hanging out and their days hanging on to the most challenging boulders around.

Bad News, Baird’s

Jul 31, 1996 By Helen Thorpe

This spring, Texas’ leading white-bread maker was ordered to pay a fine of $10 million and settled a lawsuit for another $18 million. Why does the company have to cough up so much dough?

The Far Right Stuff

Apr 1, 1996 By Helen Thorpe

Wyatt Roberts says he’s simply crusading against sin, but critics contend that the Christian activist is trying to usher in a new era in Texas: the anti-gay nineties.

Wafer Madness

Apr 1, 1996 By Helen Thorpe

Inside a state-of-the-art semiconductor factory, a day’s work is never done, as technicians race to build smaller, faster, and more-powerful computer chips.

Hype or Hero?

Nov 1, 1995 By Helen Thorpe

He’s won the support o Mexican Americans in El Paso; now he wants to win a seat in Congress. Is Silvestre Reyes’ attack on illegal immigration heroism or hype?

Smelling Like a Rose

Nov 1, 1995 By Helen Thorpe

Critics complain about Houston’s rising debt, but Mayor Bob Lanier’s reputation is blooming, which is why he’ll win a third term this month.

Reversal of Fortune

Sep 30, 1995 By Helen Thorpe

Boone Pickens and his protege, David Batchelder, built Mesa Petroleum into an energy giant. Now Pickens’ empire is crumbling and his former aide is leading the charge against him.

The Outer Limits

Jul 31, 1995 By Helen Thorpe

Combining the latest technology with an old-fashioned passion for her work, Austin astronomer Anita Cochran redefined the solar system. Now her star is on the rise.

Roe v. World

Jun 30, 1995 By Helen Thorpe

Twenty-five years after Norma McCorvey joined the flight to legalize abortion, the battle is still raging—and so is she.

Drug War!

Apr 1, 1995 By Helen Thorpe

How a small Houston biotech company and a giant California-based rival are battling over who developed what may be a revolutionary cure for asthma and allergies.

Is MCC Obsolete?

Jan 1, 1995 By Helen Thorpe

Twelve years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, the vaunted Austin high-tech consortium is still struggling to find its purpose.