Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton is the Poet Laureate Emeritus of Houston, but her status as a community leader had humble beginnings. The California native moved to Texas when she was 21 years old, accompanied at first by her parents and siblings. After a week of getting settled, she waved goodbye to her support system as they piled in the car to drive back west.


Alone and on the job hunt with her savings quickly dwindling, Mouton was losing hope. And when asked by The Texas Optimism Project, a sponsored series between Texas Monthly and Frost Bank’s Opt for Optimism initiative, to cite a moment in her life where optimism played a role, the accomplished poet immediately thought of her early acquaintances in Houston who provided the much-needed support and kindness that allowed her to set roots in Texas.

My California-bound family, My heart already tied to Texas. So I give them permission to leave me, Watch my family drive away.

Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton

Mouton tells this story of southern hospitality in the way she does best—through powerful poetry— bringing to life those moments where a helping hand can make all the difference.

Poem by Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton. Illustrations and animation by Min Liu. 

This video is part of the Texas Optimism Project, a sponsored partnership between Texas Monthly and Frost Bank’s Opt for Optimism initiative.

Optimism is the self-fulfilling spark that turns challenges into opportunities and can even be a catalyst for better physical, emotional and financial health. With over 150 years of practical experience helping people succeed, Frost Bank is leaning into optimism like never before. Check out other inspiring stories from Frost Bank here.