The month in politics.
Thousands of Texans descend on the capitol during a legislative session, ranging from lobbyists to tourists (you’ll have no trouble telling which is which). Visit during the 140 days from January 11 to May 30, and by all means take the thirty-minute guided tour. But if you want more? Hunt for these gems off the beaten path:
PHOTO OF REPRESENTATIVE SAM JOHNSON. Lyndon’s daddy stands out on the bottom row among the members of the Thirty-sixth Legislature (1919): same ears, same nose, same mouth—but more integrity, according to LBJ biographer Robert Caro. Lyndon’s mentor, Sam Rayburn, hangs on the opposite wall as Speaker of the Thirty-second Legislature. Ground floor, west corridor.
SANTA ANNA’S CHAIR. Resembling a schoolhouse seat, with a large armrest, it was in his room when he was held prisoner in a doctor’s house following the Battle of San Jacinto. Of course, el presidente didn’t have much to write home about. Second floor, north corridor, in the Legislative Library.
VICTORIAN VAULTS. In the 1880’s, when the Capitol was built, the fashion for bank vaults was doors decorated with elegant paintings. Three such doors, featuring very un-Texan landscapes, kept the state’s money safe. The doors remain, but the money, alas, is gone. First floor, south corridor, in the restored treasurer’s business office. PAUL BURKA
See Austin: Other Events for details and directions.