Lengthy Texas Observer Story Digs Into the Pending Demolition of San Antonio’s Alazán-Apache Courts

Jeph Duarte San Antonio News

click to enlarge The Alazan-Apache Courts is San Antonio's largest and oldest public housing development. - BEN OLIVO

  • Ben Olivo
  • The Alazan-Apache Courts is San Antonio’s largest and oldest public housing development.

The Texas Observer has published a lengthy article on the planned demolition of the Alazán-Apache Courts, San Antonio’s oldest public housing project, as part of its “Gentrification of Texas” issue.

The piece by writer Gus Bova chronicles the development’s significance in Mexican American culture and cautions that its destruction to make way for mixed-income housing will indelibly alter the historic near-downtown neighborhood where it’s located.

Bova pulls no punches in his description of the West Side project but gives humanity to the people for whom it’s a source of housing stability, including 36-year-old Kayla Miranda, who’s called it home since 2017:

“Bouncing from friends’ couches to motels, Miranda began missing work as her son’s school peppered her with calls about his increasingly frequent meltdowns. Disaster loomed. Then, after a year and a half on a waitlist, a space opened for her at one of San Antonio’s public housing projects in mid-2017.

“’It’s a safety net, thank God,’ Miranda tells me when I visit her 80-year-old cinder block apartment complex in January. It’s not an ideal place: The bedrooms scarcely fit a queen mattress, there’s no central air, and the roaches are resilient. But Miranda, a mother of three who also cares for her 3-year-old nephew, pays only $168 a month in rent. And after two and a half years here, she feels connected to her neighbors. For her, it’s a home worth fighting for.”

Some of the most affecting prose comes as Bova chronicles the history of the housing project, which was established in 1939:

“In her exuberant Spanglish, Blanquita Rodriguez, an 86-year-old ranchera singer with Las Tesoros de San Antonio tells me of her childhood at the courts. ‘I grew up muy contenta; era muy bonito, m’ijo. It was like a big family,’ she says, recalling the complex’s large hedges and her days performing at the nearby Guadalupe Theater. ‘I have a lot of beautiful memories, chatting on the porch. Nadie te molestaba. You needed a couple tortillas, you went and knocked on your neighbor’s door.'”

Last year, the Current and the San Antonio Heron collaborated on a lengthy analysis of gentrification’s sweep across the West Side, including the scheduled demolition of the Alazán-Apache Courts.

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