Texas Observer

9 articles

Navigating a New Reality

The informal network of volunteers that keep abortion access open in Texas.


The Holdouts

Turning down the huge amounts of money a fracking contract can offer is always the beginning of a fight.


Fight for Wright

The mysterious death of Alfred Wright in the shadow of a town’s history of racial violence.


Into the Pines

Jeffrey Holliman was deep in debt and out of options. So he took to the woods outside his small East Texas town. Then he started taking from his neighbors.


Texas’ Other Death Penalty

An essay on those who don’t get caught by health care’s so-called safety net.



How the heir to a horse racing empire became an informant on the Zetas cartel as they pushed their money laundering operations into the lucrative quarter horse trade.


No Refuge

A look back at the 2008 raid on Warren Jeffs’ polygamous Mormon sect.


The Deadliest Place In Mexico

Murder in the Juarez Valley:

A few weeks after Saul Reyes and his family fled Mexico, I drove to an immigrant shelter in downtown El Paso to see him. As the former city secretary of Guadalupe, Saul had once been in charge of recording the births and deaths of everyone in his hometown. He’d taken it upon himself now to collect every single name of those who had died or disappeared in Guadalupe since the killing began in 2008. Through media reports and meetings with the many valley exiles now living in Texas, Saul had compiled a list of the town’s dead and disappeared. Showing me the book, he turned page after page of names. So far he had counted 180 dead, 26 disappeared, and eight unknown bodies dumped in his small town of 3,000 people. “There are a lot more, but these are the ones I’ve been able to collect,” he said. In his careful, spidery script, he had written on one page the names of his six family members.


He Who Casts the First Stone

The low-key swingers of sleepy Amarillo, Texas find themselves relentlessly harassed by a militant Christian group.