I've admittedly been neglecting the Roadside Resort for several weeks now, as I'm attempting to tie up Weird Oklahoma, but I had to at least post about the news that Austin, Texas's beloved homeless cross-dresser, Leslie Cochran, has recently been hospitalized.
Cochran was discovered on Oct. 3 by a taxi driver, who found him lying unconscious on a sidewalk downtown. He appeared to have suffered a serious head injury and was reportedly found to be in a semi-vegetative state after he was transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge. Rumors state that he had been seen acting erratically and may have suffered a stroke, but this has not been confirmed.
Cochran, who is known simply as Leslie to Austinites, is a local celebrity and folk hero, famous for wearing thongs, high heels and other women's wear as he wanders the streets of Texas's capital city. He's been outspoken about the plight of the homeless and the treatment by police officers of those in his situation. In 2000, he garnered even more attention when he ran for mayor, a feat he repeated in 2001 and again in 2003, receiving as much as 7.75% of the vote.
When word reached Austinites that Cochran had been injured, dozens gathered outside the hospital for a candlelight vigil.
According to a report released today by the Austin American-Statesman, Cochran's condition is improving, though sadly it looks like he will no longer be a part of the Austin scene. As reported by KXAN Austin News, family members have stated that Cochran underwent "extensive brain surgery" and will most likely spend the rest of his life in an assisted-living facility.