This morning Austin lost one of its weirdest icons, Leslie Cochran. A local homeless resident, Leslie has been famous in Austin for decades. With his thong bikinis, platform shoes and unkempt hair and beard, he was the stuff of legends.
Leslie had a lot of friends in Austin. Homeless by choice, he often housesat for people and made money by posing for pictures with Austinites and tourists. He ran for mayor of Austin three times, once coming in second.
I encountered Leslie seldom enough that it was exciting when I saw him. Usually outfitted in something revealing and feminine, it always came as a mild shock to see his butt cheeks exposed and walking down the street.
Leslie’s health steadily declined after a head injury a couple years ago and just he wasn’t the same. It was rumored in recent weeks that he was leaving Austin for good and moving to Colorado. He never did make it to Colorado but he’ll never really leave Austin either. He’s a part of what makes Austin so special and weird. He’s hoping he’s happy in Heaven, wearing a sparkling new thong in the sky.