Growing Up Near Blair Woods

This post was written by long-time East Austin resident and neighbor of Blair Woods, Andrea Petit. We met Andrea, her mom Catherine, and other long-time neighbors of the Stonegate Neighborhood Association.  We have been lucky enough to hear some cherished memories of Blair Woods from the days when the Blairs still lived there. Andrea and many other Stonegate neighbors are committed to partnering with Travis Audubon to ensure the Preserve remains an asset for the community for generations to come.  –Nicole Netherton


My name is Andrea Delice Petit. I was born and raised just yards away from Travis Audubon’s Blair Woods.

My parents, Archile & Catherine Petit, liked living next to the woods due to the privacy. Well, at least my dad did. When I was 7 yrs old my dad took my sister Marcia and I over the fence and thru the woods. I guess I was somewhat of a tom-boy. My dad loved going to the woods every chance he would get. And he being from Panama, we’d imagine being in the jungle there! The woods was so thick that you had to make your own path but it was a beautiful space. Dr. Frank Blair, UT professor and Zoologist, used to live there and he and my dad were well acquainted and he always greeted us; seemed happy we came. There, my sister and I were introduced to many exotic animals and reptiles. I remember making this hike several times in my childhood and recall always feeling welcomed. I also recall visiting Coleman Springs with other neighborhood kids and catching and releasing crawdads & making paper boats. There will always be a sentimental value to The Audubon Society & Blair Woods. Today, we have met many friends at Blair Woods like board member Mark Wilson (and his wife Dana) & Executive Director Nicole Netherton. These wonderful lovers of nature have valuable historical information about the woods and the people who lived, nurtured and/or owned it. My mom and I recently visited the woods for the 1st time in over 37 yrs. It felt like home in a nostalgic way. I will always remember Blair Woods as a wonderful and magical part of my childhood.