"Bubba” is a form of the word “brother.” While there are “Bubbas” throughout the South (some have called Arkansas’s Bill Clinton “Bubba"), the term “Bubba” has been used throughout Texas since at least the early 1980s.
In the late 1980s, Austin had an annual tug-of-war between North Austinites and South Austinites (those living below the Colorado River). The tug-of-war was nicknamed “Yuppies” against “Bubbas.” South Austin was called Bubbaland (Bubba Land) and Bubbaville and Deep Bubba (from the 1996 newspaper column, below). John Kelso, the South Austin-based local humorist and Texas folklorist with a regular column in the Austin American-Statesman, helped popularize the “South Austin Bubba.”
Austin is growing fast and the terms “South Austin Bubba” and “Bubbaland” are not used as frequently as they were in the 1980s and 1990s.
Austin Real Estate
Central Austin Neighborhoods
When I think of central Austin, I tend to think of neighborhoods close to downtown and the University of Texas. But just how does one define what is close? Tarrytown, BrykerWoods and Travis Heights seem to fit well. So do others, even neighborhoods south of the lake that divides north and south Austin, which used to be known as Yuppie Land and Bubba Land.
Small Planet Guide
Barton Hills Austin Neighborhood
The Barton Hills neighborhood is all about location and proximity. There are few stores or cafes in the immediate area, but the commercial centers along Bee Caves Road into Westlake Hills provide all the amenities. Or Barton Hills residents can drive South on Lamar to the shopping centers at the intersection of Lamar and Ben White Boulevards where they will find what is popularly known as the Bubbaretum—the nickname is a nod to the notion that South Austin is Bubba-friendly (Bubbas, in this case, having more in common with aging hippies than rednecks), in contrast to Northwest Austin’s chic shopping center at The Arboretum. The center is home to Central Market, a Borders bookstore and a Whole Earth store, plus a nearby Target.
(Historical Dictionary of American Slang)\
bubba n. [fr. BUBBY]
1. So. brother; (hence) friend.—often in direct address or as a nickname, esp. for a boy.
1864 in N.C. Delaney J.M. Kell 152: Poor papa, so far away from his little girl and mama and bubbers.
1922 (cited in Holm & Shilling DIct. Baham. Eng.).
1931 Bontemps Sends Sunday 6: “High there, Mistah Steamboat Man!” “He-o, bubba,” the captain said pleasantly.
1935 J. Conroy World to Win 81: “I’m sorry, bubber,” Robert said, using a pet name he had had for Lee when he could not say “brother.”
ca1939 in A. Banks First Person 249: Next thing I hear, Bubba huntin a lawyer!
1956 M. Wolff Big Nick. 53: Listen to me, Bubber...You’ve had too many drinks.
1966 K. Hunter Landlord 47: My bubba, he run too.
1976 Conroy Santini 166: And just what if I don’t let go, bubba?
1976 Rosen Above Rim 159: My bubba once told me, “Don’t never try and bullshit a bullshitter.”
1977 Olsen Fire Five 71: Well, enjoyed meeting you, bubba.
1980 Conroy Lords of Discipline 13: How did you know it was me, Bubba?
1987 W. Georgia State Coll. instructor, age ca33: SO how’s it goin’, bubba?
1987 Wkly. World News (May 5) 13: Anybody who was a good guy we’d call “Bubba.”
1992 Parsons & Nelson Fighter Country 156: Bubbas—fellow squadron members, cronies.
2. an uneducated souther white male; “good ol’ boy”; REDNECK.
1986 C. Trillin, in New Yorker (Dec. 22) 76: She also refers often to a sort of all-purpose Texas ol’ boy she calls Bubba.
1988 Nation (Aug. 27) 156: George Bush needs the Bubba vote—young Southern white males—and if all else fails, racial animus might get Bubba in the Bush column.
1990 New Republic (Oct. 22) 19: Bubba is a rural Texas archetype whose sometimes crude and vulgar culture is an amalgam of male bonding rituals forged on the ranch, in the oil fields, and in the locker room.
1992 N.Y. Times (mar. 1) 22: As Presidential politics move into the states of the Confederacy, the biggest question about Bubba may not be how he will vote but how to find him.
1993 CBS This Morning (CBS-TV)(Jan. 21): Real bubbas don’t jog.
13 April 1986, Paris (TX) News, Texas Weekly Magazine, “Spoke-n Tradition: In the laid-back Capital City you can find lawmakers and Bubbas dancing side-by-side,” by Amy Wilson, pg. 11, col. 1:
The Spoke is a dining and drinking establishment operated by White and his wife Annetta, both products of South Austin. That, for those who have lived in the Capital City, also is Bubba Land, and the Spoke fits right in.
(Broken Spoke owner James White—ed.)
27 April 1987, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “‘Bubbas’ Prevail Over ‘Yuppies’” by Suzanne Gamboa (Associated Press):
AUSTIN—“Bubba” brawn proved better than “yuppie’ brain when south side residents backed up their claim to being the city’s better half in a weekend game of tug of war across the Colorado River.
North Austinites put their reputations on the line Saturday and came out all wet in the event billed as the world’s largest tug of war. The silver tug-of-war champion cup, decorated at the base with a piece of rope, sits on…
25 February 1989, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Park it out front and call it art” by John Kelso, pg. B1:
“This is South Austin. This is Bubba Land.”
29 May 1989, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Southern tuggers triumph” by Morgan Montalvo, pg. B4:
North Austin almost succeeded in defending its image of Perrier, Peugeots and polo shirts by claiming victory in one round of the Third Annual Tug of Honor, held Sunday afternoon at Fiesta Gardens on Town Lake. The annual event, which purports to pit the south side’s working class against its northerly, upwardly mobile management, was held to raise funds for the Austin Youth Hostel Council’s new International Youth Hostel, at 2200 S. Lake Shore Blvd.
“We’re actually reversing the image of the `Bubba’ vs. the `Yuppie,’” joked ...
9 October 1990, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Travis High Rebels should punt mascot, become Fightin’ Bubbas” by John Kelso, pg. A14:
About half the men and most of the dogs in South Austin go by Bubba.
11 June 1991, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “Junior League qualifications more than a man can bear” by John Kelso, pg. A18:
You’re probably wondering why a South Austin Bubba who prefers Don Meredith to Don Giovanni would try to join the Junior League of Austin.
8 September 1992, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, pg. A10:
Leading South Austin indicators clue Bubba in on the economy
by John Kelso
15 July 1996, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “...And the winner is: Deep Bubba” by John Kelso, pg. B1:
Alert the hounds and sound the horns. Or is that sound the hounds and alert the horns? Either way, this is big stuff. We have a winner in my contest to name the business district on South Congress Avenue. How about Deep Bubba, a spinoff on Deep Ellum, the funky entertainment district in Dallas?
Deep Bubba was suggested by David Hibbs, a Del Valle elementary school teacher. Hibbs was one of about 50 folks who called or wrote in name ideas for the stretch of businesses that runs from Academy…
Google Groups: alt.journalism.gay-press
Newsgroups: alt.journalism.gay-press, alt.politics.homosexuality
From: Robert Schroeder
Subject: Re: Keep the BAPTISTS out of DISNEYLAND!
And “Bubba” is not a fair word either. Here in Austin, we tend to call those folks living south of the river as “bubbas” (just like “King of the Hill”, which is, oddly enough, patterned after folks in South Austin where the creator Mike Judge lives.
Austin (TX) Chronicle (December 3, 1998)
The New Bubbaville
As the Southside gets hipper, the rent gets higher, and even the yard art turns ironic. The cost of living has weeded out much of the riffraff. And riffraff, at least in part, is what South Austin was all about. There have long been two factions in South Austin, living in sometime harmony: The cool faction and the Bubba faction. As the coolness quotient in South Austin has been turned up to almost blistering intensity, it has largely been at the expense of the Bubba contingent—many of whom have been exiled to the great white north, above Koenig, clustered around North Lamar.
Google Groups: alt.showbiz.gossip
Subject: Re: Dancing Naked And Banging Gongs
Ah, Matthew. Dear, sweet, cute, naked, stoner Matthew. The scary part is that playing bongos naked at 3am really ain’t that unusual in Austin, though most of the time it’s in South Austin (a.k.a. Bubbaville or Stonerland) as opposed to the high-falutin’ Tarrytown area where McConaughey lives.
Austin (TX) Chronicle (April 13, 2001)
South Austin Secede!
The Roots of South-of-the-River Bubbadom
BY ROB D’AMICO
The great North-South Austin divide was real at one time, mainly distinguishing a boundary in economic status, since much of the housing south of the river was cheaper and attracted lower-income residents.
Stereotypes developed over time, and South Austin became the butt of jokes, the place where raffish people parked in their front yards, drank Pearl beer, and called each other “Bubba.” South Austin residents, in turn, reveled in the stereotype and prided themselves in being true Austinites.
“It’s more subtle now,” says John Kelso, the humor columnist for the Austin American-Statesman. He sips coffee in the bustling newsroom that’s been home to his writings for nearly a quarter of a century and tries to pin down how things have changed in his part of town near Manchaca (pronounced man-shack, for newcomers) since 1978.
“It’s more of a lifestyle thing,” he says. Kelso, the gray-bearded smart-ass who regularly features South Austinites in his writings and most likely came up with their collective moniker “Bubba,” says now you’re more likely to find artsy types and other weird people down south. They’re the kind that build sculptures out of trash or Stonehenge replicas in their yard, he says.
City of Austin
Deep in the Heart of South Austin, Twin Oaks Library Celebrates the Austin Public Library’s 75th Anniversary
April 18, 2001
Patricia Fraga, Austin Public Library, (512) 499-7528
Ben Sorrels, Twin Oaks Branch, (512) 442-4664
The “Other Austin” and “Deep Bubba” are slang names given to South Austin, which geographically covers any area south of the Colorado River. Embedded amongst the eclectic shops and restaurants of South Congress is Austin Public Library’s Twin Oaks Branch, 2301 S. Congress Ave.
Literary Fort Worth
And, as Molly Ivins has pointed out, everybody in South Austin is called Bubba.
James Ward Lee
South Austin Neighborhood Association
7/27/01--New Austin Police Dept. Commander for Southwest Area
Introducing Gary Olfers, the new APD Commander for our Southwest area. Meet him in person September 11 at the Commander’s Forum.
This release to us from APD:
My name is Gary Olfers, and I am the new Commander for the Southwest Area. I am very happy to be here. I have lived in South Austin since my parents moved here in 1958. I grew up in Barton Hills, graduated from Travis High, and have been a South Austin Bubba ever since.
October 7th, 2001
This district is home of Austin American-Statesman columnist John Kelso’s infamous “Bubba.” Bubba, I think, is to the rest of the country synonymous with “redneck” and can usually be found in the South. South Austin’s Bubba, which shares a cosmic bond with Bubbas in other locales, are reported to be less cultured than the folks in North Austin and find immense pleasure in parking their pickup trucks in the front yard and sitting on the porch emptying bottles of Lone Star or Pearl. South Austin encompasses an area much larger than just the 78704 district, but certainly this South-Central area is home to many Bubbas.
University of Texas At Austin:
Off the Record
by Erin Hall
Pittsburgh, PA: College Prowler, Inc.
South Austin is sometimes referred to as Bubba-Land by older Austinites. While it’s openly liberal, there are conservative people if you know where to look.
18 January 2005, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “My Wal-Mart column gets me an earful” by John Kelso:
Yep, are you gonna be a South Austin Bubba, or are you gonna be one of those elitist snobs that lives in Hyde Park or Travis Heights?
3 July 2005, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “An idea too tacky for reality TV?” by John Kelso:
See, I live in the Bubba-land part of South Austin, and I have a different set of priorities that would make me not want to live next door to somebody.
National Geographic Traveler (November 2006)
We cross the Colorado River into South Austin, once dubbed “Bubba-land” but now known for SoCo (South Congress), a hip district with clubs, antiques stores, ...
08-01-2007, 01:43 AM
South Austin used to mean “Bubba” or “Redneck”, but I think now, at least in the closer in Central areas, it’s more of a bohemian thing.
Under Grace in Austin
November 28, 2007 at 12:10 pm
Jacob, my brother, I am so excited for you, your family and team. You guys are venturing into what we like to call…Bubba-land. Land across the river…good dirt for planting seeds, watering and sowing…reaping!
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Wednesday, March 05, 2008 • Permalink