The Austin Tejano Trails has been a labor of love for a dedicated group of volunteers committed to preserving the history, diversity, and cultural assets in East Austin.
Nash Hernandez was a legendary orchestra leader and trumpeter who began his career playing German polkas in his hometown of Fredericksburg. After serving in the Army Air Corps during WWII he and his wife, Minnie, settled in this neighborhood, where Minnie was raised and played with Matt Velasquez and the Latinaires. He formed the Nash Hernandez Orchestra in 1949. It was initially comprised of all Latino members. In fact, many of Austin's Latino musicians got their start playing with Nash's orchestra, including Mike Mordecai, John Mills, Mitch Watkins and Tomaz Ramirez.
After his death, Nash was recognized by the City of Austin for his contributions to the community. He was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 1999. Today, Nash's son, Ruben Hernandez, continues his father’s legacy, directing the Orchestra in performances all across Austin. He's also continued the tradition of contributing to the community, and his efforts have been recognized by the State Senate of Texas.
A cut metal silhouette of Nash Hernandez stands atop a base that includes two lyrics from “Tenderly,” Nash’s final song of each performance that he would dedicate to his wife, Minnie. The big ring forms a “spotlight” and swirling treble clefs create a dramatic Big Band setting. The sculpture of Nash Hernandez is in an especially scenic part of Festival Beach. Festival Beach is the east side stretch of Lady Bird Lake and considerably more serene and less traversed than the running trails on the other side of I-35. Take a moment and read the lyrics at the bottom of the sculpture taken from Hernandez’s most famous song, “Tenderly”. The trail follows the river on the way to Fiesta Gardens building.
Cover Photo by Roger Inman via Flickr