Iconic Austin: “I love You” and “I Love You More” Signs on South Congress
published on October 24, 2011
A major part of the “Keep Austin Weird” mantra is being able to express love openly. In July 2010, local Austin musician Amy Cook expressed her love for her partner Liz Lambert, majority owner of Jo’s Hot Coffee Good Foods on South Congress. Cook knew Lambert was having a bad day and decided to spray paint on Jo’s North wall the words, “I love you so much”. The simple red spray paint in one of Austin’s most visited areas quickly became a hot spot for tourists and Austinites alike. There are smiling photos, kissing photos, and goofy photos taken in front of the words on the light green wall every day. The picture-perfect spot is also used for many wedding and engagement photos.
In reply to the words on the wall, a restaurant across the street, Snackbar, put the words, “I love you more” on their own marquee just a few days later. The two phrases faced each other on South Congress, drawing visitors and becoming an iconic part of South Congress culture.There are Flickr and Facebook pages dedicated to Jo’s Hot Coffee and Good Foods’ simple words.
The words “I love you so much” sadly were vandalized in January 2011. There were “x”’s painted over the O, V, and E, and the wall was repainted plain green. After a few weeks of remaining green, Cook and Lambert repainted the “I love you so much” words back on the building, and they have not been vandalized since.
The “I love you so much” sign is a symbol of Austin’s sense of community. The words on the side of Jo’s Hot Coffee are a proclamation of love from one business owner to the city of Austin, from one partner to another, and from many pedestrians to their loved ones all over America.
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