Laredo, Texas

Laredo, Texas
City of Laredo


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): "The Gateway City" and "The City Under Seven Flags"
Laredo, Texas

Location in the contiguous United States

Coordinates: 27°31′28″N 99°29′26″W / 27.52444°N 99.49056°W / 27.52444; -99.49056
Country United States
State Texas
County Webb
Metropolitan area Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area
Settled 1755
  Type Council-manager
  City council Mayor Pete Saenz (Democrat in nonpartisan position)
Laredo City Council:
(1) Rudy Gonzalez, Jr.
(2) Vidal Rodriguez
(3) Alejandro Perez, Jr.
(4) Juan Narvaez
(5) Roque Vela
(6) Charlie San Miguel
(7) George Altgelt
(8) Roberto Balli
  City manager Jesus R. "Chuy" Olivares
  Police chief Ray Garner[1]
  City 90.01 sq mi (233.12 km2)
  Land 88.91 sq mi (230.27 km2)
  Water 1.1 sq mi (2.85 km2)  1.30%
  Metro 161.76 sq mi (418.96 km2)
Elevation 438 ft (137.2 m)
Population (2012)
  City 244,731 (US: 81st)
  Density 2,718.9/sq mi (1,045.1/km2)
  Metro 259,172 (US: 178th)
  Metro density 1,602.2/sq mi (615.9/km2)
  Demonym Laredoan
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
  Summer (DST) CST (UTC−5)
ZIP code 78040–78046, 78049
Area code 956
FIPS code 48-41464[2]
GNIS feature ID 1339633[3]
Airport Laredo International Airport KLRD (LRD)

Laredo (/ləˈrd/ lə-RAY-doh; Spanish: [laˈɾeðo]) is the county seat of Webb County, Texas, United States, located on the north bank of the Rio Grande in South Texas, across from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. According to the 2010 census, the city population was 236,191, making it the tenth-most populous city in the state of Texas and third-most populated on the Mexican border, after San Diego, California, and El Paso, Texas.[4] Its metropolitan area is the 178th-largest in the US and includes all of Webb County, with a population of 250,304.[4] Laredo is also part of the cross-border Laredo-Nuevo Laredo Metropolitan Area with an estimated population of 636,516.[5]

Because Laredo is 95.6 percent Hispanic and Latino, it is one of the least ethnically diverse cities in the United States. When economic diversity, household diversity and social class diversity, are considered, Laredo is rated the 19th least diverse city overall out of the 313 largest cities in the nation.[6]

Laredo's economy is based on international trade with Mexico. Most major transportation companies have a facility in Laredo. The city's location on the southern end of I-35 close to the manufacturers in northern Mexico promotes its vital role in trade between the two nations. Laredo International Airport is within the Laredo city limits, while the Quetzalcoatl International Airport is nearby in Nuevo Laredo on the Mexican side.

Laredo has the distinction of flying seven flags (the Flag of the Republic of the Rio Grande in addition to the Six Flags of Texas). Founded in 1755, Laredo grew from a village to the capital of the brief Republic of the Rio Grande to the largest inland port on the United States-Mexican Border. Today, it has four international bridges and one railway bridge.

Laredo has a professional soccer team, the Heat; baseball team, the Laredo Lemurs; and a women's full contact football team, the Laredo Roses. Texas A&M International University and Laredo Community College are located in Laredo.

The biggest festival, Washington's Birthday Celebration, is held during the entire month of February, attracting hundreds of thousands of tourists. The Jalapeño Festival, Border Beer Fest, Stockmen's Ball, Princess Pocahontas Pageant, Mr. South Texas Luncheon, an air show, and two major parades are all held in conjunction with the Washington's birthday events.


A graphical timeline is available at:
Timeline of Laredo, Texas
Map of Laredo in 1892
Laredo Center for the Arts in the downtown square
Though the facility has been closed for years, the marquee of the Plaza Theater in downtown Laredo remains lit. A citizens committee, including the restaurateur Danny Lopez, Jr., of the Danny's Restaurant chain, is seeking to establish a private-public partnership to reopen the Plaza as a live entertainment venue. The plans call for $8 to $10 million in renovation.[7]

The European colonial settlement of Villa de San Agustin de Laredo was founded in 1755 by Don Tomás Sánchez while the area was part of the Nuevo Santander region in the Spanish colony of New Spain. Villa de San Agustin de Laredo was named after Laredo, Cantabria, Spain and in honor of Saint Augustine of Hippo. In 1840, Laredo was the capital of the independent Republic of the Rio Grande, set up in opposition to Antonio López de Santa Anna; it was brought back into Mexico by military force.

In 1846 during the Mexican–American War, the town was occupied by the Texas Rangers. After the war, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo ceded the land to the United States. A referendum was taken in the town, which voted to petition the American military government in charge of the area to return the town to Mexico. When this petition was rejected, most of the population, who were Tejano and had been in the area for generations, moved across the river into Mexican territory, where they founded Nuevo Laredo. In 1849, the United States Army set up Fort McIntosh (originally Camp Crawford). Laredo was rechartered as a city in 1852.

Laredo is one of the oldest crossing points along the U.S.-Mexico border, and the nation's largest inland port of entry. In 2005, Laredo celebrated the 250th anniversary of its founding.

The origin of name of the original Spanish town of Laredo is unclear. Some scholars say the name stems from Glaretum which means "sandy, rocky place". Others state that Laredo stems from a Basque word meaning "beautiful pastures".[8][9] Laredo might also stem from the Latin Larida which means gull.

In 1954, Laredo faced a devastating Rio Grande flood, when the water reached 61.35 feet, more than 10 feet higher than in the previous 1932 flood, which had also caused great damage. According to Laredo historian Jerry D. Thompson of Texas A&M International University, the 1954 flood was "the largest in ninety-one years and the second largest according to archeological records in the last three hundred years."[10] Many were left homeless for a time because of the calamity. Former Webb County administrative Judge Mercurio Martinez, Jr., recalls that his father surveyed the depth of the water and advised residents to evacuate. Several downtown businesses had to remove their merchandise inventory or risk losing it to the rising waters. The flood caused the relocation of the Holding Institute. The international bridge was destroyed when it was struck by the floating railroad bridge, which had been hit by the debris of another bridge in Eagle Pass up the river. Photos of the flood by Teofilo Esquivel, Sr., are on the wall of a Danny's Restaurant on McPherson Avenue in Laredo.[10]

In 2013, Laredo ranked tenth in Texas in the rate of violent crime, with 430.9 crimes per 100,000 inhabitants. Highest in ranking was Odessa, with 806.4 violent crimes per unit. The second most "dangerous city" was also in West Texas; Lubbock had 658 crimes per 100,000 persons. The other border cities of El Paso, McAllen, and Brownsville ranked 13th, 18th, and 24th, respectively. The city with the highest murder rate in Texas was BeaumontPort Arthur, with a rating of 8.6, compared to Laredo's 1.5.[11]


NASA satellite image of Laredo and Nuevo Laredo (2007)

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 79.6 square miles (206.0 km²), of which, 78.5 square miles (203.2 km²) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km²) of it (1.37%) is covered by water.


Laredo is located on the west end of the Rio Grande Plains, south of the Edwards Plateau, west of the Coastal Plains, and east of the Mexican Mountains. The area consists of a few hills and flat land covered with grasses, oaks, and mesquite.

Bodies of water

Notable geographic features are the Rio Grande and Chacon Creek's man-made reservoir, Lake Casa Blanca, in Lake Casa Blanca International State Park. The lake is 371 acres (1.5 km2) of land and 1,650 acres (7 km2) of water. The six major creeks are Chacon Creek, San Ildefonso Creek, San Ygnacio Creek, Santa Isabel Creek, Sombrerillito Creek, and Zacate Creek, all of which drain into the Rio Grande. Several man-made reservoirs include the San Ildefonso Creek Lake (second-largest reservoir), and the Sombrerillito Creek Lake (third-largest reservoir).

Nearby cities

City Population Distance (km)
Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas 373,725 0 mi
Monclova, Coahuila 198,819 124 mi (200 km)
Monterrey, Nuevo León 4,080,329 125 mi (201 km)
Reynosa, Tamaulipas 589,466 130 mi (210 km)
Corpus Christi, Texas 305,215 131 mi (211 km)
San Antonio, Texas 1,327,407 154 mi (248 km)
Heroica Matamoros, Tamaulipas 449,815 167 mi (269 km)
Brownsville, Texas 183,046 170 mi (270 km)
Saltillo, Coahuila 709,671 181 mi (291 km)


Laredo's climate is semiarid with hot temperatures in the summer and mild temperatures during the winter. The climate is considered to be hot semiarid (Köppen: BSh). Its weather is affected by the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains to the west, the Gulf of Mexico to the east, and the Chihuahuan Desert of Northern Mexico and West Texas. Moisture from the Pacific is cut off by the Mexican mountain range.

Because of its geographic location, Laredo's weather can range from long periods of heat to sudden, violent storms in a short period of time. Laredo winters are cold by South Texas standards: with average daytime highs around 66 °F (19 °C) and average overnight lows of 43 °F (6 °C). Although snowfall is rare in Laredo, it was recorded on Christmas morning 2004 and in February 2011.

Laredo experiences an average high temperature around 101 °F (38 °C), and an average low around 75 °F (24 °C) during summer, and 22 inches (560 mm) of rain per year. As Laredo sometimes undergoes drought, a water conservation ordinance was implemented in 2003.

Climate data for Laredo, Texas (1981−2010 normals, extremes 1965–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 95
Average high °F (°C) 67.0
Average low °F (°C) 46.1
Record low °F (°C) 19
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.90
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 5.9 5.3 4.4 4.2 5.3 5.1 4.8 5.1 6.7 4.4 4.3 5.6 61.1
Source: NOAA[12][13]


Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
Texas Almanac: 1850–2010[15][16]

U.S. Decennial Census[17]

As of the 2010, Laredo is the 81st-most populous city in the United States and the 10th-largest in Texas. According to the 2010 census[2][18][19] there were 236,091 inhabitants in the city.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the racial composition of Laredo was:

Ethnically, the city was:

According to respondents' self-identification on the 2010 Census, the vast majority of Laredo's population is ethnically Hispanic (of any race), with 95.6%. Some 4.4% of the population was not Hispanic/Latino (3.4% non-Hispanic White, 0.2% non-Hispanic Black or African American, 0.6% non-Hispanic Asian, 0.1% from some other race (non-Hispanic), and 0.1% of two or more races (non-Hispanic)).

In the 2005 estimate, there were 99,675 males and 108,112 females. The average household contained 3.69 occupants. The population density was 2,250.5 people per square mile (868.9/km²).

Of the 60,816 households, 56,247 or 92.5% were occupied: 33,832 were owner-occupied units and 22,415 were renter-occupied units. About 62.0% were married couples living together, 18.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 14.7% were not families. Around 12.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.69 and the average family size was 4.18

The city's population is distributed as 35.5% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 15.8% from 45 to 64, and 7.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,019, and for a family was $32,577. The per capita income for the city was $12,269; 29.2% of families were below the poverty line.

According to the United States Census Bureau, at a 2000 census, Laredo was the second-fastest growing city in the United States, after (Las Vegas).

A study released in 2015 by the Martin Prosperity Institute of the University of Toronto in Canada showed Laredo as the most "economically segregated" smaller metro area in the United States. The wealthy tend to congregate in enclaves and gated communities, such as Plantation, Regency, Lakeside, Winfield, and Alexander Estates. Most of the poor inhabit neighborhoods known for overall and longstanding poverty, particularly in the southern portion of the city. Mayor Pete Saenz, however, said development is underway downtown and in The Heights neighborhood, once the city's most affluent residential area. There are no de facto Anglo and African-American neighborhoods. The second and third cities cited in the study are Jackson, Tennessee, and El Paso, Texas.[20]

In 2016, Laredo was ranked the safest city in Texas for motorists and the 14th safest nationally. Its average annual car insurance rate is $1,515.76; the average years between accidents is 11.7. Detroit, Michigan, ranked the most dangerous city for motorists.[21]


Walker Plaza office complex in Laredo was built in the early 1990s by the family of South Texas rancher Gene S. Walker, Sr.
Laredo Federal Credit Union on McPherson Road
The former Cotulla Barbeque on McPherson Road at Taylor Street was closed, razed in 2012, and replaced by office buildings. Former U.S. President George W. Bush regularly visited the establishment when he was in town.

Laredo has four South Texas banking institutions based in the city: Falcon International Bank, International Bank of Commerce, BBVA Compass, and Texas Community Bank.

Laredo is the largest inland port in the United States, and Nuevo Laredo the largest in Latin America. This is due to their respective locations, served by Interstate Highway 35 / Mexican Federal Highway 85, the effects of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), dozens of twin assembly plants on the Mexican side, and dozens of import export agencies to expedite trade. In January 2014, the Laredo customs district processed "$20 billion in two-way trade with Mexico", about half that for the entire US with Mexico for the month.[22] Laredo is a shopping destination for Mexican shoppers from Northern Mexico. In 2015 the San Antonio Express-News reported that the number of Mexican shoppers has declined due to drug war-related violence in Nuevo Laredo.[23]


View across the Rio Grande at Laredo, Texas (postcard, circa 1909)

More than 47 percent of United States international trade headed for Mexico and more than 36 percent of Mexican international trade crosses through the Laredo port of entry.[24][25] Laredo's economy revolves around commercial and industrial warehousing, import, and export. As a major player in international trade, the Laredo area benefited from passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has encouraged trade. The Laredo port of entry consists of four international bridges (with a proposed fifth one) crossing the Rio Grande into the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León.

Retail sales

Retail sales attract shoppers from Northern Mexico and South Texas.[26] There is one indoor shopping mall located in Laredo, Mall del Norte. A proposed project is The Outlet Shoppes at Laredo, and another has not progressed past planning: Laredo Town Center, part of downtown redevelopment. There are dozens of shopping centers. The Streets of Laredo Urban Mall is an association created by businesses on Iturbide Street in the San Agustin historical district to beautify and renovate the area, which has a pedestrian scale.[27]

Labor market information

As of October 2007, Laredo's labor market was in the following industries by percentage of number employed: Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (32%), Information (1%), Financial Activity (5%), Professional and Business Services (6%), Education and Health Services (15%), Leisure and Hospitality (10%), Government (23%), Mining and Construction (5%), Manufacturing (2%), and Other Services (2%).

Laredo has increased the number of non-agricultural jobs from 55,100 in January 1996 to 86,600 in October 2007. Laredo has had a higher job growth rate (2%-6.5%) than the state as a whole because of expanded international trade through the North American Free Trade Agreement. In 2007, Laredo experienced a job growth rate of 2.5%. As of October 2007, the Laredo unemployment rate was 4.1% or 3,700 unemployed persons, as compared to 3.9% in Texas statewide. This is a significant drop since the mid-1990s, when Laredo's unemployment was over 15%.

Laredo has had positive job market growth since the mid-1990s; setbacks in the mining (oil/gas) industry shifted a few thousand workers to other industries such as international trade and construction. Many large employers in the oil and gas industries shut down operations in Laredo and across Texas, and shifted to foreign countries. The same effect occurred in the garment industry (Levis and Haggar) along the Texas border area. Laredo lost its only garment-producing company (Barry), costing the jobs of about 300 workers. Laredo's strong job growth rate in retail and transportation services limited the adverse effects of long-term unemployment from the few massive layoffs of the late 1990s. Laredo's success with international trade is also a vulnerability; it is dependent on changes to Mexico's economy, that status of immigration laws (along with daily border crossings: shoppers and commercial trade), and terrorism.[29]

In 2014, according to the financial research company NerdWallet, Laredo had the worst pay for women of any city in the United States, with a large gender gap: an average annual salary of $24,700 for women, compared to nearly $35,000 for men. The gender pay gap in Laredo increased 25 percent between 2007 and 2012. Only the wealthy city of Frisco in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, had a greater pay gap within Texas than did Laredo. According to census reports, Laredo has a 30 percent rate of poverty. Laredo households headed by women with children under the age of eighteen have a 51 percent poverty rate.[30] By contrast, the San Jose, California, area, the heart of the tech industry, has an average pay of $56,000, ranking first nationally.[31]

Laredo Top Employers[32]

Employer Category Employees
United Independent School District Education 6,179
Laredo Independent School District Education 4,500
City of Laredo Government 2,371
Laredo Sector Border Patrol Immigration 2,000
H-E-B Grocery 1,626
Webb County Government 1,500
Laredo Medical Center Health care 1,300
Texas A&M International University Education 1,215
McDonald's Food 1,200
Walmart Retail 937
Convergys Call Center 860
Doctors Hospital Health Care 811
International Bank of Commerce Financial Services 661
Stripes Convenience Stores Retail/Convenience 337
Laredo Energy Arena Entertainment 293
Falcon International Bank Financial Services 292

Arts and culture

Annual celebrations

The Washington's Birthday Celebration (WBCA)[33] is a month-long event that celebrates George Washington's Birthday. It is the largest annual celebration of its kind in the United States, with 400,000 attendees. It was founded in 1898 by the Improved Order of Red Men, local chapter Yaqui Tribe #59. The first celebration was a success, and its popularity grew rapidly; in 1923 it received its state charter. In 1924, the Celebration held its first Colonial Pageant, which featured 13 girls from Laredo, representing the 13 original colonies. The celebration includes parades, a carnival, an air show, fireworks, live concerts, and a citywide prom during which many of Laredo's elite dress in very formal attire. The related Jalapeño Festival is one of the United States' top 10 eating festivals.

Jamboozie is held in late January in downtown Laredo as part of the Washington Birthday Celebrations. Similar to New Orleans' Mardi Gras, the Jamboozie is a colorful event, with many people dressed in beads, masks, and flamboyant outfits.

The month of March is observed in honor of the Mexican-American labor organizer Cesar Chavez. A march, organized by the local League of United Latin American Citizens, is held downtown the last Saturday morning of March to remember Chavez for United Farm Workers, which in the 1960s and 1970s organized migrant laborers to obtain improved working conditions.[34]


Republic of the Rio Grande Capitol Building Museum[35] is located in the downtown historical district next to the historic La Posada Hotel. What was once the Capitol building now showcases memorabilia from the short lived Republic of the Rio Grande. It displays pictures, books, and furniture from the 19th century Laredo area, and offers guided tours for school-age children and adults year-round. Because of this Republic, Laredo had flown seven flags instead of the traditional Six Flags over Texas.

The Laredo Center for the Arts[36] is located in downtown Laredo. The building houses three galleries: the Goodman Gallery, the Laredo Art League Gallery and the Lilia G. Martinez Gallery. The Center for the Arts, located in the former City Hall offices known as "The Mercado", displays regional artwork and provides community events for children and adults. The Laredo Little Theater provides Laredo with live stage performances. The theater also hosts comedians.

Imaginarium of South Texas[37] (formerly Laredo Children's Museum), located in Mall del Norte, provides a hands-on experience with science, technology, and art for Laredo's youth. A second museum is planned on the Texas A&M International University campus.[38]

The Nuevo Santander Museum Complex is composed of restored buildings of Fort McIntosh, a historical collection of photographs of the fort, the main guardhouse, which contains World War I (1914–1918) memorabilia, and a science and technology museum.


The Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center Planetarium[39] is located on the Texas A&M International University campus. The Planetarium surrounds audiences in a dome with an accurate image of the night sky showing all the motions and cycles of the Sun, Moon, planets, and constellations in the sky.


The Joe A. Guerra Laredo Public Library at the intersection of McPherson Road and Calton Street

The Joe A. Guerra Laredo Public Library[40] was first housed on the second floor of the City Hall, now known as the Market Hall, in 1916. In 1974, the Laredo Public Library moved to the historic Bruni Plaza in downtown Laredo. In 1993, the citizens of Laredo approved the construction of a new main library at McPherson and Calton roads, which opened on February 1, 1998. On July 22, 2016, the structure was named in honor of Joe A. Guerra, a former member of the Laredo City Council known for his support for the library and a personal passion for reading. Council member Roque Vela, who first proposed that the structure be named for Guerra, described the former councilman, who died in 2010, as "someone I looked up to for his unwavering commitment to public service. I am especially proud to know that the library and reading were passions of Mr. Guerra."[41] The Laredo Public Library, which still uses the Dewey Decimal Classification system, has a 60,000 sq ft (6,000 m2). main library and two branches. The main library is located in central Laredo; the Bruni Plaza Branch[42] is located downtown east of Washington Street, and the Santo Niño Branch is located in south Laredo.[43]

Two new libraries opened in 2014, one in northwest Laredo, the Fasken Library on March 14, and another in the south sometime in July.[44]

Market Plaza and Flores Avenue, Laredo, Texas (postcard, circa 1907)


The city is populated with both adult and family entertainment, such as bars, nightclubs, sports fields, movie theaters, family restaurants, and other entertainment venues.

Around the Springfield area, several restaurant/bars have set up residence. Some of these places include Agave Azul, Cosmos, Old No.2 and Lima Sol. This area has proven to be especially popular with the college crowd.

Churches and architecture

San Agustin Cathedral
Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church
Renovated St. Patrick's Catholic Church is located on Del Mar Boulevard across from the Laredo Fire Department.
The First United Methodist Church near the intersection of McClelland and Guadalupe; the cornerstone from the 1916 building on Hidalgo Street downtown was moved to the current location in 1949.

Most of Laredo's architecture is of Spanish Colonial, American, and Mexican flavor. Most of Laredo's Spanish Colonial style buildings are located in downtown Laredo. More modern American architecture can be seen along Interstate Highway 35 as well as in the downtown area.

Heavily Roman Catholic in church affiliation, Laredo has impressive houses of worship. The oldest congregation, now San Agustin Cathedral, on the downtown historic plaza, dates to the founding of the city in 1755. The striking building we see today was begun in 1871.[45] Our Lady of Guadalupe is an imposing structure in Romanesque Revival Lombard (North Italian) style. It was designed by Leo M. J. Dielmann of San Antonio, a popular architect of Catholic buildings, and built for a Mexican-American and Hispanic congregation in the inner-city, at San Jorge Avenue and Callaghan St. Dielmann was commissioned by Church authorities to design churches for similar congregations in Houston and San Antonio. He also did the San Agustin parish school, and may have had a hand in the San Agustin church itself.[46]

Other Catholic churches of note include Blessed Sacrament and Christ the King, both in the Heights neighborhood, St. John Neumann Church at Hillside Road and Springfield Avenue, San Martin de Porres at 1704 Sandman Street near the municipal water tower, and the large St. Patrick Catholic Church on Del Mar Boulevard, founded in 1970 and renovated in 2009. The Catholic diocese office, the headquarters of Bishop James Tamayo, is located on Corpus Christi Street north of Guadalupe Street. San Luis Rey Catholic Church at the intersection of Sanders and San Jose opened on September 16, 1951. Outside is a flowered prayer shrine. The congregation of the Church of the Redeemer, at the intersection of Main and Garcia streets downtown, observed its centennial on August 29, 2009. Its building is another work by Leo M.J. Dielmann.

Both the First United Methodist Church, in 1949, and the Christ Church Episcopal, were designed by Henry Steinbomer, a popular and prolific San Antonio architect who is credited with more than 100 churches and related buildings during the 1940s and 50s, from the Lower Rio Grande Valley mostly in South and West Texas, from the Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Angelo to Union Church in Monterrey, Mexico.[47]

Other Laredo churches include Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Assembly of God, Mormon, and non-denominational congregations as well.

The homeless and other indigent are served downtown through Bethany House, established in 1982 by Roman Catholic priest Father Charles M. McNaboe (1929–1996).

National Register of Historic Places sites

List of the tallest buildings

The former Hamilton Hotel, the tallest building in Laredo
Rank[48] Building Name Height Floors Year Built
01 Hamilton Hotel 150 ft (46 m)12 1923
02San Agustin Cathedral 141 ft (43 m) N/A 1872
03 Rio Grande Plaza 15 1975
04 Holiday Inn Laredo 14 1984
05 Laredo National Bank 10 1926
06 Senior Citizens Home 8
07 Laredo Medical Center 7 1999
08 Gateway Inn 6
09 Rialto Hotel 6 1925
10 Walker Plaza 5 1995

Laredo in multimedia

Film and television

Streets of Laredo is a 1949 western film starring William Holden, Macdonald Carey and William Bendix[49] as three outlaws who rescue a young girl, played by Mona Freeman. When they become separated, two reluctantly become Texas Rangers, while the third continues on a life of crime.

In the 1957 Christmas episode entitled "Laredo" of NBC's western series, Tales of Wells Fargo, series character Jim Hardie (Dale Robertson) must track gunrunners across the United States/Mexican border, a quest which keeps him from spending the holiday with friends in Laredo as he had intended. The episode stars Henry Rowland, Rodolfo Hoyos, Jr., Karl Swenson and Pierre Watkin.[50]

In 1958, ABC aired the second episode, "Ambush in Laredo", of the 17-part miniseries, Texas John Slaughter starring Tom Tryon, with Robert Middleton, Chris Alcaide and Judson Pratt, broadcast as part of Walt Disney Presents.[51]

The 1959 western film, Gunmen from Laredo, stars Robert Knapp, Walter Coy, Paul Birch, and Ron Hayes in the story of a man seeking revenge for the murder of his wife. He winds up in prison on a false murder charge, but the marshal allows him to escape to pursue the man who killed his wife.[52]

In the episode "Cactus Lady" (February 21, 1961) of the NBC western television series, Laramie, it is revealed that series regular Jess Harper, played by Robert Fuller, had been nearly hanged by mistake in the border city of Laredo c. 1870 because of the McCanles gang, played by Arthur Hunnicutt, L. Q. Jones, Harry Dean Stanton and Anita Sands. In the storyline, the gang arrives suddenly in Laramie.[53]

From 1965 to 1967, NBC aired an hour-long western television series entitled, Laredo, with the actors Philip Carey, William Smith, Peter Brown and Neville Brand. A spin-off of The Virginian, Laredo, with elements of comedy, focuses on Texas Rangers in the border country. It is available on DVD.[54][55]Laredo was also broadcast on weekdays on the Encore Westerns Channel, having filled the time slot previously occupied by double episodes of the ABC/Warner Bros. series, Lawman, which also co-stars Peter Brown.[56]

The 1983 film Eddie Macon's Run, based on a James McLendon novel, features John Schneider as Eddie Macon, who is wrongly convicted of mostly minor crimes. While performing at a prison rodeo in Huntsville, Texas, he escapes and heads for Laredo, where he hopes to join his family in Mexico. Carl "Buster" Marzack (Kirk Douglas) is a cop in hot pursuit of Eddie. Without transportation, Eddie journeys on foot. He ends up in the woods, where he is nearly killed. He meets Jilly Buck (Lee Purcell), a bored rich girl who agrees to help him.[57]

Lone Star is a 1996 American mystery film written and directed by John Sayles and set in a small town in Texas. The ensemble cast features Chris Cooper, Kris Kristofferson, Matthew McConaughey and Elizabeth Peña and deals with a sheriff's investigation into the murder of one of his predecessors. The movie was filmed in Del Rio, Eagle Pass, and Laredo.[58]

The 2011 series, Bordertown: Laredo, is a 10-episode documentary on the Arts and Entertainment Network based on the work of the narcotics unit of the Laredo Police Department.[59]


Laredo is a city that has been the subject of several songs in popular culture. One of the most popular songs is the "Streets of Laredo", originally known as "A Cowboy's Lament" and written by Frank H. Maynard, who lived mostly in Colorado. It has been recorded by artists such as Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Waylon Jennings, John Cale, Roy Rogers and Prefab Sprout (who also made a lyrical reference to Laredo in an early song, Cue Fanfare), and is even featured in a Charlie's Angels episode ("Pretty Angels all in a Row", Season 2, Episode 3). On October 28, 1958, in the episode "The Ghost" of the ABC/WB western series, Sugarfoot, the "The Streets of Laredo" is performed by the child actor Tommy Rettig.[60]

Another popular song is "Laredo" by country music star Chris Cagle, who sings about Laredo having a positive influence on his significant other.

Ranked at the top of the charts in 1978 in several countries in Europe is Baccara's "The Devil Sent You to Laredo".

"Laredo" is a song from the album Infinite Arms, released by Band of Horses in 2010.

"Laredo Tornado" is a track from Electric Light Orchestra's 1974 concept album Eldorado. It uses the idea of missing the 'happy hunting grounds' of Laredo as a metaphor for the protagonist's loss of his dream-world.

Joe Ely has a song and album entitled "Letter to Laredo".


Laredo Heat

The Laredo Heat is a United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League team. The team's home stadium is the Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex. The team was founded in 2004. It plays in the Mid-South Division of the Southern Conference In the 2006 season the Laredo Heat finished Runner-up yet made it only to the first round of the Open Cup. In the 2007 season, the Laredo Heat were the Southern Conference champions. And in 2007 Laredo Heat won its first PDL Championship. The Heat are on hiatus for the 2016 season.

Laredo Swarm

Laredo Swarm is also a professional basketball team in Laredo. They are in the ABA which was a league founded in 2002. They started playing in 2015 and they play in Laredo Energy Arena.

Laredo Honey Badgers

The Laredo Honey Badgers, is professional indoor soccer team to be based in Laredo, Texas. Founded in April 2013, the team is expected to make its debut in the Professional Arena Soccer League with the 2013–14 season. The team will play its home games at the Laredo Energy Arena.[61][62] The official name and colors (black and chrome) of the team were decided with fan participation.[63]

Laredo Lemurs

The Laredo Lemurs, a professional baseball team based in Laredo, played their first season in the independent American Association in 2012. They won the South Division in their inaugural season, but were eliminated in the first playoff round. They play their home games at Uni-Trade Stadium.

Laredo Roses

The Laredo Roses are a professional women's full contact football team in the South Texas Sugar N Spice Football League[64] that began play in the 2012 season. The Roses play their home games at the Uni-Trade Stadium. The female players use short shorts and halfcut jerseys during games.[65]

Club Sport League Venue Established Championships
Laredo Heat Soccer USL PDL TAMIU Soccer Complex 2004 1 (2006)
Laredo Honey Badgers Indoor Soccer Professional Arena Soccer League Laredo Energy Arena 2013
Laredo Lemurs Baseball AAIPB Uni-Trade Stadium 2011
Laredo Roses Women's Football SNSFL Uni-Trade Stadium 2012

Defunct teams

Club Sport League Venue Championships Years Active
Laredo Apaches Baseball TLL Veterans Field 0 1995
Laredo Broncos Baseball ULB Veterans Field 0 2006–10
Laredo Bucks Ice hockey CHL Laredo Energy Arena 2 2002–12
Laredo Law Arena football AF2 Laredo Energy Arena 0 2003–04
Laredo Lobos Arena football AF2 Laredo Energy Arena 0 2005–07
Laredo Rattlesnakes Arena football LSFL Laredo Energy Arena 0 2011–13
Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos Baseball MBL Veterans Field 5 1985–2004
Toros de Los Dos Laredos Basketball LNBP Laredo Energy Arena 2 2007–13

Stadiums and arenas

Laredo Energy Arena

Laredo Energy Arena, formerly the Laredo Entertainment Center

The Laredo Energy Arena, formerly Laredo Entertainment Center, is located at Loop 20 and Jacaman Road. The LEA was strongly pushed to fruition by former Laredo Mayor Betty Flores. LEA was home to the former Laredo Bucks. The 178,000-square-foot (16,500 m2), $36.5 million facility seats 8,002 people for ice hockey and arena football, and up to 10,000 for concerts. It has fourteen luxury suites, four meeting rooms and a private club for two hundred charter members. It was completed in mid-2002 through an increase in the Laredo sales tax of .25 percent. Sports that can be played at the LEA include Hockey, Arena Football, Indoor Soccer, Basketball, Wrestling, and Boxing. The arena also hosts many events such as The Laredo Hunting and Fishing Show, Miss Texas USA, Laredo Home and Garden Show, and high school graduation ceremonies. Well-known artists and bands that have performed in the arena include Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Kesha, Pitbull, Flo Rida, Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Tool, Aerosmith, Kiss, Elton John, Styx, REO Speedwagon, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Ricky Martin, George Lopez, T.I., Ludacris, Cher, Hilary Duff Monster Jam and WWE.

Uni-Trade Stadium

The Uni-Trade Stadium is Laredo's newest baseball field. The stadium is located near the Laredo Energy Arena. The project was first approved by the city council and was voted in favor of (with 61.32% of the votes in favor 38.68% against) constructing it with money collected since 2004 by a .25 percent sales tax increase. There is a surplus of about $15 million.[66] The stadium will be home to the Laredo Lemurs.

Student Activity Complex

Entrance to the Student Activity Complex

Student Activity Complex is located on State Highway 359. It is utilized for United Independent School District's students. It was opened in the summer of 2002 and it contains the city's first artificial grass stadium. The SAC was also the home of the Laredo Heat. The capacity is 8,500 spectators. Sports played at the SAC include football, soccer, and baseball.

Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex

Texas A&M International University Soccer Complex (also known as Dustdevil Field and TAMIU Soccer Complex) was built in 2006 and renovated in 2007. The soccer complex is located at the Texas A&M International University campus. The complex has two soccer stadiums with a seating capacity of four thousand each. The Dustdevil Field is the new home stadium to the 2007 champion team Laredo Heat member of the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League (PDL) and the TAMIU Dustdevils women and men's soccer teams member of the Heartland Conference, NCAA Division II.[67]

Shirley Field

The original Shirley Field was located next to the Civic Center and R&T Martin High School on San Bernardo Avenue. It was built in 1937, along with Martin High School. Shirley Field was the location for outdoor athletics for Laredo Independent School District and also hosts the annual Border Olympics events. It seats up to about 6,000 fans with additional seating at the 2 endzones. Professional Mexican soccer teams have played various exhibition games here, noting that the real grass allows for "better" soccer games. The various sports played on the stadium are football, soccer and track & field events. Major renovations are slated for this historic stadium. On November 2009 Shirley Field was demolished and was rebuilt by the 2011 football season. The total cost of the reconstruction was $12,000,000 and it now seats 8,000 fans and features artificial turf.[68]

Krueger Field

Krueger Field is located in north Laredo and is owned by United Independent School District. The stadium has a capacity of 5,000 and is used to play football and soccer high school games. It is home to United High School's and John B. Alexander High School's football and soccer teams.

Veterans Field

Veterans Field is a baseball park which was previously known as West Martin Field. Its capacity is about 5,000. Major renovation is happening to update the 1950 ball park. Veterans Field was also the home to the five-time champion Mexican Baseball League team Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos from 1985 to 2003. Veterans Field is also home to the Texas A&M International University's Heartland Conference NCAA Division II Dustdevils baseball team.

Laredo Civic Center

Prior to the construction of the Laredo Energy Arena most major concerts and shows were performed at the Laredo Civic Center. The Laredo Civic Center complex has an auditorium with 1,979 seats and a banquet and exhibit hall with 1,635 seats.[69]


Lake Casa Blanca

Lake Casa Blanca International State Park,[70] located on Loop 20, contains a 1,680-acre (7 km2) artificial lake along with cooking out, camping, picnicking, lake swimming, skiing, boating, and mountain biking. The most popular recreational use of the lake is fishing. A boat ramp and fishing pier is available on the eastern side of the lake. The lake is a popular destination for winter Texans. The park was operated by the City of Laredo and Webb County before it was acquired by the state in 1990 and opened in March 1991.


Laredo has three 18-hole golf courses: the Laredo Country Club,[71] the Casa Blanca Golf Course.[72] and Laredo's newset course Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course.[73] The Laredo Country Club is an 18-hole private course that features 7,125 yards (6,515 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 74.6, a slope rating of 133, and has a par of 72. The country club was designed by Joseph S. Finger and was opened in 1983.[74] The Casa Blanca Golf Course is an 18-hole course that features 6,590 yards (6,030 m) of golf. The golf course has a rating of 72.5, a slope rating of 125, and has a par of 72. The golf course was designed by Leon Howard and was opened in 1967.[75] The Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course is an 18-hole course that features 7,200 yards (6,600 m) of golf. The golf course has a par of 72. The golf course was designed by Robert Trent Jones II Golf Course Architects and was opened in 2012.

Parks, recreational centers, plazas, and baseball fields

The City of Laredo owns eight recreational centers, thirty-four developed parks, twenty-two undeveloped parks or under construction, five baseball fields, and four plazas. The parks total area is 618 acres (2.50 km2).[76]

David B. Barkley Plaza

David B. Barkley Plaza flag

A memorial honoring the forty-one Hispanic soldiers who have received the Medal of Honor was built in Laredo, Texas in 2002. The plaza was named after the only Laredo Medal of Honor recipient David B. Barkley. The David B. Barkley Plaza has a bronze statue of David B. Barkley and an American flag measuring 100 ft by 50 ft and is 308 ft tall making it the tallest flagpole in the United States.[77][78] The memorial is located at 27°30′22″N 99°30′8″W / 27.50611°N 99.50222°W / 27.50611; -99.50222 (David B. Barkley Plaza).[79]

City of Laredo Shiloh Trail

Relatively new to Laredoans, this mountain bike trail is approximately 4 miles of single-track dirt trails, widening occasionally to double-track. Some technical parts make this trail challenging, but not impossible for beginners who can briefly walk their bikes before getting on their way again. Thorned shrubs and cacti encompass bikers, so be careful! The trail is well-marked and improvements continue to be seen as the months go by. The trail is located off Shiloh Road at the end of Livingston Road.


Political affiliation

Laredo and Webb County are overwhelmingly Democratic in political complexion, but voter turnout is often below average, rarely even half of the number of registered voters. Even in weak Democratic years, Webb County voters remain party loyalists. Republicans rarely even offer candidates for county offices. Webb County Republican chairman Randy S. Blair of Laredo said that his party attracts its voters from competitive races for state and national office: "It takes more people coming out to vote to give the candidates an opportunity here. ... [Texas] is still a red state, and I think we'll hold a lot of offices statewide and bounce back in the next election."[80]

More than fifty Democratic candidates from Webb County contested county, state, and national office in the primary election held on March 4, 2014. No Webb County Republicans filed for office,[80] but Republican primary contests are competitive within Webb County for such races as governor, lieutenant governor, U.S. senator, and agriculture commissioner.

Donald Trump visit

On July 23, 2015, the occasion of Donald Trump's Republican presidential campaign visit to Laredo, city officials, led by Mayor Pete Saenz, heartily welcomed the New York City business tycoon to their heavily Democrat city.[81] In his three-hour stopover, Trump, who wore a white sports cap to shield himself from the South Texas sun, had been scheduled to meet with representatives of the United States Border Patrol, but the BP union nixed those plans at the last minute.[82]

Some three weeks after the visit, which received considerable national attention, many Laredo Democrats were still livid over the welcome afforded to the Republican candidate though there were no endorsements of Trump's candidacy by any of those officials. U.S. Representative Joaquín Castro of Texas's 20th congressional district, based in San Antonio, scolded the Laredo officials for "rolling out the red carpet" for Trump, whom Castro charged made "hateful comments to Mexican immigrants."[83] The city officials issued a press release in their defense:

City of Laredo officials saw an opportunity to meet with Trump to give him a true perspective of not only the border, but the vital role that the City of Laredo plays in all issues related to border trade and security and why those issues are important to the rest of the country. ... Donald Trump has the national spotlight and the bully pulpit, and frankly everyone is listening to what he is saying. While I [Mayor Saenz], along with many here in Laredo, disagreed very much with his positions and comments, especially his characterization of Mexican immigrants and our relationship with Mexico, this wan an opportunity to engage him in meaningful dialogue that could hopefully affect his rhetoric. I believe we accomplished that."[83]

In a letter to the Laredo Morning Times, Carlos Valle, Jr., a retired history instructor at Laredo Community College, of which Saenz was once president of the board of trustees, criticized the mayor's welcoming of Trump. Valle said that Saenz was used "in a political ploy" by Trump, whom Valle assailed as

his Lordship ... a bigoted windbag ... Trump may be a billionaire, but he is not a leader. He is a boss who ordered people around and shuts interviewers up when the questioning gets uncomfortable. ... He appeals to frustrated Republicans and Democrats In Name Only. It was all show, and he cares nothing about Laredo. ... Laredo's elected officials who greeted Trump reminded me of the Charro! movie scenes where a peon comes into the Hacendado's home, hat in hand and bowing his heads, hoping to receive some favor or crumbs from the rich man. ...[84]

On July 30, 2015, Trump called for the deportation of all of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Clint Bolick, a lawyer with the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, and the co-author of Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution with former Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, one of Trump's opponents for the presidential nomination, called Trump's idea "impractical and opposed by a large majority of Americans."[85] In an interview on Cable News Network, Trump said the "good ones" could return through a proposed "expedited" process.[85]

Republican county chairman Randy Blair disputes those who object to Trump's visit to Laredo. In a letter to the Laredo Morning Times, Blair said:

...Trump's greatest attribute to this presidential race is that he is getting people to talk about issues that many would rather sidestep and not address at all. ...The Border Patrol union invited Mr. Trump to Laredo to educate him on border security and how they were not being allowed to perform their job. At the very last minute they were forced to rescind their invitation, and the city had to step up and handle the visit by themselves. Our Mayor Saenz and City Manager Olivares handled the logistics of the situation in an exemplary fashion and should be commended for it.
Laredo is incorrectly labeled by the rest of the country as being lawless, dangerous, and at "the end of the world." Our history of not welcoming those of opposing opinions or political parties has caused us to lose an airbase and many other opportunities. We seem to prefer to stay isolated from the rest of the world and then blame everyone else when we feel we don't receive our fair share. The mayor and city manager took this as an opportunity to open the eyes of the nation to the real Laredo. While in the spotlight, it was made clear that Laredo is not a sanctuary city but a city of passion for people of all walks of life. The nation was shown a Laredo that is the hub of the country's international trade.... Now Trump is speaking of not putting up a wall between the U.S. and Mexico from coast to coast but instead only in select areas, such as Laredo Community College, which would be better protected by a wall....

Laredo should take this opportunity to go out of its way and invite all candidates from all parties to see the real Laredo and learn the truth about border security, immigration, and international trade...[86]

Jesse Castañeda, listed as a disabled veteran of the United States Marine Corps, in another "Letter to the Editor", criticized Trump and the city officials who greeted him: "We veterans stand together for our captured veterans; they are heroes."[87] In the same edition, Erna Pelto questioned the absence of outrage when Hillary Clinton came to Laredo in 2008 or the visit to Laredo Community College by Wendy Davis in 2014. "It is time that we grow up and remember that few areas of the country are as one-party as Laredo and Webb County. Trump came to the belly of the beast, and the beast has had a hard time digesting his visit. ... The critics of his visit want the old-time Laredo of the patrons and no publicity or outsiders."[88]

Mario G. Ortiz proposed the recall of Mayor Pete Saenz, who with council members Alex Perez and Juan Narvaez had been, according to Ortiz, "made fools of" by Trump. Ortiz blasted Trump as a "racist, anti-Hispanic individual."[89]

Trump won Webb County in the March 1, 2016, primary election with 1,427 votes (34.9 percent) to 1,163 (28.4 percent) for the runner-up, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz finished third in Webb County with 1,155 (28.2 percent) but carried the statewide primary vote with 43.75 percent.[90] By contrast, Hillary Clinton won 18,559 votes (71.9 percent) in Webb County in the higher-turnout Democratic primary.[91]

Political corruption

A wave of public corruption swept through Laredo and Webb County in 2014, as six officials were arrested in a seven-month period for an assortment of charges. Webb County Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Montemayor was indicted in March for bribery; he pleaded guilty in June to the charge and awaits sentencing. In May, Rio Bravo Mayor Manuel Vela was charged with gambling and money laundering by the Webb County Sheriff's Office. On August 1, Laredo City Council member Jorge Vera was indicted after being arrested by Laredo police on cocaine possession and filing a false police report.

In September 2014, Precinct 2, Place 2 Justice of the Peace Ricardo Rangel pleaded guilty on an extortion charge, was suspended without pay by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and finally resigned the position in humiliation. He was sentenced in August 2015 to thirty-seven months in prison and fined $5,000. Juan Enrique Rodriguez, the bail bondsman who offered the bribe, received thirteen months and a $15,000 fine.[92]

In October, Laredo Independent School District trustee Johnny Amaya was indicted for having tampered with government records and engaging in organized crime in connection with his previous position as the Webb County water utilities manager. On October 12, city council member Alex Perez was arrested by Laredo police on a theft charge for having allegedly stolen a political advertising sign of his opponent in the November 4 municipal election.[93]

Historian Jerry D. Thompson, based at Texas A&M International University, interviewed by the Laredo Morning Times in October 2014, called the wave of corrupt practices:

so petty you wonder why it happens. It's just chronic, and it's going to take some vigilance by the state and federal authorities to stop it. The political machine that ran Laredo for years is still alive ... Corruption is a way of life in Webb County government. I think the problem is the cream of the crop is not rising to the surface any more. It's partly the electorate's fault. We need to elect the right people. ... Corruption seems to happen more often than not in areas of great poverty. Those who do not have great wealth seem to be at the center of several corruption scandals.[93]

Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson, author of Texas Politics: Governing the Lone Star State, blamed the influence of Mexico in regard to the spillover of corrupt practices into Laredo. Like Thompson, Jillson called the 2014 corruption "small time". Unlike Thompson, Jillson believes that the corruption is not particularly related to poverty on the border. Corruption, he notes, also occurs in affluent areas, such as Dallas County. "What we've seen in Webb County is not distinctive, and you can find it no matter where you go in Texas. It's one of the biggest problems facing our state", Jillson concluded.[93]

Corruption is not confined to elected officeholders. On July 2, 2015, Jesus Javier Garcia, Jr., accepted a plea bargain in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas in which he admitted to have collected through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection more than $40,000 in pay for work that he did not perform. He manually manipulated his work schedule to procure illegally compensation for days not worked and overtime hours as well.[94]

Municipal government

Administrative headquarters of the Laredo Fire Department are located on Del Mar Boulevard across from St. Patrick'ss Catholic Church.

The Laredo city government is a strong city council – weak mayor system. The mayor presides over the eight-member city council, but he/she may only vote to break a tie. City Council elections are based on single-member districts and campaigns have no party affiliations. Municipal elections are now held in November (formerly in May) of even-numbered years. The municipal government is administered by the city manager hired by the city council. All city elected offices have a four-year term and are nonpartisan though most officials have a Democratic party preference or affiliation.

City council meetings are held on Mondays and can be viewed on the Public-access television cable TV channel or live online at Public Access Channel live stream.

The current mayor, Pete Saenz, was elected in 2014 to succeed his fellow Democrat, the term-limited Raul G. Salinas. In his bid for a second term, Salinas had in 2010 defeated then city council members Jose A. Valdez, Jr., and Gene Belmares.[95] Salinas also failed in a bid to unseat Webb County treasurer Delia Perales in the Democratic runoff election held on May 27, 2014.

The city manager, Jesus R. "Chuy" Olivares (born c. 1959), appointed by the eight-member city council in 2015, replaced the retiring Carlos Villarreal. Olivares is paid just over $249,000 annually, which includes a car and telephone allowance. He is a former city manager of Eagle Pass in Maverick County.[96]

City council members receive a monthly gross salary of $1,000 plus $750 monthly for maintaining a home office, $150 per month for a city cell phone, and $750 monthly for fuel expenses. The annual total compensation is hence $31,800.[97] However, total annual compensation will increase to $50,000. The mayor currently receives about $61,200; that will rise to $75,000 a year beginning with the 2018 election. Since council terms are staggered, those increases begin with each forthcoming election cycle.[98]

On August 1, 2014, then city councilman Jorge A. Vera was arrested on a felony drug possession charge. He was accused of having earlier in the week offered cocaine to an off-duty agent of the United States Border Patrol and her friends outside a Laredo restaurant. First elected to the council in 2012, Vera faced a state jail felony (possession of a controlled substance) and a Class B misdemeanor (filing a false report).[99] Vera was subsequently indicted on both charges by a grand jury of the Texas 406th Judicial District Court. His arraignment was in the 49th District Court. Because Vera did not resign from the city council, a recall election was held on November 4, 2014.[100] By a wide margin, voters in District VII supported Vera's recall. Attorney George Altgelt won the special election to succeed Vera.

On April 30, 2015, the City of Laredo officially banned complimentary plastic bags for the use of customers in retail establishments. Some seven weeks later, the city produced evidence that the "beneficial measure is helping beautify the city". Photographs released by the municipal environmental services department showed several areas nearly free of litter, whereas there had been large amounts of debris in those locations prior to implementation of the ban. Though many residents had opposed the ban, the city predict that the law will be supported once the decline in litter becomes apparent.[101] On June 29, 2015, Judge Beckie Palomo of the Texas 341st District Court rejected a suit against the ban on plastic bags filed by the Laredo Merchants Association. The city can now enforce the ordinance.[102]

The U.S. District Courthouse in Laredo is adjacent to the Webb County Courthouse.

State and federal representation

The United States District Courthouse is a relatively new building adjacent to the Webb County Courthouse.

The United States Border Patrol Laredo Sector Headquarters is at 207 W. Del Mar Blvd, Laredo, Texas.

The United States Postal Service operates its main Post Office at 2700 East Saunders Street south of Laredo International Airport.[103] Postal branches are located downtown and at 2395 East Del Mar Boulevard.[104][105]

The Texas Army National Guard armory is located at 6001 E. Bob Bullock Loop 20 Laredo, Texas.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) operates the Laredo Parole Office.[106]

The private prison operator GEO Group runs the Rio Grande Detention Center in Laredo, which opened in 2008 and holds a maximum of 1900 federal detainees.[107]

In March 2014, it was reported that Laredo and Webb County have a child abuse rate at nearly double the state average. In 2012–2013, 515 child clients were served by the Children's Advocacy Center in Laredo, 105 for physical abuse and 360 for sexual abuse. Statewide, 9.3 percent of children have been victims of physical abuse, but in Laredo the rate is 17 to 21 percent. A special investigator for Child Protective Services said that he now sees two to three cases per day of such inflictions.[108]


Elementary and secondary

Newman Elementary School at 1300 Alta Vista Blvd., is named for the late businessman B. P. Newman and his widow, Peggy.

Laredo is served by two school districts, the Laredo Independent School District and the United Independent School District, as well as eight private schools.

The Laredo Independent School District[109] (LISD) serves the areas in central Laredo. The LISD high schools are Cigarroa High School, Martin High School, J. W. Nixon High School and the Laredo Early College High School. LISD also contains three magnet schools: Dr. Dennis D. Cantu Health Science Magnet School, LISD Magnet for Engineering and Technology Education, and Vidal M. Trevino School of Communications and Fine Arts.

The United Independent School District[110] serves the rest of Laredo and northern Webb County. The UISD high schools are John B. Alexander High School, Lyndon B. Johnson High School, United High School, and United South High School. UISD has three magnet schools: John B. Alexander Health Science Magnet, United Engineering Magnet, and the United South Business Magnet. There are thirty-nine schools within UISD and more are under construction and/or in the development stage. United ISD is one of the fastest growing districts in the state, serving almost forty thousand students and covering an area the physical size of Rhode Island.

Former downtown campus of St. Augustine Parochial School

The city is also served by several private schools:

The city also has several charter schools, including:

Colleges and universities

Laredo is home to Laredo Community College[112] and Texas A&M International University[113] (TAMIU). The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio[114] has a campus in Laredo.

The Laredo Community College is a two-campus institution which offers two-year Associate's degrees. The main campus is located at the western end of downtown Laredo near the Rio Grande, on the site of the former Fort McIntosh. This fort played a major role in the development of Laredo, as it served to protect the community from Indian raids in its early history. Several of the old buildings at the fort were converted into classrooms, but after renovation programs nearly all of the campus structures are now modern. The smaller, newer second campus, Laredo Community College South Campus, is located in south Laredo along U. S. Route 83.

Texas A&M International University Library

The Texas A&M International University is a 4/6 year university that offers bachelor's and master's degrees. On April 22, 2004,[115] the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in Austin, Texas provided its approval for Texas A&M International University to grant its first Ph.D. in International Business Administration.[116][117] TAMIU's College of Business Administration has been named an outstanding business school in The Princeton Review's "Best 282 Business Schools", 2007 Edition, and ranked third in the nation for the category: "Greatest Opportunity for Minority Students."[118] The university's campus is located in Northeast Laredo along Loop 20. The university was once an extension of Texas A&I-Kingsville and later the former Laredo State University. Prior to its current location along Bob Bullock Loop 20, the university was housed with the Laredo Community College downtown campus.

The University of Texas Health Science Center campus is located in East Laredo near U.S. Highway 59 and the Laredo Medical Center. The campus is an extension university from UTHSC in San Antonio, Texas. The university offers doctoral degrees in the medical and dental fields.



Name Frequency Language City Website
Laredo Morning Times Daily English Laredo
LareDOS (Defunct, 2014[119]) Monthly English Laredo
El Mañana / Laredo Sun Daily Spanish / English Nuevo Laredo/Laredo /
El Lider Informativo Daily Spanish Nuevo Laredo
El Diario de Nuevo Laredo Daily Spanish Nuevo Laredo
Primera Hora Daily Spanish Nuevo Laredo
Última Hora Daily Spanish Nuevo Laredo


According to Nielsen Media Research, the Laredo region (which includes Webb and Zapata counties) is ranked 185th market by population size in the United States.[120] The first station to broadcast in Laredo was KGNS in 1956, followed by KVTV in 1973, then KJTB (now KLDO) in 1985.

Notably television networks missing from Laredo's airwaves are PBS and The CW. Laredo once had a full-power local The CW affiliate, KGNS-DT2, but on July 3, 2014 the affiliation switched to ABC. Prior to that KJTB channel 27, from January 1985 to October 1988 was Laredo's ABC affiliate. KJTB was later bought by Entravision and affiliated the station to Telemundo and changed its callsign to KLDO. Today KLDO is affiliated to Univision. Before KJTB, KGNS, an NBC affiliate had a secondary affiliation to ABC from its founding in 1956 through KJTB's founding in 1985. On November 6, 2013, KGNS reached an agreement to add the ABC affiliation. The ABC affiliate was to have been launched in February 2014 on KGNS's subchannel 8.2. But it was not until July 2014 when KGNS dropped The CW programming and added ABC programming.[121]

In December 2014, all Nuevo Laredo stations must turn off analog television broadcasting and broadcast only digitally.[122]

CH VC DT DTV Dish TWC Callsign Network Resolution City of License Official Website Notes
2 2.1 17.1     99 XEFE Televisa local 480i Nuevo Laredo   Last station to broadcast in digital
  8.1 8.1 8 8 10 KGNS NBC HD 1080i Laredo  
  8.2 8.2   15 9 KGNS-DT2 ABC HD 720p Laredo  
  8.3 8.3   16 25 KGNS-DT3 Telemundo SD 480i Laredo  
          11 KLRN PBS Analog San Antonio  
  10.1CP 10.1CP       K10QK-DCP CarismaTV SD 480i Laredo Construction permit expires 7/2014
11 11.1 25.1     14 XHBR Canal de las Estrellas HD 1080i Nuevo Laredo  
  13.20 51.2       XHLAT-TDT2 Dark SD 480i Nuevo Laredo   ID: FVDld
  14.3 14.3       KYLX-LP Testing HD 1080i Laredo    
  15.1 15.1       KLMV BVB SD 480i Laredo  
  15.2 15.2       KLMV-LD2 Infomercials SD 480i Laredo    
  15.3 15.3       KLMV-LD3 Vida Vision SD 480i Laredo  
  15.4 15.4       KLMV-LD4 Televida Laredo SD 480i Laredo  
  19.3 19.3       KLDO-DT3 Dark SD 480i Laredo    
21 21.1 50.1     98 XHLNA Azteca 13 HD 1080i Nuevo Laredo  
  21.2 50.2       XHLNA-TDT2 Proyecto 40 HD 1080i Nuevo Laredo  
  27.1 19.1 27 27 78.1 KLDO Univision HD 1080i Laredo  
  27.2 19.2       KLDO-DT2 LATV SD 480i Laredo  
  31.1 31.1     77 KETF UniMás SD 480i Laredo  
  31.2 31.2 39 39 2.2 KETF-CD2 Fox / MyNet HD 720p Laredo  
33 33.1 51.1       XHLAT Azteca 7 HD 1080i Nuevo Laredo  
  39.1 27.3 39 39 2.2 KXOF Fox HD 720p Laredo  
  39.2 27.4       KXOF-CD2 MundoMax SD 480i Laredo  
  40.1CP 40.1CP       K40NU-D Maranatha Church TV SD 480i Laredo   Construction permit expires 10/2016
45 45.1 32.1     15 XHNAT Multimedios Plus SD 480i Nuevo Laredo  
  45.2 32.2       XHNAT-TDT2 Milenio TV HD 1080i Nuevo Laredo  
  45.3 32.3       XHNAT-TDT3 Teleritmo SD 480i Nuevo Laredo  
57 57.1 38.1       XHLAR Televisa Regional HD 1080i Nuevo Laredo  

CP: Construction Permit


According to Arbitron, the Laredo region (which includes Jim Hogg, Webb, and Zapata counties) is ranked 191st market by population size.[123]

AM radio

Frequency Callsign Brand City of License Website Webcast
530 WPMQ285 TxDOT HAR Laredo    
790 XEFE La Mera Ley Nuevo Laredo   listen live
890 KVOZ Radio Cristiana Laredo  
960 XEK La Grande Nuevo Laredo listen live
1000 XENLT Radio Formula Nuevo Laredo listen live
1090 XEWL La Romantica Nuevo Laredo listen live
1300 KLAR Radio Poder Laredo listen live
1340 XEBK Mega 95.7 Nuevo Laredo listen live
1370 XEGNK Radio Mexicana Nuevo Laredo listen live
1410 XEAS Ke Buena Nuevo Laredo listen live
1490 KLNT Super Tejano Laredo listen live
1550 XENU La Rancherita Nuevo Laredo listen live
1610 WQA200 CBP Information Laredo    
Long range AM stations

The following Clear Channel AM stations can be heard in Laredo:

Frequency Callsign Brand City of License Website Webcast
680 KKYX Country Legends 680 San Antonio listen live
720 KSAH Norteño 720 San Antonio    
740 KTRH Newsradio 740 KTRH Houston listen live
760 KTKR Ticket 760 AM San Antonio listen live
990 XET La T Grande Monterrey   listen live
1030 KCTA KCTA 1030 AM Corpus Christi listen live
1050 XEG Ranchera de Monterrey Monterrey listen live
1140 XEMR MR Deportes Monterrey    
1200 WOAI News Radio 1200 San Antonio listen live
1210 KUBR Radio Cristiana San Juan   listen live
1530 KGBT La Tremenda 1530 Harlingen  

FM radio

Frequency Callsign Brand Format City of License Website Webcast
88.1 KHOY Catholic Radio Religious Laredo listen live
88.9 XHLDO Radio Tamaulipas Public Radio Nuevo Laredo tamaulipas.gob listen live
89.9 KBNL Radio Manantial Spanish religious Laredo listen live
91.3 XHNOE Stereo 91 Spanish Contemporary Nuevo Laredo listen live
92.7 KJBZ Z93 Tejano Laredo listen live
93.7 "XHNLT"PR Radio Estereo Uncion FM Christian Radio Nuevo Laredo listen live
94.1 XHTLN Imagen / RMX Laredo Talk / Contemporary Nuevo Laredo listen live
94.9 KQUR Digital 94.9 Spanish Pop Laredo listen live
95.3 XHLPZ La Traviesa Spanish Regional Lampazos
95.7 XHBK Mega 95.7 Spanish Contemporary Nuevo Laredo listen live
96.5 "XHTWO"PR Radio Two Norteño Nuevo Laredo listen live
97.1 XHNLO La Caliente Norteño Nuevo Laredo listen live
98.1 KRRG Big Buck Country Country Laredo listen live
99.3 XHNK 40 Principales Top 40 Nuevo Laredo listen live
100.5 KBDR La Ley Tejano Laredo listen live
101.5 XHAS Ke Buena Norteño Nuevo Laredo listen live
102.3 XHMW Stereo Vida AC/Oldies Nuevo Laredo listen live
102.9 nonePR La Guerrera de la Frontera International Nuevo Laredo listen live
103.3 nonePR XRock Classic rock Nuevo Laredo listen live
104.5 nonePR 2 Beat Electronica Nuevo Laredo
104.9 XHNLR Radio UAT University Radio Nuevo Laredo listen live
105.1 nonePR RN Radio Spanish Nuevo Laredo listen live
105.5 nonePR Mas Musica Spanish Nuevo Laredo
106.1 KNEX Hot 106.1 Urban / Rhythmic Top 40 Laredo listen live
106.5 nonePR Radio Voz Norteño Nuevo Laredo listen live
107.3 XHGTS 107.3 Me Gusta Spanish Pop Nuevo Laredo listen live
162.55 WXK26 NOAA Weather Radio Weather Laredo  

PR:Suspected pirate radio stations since they are not licensed with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States or COFETEL in Mexico.[124][125] Some pirate stations are suspected, due to the fact that other licensed stations nearby share the same frequency, such as 106.5 Radio Voz and KMAE from nearby Bruni, Texas and 103.3 Radio 33 and XHAHU-FM from nearby Anáhuac, Nuevo León, each city less than 50 miles from Laredo.

Internet Radio

Name Format Website Webcast
Power Hits HD Classic rock listen live


Health care

Laredo Medical Center, formerly Mercy Hospital, is the largest hospital in Laredo.
Doctor's Hospital in Laredo
Laredo Specialty Hospital, near the Laredo Medical Center, handles certain patients requiring long-term care.

In addition to the University of Texas Health Science Center branch, there are five other principal medical centers in Laredo: the Laredo Medical Center, Doctor's Hospital, Gateway Community Health Center, Providence Surgical & Medical Center, and the Laredo Specialty Hospital.

Doctors Hospital[126] is the second-largest medical center in Laredo. The hospital complex is over 250,000 square feet (23,000 m2), with 180 licensed beds on a 58-acre (230,000 m2) campus. Affiliated with Universal Health Services, it is located on Loop 20 in north Laredo. The Doctors Regional Cancer Treatment Center offers comprehensive cancer services.

The Providence Surgical & Medical Center[127] is an ambulatory health care center located in north-central Laredo and also owned by Universal Health Services.

The Gateway Community Health Center[128] is the third-largest medical center in Laredo. The health center's main building is 64,000 square feet (5,900 m2). The Medical center moved to its new $11,000,000 building in 2006. The main Gateway Community Health Center is located in East Laredo, close to U.S. Highway 59. It also has three branches in the Laredo area: the South Clinic, El Cenizo Community Center, and Quad City Community Center.

Gateway Community Health Center services include:

The Laredo Specialty Hospital[129] is the fourth-largest medical center in Laredo. It is owned by Ernest Health Inc. and was founded by Elmo Lopez, Jr., on May 22, 2006, and admitted its first patient within hours of operation. The grand opening was held in March 2007.



Laredo International Airport
Tex-Mex Railway International Bridge view from Laredo

Laredo is served by the Laredo International Airport. Daily flights are available to Houston (George Bush Intercontinental Airport) and to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Tri-weekly flights to Las Vegas, Nevada are available. After Laredo Air Force Base closed in the mid-1970s, the federal government handed over the old air force base and property to the City of Laredo for a new municipal airport. From the mid-1970s until the mid-1990s, the airport utilized a small terminal for passenger airline service and several old hangars for air cargo and private aircraft. A new state-of-the art passenger terminal was built along the then newly constructed Loop 20 to accommodate larger jets and to increase passenger air travel through Laredo. Expansion of air cargo facilities, taxiways and aprons, air cargo carriers such as DHL, FedEx, UPS, BAX, and others have responded by adding commercial air cargo jet services. Laredo also has two medical helipads, at Laredo Medical Center and Doctor's Hospital.

Mass transit

El Metro is the public transit system that operates in the city with 21 fixed routes and Paratransit services, with approximately 4.6 million passengers per year. El Metro works with a fleet of over 47 fixed route buses, 2 trolleys and 18 Paratransit/El Lift vans. The El Metro hub is located in downtown Laredo at El Metro Transit Center. The Center also houses Greyhound Bus Lines and provides fee-based daily parking for downtown shoppers and workers.

Rural transit

Rural transportation is provided by the Webb County operated "El Aguila Rural Transportation" (the Eagle) bus services. El Aguila serves fixed daily routes from rural communities (Bruni, El Cenizo, Mirando City, Oilton, and Rio Bravo) to the downtown El Metro Transit Center.

International bridges

Major highways

Major highways in Laredo and their starting and ending points:

Major highways in Nuevo Laredo and their starting and ending points:

Notable people

Born in Laredo

Tom DeLay, the Republican House Majority Leader from 2003 to 2006, was born in Laredo.

Other notable residents

Sister cities

During the month of July, Laredo sponsors the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival, which was founded in 2003. The festival is an international business, trade, tourism, and cultural expo. All of Laredo's sister cities are invited to participate. In 2004, the Laredo International Sister Cities Festival received the best overall Program award from the Sister Cities International.[135] The following list is of Laredo's sister cities and friendship cities:[136][137]

Friendship Cities

See also


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  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
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  5. "World Gazetteer: America – largest cities (per geographical entity)". Archived from the original on 2007-10-01.
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  8. Laredo Origin
  9. Laredo Origin(Spanish)
  10. 1 2 Gabriela A. Trevino, "Flood of 1954: Devastating natural disaster caused serious damage", Laredo Morning Times, June 28, 2015, pp. 1, 18A
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  71. Casa Blanca Golf Course Website
  72. Max A. Mandel Municipal Golf Course
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  117. Apagon Analogico en Nuevo Laredo (Spanish)
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  119. COFETEL: FM stations in Mexico
  120. FCC: FM Stations in Nuevo Laredo
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  124. Laredo Specialty Hospital
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  130. Laredo International Sister Cities Festival
  131. City of Laredo: Sister City List
  132. Sister Cities International: Laredo, Texas

Coordinates: 27°31′28″N 99°29′26″W / 27.524445°N 99.490593°W / 27.524445; -99.490593

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