Earl Haggard was born and raised a crawfish throw from Baton Rouge in the community of Livingston, Louisiana, but like so many before him he says that he got to Texas just as fast as he could.
Today the sixtysomething Lone Star transplant is living out a creative passion and love for his adopted home through Haggard’s Country, several acres of Texana, western-style memorabilia, and handcrafted home furnishings tooled by Earl himself.
Located on the rolling rural landscape along Highway 105 in Plantersville, at first glance Haggard’s Country could easily pass as a picker’s paradise. Surrounding the rustic retail building, storage sheds and workshop are rows of brightly colored folk art chickens and authentic wagon wheels, Longhorn skulls, Mexican pottery, and large metal stars proclaiming “God Bless Texas” and “Texas A&M”.
The dusty old wooden stairs and front porch made a welcoming sound beneath my boots as I drew open the door and stepped inside the barnwood-faced showroom. Some may describe it as Texas chic’, ranch rad, or maybe even classic country, but no matter what handle you tag it, Haggard’s Country is a breed of its own.
Facing me there among the spurs and western purses were Earl-made log and timber beds dressed out with pillows and over-sized star patterned quilts like my Mema Lucille used to make when I was a kid. Large ranch house dining tables with place settings of brown and blue, and centerpieces of cattle horn and wrought iron stuffed with dried wildflowers were to my right.
Beneath massive exposed beams at the rear of the room Earl was adding the finishing touches to a six-foot-tall saddle lamp that he had recently designed. A well used saddle was mounted to the dark wooden frame and a lariat loop was hung over the horn. A shade resembling laced parchment or hide rode on top. It was the perfect piece for someone decorating with a western flare.
Earl Haggard is an artist, a true craftsman and above all a character that you can’t help but like from the moment you meet him. He tells all who’ll listen that he’s a distant cousin to Merle Haggard, though the boast is usually followed by a slight grin beneath his full gray beard.
Earl’s humor is displayed throughout the property on hand-painted signs with quick quips like “No matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize a cat,” and “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!”
The locals know Earl as a good friend and neighbor. First time visitors to Haggard’s Country quickly become new friends. His heartfelt “howdy” and firm, rough-skinned handshake are truly sincere. He may not be a native born Texan, but Earl Haggard is Texas enough for me.
Haggard’s Country is at 17527 Highway 105 E. in Plantersville TX, 77363. Call 936-894-2810.
For Texas travel information on real Lone Star destinations, always visit tourtexas.com.