Houston city hall hosts 'celebration of life' for former first lady Barbara Bush

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Tonight children and a local civil rights icon came together to celebrate the life and legacy of former first lady Barbara Bush. (KTRK)

Houston city leaders paid tribute to the life of Barbara Bush, who became a cherished figure in the city.

On the front steps of the Houston Public Library, the first chapter of Barbara Bush's legacy is carefully being crafted.

It is here that Houstonians can leave flowers and mementos after her passing. It is here also that a plaza in her honor will be fully realized.

"This plaza will be named the Barbara Bush Literacy Plaza," said Licia Green-Ellis, of the Houston Library Foundation. "Just over a year and a half ago, we met with Mrs. Bush and asked if we can honor her in this fashion, and very humbly she said, 'Yes.'"

Just across the street at city hall, are already at half-staff, the celebration of Bush's life took place Thursday at Hermann Square. Among those scheduled to perform include the Houston Children's Choir, who are a favorite of the Bush family.

Her life in photos: Remembering First Lady Barbara Bush



The celebration will include remarks by founding pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church Rev. William Lawson, Samuel Karff, Rabbi Emeritus, Congregation Beth Israel, and Joseph Fiorenza, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

"We love that couple, and every time the kids sang, she gets in the middle of the kids so she wants her pictures taken with the kids. So it's always cute," recalled Stephen Roddy, of the Houston Children's Choir.

According to Roddy, the choir has performed for the Bushes 32 times in its 29-year history, each time a thrill.

"It was just so much fun to be with them because they're so normal," said Roddy.

Program plans include prayers and poetry, all part of an hour-long celebration designed to capture her spirit.

"She was Texas tough, charming and tough all at the same time," said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. "A fierce defender of family, family values, candor. Very straight forward."

Houston Mayor Turner honors Barbara Bush during her life celebration
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Houston Mayor Turner honors Barbara Bush during her life celebration



Turner added that Bush was more than the matriarch of her presidential family. She was also the matriarch of the city of Houston.

Organizers urge anyone planning to attend the remembrance event in front of city hall to arrive early. Attendees are also being reminded to wear blue and, for women, a string of pearls as a nod to Mrs. Bush's trademark fashion accessory.

You should also plan for transportation and parking if you plan to attend Thursday.

If you're driving, you can find parking using the Downtown Houston website.

You can also use the MetroRail Red Line to Main Street Square Station and walk four blocks.

Expect a lot of delays near downtown Houston as the ceremony begins during the evening rush hour.

A private service will be held at St. Martin's Church on Saturday.

READ MORE: Funeral home prepares for service for Barbara Bush
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A private visitation will be held Thursday and Friday for Barbara Bush.

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