photo by Laura Steffan
photo by Laura Steffan

Margaret McCoy is a Texarkana native who was transplanted to New Orleans after her time at LSU in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She spent 11 years in hospitality and hotel sales in downtown New Orleans. Once the pandemic hit in 2020, she and her husband, Bradley McCoy, purchased a 1973 houseboat in Minnesota and boated it down the Mississippi River to their home in New Orleans. After such an epic and freeing experience, she and Bradley quit their jobs, sold their home, and opened the I’m on Vacation Lodge + RV Retreat in Shell Beach, Louisiana, a top destination for inshore fishing.

She has a three-year-old daughter, Moxie, a one-year-old son, Zeller, and a pup, Cruz.

You can check out her adventures at

What is your favorite Texarkana memory?

There are so many. Upon reflection, most of my favorite memories in life are tied to music. And Texarkana is the origin of this sound-memory link.

For instance, all the cheerleaders singing/yelling/acapella-ing “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks on the bus ride home after every away football game. I hope they still do something like that because it was the best.

Where was your favorite place to eat in Texarkana?

Definitely Zapata’s. I still have to go there when I come to town. It’s nostalgic, and the margaritas with that queso just hit different. A close second is Southern Tropics Shaved Ice. In New Orleans, everyone calls shaved ice snowballs. When I [unknowingly] called that delicious-sweet-concoction ‘shaved ice,’ the people down here looked at me like I had three heads. Lesson learned.

What was the teen hangout when you lived here?

We always went to house parties in high school or some random field. I can smell the bonfire now, saying “rabbits, rabbits, rabbits” when the smoke would come to your spot. It was awesome. We all learned some valuable lessons at those parties: “Beer before liquor, never been sicker. Liquor then beer, you’re in the clear.” Of course, I remember this, and absolutely nothing from my AP chemistry class.

Were you a Hawk, Leopard, Razorback, or Tiger?

Who’s in the house tonight? PG! Always and forever a Hawk. I was a cheerleader in high school and loved dressing up for all the themes.

How do you describe Texarkana to your friends?

Most people in South Louisiana think I made up the name Texarkana. They cannot believe it is a real place. “Yes, yes, it is a real place,” I say. “Smokey and the Bandit was filmed there, and it is kind of like the old Mandy Moore movie, A Walk to Remember, where you can stand in two places at one time.” And then I usually sing Eastbound and Down for them… “There’s beer in Texarkana!”

Who is someone from Texarkana who impacted your life and why?

Emily Schmidt. She made me cool. She was a Junior and Varsity Cheerleader when I was a Freshman JV Cheerleader—she showed me the way. I was so tall and awkward, and I came into Pleasant Grove from St. James as “the weird horse girl.” Thank goodness she came along and took me under her wing. I remember her picking me up in her Ford Explorer to go to a party. We rode with the windows down, blasting “Remix to Ignition” by R. Kelly, our hair flying everywhere. It was a true coming-of-age moment.

What do you love about Texarkana?

110% the people. I am still close with my crew from high school. We do a quarterly “update” email—facilitated by my BFF, Mitchel Karam. Our 20-year high school reunion is coming up next year [omg], and I am super excited to see everyone. I’m definitely grateful to grow up in a not-too-small place. It definitely set the foundation for who I am today.

What is your nickname for Texarkana?

Growing up, it was always T-Town, but recently, my husband (who is NOT from Texarkana) started a chant for me and my high school crew:

Call: “We Are?!”

Response: “TEX-AR!”

What words do you live by?

Live. Laugh. Love. I strive to live authentically and show up with kindness, grace, and joy. I think if I show up for myself and others from this space, everything will always work out.

TXK Roots is Texarkana Magazine’s forum to highlight and honor Texarkana natives who have accomplished big things in the world. These folks may have relocated, but they took the values, education, work ethic, and creativity instilled in them by growing up in this unique border city and used these qualities to blaze extraordinary trails. We asked them to share their thoughts about growing up here. No matter how far from Texarkana they may find themselves, we will always consider them our neighbors and we are proud to claim them as forever members of our extended Texarkana community. After all, “everyone is famous in their hometown!”

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