Dana DuTerroil grew up in the Heights and returned to the neighborhood after a few years in New Orleans. Living in New Orleans with its distinctive local feel, DuTerroil found it easy to play as a tour guide for friends and family.
In Houston, she wanted to do the same.
“Houston can feel so massive,” DuTerroil said. “I wanted to help people find their own version of Houston.”
Now DuTerroil, along with his friend and Houston transplanter Joni Fincham, runs a company called Trip Chandler that offers tours of Houston to visitors and locals. The name is a reference to a ship chandler who used to be a personal shopper for the captain and crew.
The two were also working on a new book entitled “111 Places in Houston That You Must Not Miss,” which was published in October 2020 and is already slated for a new edition. Local photographer Daniel Jackson took the pictures for the book.
DuTerroil said that Emons Verlag, the publisher of the book in Cologne, has a collection of US city guides – all with 111 attractions. The number 11 brings luck in the German city.
“They only hire local writers,” said DuTerroil. “We love to write and research, so it worked out well.”
They started working on the book in 2018. DuTerroil said she and Fincham didn’t have a hard time making recommendations.
“We did it separately and compared the notes,” said DuTerroil. “We were on the same side.”
Her background as a transplant and native also helped in getting a well-rounded picture of Houston. DuTerroil said there are a lot of great places that didn’t make the book, like restaurants and bars.
“We had to set limits on them because so many other guides focus on that,” said DuTerroil. “We tried to find other places that people might not know.”
One of them is certainly the “most unusual bathroom” in the book, another wish of the publisher. The authors found Houston’s bathroom in the Air Terminal Museum from 1940.
“The lecturer started talking about (the bathroom) and we knew we had a gift,” said DuTerroil. “When the cast in Giant traveled to Marfa, they landed in Houston. They gave Liz Taylor her own powder room to freshen up. The chaise longue they set up there is still there. “
Highlights at the heights include the Casa Ramirez Folk Art Gallery on West 19th Street and Doug’s Barber Shop on East 11th Street.
“Part of the movie ‘Rushmore’ was shot in this hair salon,” said DuTerroil. “People don’t know that director Wes Anderson is from Houston.”
Barbershop owner Doug Dreher died in 2020, as did Casa Ramirez’s founder, Macario Ramirez, but DuTerroil said they were both aware of their inclusion in the city guide.
The tour business started with personalized do-it-yourself guides that DuTerroil and Fincham put together for clients. When they later realized people wanted a tour guide, they got certified by the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and began serving school groups, journalists, and seniors across town.
DuTerroil said they love putting together themed tours, like their popular mural tours and, in December 2019, for a wedding celebration that’s mostly from Asia – a Christmas-themed tour of the city lights. There is also an art and brewery option.
“We like to combine things with each other,” she says.
They haven’t taken personal tours lately due to COVID-19, but recently did a Zoom walking tour and lecture for students at the South Texas College of Law.
“We built the business to respond to anything that comes in our way,” said DuTerroil. “We’ll see how it looks this spring.”
They are currently updating the book for reprint.
“We enjoyed telling stories about the things that are hidden from the public,” she said.
Visit https://www.tripchandler.com/ for more information.