Using the Greater Houston area as the southern border and Interstate 45 as the western border, the ten most populated East Texas cities as of the 2010 U.S. Census are Beaumont, Tyler, Longview, Port Arthur, Huntsville, Texarkana, Lufkin, Nacogdoches, and Marshall. These towns appear on most maps of the area.
Often referred to by locals as Piney Woods after the forest it shares with Louisiana and Arkansas, East Texas is a distinct region of the Lone Star State. Its close proximity to Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico has given the region Creole and Hispanic influences, and it is sometimes referred to as the westernmost part of the Deep South. This, along with the isolationism of Texan culture from the rest of the United States, has inspired some to refer to the area as being behind a "Pine Curtain."
Population and culture aside, there are many noteworthy characteristics of the towns and small cities that appear in most maps of East Texas. These towns and their claims to fame include Carthage, home of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame; Texarkana, which connects Texas to Louisiana and Arkansas and is the childhood home of Scott Joplin; and Karnack, the birthplace of former first lady Lady Bird Johnson.