Arts & Culture News

We Asked a Former Branch Davidian What He Thinks of Waco's Chip and Joanna Gaines

David Thibodeau was one of few survivors of the Waco siege in '93.
David Thibodeau was one of few survivors of the Waco siege in '93. Ursula Coyote
This week, we spoke with former Branch Davidian and Waco siege survivor David Thibodeau about his experience and the new miniseries based on his book, Waco: A Survivor's Story, which premieres on Paramount Network next week.

The conversation circled around to Waco's new reputation as home to Fixer Upper hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines. Thibodeau, who now lives in Maine but still returns to Waco for memorials and reunions, had this to say.

I wrote a story about Waco earlier this year, and Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have this TV show on HGTV. That's Waco's reputation now. When I speak to people, they say, "Oh, Waco was the wackos earlier, but now it's completely changed." What do you think about Waco's new reputation? The history of the Branch Davidians will always be there, but it's shifted. They worship Chip and Jo in Waco now. What do you think about all that?
Could you repeat that? What you just said? They worship what?

They worship Chip and Joanna Gaines in Waco. I mean, their whole home furnishings line and home renovation business. Do you know anything about that?
Joanna Gaines? No, I've never heard of them.

Oh, you haven't?

Oh, well. There you go.
There's a couple named Gaines that are worshiped?
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Paige Skinner has written for the Dallas Observer since 2014.
Contact: Paige Skinner