CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) -- Tejano superstar Selena died March
31, but her legacy will live on in hundreds of Texas girls.
From April 1 to Sept. 8 -- the most recent records available --
619 newborns were named Selena. In 1994, the name was used 196
times, state health department records indicate.
In Selena's hometown of Corpus Christi, the increase is less
dramatic. Nine Nueces County babies were named Selena in the
five-month period. In the 12-county Corpus Christi region, the total
is 19, according to health department statistics.
Houston's Harris County led the list with 98 Selenas, followed by
Dallas County with 72 and Hidalgo with 63. Bexar County reported 55
Selena newborns; El Paso and Tarrant, 36; Cameron, 30; Webb, 18;
Travis, 17; and Starr, 11.
"I don't think that's a coincidence -- that's a pretty big jump,"
Brian King, a statistician in the state health department's Bureau
of Vital Statistics, told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times for
"We notice this any time there is a public figure who gets
elected or dies or some big event like that. For example, after
(President) Clinton was elected, there was a surge in the name
Chelsea. When the (Chicago) Bulls won the championship, there was a
surge in the name Michael."
In Houston, Irene Rodriguez noticed the surge, beginning the
Monday after the singer's Friday death.
"Right after her death, it was crazy," said the business
representative in the birth certificates department at Houston's Ben
Taub General Hospital. "Some of them were spelled with an 'S' and
some with a 'C.' Some used it as a middle name."
Ms. Rodriguez said she didn't recall seeing the name before the
singer's death. Since then, about 50 newborns have been named
Selena, she estimated.
At the Bureau of Vital Statistics in the city of Dallas, the name
started appearing on the birth certificates in April, said Celia
Salazar, a customer service representative. The incidence declined
for a period, but has surged in recent weeks.
Selena Quintanilla Perez was 23 when she was shot in a Corpus
Christi motel. Yolanda Saldivar, Selena's former fan club president
and overseer of her boutiques, went on trial last week in Houston
Before Elena Gonzalez, 37, went into labor July 12, she had
chosen the name Selena. Then she gave birth to identical twin girls
and called them Selena and Selina.
The Robstown woman said she chose the name for the love of the
"When I saw that she had died, I felt so awful," she said.
Some people name their children after celebrities in an effort to
identify more closely with the famous, said Eleanor R. Smith, a
social psychologist and clinical assistant professor at the
University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
"They tend to think celebrities are better people and happier
people than the average person," Ms. Smith said.
"I think (Selena's) dying may have had the effect of bringing her
to the front of their minds," she said. "It's an attempt to
immortalize her. People feel maybe that 'Selena is not completely
gone if I can name my child after her.'"