That is indeed a challenge. There are many trees that will do well there. However I suspect you are looking for a more tropical look and perhaps flowering too based on what you have tried previously. Some hardier choices include Mimosa, Southern Magnolia (the dwarf form 'Little Gem' is great), crape myrtle, Mexican Olive (Cordia boissieri; may be a little marginal in cold hardiness but still worth planting and will return after a kill back freeze), and redbud.
Contact your local Jefferson County Extension Office (Phone: 409/835-8461) for more suggestions and tips for planting and care.
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