I got 10 gallons of gas for $15 this morning. I can live with that but I’m not going to go out and buy a Hummer. I look for gas prices to be up over $2 by June or July and will cap at $3 with a Democratic deal. That’s if the country doesn’t slip into a depression. Seventy-nine percent of Americans believe that will happen. Some way I believe Obama will reverse the economy; however, it may take three years to clean up the mess left him. The deficit will top more than $1 trillion when Bush leaves. He inherited a big surplus from Clinton and blew it.*****Mark returned from Massachusetts after visiting daughter Jenna and grandkids. For three days he was in an ice storm. He ate all kinds of seafood but mostly his favorite, clams.*****Here at home the yo-yo weather has changed daily from cold to hot. Beautiful days with full-moon, bright nights. The moon is the closest to Earth it has been in 15 years. On the other hand, there have been dark clouds, rain and just plain windy cold and it also snowed. Students graduating from Lamar in May saw snowfall locally for the first time in their lifetime. Meanwhile, unlike Mark, I’ve had very little seafood since Ike destroyed Granny’s. However for good fried Cajun seafood I’ve visited Van Choate’s Hushpuppy’s in Bridge City. My favorite is about a dozen large blue crabs steamed or boiled in strong seasoning, a can of beer and get out of the way. An all seafood gumbo would be my second choice. I mean real gumbo, loaded with fresh seafood including oysters like you get at Shucks in Abbeville. What a Christmas meal that would be. In fact, I have no idea what kind of meal if any that Santa will bring but whatever, I’ll be thankful. Christmas won’t be the brightest for many of us but we’re happy to have each other and many great friends.*****Gotta go to work. Hop on board and come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

It’s about the surge. That’s the first thing that must be stopped because of the lay of the land. With a levee there would still be some leakage that would do minimal damage but no comparison to a surge. Here’s how I believe a levee is doable and not at a prohibited price. Build retainer ponds and use the dirt to go on the levee. For years the Port of Orange and the Sabine Pilot Commission have complained of the 30-foot depth of the river not being deep enough to handle large ships. Since Ike, silt has raised the depth of the river to around 27-feet. President-elect Obama is looking for an FDR type WPA to create jobs in the inter-structure building bridges, roads etc. Why not dredge ports of entry? That would produce over three million truckloads of dirt for levees. Port Acres, that sits in a hole at sea level, didn’t get one drop of house water from Ike because of a low cost dirt levee. The levee held at Port Arthur also and dumped the surge on Bridge City and Orange and will continue to do so if Orange County doesn’t aggressively push for some kind of levee. Maybe not completing it all at once, but at least starting it. Bridge City has lost about 25 percent in valuation, Orange County 18 percent to 22 percent. A levee, especially around Bridge City, would double values within five years. My cost is much lower than other estimates. I guess around $44 million. A drop in the bucket compared to the billion-dollar figure that has been given. Industry on Chemical Row has been talking about building their own levee. Let them throw in $4 million and do their own dredge work. The U.S. government can add $20 million; the state of Texas $10 million and the county and local entities can get grants etc. to make up the rest of the $44 million, even with 30-year loans. I would have more confidence in my plan if we had a Rep. Charlie Wilson in Washington or a Sen. Carl Parker in Austin. For years we have had weak representation. It’s difficult to ask the Obama administration for help when Orange County is near the top of the nation in rejecting Obama. Only 26 percent of this Democratic county voted for him. I don’t know they will find we are entitled to any of the spoils. I assure you I can draw a map of a levee protecting Orange and Bridge City built in reasonable time at a reasonable cost if our leaders put their shoulder to the wheel. A good thing on the state level is that Rick Perry and Kay Bailey Hutchison will be looking for votes. It will be easier to get their ear. Kay could be a big help in Washington over the next year. She could put a plan together, a delegation of our leaders would need to appear in Washington in front of committees at least four times starting in April or May. The same thing for state visits to Austin. All it takes is a concerted effort. If it’s not started, it can’t be accomplished. Yes, a levee that protects the most populated areas can become a reality in my lifetime. Now there’s an optimistic thought while holding a short rope.

We were sad to learn that A.J. Lemoine’s mom, Gloria, died peacefully in her sleep Monday night. The death of this good lady was unexpected. She was preceded in death by our good friend A.J. Sr. We send our deepest condolences to the family and friends. *****Chester Marjolet, 53, died Dec. 15. Visitation will be Thursday from 9 to 10 a.m. at Claybar Funeral Home with graveside services to follow.

30 Years Ago-1978
Mavis Powell served as hostess for “Santa’s Christmas Heritage” Monday night at Heritage House. Some of the youngsters attending were Lisa and Lori, daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Roy Jacobs, Ava Williams, daughter of Mrs. Jacqueline Williams, Jason and Kristi Marshall, children of Mr. and Mrs. Phillip D. Marshall. Barbara David was Santa’s helper. (Editor’s note: Want to take a guess at who Santa was?)*****A few of Orange County’s best people around this Christmas season, Judge Sid Caillavet, Judge James Neff, Judge Martin Ardoin, former Sheriff Chester Holts, publisher James Quigley, Mead Graves, former sheriff and longtime Constable Buck Patillo, former lawman Alvie Griffith, Father Joe Berberich, Henry Stansfield, Joe Blanda, the barber, Elmer Newman, the banker, Ovie Harmon, descendant of first settlement founder John Harmon, Jim “The Fisherman” McKay, Tony “My Happiness” Giarratono, who wrote the hit song later stolen from him. Rev. W.W. Kennedy of Cove Baptist, Jimmy Kirby Conn, a comic everyday of the year, former county clerk and mayor of Orange Joe Runnels Jr., “Crip” Trahan, king of grass roots politicking. “Mr. Democratic” Bob Montagne, “Mr. Orange” KOGT’s Ed Lovelace, Jimmy Segura, married to pretty Annie, the queen of Cow Bayou, Western Auto’s Raymond Seltzer, Bill Stringer, Alvin Keown, former Orange police chief, bank chairman etc.*****Sonny Gunstream, what a character, farmer’s best friend Gus Harris, Cecil Beeson, “Mr. Levingston” who gave many youngsters jobs, Buddy Rhodes, the Bengal Café owner. (Editor’s note: As far as I know, Ed Lovelance is the only one still living. He’s in his 90s and lives in Houston.)*****Wilda Martin celebrates a birthday on Christmas Eve. *****Gordon Baxter and Flo Edgerly both celebrate birthdays on Christmas Day. *****’Old Stud’ Doug Harrington turns 40 and he can’t bare to talk about it. (Editor’s note: Doug, have you figured out what 30 years later makes you today?)*****Beautiful Ann Segura will celebrate her special day on Dec. 26. (Editor’s note: Ms. Ann, owner of Bridge City Cleaners, like most citizens, suffered a terrible blow from Ike. We’ve loved Miss Ann for 50 years as do most who know her.

Let me start with birthdays, first a couple of special ladies. Betty Lou Womack will celebrate on Dec. 18. Betty Lou, over the past three months has been caring for our friend Cal Broussard, seldom leaving his side through nine surgeries and one set back after another. Cal was transferred from St. Luke’s to St. Elizabeth for rehabilitation but another blow has hit him. A fungus in his blood stream has again put him in critical condition. The fighter may be nearing the end of the fight. It won’t be a happy birthday for Betty Lou. God bless her. *****Inez Hearn is a wonderful lady we have known many years. A nicer more giving person would be hard to find. She has donated much of her latter years toward service of the elderly. We always thought that was funny. She was 80 when she was delivering food and goods to those younger than her. This Wednesday, Dec. 17 Nez reaches the age of 90. She’s slowing down but her mind is still in overdrive. We wish this special lady a happy birthday and happy trails. *****Our longtime friend Doug Harrington celebrates this week and he ain’t doing bad. *****Mayor Brown Claybar marks another year on Dec. 18. We have known him since he was a puppy. *****Happy birthday to Stacey Bates and Bill Cardner on Dec. 20 and Bill Bailey Dec. 22.*****Celebrating anniversaries are Betty and Corky Harmon on Dec. 14. It’s number 52. Corky stole her from the Nuns when she was just a teenager. She gave up the idea of becoming a Nun to spend a lifetime with Corky. A wonderful couple and great friends. We wish many more healthy years. *****Happy 53rd anniversary to Rene and Lucy Hanks who celebrate on Christmas Eve. Keep on trucking. *****Best wishes to Charles and Dorothy Slusher on Dec. 21. *****Each and every year Bobby Cormier and Orangefield Oil Supply put on the best feed of the year. Roy tasted every one of the 20 different desserts served after the meal prepared by Kenneth Smith and K-Dan’s. “The Boss” Mr. Paul Cormier is still hanging in there after a year and a half in the hospital Bobby says even when his dad is out of it he talking about drilling valves and other oilfield equipment. He’s still working. *****Rodney Harrison will be the new chief deputy under sheriff Keith Merritt. He comes highly recommended and very qualified after many years with Port Arthur P.D. Read the review by Robert Hankins. Other changes will be made Jan. 1.*****Kirbyville goes down 48-26 to Muleshoe in the class 2-A state championship. It was a great season for the Wildcats and the community. *****The Dallas Cowboys beat up on Eli with eight sacks and downed the Giants 20-8. New York also put some awful licks on Tony Romo. Next week the Panthers come to town. That means a tuff day’s work for the Cowboys. It’s better at home than at their place where they are 8-0 at home this season. Go get’um Wade, Orange’s coach in the NFL. *****I believe pro football, in the next five years, will do away with the huddle. Today Payton Manning and the Colts use mostly a no huddle offense. *****If Republicans don’t get on board and throw the auto industry a lifeline, the domino effect will be felt as far down south as Orange, Texas. I believe now that Bush will have to make a 60-day loan to GM and Chrysler from the $700 billion bank bail out money, if not Obama will inherit a depression. *****The Feds could drop rates this week to an all time low, one percent or less. *****It was a record presidential vote, 131 million, 62 percent nationwide. Six million people will attend Obama’s inauguration. There have been over 12 million requests for invitations, even in many republican districts. It’s truly an historical event. *****This week in 1939, the motion picture “Gone With the Wind” came out. I’ve watched it many times over the years and owned a copy until Ike came and took it. “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”*****T. Boone Pickens is getting help from Owen Corning to reduce oil imports with his wind farms to replace natural gas fired power plants, freeing the gas to be used in vehicles. *****For the first time in history six named tropical systems made U.S. landfall. The most damaging were Fay in Florida, Gustav in Louisiana and Ike in Texas. Gustav forced the biggest evacuation on record, nearly two million people. Ike, on Sept. 13, killed at least 61 people, the second deadliest since 1972. Ike caused $17 billion in damage, the costliest hurricane in Texas history and one of the top five costliest in U.S. history. *****Our old buddy, D.J. “Ace” Amodeo has had a pacemaker put in. He is now living at the Pinehurst Nursing Home on Cardinal Street. He would welcome anyone to come visit him or give him a call at 409-670-2708. It’s nice to hear from folks, especially right here at Christmas time. *****It would amaze you how many people are alone and that’s always a downer this time of year. *****Sam Bradford deserves the Heisman Trophy. Cody McCoy came in second, Time Tebow third. What I don’t understand is why Graham Herrell, from Texas Tech, was excluded. Check the stats.*****You might be a Redneck if in your church’s Christmas play, two of the wise men smoked during the performance.*****Congrats to West Orange Stark defensive lineman Kevin Robinson on being named to AP’s first team all state 3-A team. Kevin had 104 tackles for the Mustange.*****Former West Orange-Stark quarterback Andre Bevil is the first player to sign with Lamar’s new football program to start in 2010. He will sign at 10 a.m. Wednesday, the first day for junior college transfers to sign, high school players sign Feb. 4. Bevil played for Lamar coach Ray Woodard while he was coaching at Navarro Junior College.*****DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboy, has 19 sacks, just three away from the record of 22. Since Wade Phillips personally took over the Cowboy defense the team hasn’t allowed a rusher to gain 100 yards and have allowed only one touchdown in the three games.*****A farewell reception for Commissioner James Stringer will be held at the court house annex building Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Old “Stick” is hanging up his spurs. He’s been a Justice of the Peace, County Judge and Commissioner. He welcomes his friends and constituents to come be, say hello and enjoy the fellowship. “Stick has gone to ride the range with, may his pasture be all clover.”

Michael Walles, Bobby Adaway, Carol Allen, Elizabeth Uzzle, Michael Terry, Natalie Nimitz, Nathan Applebach, Betty Lou Womack, Brown Claybar, Chris Chambless, Mandy Hoffman, Martha Taylor, Tracey Lynn Broussard, Webster Trahan, Daniel Brocklehurst, Dyann Schiler, Gloria Brown, Jill Vaughn, Julia Alleman, Marcu McLellan, Mitch Hidalgo, Raymond Hughes, Ruth Fournier, Bill Cardner, Janet Holland, Shelby Vogt, Stacey Bates, Andrew Havens, Elizabeth Parish, Majed Jaarah, Marion Martin, Matt Reeves, Rick Deutsch, Bill Bailey, Glenda Granger, Paula Hall, Phyllis Broussard, Rachel Guidry, Rodney Harmon, Yvonne Veillon, Clevie Fontenot, James Robbins.

Opie LeBlanc and his Mary Lou were sitting at a table at Opie’s Abbeville High School 35th reunion. Opie, him, kept staring at a drunken lady swigging her drink as she sat alone at a nearby table. Mary Lou axe, “Opie, do you know dat lady, hanh?”
Opie answer, “Mais sho, dats Agnes Premeaux, my old girlfriend. I understand me, she took to drinking right after we split up us, all dose years ago. I hear me, dat she hasn’t been sober since.”
“My God,” said Mary Lou, “Who would tink a person could go on celebrating dat long?”
Den da fight started.

I didn’t like it a bit that anyone anywhere would throw shoes at our president, but then I didn’t like it when those gals were throwing their panties at Elvis either.*****I’ve been reading a great book on President Abraham Lincoln about his celebrated stop in Philadelphia. When he visited Independence Hall he expressed deep emotion for the place “From which sprang the institution under which we live.” President-elect Barack Obama will arrive at his inauguration by train from Philadelphia, a journey with echoes of Lincoln. Obama plans events in Philadelphia, Wilmington, Deleware and Baltimore during his Jan. 17 trip. Directors of the presidential inaugural committee said, “We hope to include as many Americans as possible who wish to participate but can’t be in Washington.” It’s really an historical event when you think about Lincoln freeing the black people and now the first black is elected to the post Lincoln held during the Civil War.*****My time is up, thanks for yours. Read us cover to cover and please shop the people who advertise inside and tell those who don’t that they’re missing the boat and should. Take care and God bless.