We are set to mark the first anniversary of Hurricane Ike that arrived in the wee hours of Sept. 13, 2008. Orange, Cove, West Orange and Rose City took a bad blow but it was the community of Bridge City that was met with total destruction. On Sunday, Sept. 13, residents will gather at the Community Center grounds in Bridge City for a “We Remember,” get together. All residents are urged to attend from 1-6 p.m. Lots of music, food, fun and prizes.
We have come a long way in just a year but there is much more to be done starting with the city infrastructure. Roads, drainage, culverts and ditches all need cleaning and old tires and rubbish removed. Around two hundred families have moved out, not to return. That’s not all bad because many young families are taking their place. Even though the population is down, school enrollment has increased. A good gage of the direction a city will take is to watch what chain store operations do. They do extensive research, surveys and polling. They don’t stay or locate in any place that growth is not anticipated. Bridge City is seeing a surge of chain operations coming to town. CVS is the latest; with already two chain pharmacies and one independent operating in the city. MacDonald’s is building one of their new concept outlets. Another good indicator and the greatest improvement is a brand new, first class hotel. In fact this week LaQuinta is offering 15 percent off on room rates. If you have people coming in from out of town that’s a good deal. Also, just for a break, you might want to take your best girl and come stay a night. You’ll love the scenery and hospitality.
Bridge City may never be the same but there are many reasons to believe that it could be much improved, with many remolded homes and businesses. There are still houses to be torn down and some neighborhoods are very quite with the absence of residents. Another year will make a big difference. We predicted in January that no major storm would enter the Gulf. Even though the national weather predicted three. So far, so good. We need three straight years of no storms and Bridge City will boom.*****Come along, it won’t do you no harm.


The Republican Party, urged by their leaders Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Sarah Palin, Ann Coulter and the others, protested that the little school chilluns of this country shouldn’t hear a positive message from their United States president. Believe me, it had nothing to do with the message. It was more of a political football aimed at the mid-term elections.
When I was a boy our class would listen to all of FDR’s Fireside chats. Presidents Reagan, Clinton, George H. Bush and George W. Bush all addressed the school students. In fact, that’s what George W. was doing when the 9-11 attacks happened on his watch.
Respect for our president was something we learned at an early age. Today, at home and from the Talking Heads, our children are being taught disrespect and hate, then we wonder why so many end up in prison. Over the past eight years the high school drop-out rate has doubled. If President Obama doesn’t try to reach those students then he will be criticized for the downfall of the education that slid off in the ditch during the Bush/Cheney years. What message does it send to the youth of this country to band children from listening their president regardless of who was duly elected. I’ll tell you what it sends; it sends a message to disregard authority, including the enforcers of our laws.
The kids that listened to the president’s Tuesday message are better civically informed. Respect for our flag, our laws and our leaders are to be taught not ignored and disrespected. Being a good citizen begins at home not on the radio dial or television tube. The radicals are teaching lessons that makes our future weaker not stronger.


Two important people over the years in the Bridge City community passed away last weekend. Betty Smith, 72, passed away Sept. 5. A native of Forman, Ark., Betty and her husband of 57 years, Bill Smith, came to Bridge City many years ago. They established Central Office Supply and also real estate ownerships. Bill served on the Bridge City City Council and several civic organizations. Ms. Betty was also active in various clubs and supported Bill in his endeavors. She had been in failing health for some time. Service was held Sept. 8. Our deepest sympathies to Bill, son Bruce, daughter, Carolyn and their families.*****Gerald “Jerry” Pesson, 67, passed away Sept. 3. Jerry was a former longtime resident of Bridge City where he was very active and served as Fire Chief. He also was instrumental in the passage of a fire district for Bridge City and Orangefield. Jerry was the charter president of the Bridge City Rotary Club. To his wife Bobbie, four lovely daughters and their families we send our condolences. Service was held Tuesday, Sept. 8. Please see obits for more on both of these good people.*****At deadline I learned of the death of Frank Hatton, who passed away Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. He was the last of the original Hatton family born to Lois and Roy Hatton in Prairie View, now known as Bridge City. Frank is survived by his wife of 63 years Marjorie Hatton. Condolences to the family. See obits.

35 Years Ago-1974

A Bridge City Rotary Club was formed last week. Jerry Pesson was elected as the club’s first charter president. The Orange Rotary sponsored the new club. (Editor’s note: The B.C. Rotary is still active 35 years later. First president Pesson passed away last week. After selling his business interest in Bridge City, he and wife Barbara (known to most as Bobbie) moved to Woodville.)*****Peggy Smitherman celebrated her birthday Sept. 6. (Editor’s note: Peggy sure was a beautiful young lady. Thirty-five years have gone by and we haven’t seen her since. She’s not Smitherman anymore but I understand she’s still beautiful.)*****Several former Bridge City football players were spotted at the Cardinal game Friday night against Sulphur. This was coach Andy Griffin’s first game win 14-13. All American Steve Worster, watched his kid brother Gary play. Other ex-Cardinals watching were Lanston Fall, Lamar, who has been hampered by a pulled hamstring also Mark Dunn and Jimmy Lacomb in from UTA for a short visit before returning to football practice. *****Bill Clark joins Richard Corder and Ed Lovelace at KOGT. What a threesome. *****Beth Dugas has just returned from Greece. She says the first song she heard after arriving there was “Jambalaya” by Hank Williams. Greece is a long way from crawfish pie and file gumbo. It shows their good taste in music. *****

30 Years Ago-1979

Mary Sue Roy, 42, administrative assistant to county judge Pete Runnels suffered a stroke and died Sunday. She and Ronald were camping at Sam Rayburn. *****Our sympathies go out to the families of Fred Bean, Paul Weinman and Mark Darby who all recently passed away.*****T.O. Gunn, Orange’s best photographer, is in Beaumont hospital awaiting heart surgery for three bypasses.*****Bill and Martha Hughes held their annual Labor Day cookout.*****Neil Bond had gall bladder surgery.*****Debbie Fusilier was making the rounds showing off her 2-week-old son David Jr. The kid has a full head of hair. Debbie is trim and looks like she has never been pregnant.*****One of our favorite people, Debbie Alborn, is moving away. She is headed to Portland, Ore., where she will live in sight of Mt. Hood. (Editor’s note: This same lovely lady is back home. She is Orange County Auditor Debbie Rawls.)*****Bobby Hoosier will be 22 years old on Sept. 11.*****The Bridge City Chamber will host Bridge City Days on Oct. 20. Mary Railey and Shirley Cone have started a new business. They now are selling stained glass at the Cone’s Village Squire location.


Happy birthday this week to our buddy Millard “Bill”  “Neighbor” Cox who turns 85. A World War II veteran, Cox truly exemplifies the great character of the great men of the Greatest Generation. He and wife, Ms. Ginny, are true salt-of-the-earth folks. They have weathered the devastation of Hurricane Ike and still serve as the overseers of Mr. Cox’s Neighborhood, which included the Creaux’s Nest that we’ve been away from this past year. We miss Neighbor Cox’s regular visit. We have never known a finer man. Good health and many years of happiness.*****Special birthday wishes to Jenna, Mark Dunn’s youngest and mother of his two grandchildren. Pretty Jenna and her family live in Massachusetts but she openly admits to missing the great life we share in the Deep South. She’s missed also. Happy birthday “Scopps” on Sept. 13.*****Also a special birthday wish to our longtime gal friend Fadra Thibeaux. We’re not telling which birthday it is but wish her a great day.*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch gathered at Robert’s Restaurant and celebrated Sprad and Margaret Spradlin’s 59th anniversary. Also celebrating their 55th was Judge Claude Wimberly and the lovely Pauline. Mayor T.W. Permenter’s 72nd birthday was celebrated along with Sheriff Keith Merritt’s 58. The Lunch Bunch meets every Wednesday noon and any and everyone is welcome for an hour of great fellowship.*****Making the wire news last week was a lady from Zachary, La., who was caught on video shoplifting a case of beer (24 cans) between her legs. The arresting officers and those at the station tried to duplicate the crime. None could successfully walk with the case between their legs. It’s reported the lady wasn’t a large woman, just strong leg muscles.*****Karen and Tony Fuselier gave us a great book, “Memories,” a pictorial history of south Louisiana and east Texas musicians from 1910-90, compiled by Johnnie Allen. Jivin Gene, Johnny Preston, Bobby Charles and all the Gulf Coast sound boys and every Cajun group that ever performed. Ask Karen and she’ll tell you how to get one. Contact her at the Cajun Corner.*****We were honored with a special guest last week. Sharon Gearheart, the sheriff’s prettiest deputy, stopped in for a quick hello. The former waitress will celebrate her birthday this week, Sept. 9. She is still very foxy. Happy 56th.*****A correction. The Stark High class of 1954 will hold its 55th reunion on two weekends, Oct. 10 and 17. They need a week in between to recoup from the activities.*****The NFL is a cold, cold world. Orange County’s Matt Bryant, kicker for the Tampa Bay Bill’s, the team that he did so much for, has been cut. Matt had been bothered by a pulled hamstring but has reportedly recovered. Matt and his family make their home in Tampa. His folks Casey and Mary Bryant still live in Bridge City. (See story inside.)*****President Barack Obama is paying a heck of a price for the problems he inherited from Bush and the Republicans. Primarily the American people don’t trust the government because of Iraq, Katrina, FEMA etc., yet it’s the Republicans making the case against Obama, who is trying to solve the problems they made.*****Lannie Claybar died 40 years ago in the early morning of Sept. 6, 1969, in a Houston hospital. It would have been a simple bypass in today’s world but they screwed up and it cost his life. I mention it because I think about him often and it’s hard to believe so many years have flown by.*****I’m sorry I failed to mention last week the passing of Elaine Townes. I didn’t know about it until I saw the obituaries in our own paper. To sons Ted and David and the family we send our condolences. She was a good lady and will be missed.


On Sept. 10, pitcher Randy Johnson will be 46; Arnold Palmer, 80 and if they had lived Charles Kuralt and Roger Maris would be 75.*****Sept. 11, Harry Connick, Jr., 42 and Kristy McNichol, 47.*****Sept. 12, Yao Ming, 29; Jennifer Hudson, 28; Ruben Studdard, 31; Linda Gray, 69 and George Jones, 78.*****Sept. 13, Jacqueline Bisset, 63 and Bela Karolyi, 67.*****Sept. 14, Joey Heatherton, 65.*****Sept. 15, Prince Harry, 25; Dan Marino, 48; Tommy Lee Jones, 63; Oliver Stone, 63; Merlin Olsen, 69 and Jackie Cooper, 87.

This week comes from coach Neal Morgan, once coaching at Stark High with Wade Phillips, Dexter Bassinger, Ralph Smith and others. Neal says, “There are those who objected to their children listening to a president, duly elected by the people. The same ones who allow their children to watch murder and mayhem on television, ignore homework and stay up until the wee hours. President Obama has had so much to overcome after George the Second but one thing he cannot overcome and it looms large in the eyes of so many deep east Texans. They can’t get beyond President Obama being an African-American. He’s a black man. It’s very sad but many of us can’t get beyond basic bigotry.”

Mary Tyler, Millard “Bill” Cox, Pamela Smith, Thelma Powledge, Brent Sherrill, Durwyn Simon, Jesse Thurman, Joel Jeffcote, Joy Vickery, Mason Pruett, Ester Jeans, Beth Ann Windham, Dena Bates, Doug Rogers, Elwood Hood, Shannon Sparks, Andrea Peoples, Beth Arnold, Billy Fontenot, Casey Stephenson, Donna Lanthier, Greg Ball, Jona Gilchrist, Karen Warner, Kathleen Williams, Lloyd George, Molly Anthony, Shannon Eickenhorst, Tiffany Higgs, Bryan Riedel, Buffy Bean, Collin Findlay, Cynthia Claybar, David Haddock, Kade Hanks, Margaret Jeffcote, Nina Dilbert, C.M. Marshall, Connie Swope, Darlene Brown, Greg Barclay, Gregory Barclay, James E. Braus, Kim Norris, Morgan Milligan, Nikki Wingate, Pamela Vaught, Pat Tilley, Randy Jones, Betty Fuss, Bo Dilbert, Gene Donahey, Greg Choate, Janis Leyendecker, Jon Berry, Madison Lewis, Valgene Donahey, Ginger Ellis, Harold Tally, Nick Heil, Phylis Dunn and Shonna Hunt.


Joe Gilbeaux walk into Tee Boy’s Bar and Grill and he axe, “Do anybody in here got da number of 911?”
Comeaux axe, “Wats da emergency?”
Gillbeaux say, “Is dat you red truck wit da Great Dane dog in it?”
Comeaux answer, “It sho is, wat about it?”
“Mais, I got some bad news for you me, my dog done killed your Great Dane.” Gillbeaux answer.
Comeaux axe, “Wat kind of dog you got hanh?”
Gillbeaux say, “I got a little Chihuahua me.”
Comeaux him started laughing, “You must be drunk you, explain to me how your Chihuahua dog can kill a Great Dane?”
Gillbeaux says, “He got stuck in his throat.”

I’ve gotten to the end of another stroll in the park. (Don’t believe that.)*****Mayor T.W. Permenter and the city of Pinehurst put on a great Labor Day event. About 100 people less showed up than the picnic last year but about 725 came, ate and enjoyed the company. Those missing were mostly Bridge City residents. We saw former Commissioner Don Cole and Mr. and Mrs. Joe LaGrappe. The beautiful lady doing the registration was Lynda Permenter. How did T.W. get so lucky? Her able helper was one of the sweetest ladies I’ve ever known, MariLou Gunn, wife of the late constable Donald Gunn and mother of attorney Tommy Gunn. Judges Joe Parkhurst and Derry Dunn were in the hot house, working in the kitchen. Judge Pete Runnels, who started the Labor Day picnic, was serving as official greeter. Britt Godwin, master musician and his band furnished the music. For several years Britt, who now lives in Orange traveled with Tracy Byrd. He and his country band play every Thursday night at McKenzie’s in Beaumont. Britt also still has his 20-piece group that plays big band sound music. If you don’t have their big band CD in your collection you should get it. Britt does a great job on great songs.*****I’ve always said that our former first lady Laura Bush has a lot of class. She continues to prove it. In a CNN interview she said the president should be respected. She also said he was doing a good job with all the problems he’s dealing with. “He has a full plate,” she said and thought it was a good idea for President Obama to speak to the American school children. Laura is a former teacher and Liberian. She also faulted Republicans for not helping to solve the many problems the country faces.*****A sure bet, insurance companies will continue to fight a public-offered insurance plan. They don’t want competition. If it’s not in a health bill it won’t help the poor and middle-class afford insurance. We need real competition that we probably won’t get. President Obama makes his best pitch this week to Congress.*****DON’T FORGET 9-11 this Friday. It’s a day that we should never forget.*****Hope to see you Sunday at the “We Remember” gathering. Good luck, good health, take care and God bless.