North of the Creaux’s Nest
Two weekends in a row high school football has taken a blow. First the sudden death of 17-year-old Reggie Garrett, Jr. and the untimely death of Newton coach Curtis Barbay, 68, on Saturday, Sept. 25. Never before has the death of a local person drawn so much national attention as the passing of Reggie. So far the cause of death has not been officially determined. The first report didn’t show anything obviously wrong with his heart. As I write this Baylor Medical Center has been asked to do more testing. Coach Barbay, a graduate of Bishop Byrne High School in Port Arthur and Lamar, was from the old school of coaching. In 36 years at Newton he had 317 wins, 16 playoff appearances in a row and two state championships and another as an assistant many years ago in 1974. Coach Barbay was the third winnest active coach and fourth ranked in state history. Two of his sons, Darrell and Bryan, followed in their dad’s footsteps and are head football coaches in Anahuac and Coldspring. Coach Barbay could have coached in many other places and larger districts but he was a country coach who loved his job and wasn’t motivated by the big dollars. Like coach Dan Hooks at WO-S, Barbay had a hard time filling games in new district play. He was often forced into having to play against 3-A and 4-A teams with his 2-A team and 22 players. He often beat all comers. It is said that he was an offensive wizard. He was due to see a heart doctor this week because he had been experiencing shortage of breath. His number was called before his appointment came up. A legend has passed our way. He was one of the good ones. This week coach Hooks and his gang will face their first game without Reggie. They face Kirbyville at home. That game will be a real test for the West Orange-Stark offense and what adjustments will be needed when district play begins. Reggie is gone but life goes on. If I’ve learned anything about Hooks and coach Cornell Thompson it’s that they will always have their team ready to play. If they can’t beat you with their offense, coach T. will beat you with his defense. The spirit of number 12, Reggie Garrett, will be a strong motivating factor. No telling how far he would have taken them. We’ll never know but I’m not betting against Hook’s bunch regrouping and moving on.*****Come along, it won’t do you no harm.
Coach O. A. “ Bum” Phillips, born on John St. in Orange, celebrates his 87th birthday this Wednesday, Sept. 29. The former high school, college and pro-NFL coach is probably Orange County’s most nationally known and beloved native. He just recently published his autobiography and dedicated the first chapter to his early life in Orange where his grandfather Parrish taught him to become a cowboy. His new book “Coach, Cowboy, Christian” is drawing great reviews and hopefully an autograph party locally can be arranged soon. Coach Phillips once told this writer, “I was born and will be buried in Orange.” I don’t know if that still stands but all of his folks were laid to rest here and he still has cousins and family in the area. Judge Carl Thibodeaux and the Commissioner’s Court proclaimed Bum Phillips Day at Monday’s court meeting. Hopefully someday something permanent can be named for both he and his famous son, Dallas Cowboy coach Wade
Phillips, also a native of Orange. Incidentally, last Sunday Wade tied his dad’s NFL win record. Mid-county is making waves about naming a permanent structure for the time they spent there but both have roots in Orange County. We should proudly claim and take advantage of their notoriety in promoting our city and county. I’ll never forget and will always cherish the times I spent with Bum throughout the years during the Bum Phillips Charity Golf Tournaments and Bob Hope functions. I’m proud this good man is our native son and congratulate Commissioner’s Court for recognizing him.
35 Years Ago-1975
Bridge City Cardinals pulled out a heart-stopping 21-14 victory over the South Park Greenies. After a scoreless deadlock in the first half, quarterback Richard Slayton and running back Toney Mulhollan provided over 100 yards rushing. Safety Gary Worster came up with the big defensive plays, which halted the Greenies on several occasions. Bridge City now 2-0 in district will face Silsbee also 2-0. *****Stark shut down West Orange 12-0 in the first half. Craig Couvillion threw two touchdown passes to Mark Bonnin. West Orange Chief tailback Lorrance Wills ignited a second half comeback tying the game 12-12. In the fourth quarter Couvillion threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Wendell Rhodes. Late in the game Couvillion threw his fourth touchdown pass to Reggie Kelly for a 27-12 Tiger win. *****Jasper’s Oliver Hadnot went over, around and through the Little Cypress-Mauriceville defense for a total of 260 yards rushing to beat the Bears 41-28. Next week B.C. visits Hadnot in Jasper. *****While river fishing, C.A. and Darlene Burgess mopped up on bass in a blackwater slough. They used humpback rebels to take their limit of sigh running from 2.5 pounds to 4.5 pounds. (Editor’s note: I wonder is bass fishermen still use humpback rebels for bass? I haven’t read anything about that bait from either Dickie Colburn or Chuck Uzzle.)*****Speaking of fishing, Richard Corder and David Taylor won the Orange County Bass Club tournament with 31 pounds. They caught the fish in seven to ten feet of water. Both say that the new “Worm Oil” by Mann Bait made a big difference. (Editor’s note: What became of “Worm Oil,” is it no longer used? *****Other team winners were Harold Whitton and Sammie Miles, 21 pounds, eight ounces. Troy Woodall, with no partner, caught 17 pounds, one ounce. Tom and Mike Humphrey, 16 pounds, 10 ounces. Big Bass Richard Corder, six pounds, seven ounces. *** Dan Morrow won the Stateline Bass Club tourney with 20 pounds, four ounces. Freddy Harvey, 13 pounds, one ounce, Pat Morrow, 10 pounds, 10 ounces. Big Bass Leddy Harvey, four pounds, five ounces. *****Former Charlie Sprott’s Barbecue, at 92 Orange Ave., is under new management. Longtime Charlie employee Allene Stratton bought the business. *****On Oct. 15, pharmacist Carl Thibodeaux will turn 30 years old. (Editor’s note: I remember when Carl celebrated that birthday. Since then he has been mayor of West Orange and is the longest serving county judge in Orange County history. Last year, his birthday was celebrated with a roast sponsored by the Bridge City Chamber.) *****Capt. William Bailey USAF, Kessler Air Force Base, announced that Tracy Addison has been placed on the academic honor roll. Less then ten percent ever make this status.
Point of interest: B.L. Thompson, on trial for robbery with a firearm, was given 35 years in prison. He was granted a separate trial from Clyde Dawson for his part in the murder of police chief Johnny Godwin. Dawson received a life sentence for the killing. (Editor’s note: I had always wondered what punishment Dawson had received for killing the police chief. Life back then was 25 years. I don’t know how long he served of that time. Maybe I can find out.)
Fifty-six years ago, on Feb. 1954, Howard Morse, a resident of Bridge City, bought Neches Supermarket in Bridge City. Morse in announcing the purchase stated that the name of the store has been changed to “Howard’s Food Lane.” Morse had connections with Cliff’s Drive Inn and Grocery on Green Ave. in Orange. Prior to the purchase, Morse had been employed for 12 years by the Texas Laundry and is well known in this area. The meat department will be under the management of Marshall Wingate. Marshall is one of the Wingate brothers of Orange. Other brothers in the meat business are Roy, Cecil, Nick and Lance. (Editor’s note: If I remember correctly, the store was located on the corner of Texas Ave. and Roundbunch, where the present Exxon Mobile is.) Back then the Wingate Brothers were heavily involved in the meat business in the area. Howard went on to own “Howard’s Big Red Pantry” on the corner of Texas Ave. and Roberts. The store later burned to the ground, was rebuilt and is now used as a church. Howard went on to acquire a chain of convenience stores. He is now retired, lives in Vidor and is on the board of Bridge City Bank, where he has served for the past 30 or so years.
It’s been 12 years since we published a story on district attorney John Kimbrough and his crew. Probably time to run another one. At the time big John said, “When I came here in 1985, I was fresh out of law school, had a full head of hair, was assistant D.A., unmarried, carefree, no bills and no problems, now look at me. In 1998, son Ryan was six, now he’s 18, Grant was four, now 16, wife, Kelly, hasn’t aged, John gets older. I wonder what he thinks today about his travels from single life, fresh from law school, to the present. One thing we know is that he’s served us well. I wonder what his take is today? *****Johnny Montagne has been slaughtering the Sabine Lake fish. When asked what he attributes all his fishing success to he says, “It’s my personal fishing guide. He puts me on fish every time. However, he’s rough on my rods. He guides only for me, he’s been my secret.” The secret is out now. He’s Rev. Keith Royal, pastor of Winfree Baptist Church. Johnny says, “I believe the pastor has a special pipeline that puts us on fish.” I’m not complaining, those old boys have made me a recipient of a lot of already dressed fish. Thanks guys. *****Major Donna Peterson has published a letter somewhere in this issue I totally agree with. Just think, if Republicans would have been successful six years ago in privatizing Social Security, with the fall of the economy and blue chip stocks, folks who are getting $1,200 plus might be getting monthly pennies today. Medicare would even be harder to come by for seniors. *****Thirty-five years ago a group of young couples formed a dinner club with a different couple hosting each outing. Cocktails at their place, then visiting at different restaurants in the area. Since then several from the dozen or so couples have died. Others have divorced. This past Saturday Betty and Corky Harmon hosted a reunion of those remaining or able to attend. Janet and James Fontenot came in from their home in Georgetown to attend their granddaughter’s wedding and to make the reunion. That old Cajun, from Washington, LA, traveled the world for Dupont. Janet is still as pretty as ever. Martha Hughes Kirkland and husband Glenn attended. Martha’s husband Bill died years ago. She is still the life of the party. Phyl and Roy Dunn were glad to see their longtime friends. Roy, who is not used to being grounded, will be shut down for a few days after an angioplasty procedure. He says, “Unlike H.D., his heart isn’t black, it’s his lungs that look like a chunk of charcoal. Betty and Corky’s home is just beautiful. No one has nicer landscaping thanks to Betty’s talent and green thumb and Corky’s strong back. They have made their 35 year old home a show place. Betty serves a great meal and is a gracious hostess. The group recalled all the wonderful friends, like Beth and Louis and those that have passed. The group also enjoyed a phone conversation with Bob Shinn, who is now living in Dallas. It was decided those remaining have now become their parents.
We were sorry to hear that Rev. Scott McIntosh, age 50, pastor of North Orange Baptist, suffered a major heart attack last Thursday. He has been in Baptist Hospital in Beaumont and we hear he is doing better at this time. Our prayers are for a complete recovery. *****Debbie Gold Gem in Bridge City is having a CHAMILIA party Oct. 2, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Come see the specials and have fun. You will love the Oval Link Necklace and individual Oval Links. These are beautiful and make great gifts. Debbie says, “Come see.”*****Barbara and Ed Edwards live here in the neighborhood. They raised their family, two boys and a girl, here in this area. They are longtime friends of Jude and Monte Turlly. Barbara takes her little dog for a ride everyday and on one of her trips she stopped by and left us a jar of fig preserves. We’re not going to forget her anytime soon. *****Roy’s old high school classmate, Doyce Sherman, was raised out in the country near Abbeville, stopped by. Years ago he and Dr. Jimmy Jones ran a program called “Emotions Anonymous.” The program has been kicked off again at Faith United Methodist Church on MLK. Every Thursday at 7 p.m. It’s free and if you are facing any kind of emotional problems, they welcome you. For more information call Sherman at 886-8316. *****Sunday was a good day for Orange County boys in the NFL. Orange native coach Wade Phillips and his Cowboys beat Houston 27 to 13. ***Bridge City’s Matt Bryant kicked the winning field goal in overtime for Atlanta to beat the New Orleans Saints 27 to 24. ***Earl Thomas, the pride of West Orange-Stark, made two picks. The final interception on the goal line preserved a 27-20 win for the Seahawks over San Diego. The boys make Orange County proud. *****A few special folks celebrating birthdays in the coming week. Our buddy, constable Rob Strause is a year older. ***Martha Hankins, who just lost her husband, editor Robert Hankins, marks another birthday. There won’t be much celebrating as she misses Robert so much. We wanted her to know we are thinking about her. ***A great guy, Karen Jo’s better half, Robert Dale Vance, marks another year. ***Jared Dillion, an outstanding guy, former Bridge City baseball standout and McNeese pitcher turns 20 this week. ***Jimmy Smith celebrates another one as does Eddie Free and Darlene Stephens. Best wishes to all. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch dined last week with David Claybar at Tuffy’s. They enjoyed a fine seafood meal with Tuffy’s famous rolls and pies. No one is a guest, everyone is welcome. Pretty Shirley Zimmerman, with OCEOE, attended for the first time with our friend Brandy Slaughter, the gal that can fix you up with one or a dozen new Fords from David Self. This week the Bunch dines at Robert’s Restaurant. Next week the group takes in lunch with Uncle Jim at Novrozsky’s. *****Congrats to the Robinson brothers. Capt. Sparkie was promoted to major with the Orange Police Department. Sgt. Wade was moved up to captain. I hear nothing but good things about these two career officers. Another nice guy we met from chief Sam’s crew is major Lane Martin. The guy has a lot of class and is very impressive. *****Condolences to the family of Peggy McKenna, 83, who died last week. What a great, compassionate lady she was. She was one of the founders of the Hospice movement. She was the founder of Southeast Texas Hospice in Orange, the first Hospice in Texas and helped develop other units throughout the country. Ms. Peggy was also a member of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. May she rest in peace. Please see obit. *****We were saddened to learn about the death of Jack McLelland, 80, who passed away Sept. 28. We had known Jack for over 45 years. His mom and dad Elizabeth and Randolph lived on Forest St. in Bridge City as did his brother Billy Ray. They were all a bunch of fine folks from Prescott, Arkansas. To Jack’s wife of 59 years, Ann, and the family, we send our sympathies. He was a good guy. *****Tommie Beth Garison, 73, wife of longtime friend Buddy Garison, died Sept. 25. She was very active in her church and community. Our condolences to her family. Please see obit.
On Sept. 30, Johnny Mathis will be 75; Martina Hingis, 30; Jenna Elfman, 39; Angie Dickinson, 79 and Robby Takac, 46. ***Oct. 1, Mark McGwire will be 47; Randy Quaid, 60; Julie Anders, 75; Tom Bosley, 83 and Jimmy Carter, 86. ***Oct. 2, Kelly Ripa, 40 and Rex Reed will be 72. ***Oct. 3, Gwen Stefani, 41; Tommy Lee, 48; Chubby Checker, 69 Ashlee Simpson, 26 and Gore Vidal, 85. ***Oct. 4, Alicia Silverstone, 34; Susan Sarandon, 64; Anne Rice, 69 and Jackie Collins, 73. ***Oct. 5, Nikki Hilton, 27; Kate Winslet, 35; Barnie Mac, 53 and Karen Allen, 59.
Aaron Milligan, Priscella Burns, Richard Estes, Ricky Benefield, Al Goodwin, Brandon Taylor, Debbie Tutt, Denna Elizondo, Martha Hankins, Robert Dale Vance, Richard Albair, Howard Fisher, Rob Strause, Jamie Freeman, Jimmy Glover, Keely Guidry, Kimberly Cooper, Meg Clark, Skylar Rowley, Brandon Gerrald, Gerald Brignac, Grace Corkran, Kenton James, Tony Lummus, Ann Wilkinson, Collin Stanley, Herb Spencer, J.V. Chauvin, Jo Bramhan, Regina Pounders, Sherry Baker, Alexandra Bates, Betty Roden, Bobby Romero, Eddie Free, Judy Craig, Kyle Ezell, Lori Ess, Sarah Armand, Tricia Prosperie, Candy Hughes, Dakota Rowley, Jami Anderson, Jessica Evans, John Cardner, Kevin Staudenmier, Tyler Miller, Brad Lanthier, Darlene Stephens, Elicia Dillon, Glenn Heil, Jared Dillon, Jerald Ziller, Jimmy Smith, Mildred Gammage, Samual Woodall, Lori Harmon, Barbara Angelle, Cathye Liepy, Charlie Dorman and Inell Lingan.
Otis Bertrand was sitting at da bar at Tee-Boy’s Lounge jus staring at his drink. Den one of dem trouble making bikers comes up next to Otis, grabs his drink and gulps it down in one swig. Den he says, “Well, buddy, wat you gonna do bout it hanh?”
Otis him bust in tears, den start crying uncontrollably.
Dat biker him say, “Man, I didn’t tink you would cry, I cant’s stand to see a man crying.”
Otis say, “Dis is da worse day of my life. I’m a complete failure me. I was late to a meeting and da boss fired me. Wen I got to da parking lot my old truck is gone. Somebody done stole it and I don’t’ got no insurance. Den I left my wallet in da cab I took home. Den I find my Clotile in bed wit my neighbor Tophile. So me, I came to dis bar to work up da courage to put an end to it all. I buy a drink; I drop a capsule in and sit here watching da arsenic dissolve. Den some smart-ass jerk shows up and drinks da hole ting. However, enough bout me, tell me buddy, how’s your day going, hanh?”
Well, I’ve about done all I can for another week. I’m thankful for the opportunity to visit with you each week. I’m grateful for your readership. It’s really rewarding because of you this is the area’s most read column. Not everyone agrees with my views but with the exception of a few crackpots who believe that no one should have opinions that are different from theirs, the response over the years has been terrific. I like agitating the radicals. Mostly I like recording the present happenings and the history of the great people who live in this wonderful place. Hopefully, many years for now, folks can look back at this column and see what their grandparents and family members were up to. Thanks again for your loyalty. Please read us cover to cover. We work hard to bring you this publication absolutely at no charge. Don’t forget to shop with our family of advertisers. Gotta go. Take care and God bless.