Well, we’ve come on the first day of spring. We dodged the winter bullet that has plagued so much of the country. The azaleas are in bloom, the birds are singing and Catholics around the world have a new leader. A full blooded Italian, from Argentina, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected Pope, the first Pontiff from the Americas. I’m glad he chose the name Francis. St. Francis was a friend to the birds and nature. For many years I’ve had a statue of St. Francis located near my bird feeders, watching over the flock. I can just hear some Evangelical accusing me of being a statue worshiper. We Catholics don’t worship statues, we worship what they represent. *****The big Bassmaster Sabine River Challenge was an outstanding success. Art in the Park drew overflow crowds. A big hand of appreciation goes out to the many volunteers who came from throughout the county, including Vidor. The Orange Chamber, Orange County Economic Development, Stark Cultural Venues, David Jones and John Gothia deserve a lot of credit for such a great success. Judge Carl Thibodaux, who through his life has been a devoted fisherman, did a lot behind the scenes to make the Bassmaster Elite Series a reality. Unfortunately, the Judge, the most interested guy in the county, missed all the action because he was ill. The Judge has a thousand fishing stories and says some day he’ll write a book. *****Our South East Texas girl, Kree Harrison, had a great outing in the first elimination of American Idol last week. Nine contestants remain for this week’s competition. Kree was picked as one of the top three last week. Most area news media have given her coverage, why some others chose not to is beyond me. Kree’s roots run deep in Orange County, plus she was born in Port Arthur. Her mom and dad were both Bridge City natives. She needs your votes. It just takes a minute. *****I’ve got to move on. Please come along, it won’t do you no harm.


I sit here today on the 10th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, recalling President George W. Bush going on TV and telling the American people what the U.S. planned to do. I had written several times that to invade Iraq would be a mistake. The Bush Administration used false premises to sell the war and the American people bought it. Their justification was that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. That was a lie. They sold that Saddam had connections to Osama bin Laden, another lie. They had convinced most of the public. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and VP Dick Cheney were looking for an excuse to invade Iraq. They both pushed tirelessly for war. My belief then, and still today, is that if Iraq hadn’t had oil, we would never have invaded. Weapons of mass destruction have never, to this day, been found. Cheney said the invasion would be a slam dunk. We said it would last a long time, cost American lives and a lot of money. Over 4,488 American lives were lost, 32,000 wounded and we spent $3 trillion on a war not paid for and now handed down to the next administration, and still on the tab. Also 134,000 Iraqi civilians were killed. Who profited the most? Halliburton made billions. President Bush never asked the advice of the experts; he mostly just took Cheney’s word. In the meantime, Afghanistan became orphaned, neglected and we are still there at the cost of another trillion, on the tab. Iraq today, is still tied up in sectarian violence, led by a president under the influence of Iran. The Iraq invasion was the biggest lie imposed on the American people in my lifetime. The lie, lays mostly at the feet of Dick Cheney, who stood to profit the most. The United States should never again invade a country to occupy it. Iraq is a lesson we should always keep in mind. War should be a last resort after thorough vetting and exploring the facts and only after verifying those facts. Then, act on the facts, not like we did in Iraq and go against the facts.


Our friend of many years, Percy Keith “Tucker” Clayton, 91, passed away last Wednesday, March 13. He died at Harbor Hospice Hospital in Beaumont. He usually came around quite often but hadn’t been by since before the holidays. Corky and crew around here had wondered why. “Tucker” was one of Sheriff Chester Holts most trusted deputies. After the death of Don Moser a few weeks ago, only “Tucker” and Bill McDaniel remained who had served under Holts. McDaniel is now the last one. When Holts left office “Tucker” went to work for Mrs. Nelda Stark as her bodyguard and night watchman at her residence. Many nights she would get up and come sit outdoors with him. He knew all about her personal life and was on duty the night an attempt was made to kidnap her. He told the story and knew who was behind it. Many stories about his days in her guard and in law enforcement went with him. Services were held Sunday, March 17, at Claybar Funeral Home. A good man, he did to ride the range with. May he rest in peace.


14 Years Ago-1999

Donna Scales is newly hired Parks Director. She is ready to take up the task left by her predecessor Helen Droll. (Editor’s note: No one can deny that Donna has done a great job upgrading our parks. Donna is a people person and a dedicated hard worker).*****Les Anderson is county engineer.*****Jan Johnson is the Queen of Cajun Cuisine on KOGT Saturday radio. She spins Cajun and Swamp Pop music, one of the few places on the dial where you can hear Harry Choate, Wayne Toups, Jackie Callier and Lawrence Walker. Real Cajun mixed with pure Swamp with Lil’ Alfred, Warren Storm, Bobby Charles, Jivin’ Gene and Charles Mann’s “Red, Red Wine.” In 1990, Jan was involved in a bad auto accident on FM 1130 and her friendship with blind D.J., Terry Lyons, led to her radio job. (Editor’s note: Now, 14 years later, Jan still does that three-hour show, 12 noon to 3 p.m., one of my favorite shows. Not only the music but I find Cajun Jan, daughter of Harry and Velma Belair, a pure breed, is cool.)*****The Orangefield Crawfish Festival, billed as the Texas Crawfish and Saltwater Crab Festival, began in Bridge City years earlier. The event is at Jewel Cormier Park. Plenty of food and music by Jude Moreau, the Bon Ton Playboys, Gary Bertrand, Jerry Bellot, Ed Gary, Jay Broussard, Johnny Comeaux, Lesa Cormier and their bands, a dozen in all.*****Orange Savings Bank celebrated grand re-opening. Darby Byrd cut the ribbon, Mrs. Nelda Stark and Bob Shinn assisted.*****David Bernson is a freshman state senator.*****At Bridge City there hasn’t been an election since John Dubose became mayor. That speaks highly of the job the city council is doing. However, two good people, Moe Litton and Kirk Roccaforte will be lost to the council because of term limits. Robert Harvey and Joe Rabon will replace them.*****Fontenot’s Restaurant, 1539 Strickland, is now open. The restaurant serves seafood, gumbo, steaks and po-boys. (Editor’s note: I wonder what became of the Fontenot’s.)

 34 Years Ago-1974

Winners of the Orange Evening Optimist Club’s oratorical contest were, in  the girl’s division, Michelle Thibodeaux, age 15, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Artie Odom, a Stark High student sponsored by her coach, Helen Collier. Runners-up are Sandra Lewellyn and Lisa Dawson. In the boys division, Terry Conder, age 16, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jon Conder`, a West Orange student sponsored by his coach Callie Pollard. Runners-up are William Jackson and Dwayne Brown. Judges were Joe Ben Welch, Louis Dugas and Kathleen Cook. Frank Manchac was the oratorical contest chairman.*****Lee West, former owner of Riverside Barber Shop, is now at Cockrell’s 212 Green Avenue.*****First Savings is giving free Big Bonus Stamps, a stamp for each dollar deposited in a passbook account.*****C. Arnold Buxton is a candidate for J.P. Pct. 1.*****Croppers Carpet is located at 1307 Green Ave.*****Ray’s Chrysler is at 2003 MacArthur Drive.*****The Sportsman’s Shop is at 2500 MacArthur.*****Joe Marks is manager of the Cue Lounge at 107 Fifth Street. Canned and bottled beer, 40 cents; Schlitz on draft, 30 cents; wine, 45 cents a glass. The club offers shuffleboard and four pool tables.*****Montgomery Ward is at 1605 N. 16th Street. There you can find Inez Hearn.*****Bill Townes is running for reelection to the BC school board.*****Buzzy Gunn has lost 20 pounds on his diet. He has a weakness for sweets, however, Dayle caught him cheating and asked, “What are you doing with your hand in the cookie jar?” Buzz answered, “Fighting temptation, damn it.”*****The Bridge City track team, coached by Bob Puntes, returns three-fourths of the state third place mile relay team. Bo Worrell, David Guidry and Mark Truncale. Larry Hagler is gone from last year’s team and replaced by Raymond Salazar. Bobbie Truncale is alternate.*****The time in last year’s state meet was 3:19. Guidry also runs the 330 hurdles in 39 seconds. Pole vaulter, Raymond Ridley, one of the area’s best at 13.7, is shooting for a state championship this season.*****Other tracksters are Lanston Fall, shot put; Craig Morris, shot put; Danny Long, discus; David Weishaar, Billy James, Steve Hock and Guidry, hurdlers. Distance men are Desi Ramsey, Wayne Beard and Thad Thompson.


Abby Ludwig, Ben Walles, Jamie Preston, Jan Savage, Diane Sims, Keely Benefield, Kamela Latiolais, Brittany Backer, Erma Goss, Ester Brown, Barbara Mosier, Pam Nugent, Terry McFarlane, Ronelle Irvine, Kyle Anderson, Otto Whisenant, Ramona Huff, Harold Scales, Ruth Mason, Stephen McKenzie, Tanya Simon, Lisa Roberts, Shirley Musser, Waunice McReynolds, Robert Thomas, Kyle Leyendecker, Wanda Taylor, Carroll Kile, Carsen Carpenter, Euel Norwood, Mary West, Kenneth Kemp, Lance Eads, Corbin McLellan, Kurt Haggard, Chad Gearhart, Margaret Boehme, Margery Sargent, Natalie Sarvar, Renee Dillon, Tiffany Smith, Helen Clark, Cambree Williams, Grady Rawls, Forrest Wood, Hannah Drane, James Stone, Joseph Blanda, Matt Hanson, Louise Wood, Mary Ann Smith, Zara Killman, Bobby Rash, Brenda Edwards, Grant Kimbrough, Katie Birdwell, Mary Grimes, Matt Thompson, Scott Mangham, Warren Claybar, B.J. Walker, Mike Vincent, Karen Bozman, Mary Glazner, Joe Alford, Margie Fields, Marjorie Fields, Sherry Stevens and Christy Day.


Last Thursday we spotted Sharon Bearden, Joe Alford, and the Peveto boys, Rex and Eric, dining at Danny’s. Bearden claims he’s maintained his weight for three years and is nearly at his playing weight of 55 years ago. Bearden has lost 1,500 pounds over the years, but he’s holding steady now and working on his health. Way to go Sharon.*****A few folks celebrating birthdays in the next few days. Ben Walles, Diane Sims and Kamela Latiolais celebrate on March 20.***Johnny Dishon was born on March 21, 1987. He’s one of the best all around athletes to come out of Bridge City High School in recent years. Today Johnny is playing pro-baseball and has just been elevated to Double-A Ball. There are two more years on his contract. Hopefully he will keep moving up. Also Barbara Mosier, Pam Nugent, Terry McFarlane, Kyle Anderson, Lisa Roberts and our longtime friend, Harold Scales, all celebrate on March 21.***Wanda Taylor and Carsen Carpenter celebrate March 22.***Our friend Euel Norwood, Lance Eads, Renee Dillon, and a great athlete, Natalie Sarver, all celebrate March 23.***Our buddy of many years Louise Wood, Coach Joe Blanda, Grant Kimbrough, Brenda Edwards and our Penny’s mom, Helen Clark,celebrate March 24.***Warren Claybar, Mary Goines and Kate Birdwell all celebrate on March 25.***March 26 will be a special day for our longtime friend, attorney Joe Alford, who I knew when he was a much younger puppy. Another cute little puppy I met a few years ago, say like 35 years ago, Sherry Stevens, also celebrates another on March 26.*****The first day of Spring arrives March 20. A full moon will arrive March 27.*****A few wages that got our attention. The salary of a retired United States president is $450,000 for life, plus Secret Service protection for life. The salary of House and Senate members is $174,000 for life, the majority and minority leaders, $194,400 for life. Average salary for a soldier deployed in Afghanistan, $38,000. Seniors on Social Security, $12,000 average. I think it’s obvious where the Congress should cut and leave the veterans and old folks alone.*****Our friend Don Harmon is in Methodist Hospital in Houston. He’s due to have a rod placed in his leg where the bone is deteriorating. He will  then start treatments to shrink two tumors. Corky and Betty visited him Sunday and report that his spirits are good. Dr. Howell and the team of specialists are optimistic about his recovery. Our prayers are with him.*****Our buddy Doug Harrington seems to be doing much better. He was due for another MRI this week to check his progress. They check him often. So far, so good. *****I haven’t heard the latest on Quincy Procell, his back and knee surgery was postponed last week due to technical problems. I think they will try again soon.*****A tragedy was averted Monday at Central Florida University when a young man with many weapons took his own life when discovered rather than carrying out his plan for mass killing at the school.*****Longtime educator at Bridge City and former principle at Deweyville, Joy Scarbourgh, former 35-year teacher Ted Williams, and former commissioner Marcel Adams, all attended the Wednesday Lunch Bunch get-together last week. Joy brought some of her famous fudge for everyone, plus some for their office help. Joy was raised on a pecan farm in Mississippi with 150 plus trees all color coated to keep up with the brand, like Stewards, etc. Merchants came from all over the country to buy large amounts of pecans. After her parents died, she sold the farm that she says is a lot of work to gather the crop and maintain the trees. The man she sold it to sends her 100 pounds of shelled pecans every year and that’s how she affords to spread goodwill with her fudge. While only half done with the last batch she broke her hand so some of the fudge was made one-handed but all was delicious. The Lunch Bunch dines at Novrozsky’s this week and back to Robert’s next Wednesday. Everyone is always welcome.*****Rick Perry draws $90,000 in state retirement and still collects a $150,000 yearly salary. Some Republican and Democratic legislatures have joined forces on bills aimed at curtailing Gov. Rick Perry’s power benefits and number of terms. One bill would have the governor pay his security cost when traveling for personal or political trips. In his failed 2012 presidential bid, he spent 150 days out of state at a taxpayer cost of $3.7 million for security. Now, it seems he’s planning to make another attempt at becoming president of the United States.*****I wish everyone could watch  the documentary, “The World According to Dick Cheney.” It premiered on Showtime last Friday. It was very much as I reported those eight years of Bush/Cheney and how Dick and Rumsfeld screwed the President by not telling him the truth, and how the invasion of Iraq, that cost $3 trillion and many young lives, was a sham. Bush wouldn’t pardon “ScooterLibby, Cheney’s former chief of staff, convicted of CIA leaks, so they haven’t spoken since.*****Judge Janice tells us her sister Mildred is still in guarded condition in a Houston hospital but is now showing some improvement. Our best wishes for this wonderful lady.*****Speaking of Judge Menard, JP of Pct. 3, Judge Janice, like other justices of the peace, doesn’t always have an easy ride. She works hard all hours of the day and night. When holding court she is always courteous and polite, stern but treats everyone the same. We’re are fortunate to have dedicated judges like Judge Menard and our other JP’s.*****Not shocking news that Ryan Seacrest and Juliann Hough split up.***** After the first airing of Dancing with the Stars, I don’t look for Wynonna Judd to make it to the top five  but she was not as bad as expected. Dancing with the Stars is in its 16th season.*****Our friend Joe Chanella, who served Bridge City School District well, beginning in 1967 until last year, stopped by for a nice visit. He was in town putting their B.C. home on the market. He and Nancy have moved to College Station. Many improvements were made at BCISD during Joe’s tenure. He’s a good friend, we’ll miss him.


Clovis Comeaux couldn’t find no work so he decided to go to California. Da high gas prices took most of his money to drive dere so he went to a bank and told the receptionist he need a loan him. 

She sent him to da loan officer, “Cobbs my name, what can I do for you?”

My names Comeaux, I need to borrow a couple of tousand dollars to held me over till I can find a job me.”

“What do you have for collateral?” asked the loan officer.

“I got my 95 Suberban me.”

Cobb said, “You know what we do with Cajuns in southern California?”

Comeaux him started to turn away when he answer, “No, but I know wat we do wit cobs in Sou’h Louisana.”


The GOP CPAC showcased their stable of stars last weekend. Rand Paul, like his daddy before him, won the straw poll, Rubio, second; Santorum, third; Christi, fourth and Paul Ryan fifth. Palin, tenth and Perry, who made his pitch didn’t make it to the top ten. *****Here at home, I’m quite concerned about the direction our Commissioner’s Court has been leaning lately. For many years, the Court operated in a businesslike, adult way. They often disagreed but they were not divisive and difficult just for the sake of grandstanding. A couple of weeks ago, a large group of Orange County citizens attended Golden Triangle Days in Austin. Every entity in Orange County; schools, chambers, cities, businesses and industries sent ambassadors, goodwill people to meet and greet our legislature and more importantly their staffs. Every one of the above groups paid for their people’s lodging. Well, at the county level, Judge Thibodeaux and Commissioner David Dubose attended, met with Sen. Nicholas about a bill referring to fire districts. He agreed to carry the bill. They also met with committee chairmen, etc. The county allows $150 a day for travel and lodging. Austin lodging is $229 a day. A request was made for the county to pick up the $79 difference. That’s when Commissioner Crump got on his soapbox. The Vidor commissioner started to “grandstand” like he did to deny county departments from having a Christmas lunch. Crump says he doesn’t attend photo opts. I doubt that but it’s for sure he doesn’t mind grandstanding. I don’t know if his move was to embarrass the Judge and Commissioner Dubose or to show what a good Tea Partier he is. The total amount was $300. It was silly to even bring it up. *****Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers, what you do today might burn you tomorrow. Take care and God bless.