We predicted 8,000 or less votes in the Republican Primary, there were 7,895 cast. I wrote, in this column, the winning of the county judge’s race would probably win with 4,000 votes, Dean Crooks garnered 4,315. A total of 9,113 ballots were cast with the Democrats voting 1,218 people, lower than the 2,000 I had predicted. The Demos had no local races except party chairman. Even though there were less votes cast four years ago, only 6,000, Carlton received less votes than he did in the race against Dubose, receiving only 2,755. Orange County has around 50,000 registered voters with just over 9,000 voting in this election. This means that nearly 40,000 votes stayed home. I believe that most of those non-voters are Democrats and Independents. It’s my belief that the majority of Orange Countians are moderates or centrist and less than 10,000 are far-right, leaning conservative. In the contested races Christy Khoury received the most votes. The commissioner’s Pct. 2 race was a barn burner. Most folks in the know expected it to be a toss up between incumbent Barry Burton and Theresa Beauchamp. The election gave Theresa a four vote win. A recount showed she had won by only two votes, 1038 to 1036. She ran a good campaign and was able to tie Barry to Carlton and Crump early with her “not a rubber stamp’ insinuation in ads. She also appealed to the voters saying that they could make a real difference on commissioner’s court. She was also able to penetrate Barry’s base in Mauriceville. Barry is a friend and I feel for him. He loves being a commissioner.  He was conscientious about the job and really worked at it. He always meant well and looked forward to serving as president of the SET Regional Planning next year.  Barry is very smart. His biggest problem was not listening to what friends were trying to tell him. Barry still has a future in Orange County politics. He’s young and he hasn’t damaged himself. Very often if there is a turnover of office holders it’s in mid-term elections. In January there will be three new members of the court and two commissioners who are grandfathered in with two years of experience. I look for this court to work well together with shared input.*****So it is. I must move on. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.



President Trump Tuesday ousted his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, extending a shake-up of his administration, 14 months into his tumultuous presidency, and potentially transforming the nation’s economic and foreign policy. “We were not really thinking the same,” Trump told reporters at the White House, explaining his decision to replace the Secretary of State. Tillerson found out he had been fired before dawn, shortly after his flight returned from a weeklong trip to Africa. There was no indication during the five-nation visit that his departure was imminent. The President did not personally call Tillerson. He learned he had been fired on Tuesday morning when a top aide showed him a tweet from Mr. Trump announcing the change, according to senior State Department official. The move caught even the White House staff by surprise. Tuesday morning, a senior administration official said that President Trump decided now to replace Tillerson to have a new team in place before upcoming talks with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader he plans to meet by May. Trump announced he would replace Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director and former Tea Party congressman, who forged a close relationship with the president and is viewed as being more in sync with Trump’s America First credo. The CIA director will be replaced by current deputy director, Gina Haspel, who will be the first woman to head the spy agency. Tillerson has been out of favor with Trump for months but had resisted being pushed out. His distance from Trump’s inner circle was clear last week when the president accepted an invitation to meet with Mr. Kim, to Tillerson’s surprise. It was an abrupt end — after months of speculation — to a rocky tenure for a former Texas oil executive who never meshed with the president who hired him. Mr. Tillerson clashed repeatedly with the White House staff and broke publicly with Trump on issues ranging from the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar to the American response to Russia’s cyber aggression. “We were not really thinking the same,” Trump told reporters at the White House, explaining his decision to replace Tillerson. In a Twitter post, Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, warned that the turnover at the top of the State Department had diminished the United States with foreign leaders.


15 Years Ago-2003

Bridge City Fire and Rescue marks its 50th birthday March 22. The Bridge City Fire Department started with two trucks and 15 volunteers. Today they have grown to 40 volunteers. They have 10 vehicles and two rescue boats. One boat is named ‘Miss Flo,’ in honor of former JP Flo Edgerly. The first fire station was on Texas Ave. and was moved to Roberts and Bland in 1981. *****Mauriceville National Bank is now Orange Savings Bank.***** Employees at First Realty are Sleepy Smith, owner, Betty Derrick, Gale Beckett, Marie Trimm and Wayne Potter. (Editor’s note: Sleepy might be the only one still around the agency. ***** The U.S. has one goal, to remove Saddam from power and occupy Iraq. The Pentagon says opening days of war will see heavy bombing. A strategy officials are calling, “Shock and Awe.” United States forces plan to drop 10 times as many bombs in the opening days of the air campaign in Iraq as they did in the Persian Gulf War. The world, for the most part, is against invading Iraq. The President’s poll numbers will shoot up after the first bomb drops. *****We were sorry to hear of the death of Billie Jean Bramblett, 72, who passed away March 13. Funeral services were held Sunday, March 16. She and husband Billy had lived in the city for the past 30 years where they raised their family. Billy had cared for her the past several years due to her ill health. ***** A suggestion I received: President Bush could pull our troops from around Iraq and take on North Korea. Their madman, Kim Jong II, is determined to make his nation a nuclear power. North Korea remains one of the most dangerous regimes on the planet. The CIA has been saying for two years that they have one or two nuclear bombs with a million-man North Korean army poised just north of the demilitarized zone. (Editor’s note: 15 years later and we still face the same problem.)***** The Southeast Texas Press Club will hold their banquet on April 26. Nominees for Newsmaker of the Year are Billy Tubbs, David Bernsen, Walter Umphrey, Mike Hamilton and Kyle Hayes.***** There’s going to be a big time in old Orangefield. This year’s Crawfish Festival promises to be a good one. Hunter Hayes will perform Friday night. Saturday night will be one heck of a show with Warren Storm, Jivin’ Gene and a host of others.***** Constable Parker Thompson says he was so poor as a boy coming up in Abilene that he had a tumbleweed for a pet.****Junior Clark told me one time that when he was a boy he knew a family that was so rich they ate their laying hens.


10 Years Ago-2008

Homer Barksdale Hill Stark, 84, of Orange, passed away Tuesday, March 11. Memorial services were held March 15. He was adopted through the Settlement Home in Gatlinburg by H. J. Lutcher Stark and his first wife, Nita Hill Stark. A 1941 graduate of Orange High School, Stark attended Texas A&M University, then enlisted in the United States Navy. He operated the Sabine Yacht Basin, served on the Board of Directors of the First National Bank, Easter Seals Crippled Children’s Society, Sunset Grove County Club, March of Dimes and the Stark Foundation. He is survived by daughters Rebecca Nugent, Ramona Sands, Rebel Falcone, son, H. J. Lutcher Stark II, seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren,*****Julius Benton, 85, of Bridge City, passed away March 11. Service was held March 17. He served in WW II in the U.S. Army, received the Purple Heart, African-Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon, and American Defense Service Ribbon… He was employed by DuPont. He was survived by his wife Rosalie Placette Benton, son Ken Benton, daughters, Janis Adkins, Julie Sims and Jennifer Peloquin, 14 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and 3 great-great-grandchildren.***** Imogene Sorge Bland, 78, of Orange, died Tuesday, March 11. Funeral service was held Friday, March 14. She was a member of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Bridge City, the Gator Sam RV Club, past president of the Orange Jaycee-ettes and was a former Lioness’s. She is survived by her husband, Henry T. Bland Jr., son, Larry Thomas Bland, daughter, Deborah Ann Linscomb, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.*****Tony J. Castino, 82, of Bridge City died March 12. Service was held March 15. He served in the US Army 259th Infantry serving in WWII and retired from Neches Butane Refinery. He is survived by his wife, Mary Castino, three sons, Johnny Castino, Joe Castino and Jimmy Castino, two daughters, Kathy Mercer, Pam Hebert and grandchildren.

40 Years Ago-1978

A new 1978 Olds Cutlass Supreme, two-door, loaded will set you back $4,796 at Jim Austin Oldsmobile-Cadillac-Toyota, Over 300 new cars in stock.*****Suzanne Halliburton, Little Cypress-Mauriceville student, writes a full-page story with pictures on Dallas Cowboy all pro Billy Joe Dupree. The feature story ran in the Dunn, family owned, Opportunity Valley News newspaper. (Editor’s note: Suzanne is a sports reporter for The Austin Statesman. She travels extensively for the paper and for years had covered the Cowboys, but the OVN was where she got her start).*****Preston Fuller, L.J. Schriber and Don Harmon Jr. are salesmen for Harmon Chevrolet Used Cars located at First Street and Green Avenue.*****Bob Dartez of Western Avenue Grocery and Meat Market, has a big “Swamp Irish Sale” in observance of St. Pat’s Day.*****Donald Wayne Cole was 25 years old last week, March 13.*****Judy Shockley and Judy Wyatt are figures to watch, and several guys have been spotted doing so.***** The W.H. Stark home is being restored by Nelda and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation. The ornate Queen Ann style resident was built in 1893-94 for William Henry and Mariam Lutcher Stark. W.H. Stark was born on the banks of Ayish Bayou in San Augustine County. He came to Orange at age 21, opened a livery stable and married the daughter of H.J. Lutcher of the Lutcher/Moore Lumber Co. on Dec. 21, 1881.

45 Years Ago-1973

Buckshot Winfree, Sharon Bearden, Mike Pasternak, Phil Womack, Jules David, Don Burgess, Louis Gay, Roy Dunn, Bobby Cormier, Lynwood Sanders and Jack Whitworth were spotted at Duck’s Unlimited banquet spending a little money. Johnny Ferguson sold a painting for $200. *****A lady who knew Louis Gay as a baby, swears he was so ugly that his mother had to tie a pork chop around his neck to even get the dog to play with him.*****Grover Halliburton is recovering after having artery bypass surgery.*****Big car sale at Harmon Chevrolet. New 1973 models. Vega Hatchback coupe is $2,490, Impala Custom Coupe is $3,890, Impala Station Wagon is $3,490. All are located. (Editor’s note: Dealers could hardly give a pickup away). ***** Curtis Lee’s Texaco, 1505 Texas Ave., has Firestone 4×4 tires, 14 and 15 for $23 and the tires off your car in trade.*****Lynn’s Sack-N-Pak has Mr. Pibb, 16 ounce, 6 pack for 69 cents. Pearl beer, 6 pack 99 cents, Borden’s ice cream, 39 cents.


Bobby Fillyaw’s mom, Betty Jane Smith Fillyaw, passed away March 6, Election Day, the same day Bobby lost the election for county judge. Her late husband was Lee Roy Fillyaw, a former county judge in Newton County. Her funeral was last Thursday, March 9, just two days before reaching the age of 99. She was born in Newton on March 10, 1919. *****Drew Brees will officially be the New Orleans Saints’ quarterback in 2018. He has signed a two-year contract worth $50 million that includes a guarantee of $27 million. This will make a lot of Saints fans elated.*****On that note, the Atlanta Falcons agreed to terms with former Bridge City graduate Matt Bryant, who is the team’s all-time leading scorer. Reports are that the kicker will earn $10.5 million, with a signing bonus of $2 million, for the three-year contract. Bryant had said he would play two or three more years in the league. There’s obviously some curious times ahead to see where those years happen. You know I’d like to finish it here with this organization. Bryant has been one of the top kickers in the NFL since joining the Falcons in 2009. He has accounted for 1,029 points in his nine seasons with the team, the most by any single player in the franchise’s history. Last season Bryant made 87.2 percent of his field goal attempts, including a career high eight kicks from 50-plus yards. *****The Wall Street Bull Market, started by the Obama administration, celebrates its ninth birthday this week. It is the second longest Bull Market ever and probably is in its final stages. By this time next year, I look for the stock market to tumble 20% to 25% from its peak. A recession may well be in our future but it won’t be before the mid-term elections but shortly after, in Feb. or March of 2019. The Bear Market is not likely to be as severe as the great recession President Obama inherited. President Trump had nothing to do with this market. Our economic good fortune was in place before he came into office.*****I fear Orange County Emergency Management Director Ralph Valenciano was used as a political pawn. The day before the election he was charged with theft, giving the impression he had stolen funds from the county when actually it was for not paying a personal bill which he was trying to resolve.*****NRA puts heat on Trump and he crawfished on raising minimum age to purchase assault weapons to 21. He preached to congress not to fear NRA then he got yellow stuff running out of his collar and like we had predicted he folded. Americans expecting real leadership from Trump on gun violence have been lied to again.


A few folks we know who are celebrating birthdays this week. March 14: Jill Peveto, John Brister, Lucy Fields and Bud Briggs all celebrate on this day. Joining them are basketball player Stephen Curry, 29, actor Billy Crystal, 69 and gymnast Simone Biles.*****March 15: Celebrating today are Amber Doiron, Julie Myers and Tara Latil. Also celebrating are actress Eva Longoria, 42, and rock singer Bret Michaels, 54.*****March 16: Buffy Doiron, Jordan Doiron, Karli Anderson, Amy Dwyer have birthdays today, also Ricky Gleen Roberts, Jr., turns 16. Celebrities joining them are actors Erik Estrada, 68, Victor Garber, 68, and Lauren Graham, 50.*****March 17: Today is St. Patrick’s Day. Having birthdays on this day are Janet Jacobs, Brenda Swan, John Tallant, Sally Wingard, Stephanie Hughes, Ty Moreland and Josh Sims. Celebrating also are actors Rob Lowe, 53, Kurt Russell, 66, Gary Sinise, 62.*****March 18: Blaine Slaughter celebrates today, also Kellie Miller. Celebrities having birthdays today are pop singer Adam Levine, 38, Queen Latifah, 47 and Vanessa Williams, 54.*****March 19: Larry David turns 77 years young today. Also having a birthday is our friend of many years Carol Emerson. Joining them are Christin Wright, Courtnie Campbell, Roman Carpenter and Donna Fong. Also country singer Carrie Underwood, 34, R&B singer Robin Thicke, 40 and actress Sharon Stone, 59.*****March 20: Today is the ‘First Day of Spring.’ Brittany Hilton, Abby Ludwig, Ben Walles, Diane Sims, Kamela Latiolais, Brittany Backer celebrates today. Joining them are the youngest Trump, Barron, turns 11, director Spike Lee, 60 and actor David Thewilis, 54.


Thophile Gilbeaux, him, came stumbling through the woods, totally drunk. He came up on Preacher Gaspard baptizing in da bayou. 

Gilbeaux, he walk out in dat water to see wats going on and bump into Preacher Gaspard, who turn around him, an was almost over come by da smell of alcohol. He ax Gilbeaux, “Are you ready to find Jesus?”

Da drunk answer, “Yea, I sure am me.”

Da preacher grabs Gilbeaux and dunks him into da water. He pulls him up an ax dat drunk, “Brother, have you found Jesus?”

Gilbeaux answer, “Mais no, I don’t find no Jesus me.”

Da Preacher is shocked at da drunk’s answer so he dunks him in dat water again. This time he leave Gilbeaux in da water longer. Wen he pull him up he ax him again, “Have you found Jesus my brother?”

Da drunk again answer, “No, I haven’t found Jesus me.”

Dis time Preacher Gaspard is at his wits end and dunks da drunk back in da water and holds him down bout 30 seconds and wen Gilbeaux him started kicking his arms and legs, da preacher pull him up and ax, “For da love of God, have you found Jesus?”

Gilbeaux wipes his eyes, catch his breath and say, “Are you sure you, dis is where he fell in him?”



Tuesday’s special election, in a Republican Congressional District in Pennsylvania that Trump won by 20%, saw Democrat Connor Lamb winning over Republican Rick Saccone at deadline. That district had not voted Democratic for many years. President Trump held a rally there Saturday that was suppose to be in support of Saccone but was all about him. He introduced the candidate one hour into bragging on himself. Donald Trump, Jr. spent the last two days campaigning in Pennsylvania for the Republican candidate. The election of Lamb could be an indicator of a Democratic blue wave in November’s mid-term elections as people turn away from what has become the Trump Party.*****The Lunch Bunch dines at JB’s Barbeque this week and at Van Choate’s Tuffy’s next week. Everyone always welcome.*****Till the next time, take care. God bless America .