To all of you who have been following Creaux and I for all these many years, we welcome you to continue to join us right here every week throughout 2009. I for one and I’m sure many of you, join me in bidding goodbye and good riddance to 2008 which will long live in our memory. Sept. 13 is burnt in our memory. Here on the coast, like 9-11, it is remembered around the nation. Fortunately, in Orange County we didn’t have any casualties because of Ike. However, at least 90 people are confirmed dead down the coast to Galveston. We did lose some lives, however, when the evacuation of two storms caused too much strain on some of our elderly. Well, one good way to look at it is that nature has dealt us its best lick and we have survived it and will recover. The best record I can find is that the last storm surge to hit Orange-Bridge City was 1865, the year the Civil War ended. I’m betting we won’t see another surge for many years, if ever. I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating – we are extremely fortunate to have the leadership in our county government that we have. Because of Judge Thibodeaux and the commissioners’ foresight, we fared far better than other counties that were hit by Ike. We had the money in reserve; we could pay cash on the spot for our needs and wait on the government to reimburse us. Other counties had to wait on the government to start their recovery because they didn’t have a reserve. Now if I could just get them pumped up to see that a levee is built or at least started. It’s do-able. Just grab the bull by the horns. State Rep. Joe Deshotel is not a bad place to start. He has Obama’s ear plus Obama carried Jefferson County and Joe’s son was his campaign contact.*****Well, I’ve started stirring so I might as well not stop now. I’ve got to get going. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

Judge Janice Menard, justice of the peace in Precinct 3, feels homeless. She is living in an apartment now. Her beautiful home will almost cost as much to fix as it would to build a nice size home somewhere. I know the judge loves the home she and Bobby built and can’t wait to get back to it. So my wish for our friend is that she will be home by spring.*****Our friend Capt. David Peck, after serving as a sheriff’s captain under two sheriffs, is out of a job today. Our wish for this professional peace officer is that good fortune comes his way and he’s able to land on his feet with a job in his profession. Special thanks to David and wife Patsy for their help after Ike devastated us. We will never forget you.*****We extend best wishes to friends Josie and Van Choate who lost their Mauriceville restaurant, Tuffy’s, to Hurricane Ike. The place is getting fixed and totally remodeled but is running a little behind their January reopening and has been set back to mid February. We wish them much success with the new menu when they reopen. Special thanks to those fine friends for the help they gave us that meant so much in a time of need after Ike when the future looked bleak. It’s great to have special friends like the Choates.*****A special thanks also to the Harmons who have been so kind to let us have quarters to operate out of and get this paper out to the consumer.*****We extend best wishes to Sheriff Keith Merritt and his administration. It’s a big and important job that won’t be without it’s hitches. To our friends we wish success. Law enforcement is always a rocky road.*****Best wishes to Sharon Bearden who had a bad thing happen to him in the last few days. He turned 70 and we know how traumatic that is for him. So if you see him please console him. The guy needs it.

I’m shooting in the dark but I believe that Judge Joe Parkhurst will not resign his justice of the peace post for another term. He’s a prince of a guy whose great disposition remains the same day in and day out. A Cove boy, educated at Bridge City and Sam Houston he spent most of his life in education. Best wishes judge, whatever you choose to do. *****I believe if the Texas Legislature is ever going to overthrow the speaker of the house, now is the time. There are enough Republicans dissatisfied with Craddock. If they join the demos, he’s gone. I believe he’s gone on a very close vote. *****On the international scene, Middle East violence will face President Barack Obama upon taking office. Thousands of people will die inside the Gaza Strip as fighting between Israel and the militant Palestinian group Hamas escalates. The pressing problem is still the lack of a Palestinian homeland. Peacemaking has had very little success by U.S. presidents for decades. Obama, having to focus on a bad recession, two wars, etc.; one will find it most valuable to have Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. Here’s my prediction, poverty defines Gaza as much as conflict does. Clinton will have her defining moment when, after decades of fighting, molds a true peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. I base that on one third of the population being unemployed, staples and fuel in short supply. The people will be ready for peace and Hillary is just the right person at the right time. She will have both sides agree to a truce and she will forge a lasting peace. She will get high marks from governments around the world.*****Locally, I predict the county will get one major lawsuit, maybe two, filed by out of town lawyers. I can hear my phone ringing already.

Andrew Guidry, 76, passed away Sunday, Dec. 28. Services were Dec. 31 at St. Mary in Orange. We had known Andy nearly 50 years. He was one of the first class guys we had the pleasure to be friends with. Our families went back to his first wife Ann, who died at a young age. She was the mother of Coach David Guidry, Richard Guidry, Paul Guidry, daughters Jennifer Franklin and Paula Jacobs. All youngsters we’ve known since they were little guys and gals. A great bunch of kids. Andy never knew a stranger and always loved being a farmer and working with the soil and livestock. To his wife Carrie and the family we send our sincere sympathy on their loss of this good man. (Please see obit this issue.)

Law enforcement made big changes Jan. 1. Keith Merritt became the new sheriff. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux swore him into office at midnight. He and his wife Marlene are both Orange natives. Merritt was serving as constable in Percent 1 when he defeated Sheriff Mike White. Upon taking office Merritt made several changes in the administration. Not rehired were Chief Deputy David Reeves, Capt. David Peck, Capt. Ralph Osborne, Lt. Pete Kindall and several other deputies. Janois Strause was named captain of the support division, Clint Hodgkinson replaces Peck as captain of the patrol division, and Capt. Don Harmon replaces Osborne at the jail division. Tommy Smith was retrained, as investigator, captain Rodney Harrison, formally with Port Arthur PD, is the new chief deputy replacing Reeves.. ***** Three new constables were sworn into office. Chris Humble, Precinct 1; Rob Strause, Precinct 2; Mark Philpott, precinct 3; Weldon Peveto (Pct. 4) was re-elected. *****A new county commissioner, David Dubose replaced James Stringer in Precinct 1. *****Hopefully we can get all of these public servants together with the Wednesday Lunch Bunch at Robert’s Restaurant on Jan. 7 to break bread and meet the folks. *****Mary McKenna has been named Citizen of the Year by the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce. Mary is the executive director of Southeast Texas Hospice. She is  also responsible for seeing that the Ike damaged Hollywood Cemetery will be restored to previous condition. Due to the weather, this project has been put on hold. *****Deaths in 2008 that were a part of our lives include Paul Newman, a class guy, great actor, and 10-time Academy Award winner. He died Sept. 26 at age 83. Part of our music culture singer Eddy Arnold died May 8 at age 89. Heart surgeon Michael Debakey passed away at age 99. Musical genius Bo Diddley died June 2. Tim Russert, 58, author and host of “Meet the Press” died June 13. One of the greatest football players Sammy Baugh, 94, who played with TCU and Washington Redskins. “Slingin’ Sammy” once led the NFL in passing, defensive interceptions and punting. Preacher Roe, 92, died Nov. 9. In a 12-year career with St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Brooklyn he was 127-84 as a pitcher. Eartha Kitt died Dec. 25 at age 81. She was the first sultry black sex symbol. She was hot in the 1950s. She had a black Cherokee mom and white dad.*****Special anniversaries: Longtime friends Johnnie and Millie Spears, married in 1948, celebrated their 60th on Christmas Day. Johnnie’s a great guy and Millie has always been a beautiful lady. They raised a great family of seven children and now have a busload of great grandkids. Here’s wishing them many more.*****Roy and Phyllis Dunn celebrated their 54th New Year’s Eve. *****Wendell and Sandra Winstead celebrated their golden anniversary Friday, Jan. 2. They are Rick “The Tileman’s” parents. Someone asked which of his parents he took his gift of non-stop gab from. I really don’t know but I’m told they are great folks and being married 50 years is quite an accomplished. *****Michael Gauthier and Taryn Hubbard have announced the plans to wed Jan. 31. Michael is a 2005 UIL State Gold Medal winner in the 100 meter dash from BCHS. He went on to sprint for the Lamar Cardinals. Congratulations to the couple and best wishes.*****Meanwhile, a new boy was born to Ashley Gordy on Dec. 23 named Kayden Malcolm. Congrats to her, Tyler and the grandparents.*****The last Orange County baby born in 2008 was Hayden Wayne George. Proud first-time grandpa and occasional sports contributor to the Record, is Mark Walles. Hayden’s parents are Alayna Walles and Kenneth ‘K-Dub’ George. *****This week, Dec. 29, 163 years ago, in 1845, Texas became the 28th state. This happened nine years after the Alamo fell in 1836 and Sam Houston defeated Santa Anna and the Mexicans at San Jacinto. Texas was still fighting renegade Indian tribes through most of the 1800s. The Lone Star State took its name from the 1836 one-star flag of the republic. It’s the most recognized nickname of any state.*****State Rep. Mike Hamilton will change his Mauriceville office location he now occupies with County Commissioner Owen Burton. Mike is moving to Texas 12. I’ve been thinking it’s a large office, the rent is cheap enough, it’s very visible so why not locate the sub-sheriff’s station there rather than getting back in the building and location business. They would also have some great neighbors.*****Corky and Betty Harmon, after taking a week off, returned this week from Gaylord Resort and Convention Center near Grapevine. They describe it as a amazing place to see and visit. Hotel rent ranges from $700 to $1,500 a day. The Harmons were able to get a better deal but they say there is no sign of recession in Gaylord.*****Nick’s Pharmacy, in Bridge City, in business more than 50 years, has always been one of the most successful, independent drugstores. Word is out the store has been purchased by the Walgreen’s chain store. That will leave Bridge City with only one independent pharmacy. Bridge City Family Pharmacy, who bought out Harrington’s and King’s. Jerry Stone from King’s still works some for Family Pharmacy. People in Bridge City have always preferred independent, home owned stores because of the personalized quick service. It will be interesting to see how many of Nick’s customers go to the chain store or stay with the local independent.

Angela Abshire, Cody Johnson, Courtney Anderson, David Villanoueva, Jason Sieck, June Gunstream, Kathy Mercer, O’Neal Waldrop, Barbara Dardeau, Betty Johnston, Devin Force, Lillian Wray, Mary Williams, Nancy Lapeyrolerie, Catherine Young, Deborah Schlicher, Malinda Vail, Patsy Dowder, Clint Reves, Louise Dubose, Marvin Ziller, Kendra Peveto, Jeff Peveto and of course, a special birthday to the one and only Skipper Free.

Joe Comeaux him, went to buy groceries at da new, most modern, up-to-date supermarket in Abbeville. Da store is owned by Robbie’s grandson, Ned Russo. Da Russos are longtime grocer men so Ned him was raised in da business.
Joe says, “I never saw nutting like dat me. In da produce section, dey put in an automatic water spray to keep dem vegables fresh, just before it go on, it made da sound of tunder and da smell of rain. Me, I like dat. Wen I pass da milk case, dem cows moo and it smell like fresh bale hay. In da meat market dere’s da aroma of charcoal grill steak, wit onions. Boy, it make me hungry, Yai. Wen I get close to da egg, I hear dem hen cluck and cackle and I smell dem bacon and eggs just like Grandma Thibodeaux’s kitchen. Da bakery shop, boy Sha, da smell of fresh bread, cakes an cookies make my mout’ water, Keyaw! Me, I was have a great time in dis new story bu Poo Yai, one ting for sure, I don’t tink I’m gonna buy toilet paper dere no more, Pewee.”

I hope you enjoy this special issue. Congrats to all the players on the All Orange County football team. A very interesting and historical story appears inside this week by Leroy Perego. Also, Roy has written a special Down Life’s Highway column. Check it out. *****I look forward to the new year being a better one than the last. I’m sure it won’t be as historical but that’s all right by me. Thanks for your time, mine is up. Take care and God bless. Have a great year.