This week, March 13, will mark six months since Ike came calling. Heartbreak followed for many on the Gulf Coast. In Bridge City all but 14 homes were affected. Most people have been displaced or are living in FEMA trailers. Many residences have left, never to return, while others are working diligently to get back in their homes and resume a normal life. Many are in a desperate situation, others, with flood insurance, have faired fairly well. One thing that seems universal around the community is determination. Everyone is playing the hand that was dealt them. Bridge City in particular is a long way from being normal again. However, the people who are staying believe their town will again be the beautiful bedroom community it once was.

I recall we got our papers out on Wednesday and started to work on the next week’s issue while keeping an eye on the weather channel. By Friday morning, all of the employees decided it was time to get out of Dodge. I for one was convinced we wouldn’t take a direct hit from the hurricane. I figured correctly it would hit shore near Galveston so I rode it out. Mark Dunn’s good judgment was to put our computers in his van. Even though he didn’t evacuate, he saved our computers, allowing us to be publishing within two weeks.
I’ll never forget the surge pouring in water from every direction. Our area in Orange County had become the mouth of a funnel being fed by the waters pushed toward us after being blocked by the Port Arthur seawall. At daylight on Saturday morning water was waist-high everywhere. The appearance of snakes drove people, stranded in attics, to roofs. Communication was totally cut off, utilities non-existent, transportation impossible. Residents were being rescued and sights unbelievable. Some homes were blown away, others unlivable. Family pets left behind swam in uncertain directions, lost and hungry. Our life for over a week is a great story in survival with neighbors bonding together in what seemed like a small island with no news from the outside world. Many stories will be told in the future about obtaining food, preparing it and surviving to tell about it. If you had told all the people that at sunrise they would have nothing left, everything ending up on the curb, all gone and that they would be displaced six months later, they would have believed you had gone loco.

Many stories are sad, many people will never fully recover. Others have become sick and some elderly have died due to stress from the devastation. What upsets me most is how the national media has showed the victims of Ike, up and down the coast, as insignificant and Ike as a minor natural disaster. The government now has committed $400 million extra to the victims of Katrina. We will continue to fight our fight and will overcome, you can book it.*****Gotta move on. Come along, it won’t do you no harm.

Republicans are attacking earmarks in an attempt to make the Obama $410 billion spending package look like a Democratic giveaway. Their henchmen, Sean Hannity on Fox, makes earmarks a daily subject to blame Demos as Liberal. Well folks, almost every Republican has what they refer to as earmarks including Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, Rep. Ted Poe, Ron Paul, Rep. John Culbenson is seeking at least 18 earmarks worth $63.6 million. Sen. John Cornyn is seeking 18 earmarks worth almost $200 million. Rep. Kevin Brady, three earmarks worth $7.5 million. I happen to agree with Brady however when he says “local projects and national initiatives can have great merit and be worth the investment. I also believe that so-called earmarks should be checked against need. Legitimate earmarks, targeting specific local projects, are a good thing. The Republicans, who also want earmarks for their areas, are some of the same Republicans who are trying to make earmarks seem like a Democratic spend and give away program. It’s hypocritical that over 40 percent of the earmarks belong to the Repubs. That brings me to the quote of the week by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer: “You can’t spell earmark without an ‘R.’” In the Republican’s haste to make the administration look bad they may be jeopardizing some money for needed projects in their own districts. For a while, why don’t the Limbaugh and Hannity followers and our office-holders just cool it and let’s all work to get us out of this Republican mess we were left in.*****

30-Years Ago-1979
W.T. Oliver receives the Citizen of the Year award. Born Feb. 15, 1926, on Treadway Rice Farm between Port Neches and Beaumont, he was raised in Little Abbeville in Port Neches. He is a former state representative and has done much to help many people and organizations. He and wife Ann reside in Bridge City.*****Ann Oliver’s sister, June and husband Earl Bishop, lost their daughter Mary Ann, age 16, this week in an auto accident.*****H.H. Henry Houseman has announced a run for the Orange County Drainage District. (Editor’s note: I wonder who Uncle Henry was mad at?)*****This week Shon Hudson has completed 40 years at First National Bank. *****Judge Sid Caillavet is under the weather. *****Mark Dunn is hospitalized with a much aggravated knee problem. *****Charles “Pat” Patton and Juliet celebrate 30 years of marriage and 20 years in business with Bridge City Gravely Tractor. *****Marie Feltman is the new hair stylist at Ron’s House of Elegance. *****Four-year-old GiGi Anne Guillory won two crowns and two trophies in “Most Photogenic and Most Talented” at the Miss World Beauty Pageant. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Chuck Guillory.*****A former Bridge City athlete is still making news. Dee Dee James, a freshman basketball player at Tyler Junior College, has started in every game this season with an 18-point average that puts her eighth nationally. The team is ranked third in the nation. *****Mark Hryhorchuck, a senior meteorology student at A&M, has earned the rank of “Distinguished Student.”*****Father Pat Hickey, St. Henry Catholic Church, celebrates a birthday March 8. He is originally from Ireland. *****The lovely Mrs. Audrey Lapeyrolerie, mother of many, will celebrate her birthday March 18. (Editor’s note: We’re running the announcement far ahead of time so none of her great kids will forget.)

35 Years Ago-1974
Bridge City Youth Basketball All Stars. Major League, Billy Bryant, Thomas Dixon, Reginald Etheridge, Shannon Foreman, Harold Haymon, Brian Loyd, Gary Miller, Brian Robinson, Wenden Sanders and Jesse Smith. Alternates are John Ford, Miles Wallace, Scott Passmore, Larry Gerney, Gerry Gore. Others on the team are David Cagle, Tommy Spector, Johnny King, Danny Woods, Milton Briggs, Bucky Thompson, Charles Guihas, Troy Bland, Marc Edgerly and Mark Angelle.*****Fire Chief Henry Stanfield retires after 42 years of service that started in 1928. He previously took up residence in the station at age 13. His father was the late sheriff L.C. “Dick” Stanfield. His parents divorced when Henry was a young boy. Born in 1907, he has many colorful stories of Orange’s past when it was called the bad lands. (Editor’s note: Roy is considering publishing a profile story on the man he called Uncle Henry, possibly in our anniversary edition in April.)*****Pitcher Doug Patterson will be leaving Florida next week.*****Tommy Segura receives honor from the Air Force.*****Dick Manuel is up and about after being injured in a car accident.*****Buddy Moore purchased the Kountz News from longtime publisher Archie Fulington. (Editor’s note: Buddy passed away last month.)

Our buddy Cal Broussard, who has been in the hospital six months and lived through 14 operations, is out and back in Orange. If his strength continues to improve, with the help of a walker and Miss Betty’s guiding hand, he plans to attend the Wednesday Lunch Bunch feed Wednesday at Robert’s. We will give you a recap.*****Speaking of coming home, our friend girl Mary Stanton has given up her bus driving job at Motiva to return as store manager at the Exxpress Mart, Texas Avenue and Roundbunch. Until a year ago, Mary had been the captain at the Exxon Mobile outlet several years. She makes shopping at a “C’” store fun.*****We ran into Don “Cochise” Shockley at the Exxpress coffee bar. He and Judy’s home was destroyed by four feet of Ike’s salt water. Like so many of the old Bridge City home guards, they are rebuilding and staying put in one of the best communities in the land.*****Anna Belle Rost had a birthday recently and back on Jan. 9, Matt and Michele Flowers made her a great grandmother when they welcomed new son Kaston Alan Flowers. Anna Belle and Roy were classmates at Abbeville High School and made their first communion together as 10 year olds. Kaston’s grandparents are Buddy and Cindy Flowers. Roy says Buddy, the son of the late Edgar Flowers, is a kid he’s known since his birth. Other grandparents are Bobby and Anne Payne. Congrats to all.*****On March 14, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Bridge City Second Baptist will host their Spring Festival. Free food, live music, games and prizes. The church is located next to the fire station on Bland Street.***** Until a new building is erected, our friend Granny, of Granny’s Seafood House, which was destroyed by Ike, can be found two miles down from the old store on Texas 87, in the middle of the medium, towards the Rainbow Bridge. Look for her for fresh bait shrimp or other seafood. She and Dale are like everyone else, just trying to get back on their feet.*****Let me let you in on something. There is no need to go to Houston or New Orleans to find that unusual or antique piece of furniture. Check with Bryan’s Bayou Trading Co. at 1170 Texas Ave. Get the item you’re looking for at a fraction of the cost you would pay elsewhere. Tell them we sent you for a bargain.*****One of the best fans of this column is youngster Logan Dubose. He reads and quotes us religiously. Logan wants to be a Cajun storywriter. That’s OK by me. I could use the help. Sometimes my well runs dry. After 30 years of telling stories sometimes an idea just has trouble appearing. Logan, you can be my apprentice assistant and someday you can be a journalist and tell your stories. *****Congrats to the Bridge City track team for winning the Pirate relays. Congrats also to the baseball team for winning the Nederland tournament. Ike might have put some hurt on Bridge City but like the spirit of the citizens, the BC athletes will not lie down or be denied despite being displaced and homeless. *****Our apologies to Harmon Pre-owned Cars. Despite us running the same ad that had previously appeared, the Harmon boys sold four nice cars. Hopefully this week we run the correct ad. Check them out.*****Celebrity birthdays. Liza Minnelli, 63, on March 12; Quincy Jones, 76; and Billy Crystal, 62 on March 14.*****A few natives celebrating birthdays: Dottie Gunstream, March 11, Carol Ann Kimbrow and John Kimbrow, March 13, Dick Powell, March 15. Other March birthdays are Claude Traver, Julie Myers, Buffy and Jordan Doiron. *****Couples celebrating anniversaries: David and Pie Bridges, March 11, John and Beverly Hanes, March 12, Mike and Michelle Reynolds, March 16. ***** Donna and Jimmy Scales are heading to Las Vegas where daughter Jackie is coaching basketball in a tournament. Donna said a trip to anywhere to get out of that FEMA trailer would be nice but Vegas will be fun.*****Gisela Houseman is in Alaska attending the famous dog sleigh races. People come from around the world to the event. Gisela will also meet with Gov. Sarah Palin and appear on CNN. Meanwhile Shirley Walker is holding down the fort. Gisela should have a good story to tell us when she returns.*****Obama lifts the ban on stem cell research. Chances are if you are 60 or younger that you will have a long life if you can make another 10 years. Stem cell in the next few years will heal many ills including Alzheimer’s disease. *****Mark and Barbette Philpott are due back from Las Vegas this week. They have completed the repairs, more like rebuilding their home, and were due a break after having postponed their vacation.*****We don’t know what the situation is with the Bridge City LaQuinta Inn. Neal has gone underground and no one has seen his shadow.*****Judge Roy Derry Dunn slipped off on vacation this week.***** Also, Judge Carl Thibodeaux and wife were in Washington, D.C. Carl, who has had his shoulder to the wheel since Ike, welcomed a little break after attending an important meeting in Washington. They plan to catch a train to New York for a few days even though Carl doesn’t like New York.*****From time to time I mention a special lady. This week my choice is a super guy, Judge Rodney Price. A good man in a sometimes cruel world.

Cindy Reynolds, Dottie Gunstream, George Baker, Kate Benoit, A.J. Strahan, Colton “C.J.” Dugan, Andrew Willingham, Carol Ann Kimbrow, Jean Braus, John Collin Kimbrow, Lindsey Bland, Claude Tarver, Lana Sepulvado, Anthony Fraccastoro, Bud Briggs, Dick Powell, Dusty Jennings, Jennifer Kelly, Julie Myers, Addie Batson, Amber Doiron, Blane Slaughter, Buffy Doiron, Jordan Doiron, Karli Anderson, Leslie Paula Robinson, Margie Baker, Cortnie Campbell, William Bryant, Brenda Swan, Cody Edwards, Ernie Edwards, John Tallant, Martha Dyer Howell, Sally Wingard, Stephanie Hughes, Tiffany Moreau, Ty Moreland, Ricky Parker, Elroy Edwards and Josh Sims.

Clovis Thibodeaux and Sostan Comeaux were standing at da base of a flagpole looking up. Clotile walked by and axe ‘Mais, wat yall doing, hanh?”
Clovis answer, “We suppose to find da height of da flagpole but we don’t got a ladder us.”
Clotile, her, took a wrench from her purse, loosened a few bolts and laid da pole down. Den Clotile took a tape measure from her pocket, took a measurement, announced, “18 feets, six inches,” and walked away.
Sostan, him, he shook his head and laughed, “Clovis, ain’t dat just like a women, we axe for da height and she gives us da length.”
(Editor’s note: Las we heard Clovis and Sostan, dem, are now working for “W” at his Crawford ranch.)

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up March 17. Some parts of the country make a big deal out of it. Even as a kid in school when we wore a clover and some green, it was made over more than today. The Irish played a big part in the development of our country and also at Sabine Pass and the Alamo. A swamp Scot-Irish is someone raised in Scott, La., on Irish potatoes.
Country singer Hank Locklin, 91, died Monday. Many of us who listened to country music back in the ‘50s were fans of Locklin (the other Hank). His single hits “Send My the Pillow You Dream On” and “Please Help Me, I’m Falling” are classics. But he had many other great hits from 65 albums, including Irish songs done in country. There was a great bunch of pure country singers at that time that sang storytelling songs such as Slim Whitman, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, Claude King, Hank Thompson and a host of others. *****I see where Ben Barnes from Comanche, Texas, is back in the spotlight. When I see something on Ben I think about our lifetime friend G.L. “Red” Garrett who was Barnes Orange County Campaign Chairman for lieutenant governor when Ben was only 26 years old. *****Gotta wind up. Be sure and patronize our family of advertisers who bring you this complimentary newspaper every week. As for me, I’ve got to check out Brown Hearing Aid Center. I’m having problems with the sound of the first letter in a word. Pretty Nancy Gillis, the technician at Brown’s, says she can give me a free test and solve my problem. You might also need to check them out. You folks take care; God bless.