North of the Creaux’s Nest
I sat here Sunday morning staring at a blank sheet of paper when a friend called. After our visit of what the last two years was like, I knew what I would write about. So much of this week’s column will be allotted to recalling the stormy life we all lived through when the hurricanes came. It’s the price we pay for getting to live in this great place on the Gulf Coast.*****The response to part of the first chapter of Bum Phillips autobiography has been tremendous. Over 10,000 hits were recorded by Thursday on our website as people logged on. I’m sure many more thousands have climbed on since. This week, we complete chapter one. You will be surprised to read how Bum resolved his contract with Benson and the New Orleans Saints. It truly speaks of Bum’s character. Bum will autograph his book on Sept. 15 at the Holiday Inn on Jimmy Johnson Blvd in Port Arthur. The cost for an autographed copy will be $25, $10 of that price will go to Bum’s charities. Plans are being worked on to bring Bum to Orange County for a book signing. This is where his life began and where he grew up. On Sept. 29, he will be 87 years old. His story is remarkable. It’s my hope that we will someday soon do something special to recognize our famous son who has brought so much recognition to our area.***** I’ve got a long way to go. I hope you had a nice and safe Labor Day weekend. As for us who bring you this publication, we had to work. It’s worth it when we hear how much our readers enjoy the paper. There’s a little something for everybody. Come along, it won’t do you no harm.
Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast on Aug. 28, 2005 causing major damage to the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coastlines. Many lives were lost in New Orleans while citizens waited for help that never came. A million people would later flee the city. Many came to Texas, including Orange County. Volunteer groups assisted with food and lodging. New Orleans’ Ninth Ward was like a bomb had hit it. I had never seen destruction like I witnessed in Waveland, Bay St. Louis and Diamond Head Mississippi.
On Sept. 24, 2005, believe it or not, we fled from Hurricane Rita, to the area Katrina had practically destroyed. Rita slammed Orange County Texas with brutal winds and many twisters. As many as 100 thousand trees were uprooted and many fell on houses and buildings. The County looked like a war zone. The damage seemed impossible to recover from. Hurricane Rita was the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane ever and the worst storm we had witnessed. Rita would probably be the worse we would have in a lifetime. Next we ran from Humberto, Sept. 12, 2007, then Gustav, Sept. 4, 2008, both did minimal damage. The area, still recovering from Rita, was finally getting back in shape when the unexpected happened. For years old timers and seasoned weather men had predicted that if a hurricane ever took dead aim at Lake Sabine it could put water over Bridge City all the way to the interstate. Hurricane Ike was the largest storm to hit the Gulf of Mexico. It was so wide and big that it took in the entire Gulf, from Galveston to Florida. Bridge City and much of Orange were submerged with as much as eight feet of water in low areas. Those who stayed climbed in attics and rooftops, surrounded by snakes and debris. Ike wasn’t a big blower like Rita, winds were around a 100 mph with gusts up to 135 mph. The twisters it spawned did much destruction to homes, lifting ceilings and attics, loosing framework. However, the worse was the rushing salt water carrying ocean bottom mud, rushing into homes some six foot high, totally destroying homes and buildings. Recovery seemed impossible and would take many years. Volunteers came from throughout the country. Church groups, Salvation Army and the Red Cross fed the homeless people. Groups furnished plywood, sheetrock and other materials. Government help came slow; our city and county leaders shouted loud and clear to no avail. Thanks to Houston Mayor Bill White and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, FEMA, who earlier had refused to send housing, started bringing in FEMA trailers. At first just a few at a time until Mayor White pushed on and homes started arriving in large amounts. People buckled down and started the terrible task of rebuilding their homes and lives. Many old timers, 50-year residents of the Bridge City area, collected their insurance, sold the property and moved to higher ground. Others, with no flood insurance, chose to stay and rebuild. Insurance companies were hell-bent on not paying “above the water line” despite heavy construction damage. Many had to be sued to receive descent amounts in order to repair their homes. Many are still pending. The recovery has been amazing two years later considering the damage. Some work remains but for the most part our communities are whole again. The city of Orange, our county government and the city of Bridge City have had a recovery that at one time seemed to be a pipe dream. Bridge City School District had to abandon two school houses and students are still in temporary buildings. A new school to house students of both schools is under construction. The school administrators have done a fantastic job with the recovery and repair of facilities. Also the county, only a few buildings remain to be rebuilt. One is the Justice of the Peace office, which will be rebuilt at the airport.
It’s impossible in this short column to describe the horrors of Ike but what is most impressive is the resolve of the people. With an eight-foot high water surge throughout the area, homes, autos, personal things like photos of the family, a lifetime of collected antiques, furniture, their favorite pillow and mattress, everything they owned was put out on the street in a the junk pile. The people of Orange County are too tough to lose the battle with nature. The worse disaster to ever hit here didn’t get the national exposure of other places but no one has done a better job of recovery in just two short years.
TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
35 Years Ago-1975
A letter was received this week from Anna, Illinois addressed to Jackie Harmon, P.O. Box 3300, Harmon, TX. Now we have all known for sometime that Jackie bought up a lot of downtown Orange property but we were not aware that he had bought enough of the city to change it’s name to Harmon, Texas.*****Gov. Dolph Briscoe attends a coffee for citizens at the Orange House while touring the area.*****Lynn and Sue Ableson are the proud parents of a baby boy and have also moved into a new home. (Editor’s note: That baby boy is 35 years old today.)*****Mrs. Ovie Harmon is in Orange Memorial for a routine check up.*****Lynn Hall’s son, John Sanford, turns 11 years old this week. (Editor’s note: I can’t believe that boy is 46 years old today. We knew his lovely mom when she was much younger than that.)*****LuAnn Dumas, Miss Bridge City, reins over Bridge City Day festival. Chief Fulton Battise, of the Alabama Coushatta tribe, served as parade marshal. Dr. David Olson is chamber president.*****Earl Thomas, West Orange running back, leads team in a 26-7 victory over Leon Godchaux. (Editor’s note: His son Earl Jr. is a former University of Texas safety and now a rookie starter for the Seattle Seahawks.)*****The running of Rick Smith and blocking of Barry Davis helped Little Cypress-Mauriceville beat Kelly 27-0.*****Ed Peveto’s scrappy Orangefield Bobcats played defending state champs Newton to an 18-18 deadlock. (Editor’s note: I remember that game.)*****Bridge City comes from behind to defeat Louisiana powerhouse the Sulphur Tors, 19-14. Last season Bridge City beat Sulphur 14-13 in the closing minutes. Sulphur went on to the Louisiana state finals.*****Vic Hern, Dennis Powell and Jack Couvillion witnessed Bill White, with his five wood on the DERA 163-yard, no. 9 hole, ace the hole after the ball took a hop into the green and scooted right into it. (Editor’s note: I wonder if the Judge can recall that far back?)
Donald B. “Pete” Campbell, manager since 1946 of the Dupont Cellophane plant in Iowa, arrived here this week to take over as manager of the Sabine River Works. (Editor’s note: On boy, do we remember old Pete. Talk about political. Dupont took over city politics under Pete.)*****Harvey Prince, a young Orange musician, has organized an orchestra. Members are Al Steele, trombone, Bill Tate, guitar, Tommy Shelton, trumpet, Charlie Barry, drum, Don Hubert, saxphone and Prince, featured on an Hammond organ.*****Married this week were Margaret Barret and Hubert Spradlin. (Edtor’s note: They are still together. Ms. Margaret stuck it out 60 years.)*****Evelyn June Runnels and Frankie A. Giarrantano were wed this week also. (Editor’s note: Frank died several years ago. As far as I know, Miss Evelyn is still around.)*****Lena Johnson married Elvis Davis Jr. (Editor’s note: It would seem Presley wasn’t the first Elvis. One hundred years ago, there was an Elvis Davis Sr.)
This week we welcome our new editor Nicole Gibbs. She’s a young, talented mother of nine-month-old Eryk. Nicole and her husband, Dustin are new transplants from Oklahoma, however her father Mike McNair is Director of Arts and Science at Lamar Orange. Nicole loves the challenge of the newspaper business. Like so many others in our newspaper family we hope she will be with us a long time. It will take time to learn the lay-of-the-land and also the players. She’s bright and will do just fine.***** The new Trinity Baptist Church, which was the former Methodist Church building on Park Ave., will have their first service Sunday. Our old friend Charles “Rusty” Walton, who years ago was at First Baptist in Bridge City, is coming out of retirement and will pastor the new church. Everybody will like the Rev. Rusty. He’s pastored 2,500 member churches and small churches. He keeps it interesting. Many of our friends belong to the new church including Jerry and Loretta Hughes, Elaine Meyers, Jim Dunaway and other good folks. They invite you to visit anytime. I look forward to seeing Rusty.*****The 11th Annual Senior Citizen Picnic, presented by the City of Pinehurst on Labor Day, was another big success despite the rain. Mayor T.W. Permenter and his staff welcomed nearly 600 citizens. Robert’s Restaurant again served up some good vittles.*****Some of our friends we know who are celebrating birthdays this week are Dr. Howard Williams, everybody’s friend, celebrates on Sept. 8.***Our buddy Millard “Neighbor Cox” marks his special day Sept. 9.***The sexist peace officer we know Sharon Gearhart celebrates on Sept. 9.****Also marking a birthday on that day is Janet LeLeux, Penny and Gerald’s baby girl.*** Sept. 13 is the birthday of our longtime special friend Fadra Thibeaux. ***Sept. 13 is also a big day for Jenna Dunn Balleu. Her mom Kerrie celebrates the next day on Sept. 14. Happy birthday to all.*****Friday night lights really saw the fireworks in the Little Cypress-Nacodoches game. LC-M won the game 63-53. A total of 116 points were scored. LC-M had 269 yards rushing, 237 passing, 31 first downs and 506 total yards. Nacogdoches also ran up and down the field with 253 yards rushing, 251 passing, 504 total yards and 23 first downs. The two teams totaled 1,010 yards. I don’t know if that’s a record but it’s a damn good average for the offense. The defense has some catching up to do. The Bears travel to Conroe this week.*****West Orange-Stark, who has the toughest non-district schedule, met Friendswood last Friday and lost a hard fought game by one point, 35-34. WO-S needs to find a kicking game during this week off. WO-S had a hard time getting people to play them so they went up to 4-A schools. Dan Ray would play Lamar if that’s the only game he could get.*****Orangefield will play at Woodville this week. Friday they scratched out a good win over Buna, 12-7.*****Over at Bridge City, Matt Menard with 130 yards rushing, 134 yards passing, put on a show against Vidor. The Cards won 31-13. Dishon caught five passes for 105 yards. Josh Ozio intercepted a pass for a 48 yards touchdown. The Cardinals are at Kelly this week. If coach Chris Stump’s bunch stays healthy it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see them go 9 and 1. I’m not betting the farm. There’s a lot of if’s. The B.C. defense got valuable experience against Vidor’s rushing game. They will be tough on both sides of the ball.***** Lamar will host Webber International from Florida Saturday. Show your support.*****At Seattle, safety Jardon Babineaux, of Port Arthur, was released. The Seahawks will go with Orange native rookie Earl Thomas.*****We owe a big thanks to the writers and photographers covering the games for us. Meri Elan Jacobs, WO-S, Joey Encalade, B.C., Mark Dunn, O.F. and shooting the games are Larry Trimm, Tony Gunn, Teri Newall and Mark. Special thanks to the LC-M journalism class for their coverage of the Bears. Everyone does a great job.*****Five vie for CMS “Entertainer of the Year” award. Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert. Lambert is up for nine awards, the most for any female country star. The 44th CMA awards will air Nov. 10, on ABC.*****Speaking of country music, Loretta Lynn has been in the music business 50 years. She will make the occasion with a special album teaming up with friends Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Kid Rock, Miranda Lambert, Martina McBride, Reba, Carrie Underwood, Steve Earl, Lee Ann Womack and others. The artists will put their own spin on some of the “Coal Miner’s Daughter’s” classic hits. The album will be out Nov. 8.*****Only Randy Jackson remains as judge on “American Idol.” Kara DioGuardi left the show Friday joining Simon Cowell and Ellen DeGeneres, who quit earlier. Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez are believed to be front runners for the panel.
On Sept. 9, Michelle Williams will be 30; Adam Sandler, 44; Hugh Grant, 50; and Michael Keaton, 59.***Sept. 10, Randy Johnson, 47; Amy Irving, 57; Joe Perry, 60 and Arnold Palmer will be 81.***Sept. 11, Ludacris, 33; Harry Connick, Jr., 43; Moby, 45; Kristy McNichol, 48 and Lola Falana, 87.***Sept. 12, Jennifer Hudson, 29; Yao Ming, 30; Ruben Studdard, 32; and George Jones will be 79.***Sept. 13, Ben Savage, 30; Tyler Perry, 41; Travis Smiley, 46 and Jacqueline Bisset, 66.***Sept. 14, Sam Neil, 63 and Tommy Lee Jones, 64;***Sept. 15, Heidi Montag, 24; Prince Harry, 26; Dan Marino, 49; Oliver Stone, 64 and Marlin Olsen, 70.
Irby and Gertie Comeaux had two beautiful teenage daughters but Irby him, always talked about have a boy. He wanted a son. Wen Gertie got pregnant her, Irby was so excited. Sho nuff, Gertie delivered a healthy baby boy. Irby rushed to the nursery to see his new son him. He was shocked and horrified at da ugliest child he ever saw.
He rush back to Gertie’s hospital room and tole her, “Look here Gertie, dere’s no way I can be da papa of dat baby no. Look at da two beautiful daughters I fathered me. Gertie, you must have been fooling around behind my back yeah.”
Gertie her, smiled sweetly and replied, “No Irby, not dis time.”
If we can slip by another three weeks, we will dodge the hurricane bullet for the second year in a row. We had a bad three-year period of hurricane activity. At the time of the last evacuation, we were paying nearly $4 a gallon for gasoline. Many natives ran out on Texas highways and gas was hard to find. Today, gasoline is plentiful and $2.45 a gallon. Two years ago this month the financial meltdown that sank Lehman Brothers, made AIG a ward of the state and sent Merrill Lynch to Bank of America and continued the unraveling started in 2008 that facilitated the crash under the Bush Administration. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Robert’s this week and have lunch with Uncle Jim at Novrozsky’s next Wednesday. Everyone is always welcome.*****Saturday marks a tragic day in our country. It’s the 9th anniversary of 9-11. I’ll never forget watching with Dwayne Marsh when the second plane hit the Twin Towers and the feelings and thoughts that went through my mind. Read us cover to cover and check us daily on our web site at therecordlive.com. Take care and God bless America.