LOOKING IKE IN THE EYE

Should we go, should we stay, that’s what we debated about leaving as time was rushing away. It was Sept. 12, 2008, and Ike was predicted to make landfall probably around Sabine Pass by morning. The wind speed wasn’t going to be as high as other hurricanes I’d weathered so my family decided to hunker down and ride this storm out. The one thing we hadn’t considered was the storm surge, water, plenty of water. We were in a safe enough home to weather strong winds but about 2 a.m., while everyone else slept, the wind began howling so loud I started wondering if we had made a mistake. I headed downstairs to check the doors and about that time a rush of water pushed in through the French doors. I quickly found towels believing it was the swimming pool running over. Before I could get towels in place the room had filled with water. I woke everyone downstairs and told them to head upstairs. Strangely enough, within a couple of hours the water ran out as fast as it had entered. When daylight came it revealed that nothing and no one in Bridge City was spared the devastating water damage. Fortunately, our living quarters were out of the water, but as far as we could see Bridge City was part of Lake Sabine. We lost eight vehicles, two collectors. We would be without wheels for awhile. Two dogs, a Lab and a German Shepherd had been left by neighbors, locked in by a cyclone fence. Water was waist deep. The Shepherd howled, he couldn’t swim anymore. A friend staying with us cut the lock and brought them to our porch. It would be days before their owner could make it back or the water would recede. Shortly after daylight we heard a woman screaming. Madeline Bailey had escaped to her attic but the snakes were too plentiful, so she had made her way to the roof. She became a guest for the next couple of week. We had generators but in all our planning we had left the fuel outdoors, the wind and rushing water dumped all of it. We searched the neighborhood, found fuel and raided neighbors freezers. For two weeks we fed a dozen folks who had chosen to stay and ride out the storm. Otherwise, the city was deserted. No one could get to us and we couldn’t move. Shortly after 8 a.m. on that Sept. day, we spotted a figure coming in the distance, water above his waist. He was a welcomed sight. Mark and Sharon Dunn had also chosen to weather the storm. They were lucky not much water had gotten into their house. He related what everything else was like. His said his parents place, in Dugas Addition, in the first line of the storm, near the Intracoastal Canal and Sabine Lake, had probably taken a beating. In the next few weeks, thanks to volunteers, Red Cross, Salvation Army and Church groups, we survived Ike and started rebuilding our lives. Ten years have gone by since Ike. Harvey came last year. It’s become way of life on the Gulf Coast. I feel for the folks on the East Coast where Hurricane Florence is promising a 12-foot tidal wave. Most homes can withstand the winds, it’s the water. There is no escape. Two other storms swirl in the Atlantic, Helene and Isaac. The latter is a real threat in the Caribbean and the only one we should be concerned about if it should enter the Gulf this weekend.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

5 Years Ago-2013

This week on Sept. 13, we mark the fifth anniversary since Ike, the hurricane, blew into Orange County. Ike left the worse devastation on our community, since the storm of 1865, the year the Civil War ended, wiped out the city of Orange. That storm left only four homes standing. Today’s recovery, especially to the community of Bridge City, seemed a far away dream of five years ago. Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Kirk Roccaforte and help from Houston Mayor Bill White, we got needed help from FEMA. Thanks also to City Manager Jerry Jones and the city administration, the city has made a remarkable comeback. Much has changed in Bridge City since that horrible storm. In so many cases the improvements have been for the better. The entire infrastructure is far better today. Blight areas are no more. Streets, sewer and water improvements have all been advanced. Jones and the city continue to make necessary improvements. The vast improvements by the school district have given the students state-of-the-art school buildings second to none. Meanwhile, under the leadership of County Judge Carl Thibodeaux many improvements have added much value to Orange county assets. The county has been hit by two storms, Rita and Ike. Rita destroyed a million trees and left destruction, causing the county to dig deep into their cash reserves, then came Ike. Today many new buildings stand out across the county, all paid for, debt free. What changed the most in Bridge City is the makeup of its people. Many of my old friends have left, leery of facing more storms. New, young couples have come, like we all did many years ago. It’s a new day for an old community. Better days are yet to come as a good community continues to grow with a new generation of citizens.***** “American Idol” is betting that Jennifer (J-Lo) Lopez, Harry Connick, Jr. and Keith Urban will fare better with viewers than the bickering divas Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj did last season. As judges for season 13, they will be the shows first panel consisting solely of singers. That has worked for NBC’s the “Voice.” Randy Jackson will be back in a new role, in-house mentor to the contestants. Ryan Seacrest will again host.*****New Orleans Saints’ fans are calling coach Sean Payton the “Payton Saint.” His return is like the return of John the Baptist and a black and gold return to the Super Bowl would be like the return of Christ himself.*****Katie Couric, 56, to wed John Molner, 50. He gave the former Today host a ring last week. Katie’s husband Jay Monahan died of colon cancer in 1998. She has two daughters ages 21 and 17.***** We were sorry to learn of the death of Grady Leverne Smith, 58, who died Monday, Sept. 9. He was the brother of Kenneth and John Smith and son of the late Snuffy and Rachel Smith of Bridge City.***** A roast of everyone’s friend, Ross Smith, is being held by the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce this Thursday.***** Our friend Don Harmon is still battling his cancer problem but seems to be improving daily.***** Our longtime friend Gary Lusignan died Aug. 29 on his 62nd birthday. What are the odds of that?   

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Norma Jean McCarty Procell, 69, of Orange, passed away Thursday, Sept. 12. She is survived by her husband, Kirby Procell, son, Kevin Pool, daughter, Kristi Simons, three granddaughters, and in-laws, Debbie and Mark Procell, Quincy and Nancy Procell, Sam and Ann Procell.***** Services for Katie Vee LaBry, 64, lifelong resident of Orange, were held Sept. 18. She was manager of cosmetics at Walgreens and was a member of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary. She is survived by her husband of 50 years, Glen J. LaBry, sons, Ronald J. LaBry and Phillip J. LaBry five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.***** James Edward “ Ed “ Riley, 77, of Orange, passed away Monday, Sept. 16. Services were held Friday, Sept. 20. He worked as a carpenter in the construction industry and spent twenty years as a member of the U.S. Navy. He is survived by his sons, Mike Riley and Brian Riley, daughter, Tracy Jones, ten grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.***** Rose C. Bourgeois, 93, of Orangefield, passed away Wednesday, Sept. 11. Service was held Saturday, Sept. 14. She was a member of St. Helen Catholic Church. She is survived by her sons, Harold Joseph Quebodeaux Jr., Anthony Charles Quebodeaux, daughter, Paula Legate, 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren.***** Billie Jean Smith Sylvester, 84, of Orange passed away Tuesday, Sept. 10. Funeral service was held Friday, Sept. 13. She was a stenographer at DuPont and was a member of Sunset Country Club and the Women’s Club of Orange. Billie is survived by her husband of 60 years, Cecil Sylvester, son, Scott Sylvester and sister, Mary Louise Risinger.

15 Years Ago-2003

Two years have gone by since 9-11.*****Jim Turner, of Crocket, is our congressman.*****Orange Mayor Brown Claybar announces that the city has finalized the last purchase of land for a city park and boat ramp on Simmons Drive. *****Wayne Peveto, attorney and former state representative, holds the annual dove hunt at his farm. Wayne was ill so son Rex hosted the outing. Lots of folks, lots of food, prepared by James Claybar and served with Wayne’s famous beer biscuits.*****Pretty Ms. Sharon Fults Gearheart celebrated her 50th birthday Sept. 9. She doesn’t look a day over 30.*****Bridge City’s Matt Bryant kicked three field goals for the New York Giants. He scored 11 points in all. The Giants beat St. Louis  by 10 points, 23-13. Jason Mathews, of Bridge City, is a lineman for the Tennessee Titans.*****On Sept. 8, 1900, the great hurricane hit Galveston killing 6,000 people.***** *****The Record’s “Players of the Week” are Kerry Franks, WO-S; Shon Landry, LC-M; Michael Gauthier, BC; and Thomas Hamrick, OF. (Editor’s note: Gauthier is the fastest athlete to ever attend Bridge City. He won state championships in track and starred for Lamar.)

45 Years Ago-1973

Thrift and Gift Shop opening held Sept. 1 at 207 Fifth St. in Orange. Gift items, made by senior citizens, will be on sale. Part of the store will be a thrift shop where people can buy clothing and items donated by Orange Countians. This store is a new idea and could become a very special place in our community. (Editor’s note: 45-years later the Thrift and Gift Shop can be found at 350-37th St. inside the old Salk School.)*****The LC-M twirlers this year are Vicky Moore, Leesa Smith, Candie Brock, Sue Melton, Neva Lindley, Madelon Minton, Donnarie Campbell, Lauri Melton and Glenda Becker.*****The West Orange Chief’s cheerleaders are Chris Doyle, Sherry Sullivan, Debbie Chapman, Christi Hall, Terri Mouton, Jan Robinson and Candi Campbell.*****Football season kicks off this week. Some of the star players to watch are senior David Guidry, #20, a track star who goes both ways for the Cardinals; Also teammate senior quarterback Terry Bridgers; Little Cypress-Mauriceville features #11, quarterback Don McClain, who is scheduled to start against Kelly Friday night.. At West Orange, besides the Duhon brothers, senior tackle, 215 pound Rex Andrews is the pulling guard that coaches say is the most improved player. At Bridge City, Randy Fults, #73, 210 pounds, will be the only sophomore starting for the Cards. He replaces injured Dave Smith at defensive tackle. Steve Culp, #50, 190-pound senior, is the Cards starting center; next to him is pulling guard, #63, Craig Turner, 215-pounds, 6’2” senior. B.C. coach Chief Wilson held a seven-hour practice workout on Labor Day. Hurricane Delia was expected to bring winds and rain Tuesday, and it did, running the players indoors. Coach Wilson had guessed right by doubling Monday’s practice time.*****Marie LeBlanc becomes Mrs. Mayo Brasseaux on Sept. 1.*****Inez Runnels is wearing a cast on both arms. Her accident has something to do with walking into a moving truck.*****Glenn Earl, newsman on Channel 4, does a feature story on the grave markers found under the Orange Library.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

Capt. Chuck Uzzle woke up the dog lovers with his story about Sally, who departed recently. It’s easy to see why the Labrador retriever is the most popular dog in North America. They are great with children, have a lovable temperament and are easily trained. The original Labrador known as St. John’s dogs, were developed in Newfoundland in the 1700’s to help fishermen retrieve nets. As a result, they have several features designed specifically for swimming, such as webbed feet and a water resistant second coat. The St. John’s dog vanished from North America due to high dog tax, but was preserved by English breeders where it became the Labrador of today. By the way, the Shih Tzu, Lion Son in Chinese, is one of the world’s oldest dog breeds, going back over 2,000 years..***** Last week at the Wednesday Lunch Bunch, Commissioner Barry Burton stopped by. We had not seen him in awhile. Shaun Davis, East Texas Regional Planning Commission director, is leaving Oct. 1. Barry is applying to replace him. Barry is a hard worker and has prepared himself well as commissioner to be able to fill the director job. I can say this, he learned a lot, it’s a non-patrician job and if he learned that he would be a good choice for the job. The Lunch Bunch will dine at Robert’s this week and at JB’s Barbeque next week. Everyone welcome.***** Several Dunn’s mark birthdays this week. Jenna Dunn Ballau celebrates on Sept. 13, Kerrie Dunn, mother of Jenna and Amber Dunn Greeson, celebrates on Sept. 14. Mark’s wife, Ethel, celebrates on Sept. 15 and Ms. Phyl, family monarch, celebrates Sept. 16. Two Dunn family friends, Faydra Thibeaux will be a year older on Sept. 13 and the Johnny Montagne’s family monarch, a beautiful, nice lady, Darlene Montagne, celebrates Sept. 17. Happy birthday to all. Please see birthday list for others.*****On Sept. 10, 1935, 83 years ago, the “Kingfish” Sen. Huey P. Long died after being shot in the Louisiana State Capitol. He was allegedly shot by Dr. Carl Weiss.*****Remembering Burt Reynolds who died Sept. 6, at age 82. It’s probably hard for any youngster to believe but Burt was once the biggest star in the world. His signature mustache set him apart in looks from other actors. The Michigan born actor’s debut was in “Deliverance” in 1972. The former Florida State halfback next starred in “The Longest Yard” in 1974, “Smokey and the Bandit,” in 1977. One of my favorite is “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” in 1982. Dolly Parton played the madam at the Chicken Ranch and he was the sheriff. I knew the story before I saw the movie and stage production. In 1997, Burt did “Boggie Nights.” There was a lot of Burt Reynolds in between. He had the personality of the good old boy, next-door neighbor, who kept you laughing and could make you cry. Least you forget, Burt was the first Cosmopolitan Magazine’s nude male centerfold.

BIRTHDAYS

Folks we know celebrating birthdays this week. Sept. 12: Creg Ball, Karen Warner, Bryan Riedel, Buffy Bean, Cynthia Claybar, and our own Brenda Lund all celebrate today. They are joined by Pop singer Jennifer Hudson, 36, Country singer Kelsea Ballerini, 24 and basketball player Yao Ming who turns 37.*****Sept. 13: Celebrating on this day are Kade Hanks, Margaret Jeffcote and Connie Swope. Celebrities celebrating are producer and actor Tyler Perry, 48, reality star Michelle Duggar, 51. This is also the day Hurricane Ike paid the area a visit.*****Sept. 14: Jame Braus, Mary Garretson, Greg Choate, Justin Granger, Kim Norris, Nikki Wingate and Ms. Coastal Landscaping, Lori Lista all celebrate. They are joined by actors Andrew Lincoln, 44 and Sam Neill, 70.*****Sept. 15: Tara Smith, Lori Campbell, Jon Berry and Ginger Ellis celebrate. Also having birthdays on this day are UK’s Prince Harry, 33, actors Tom Hardy, 40 and Tommy Lee Jones, 71.*****Sept. 16: Celebrating today are Shoana Hunt, Anthony Walker, Ian Putman, Todd Estes, O’Shanique Foster and Mark Conner. They are joined by Pop singer Marc Anthony, 49, comedian Molly Shannon, 53 and actor Mickey Rourke, 65.***** Sept. 17: Celebrating today are Lynda Stout, Mark Anderson, Chase Burch. Also celebrating are TV show host Nate Berkus, 46 and race car driver Jimmie Johnson, 42.*****Sept. 18: Ben Ludwig, Debra Gauthier and Joy Evans celebrate. They are joined by cyclist Lance Armstrong, 46 and actress Jada Pinkett Smith, 46.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Da two Cajuns, Clovis Comeaux and Slim Desomeaux, were sipping on a few beers before getting a bite to eat at Tee-Boys Bar and Grill. Suddenly a woman, wat was at a nearby table eating an oyster loaf, started to cough. It became apparent to Clovis and Slim dat da lady her, is in real distress.

Clovis axe her, “Can you swallow?”

She shake her head no.

Den he axe, “Can you breathe, hanh?”

Da woman shake her head no.

Slim him, he jump up, lifts dat lady dress up, yanks down her drawers and quickly gives her right cheek a lick wit his tongue.

Da women her, is so shocked that she has a violent spasm and da lodged oyster flies out of her mout. As she begins to breath again she thanks him. He and Slim walks slowly back to his table.

Clovis him, say, “Slim, you know me, I heard of dat dare, Hindlick Maneuver’ but I ain’t never seen nobody do it before.”

C’EST TOUT

The Ruby-throated hummingbird is a common sight this time of year. Those are the ones that are migrating. They are eating plenty, preparing for a 24-hour journey over the Gulf. They’re getting their bodyweight up so they can go 24 hours without eating. They are easy to spot, the male has a ruby throat, the female does not. They winter in southern Mexico, South America, the West Indies and even Costa Rico. Did you know a hummingbird weighs as much as a penny and uses spider webs to secure its nest to a tree? The bird has a pellet size brain, lays an egg the size of a blueberry and has two broods a year from two eggs? I find them a delight to watch. They’re tough for their size. They don’t fly at the speed of a bullet, it just appears that way.*****Last thought, there is too much smoke not to be a fire. People better wake up and take seriously the chaos in the White House.***** Well folks, That’s all for me. I didn’t get around much this week so I didn’t pick up much news. Thanks for your time. Take care and God bless.