LOCAL DIGNATERIES DIE IN 1988 PLANE CRASH

I first met Marlin Thompson when he arrived in Orange as their first full time city attorney and was elevated to city manager from 1957 to 1959. He later joined the Ward Stephenson Law Firm. Ward, along with his legal secretary Jackie Bean pioneered and developed the art of civil practice in asbestos related cases. The firm saw instant success. Ward died shortly after as a young age. Marlin, with the help of Mrs. Bean, who guided him through lawsuits, became wealthy overnight. He and three other guys, including attorney Walter Umphrey, bought 13,000 acres of hunting land in Arkansas. Marlin alone bought the adjoining 6000 acres and with the help of his brother-in-law, John Roy Fredrick, started developing the large spread and built lodging cabins. Marlin had married his legal secretary Linda Fredrick. He by then had made several fortunes and he and Linda planned to retire at their beautiful Arkansas spread. On Nov. 18, 1988, all dreams came to an end when a plane crash killed the Thompsons and their passengers. Among them was a very popular labor leader Dewey “Teddy Bear” Cox. I had known Cox since his early arrival from Shelby County. “Teddy Bear” rose through the ranks of Local 587 of the Boilermakers Union. He served as president, business manager and chief financial agent. He went on to become construction representative for the International Union. “Teddy Bear” had a lot of political stroke locally and was well connected in state politics. He and Marlin were friends and “Teddy Bear” was in a position to maneuver asbestos cases to him. They were on their way to Thompson’s place for a stay through Thanksgiving when the plane crashed just short of their destination, Batesville, Arkansas. Everyone aboard were killed. Marlin’s partner, Robin Steele, pilot Michael Beaumont and his wife Martha, of League City, along with the Thompson’s and Cox. On a personal note: “Teddy Bear” was a personal friend who often spent time with us at night as we laid out our newspaper, The Opportunity Valley News. He was a soft-spoken person, kind and helpful but once he zeroed in on an issue he could be very stern. I had seen that side of him. I missed him for a long time after his death and sadly watched the demise of his family. That dreadful plane crash was 31 years ago this week.*****I must move on. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

DEMOCRAT EDWARDS ELECTED IN DEEP SOUTH

Despite President Donald Trump making four stops in Louisiana in an all-out effort to unseat Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards, his efforts failed. Trump first came to Hackberry LNG Export facility, which began seven years before his run for U.S. President. He returned three times for big rallies, two in the last week in Monroe and Bossier City before Saturday’s election. Both of the last visits are in the northwest part of Louisiana bordering east Texas counties. Both area’s vote very much the same. Winnfield and that part of Louisiana was the strong hold of Huey and Earl Long, U.S. senator and governor and the real power brokers in a democratic controlled state. They, along with Gov. Jimmy Davis, the singing governor, “You are my Sunshine,” who controlled the North and state senator Dudley J. LeBlanc, the “Hadacol” man, who controlled the Southern part of the state kept it solidly democratic, as did Gov. Edward Edwards. I recall when I was a teenager that there was only one Republican I knew about. Ironically, his last name was Edwards, like today’s governor. We all thought him strange; he didn’t own transportation and was like a misfit. He rode the bus to Baton Rough to attend Republican meetings. He was a state GOP delegate. Louisiana stayed mostly democratic until Ronald Reagan. If Louisiana is not the birthplace of White Supremacy it was born shortly after. David Duke came along 30 odd years ago to ignite and give a second birth to the K.K.K. The state went from purple to red when Barack Obama ran for president, getting only 39 percent of the vote. In last Saturday’s election, Edward defeated Republican Eddie Rispone. More Democrats voted, over 100,000, than had ever voted before in a Louisiana governor’s race. Rispone spent $14 million of his own money, plus millions more from the RNC and others, outspending Edwards two to one. Rispone was also helped by Trump and V.P. Pence, along with Donald Trump, Jr. and others, who crisscrossed the state the final month, as did U.S. Senator John Kennedy. Today, Louisiana Democrats are crediting President Trump’s last two stops in one week, with spurring the large democratic turnout on Election Day that brought Edwards across the finish line. That was Trump’s third loss with a complete Democratic take over in Virginia and a big loss in Kentucky. Trump’s coattails are getting shorter. Trump, in his rallies, plays to his base only, which doesn’t invite others, like Independents and Conservative Democrats, to join in, one good reason why Edwards might have carried 58% of Independents. I’ve been knowledgeable of Louisiana politics since I was a youngster. Politics haven’t really changed that much. The state has always been conservative. It will vote conservative before voting republican. John Bel Edwards again proved that in reelection. Trump carried the state by 21 percent but Edwards is considered to be far more conservative than Trump. Even though Louisiana is a White Supremacy state, its demographics is changing and like Texas and other states, is getting more towards the center. The election in 2020 should be interesting and it may be without Trump

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2009

The Turkey Day game between Texas and A&M is worth the price of the ticket, just to watch West Orange-Stark standout Earl Thomas work. He’s just one interception away from a new Longhorn record. He’s a good kid from a great family. I predict he will be the next pro superstar to come out of Orange County.***** We were saddened to learn of the tragic death of James English, age 18. He passed away Nov. 22 in an automobile accident in Starks, La. Three other teenagers were slightly injured. Kelby Simpson, 18, Clint Dunn, 17 and Greg Perry, 18 were treated at Baptist Hospital in Orange. We had known James’ family for more than 50 years and were friends of his grandparents F.C. “Spec” and Rachel Faries and have known his mother Denise and Aunt D’Juana since they were children. James was a great kid.*****Rose Marie Hryhorchuk Weatherholt, 44, died Nov. 20 at her home. She was the daughter of Frank and Eva Hryhorchuk, longtime friends and salt of the earth people.***** Travis Hudson, 77, was a good man. He was called home Nov. 21. He was an Orange County native who gave a lot back to his community. His contributions to the Little Cypress-Mauriceville school district are many. To his wife Melba, mother Verna Mae and family we extend our deepest sympathy.*****Don Breaux killed an 11-point buck and he wants the world to know it wasn’t an 8-point like we reported.***** A few weeks ago our friend Mary Fontenot had another heart attack. A triple bypass has her on the road to recovery.***** Dorothy Mathis had to spend her 84th birthday in intensive care at Orange Baptist last week. Dorothy required surgery to install a pacemaker. The fine lady was in the Navy for 46 years as a civilian worker.***** We were sorry to hear about the death of Walter Crew. Everyone we talked with said what a great guy he was. Our condolences to Pam, family and friends. ***** Mel and Joey Campbell are grandparents again. Their daughter Jayna gave birth to a daughter. *****Fifty years ago this week, Ford Motor Co. halted production of the unpopular Edsel auto that had been named for Henry Ford’s son-in-law. The auto appeared to have a horse collar in the grill. It was big and a fine auto but most people found it to be ugly. Today, the Edsel is a collectors item.*****Anyone that has even eaten a Robert’s chicken fried steak is in agreement that it’s the best in the South. We hear that Robert also does a great Freddy Fender imitation.***** Adam Lambert’s racy performance at the AMA award show cost him a spot on “Good Morning America.” Lambert will instead perform on ABC’s morning rivals at CBS.*****Wilson and V.J. Roberts ventured to Doug and Regina Harrington’s place, near Crockett, over the weekend. Wilson was on his best behavior. They invaded the famous catfish restaurant and the manager again asked Doug not to bring Wilson back to the “All You Can Eat” buffet.*****Congrats to little Clayson Choate, champion biker. He comes by his riding talent honestly. His dad, Van, was an expert rider who avoided lawmen in several counties.*****David Peck is the only J.P. candidate that has made an announcement for Pct. 1. Current judge Joe Parkhurst is retiring. I hear someone else might announce. Commissioner Beamon Minton is expected to be opposed by Percy, the same man who ran against him eight years ago. Commissioner Owen Burton or any of the justices are expected to have opponents.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

40 Years Ago-1979

Coach Steve McCarty and his West Orange-Stark Mustangs are in the football playoffs. Their first game is against Baytown Lee, Saturday, 1 p.m. in the Astrodome. (Editor’s note: Five years ago Steve was coach at South Park and was in the playoffs there also. He and coach Dan Ray Hooks came to Orange when West Orange and Stark merged.) Baytown won the game 12-7.*****Bridge City football players named to the “All District” football team were Russell Gauthier, Ken Haas, George Fleming, Greg Koci, Shannon Foreman, Bucky Thompson, Tracy Linder, Mark Welch and Bryan Ward. Ward was also named “Offensive Player of the Year.”*****Butch Lusignan is recovering from injuries received in an auto accident. (Editor’s note: Butch, his mom and dad, Lucky and Gert, all have passed away since then.) *****Brian Huckabay will be 20 on Nov. 27.*****Gene Edgerly will turn a year older Dec. 1. I bet Gene would like to buy back the past 40 years.*****Shirley Delahoussaye, celebrates a birthday on Nov. 27 and Jo Ann Brabham, Phyllis Dunn’s sexy sister, will celebrate Dec. 3.*****Doug Ardoin is recovering at St. E’s after having heart surgery last week.*****Micky McCollum is in St. Luke’s intensive care unit.*****Janet Fontenot is home recovering after surgery. Husband James attended the monthly “Gourmet Club” gathering hosted by Marty and R.J. Conway but rushed home to care for Janet. The rest of the group ventured to the Palace in Beaumont for dinner.*****Ed Lovelace, former KOGT owner, takes over radio stations KLBL-AM and KCWW-FM in Beeville.*****On Nov. 23, Tony and Mary Giarratano marked their 50th wedding anniversary. A big party was held at GERA. Hosting the reception were their three sons, Bernard, Joseph and Frank. The couple have 12 grandchildren. Tony had been singing in a Kansas City night club when he met Mary Blanda while visiting in Orange. He owned the “Chat ‘N’ Chew” and “Tony’s Spaghetti House.” Tony was the waiter, Mary the cook. Their home was behind the restaurant on the corner of Second and Cypress. The “Chat ‘N’ Chew” was next door.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Steve Bannon, longtime Donald Trump friend and former White House chief strategist and Trump’s 2016 campaign CEO, said in an interview with CBS News that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s handling of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump is “actually quite brilliant.” “I disagree with her ideologically but I think Nancy Pelosi is a master at political warfare. I think strategically what she has done from the democratic perspective is actually quite brilliant.” The following is my quote, “When it comes to knowledge about governing Nancy is a college professor while Trump is at a third grade level.”

A FEW HAPPENINGS

Our friends Peggy and Richard Albair have suffered hardship over the last few years because of the closing of the Roundbunch Swing Bridge. Adding to that is the terrible blows they withstood from Hurricanes Ike and Harvey. These hard working people also have been facing health problems. Peggy has had her share of health concerns but now Richard will have to undergo surgery after Thanksgiving. He faces major heart artery blockage. The Albair’s, due to bridge work delay into next year, are putting Peggy’s Place and all the surrounding land for sale. They are looking for the right person to take over the historical Duvall LeBlanc peninsula. Darla Bertrand is the realtor. The property is unique and has good income. There is no other such location in Orange County. With the Chevron/Phillips boom coming, it’s a great investment. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Southern Charm, with Terry Hamilton. It will be the last gathering until after Thanksgiving. The Bunch will dine at Robert’s on Dec. 4. A couple of weeks ago, the Bunch honored the WWII Veterans. Attorney Rex Peveto picked up the tab for all those heroes. A photo is running in today’s issue of some of the group who attended. A dozen or so had already left early due to prior commitments. Thanks to photographer Larry Trimm. See you after Thanksgiving.*****Trump’s defenders can argue that the aid was ultimately released. They can argue that Trump’s conduct doesn’t warrant impeachment. They can argue that the voters, not congress, ought to determine the president’s fate. For them to claim that there was no Quid Pro Quo is a flat out lie. It was something for something, but I see it more as bribery, “I’ll give you this taxpayer money but first I need you to do us a favor though.”*****A few special folks we know celebrating birthdays in the next few days. Three great guys celebrate on Nov. 20. Allen Clay Dunn, named for his great-grandfather and grandfather, Ms. Phyl and Roy’s middle child celebrates. To know him is to like him.***Also celebrating is Lon Hubbard, whose father “Bubba” was the driving force to incorporate Bridge City. Lon is a prince of a guy.***Sharing a birthday is the son of Dot and Jay Eshbach, pioneer Bridge City business people, Edgar Eshbach. Edgar’s dad Jay lost the first race for Bridge City mayor by three votes. His mom Dot was a popular business owner.*****On Nov. 22, is the day President John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas in 1963. (See Down Life’s Highway.)***My great and longtime friend, legal secretary Jackie Roberts celebrates today. Jackie still works for attorney Jim Dunaway.***Butch Campbell, Lamar’s finest, is a year older. Nearly Social Security age I suspect. I have known this fine guy since he was thirteen.***Also our late friend H.D. Pate would be 80 years old today.*****Nov. 23, finds Randel Morris, a dedicated Lions Club member, marking another birthday.*****Nov. 26, is a special day for pretty district judge Courtney Burch Arkeen and also our friend Eric Andrus, at Central Office Supply.***Angie and Don Breaux are celebrating their 42nd wedding anniversary on Nov. 26. I never understood that one but best wishes for many more.

BREAUX BIRTHDAYS

A few folks having birthdays in the next few days. On Nov. 20: Allen Dunn, Cary Green, Edgar Eshbach, Sunni Moseley, Jim Pruter, Jan Briggs and Lon Hubbard all celebrate birthdays. Joining them are presidential candidate Joe Biden, 77, Country singer Josh Turner, 42 and Rock singer Joe Walsh, 72.*****Nov. 21: Jennifer Mott, Jason LeLeux and Mary Tate are a year older. Also a year older are former football players Michael Strahan, 48 and Troy Aikman, 53, actress Goldie Hawn, 74.*****On this day, Nov. 22: 1963, President JFK was killed in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswalt. Butch Campbell, Cecil Broom, Heather Ferguson, Belinda Thibodeaux, Jackie Roberts and Larry Bridges celebrate birthdays. Also having birthdays are actors Scarlett Johansson, 35, Mark Ruffalo, 52 and Jamie Lee Curtis, 61.*****Nov. 23: Randle Morris, Barbara Benton and Rita Ellis celebrate. Celebrating also are Good Morning America host Robin Roberts, 59 and Pop singer Miley Cyrus, 27.*****Nov. 24: Candace Todora, Steven James and Jeff Hollis have birthdays on this day. Movie actors Katharine Heigl, 41, Billy Connolly, 77 and Colin Hanks, 42 also celebrate.*****Nov. 25: Sherry Hickman, Amber Permar, Serena Simonton celebrate along with singer Amy Grant, 59 and actress Christina Applegate, 48.*****Nov. 26: Taryn Hubbard, Dana Bryant, Todd Dixon, Eric Andrus and BC elementary school nurse Shelly Hollier all celebrate. They are joined by Rock singer Tina Turner, 80 and Pop singer Natasha Bedingfield, 38.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Thomas D. Guilbeau is a lawyer in Sou’h Looseanna. He’s a successful attorney but he’s very arrogant and pushy. Guilbeau boarded an airplane in New Orleans with a box of frozen Gulf crabs he was bringing to a big client in New York. He axe da stewardess to take care of dem crabs for him. She took da box and promised to put dem in da refrigerator. Guilbeau advised her that he was holding her personally responsible for keeping dem crabs frozen. Den he added, in his loud, arrogant voice, I’m a lawyer me, and proceeded to rant at her about wat would happen if she let dem crabs taw out.

Da stewardess was really annoyed by Guilbeau’s behavior. Shortly before landing in New York, she got on da intercom to announce to da entire cabin, “Would the gentleman who gave me the crabs in New Orleans please raise your hand?” Not one hand want up so she took dem crabs home and ate dem.

C’EST TOUT

U.S. DEBT UNSUSTAINABLE

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell warned Congress last week that the U.S. debt is “unsustainable.” “It may soon be your turn to save the economy,” he warned. The current federal budget deficit has hit $984 billion and is expected to again top $1 trillion in fiscal year 2020. The federal tax cut to the nations wealthiest by Trump has added to the red ink and will continue to grow. The national debt has surpassed $23 trillion. “The debt is growing faster than the economy and that is unsustainable,” Powell said. Many economists are forecasting a recession next year. Powell has been attacked by Trump for not cutting interest rates lower to stimulate the economy. Powell says there is not room to do so. *****Well, they tell me I’ve got to get out of here. Thank you for your time. Good bye, good luck and God bless you and yours.