Sherlock Breaux in the Creaux’s Nest
WELCOME TO NEW DECADE 2020
We’ve come on a new decade and for me, if I make it to Jan. 3, 2020, I will have lived in ten decades. I’ve seen and experienced drastic changes in one lifetime. I recall when the 1950’s arrived my upmost goal was to see the new century 2000, 50 years away, roll around. I jokingly said I would sign a contract to make it to that time and then would be ready to go. I’m glad I didn’t sign because the Lord has given me a 20-year bonus and I’m praying for more. I’ve been asked which decade I find has been our best. Considering everything, and this is my opinion, probably the 1950’s. We had come through the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor and World War II. We lost 405,299 young soldiers and over a million were wounded. Even though the Korean Conflict came along in the early 50’s, it was a far cry from WWII. The wars had brought a better economy, attitudes changed, veterans were our heroes and people started enjoying life and the progress that had come along. Personally, my favorite music came during that period. From what was called country/western music to great musicians like Louie “Satchmo” Armstrong, Frankie Laine, Nat King Cole, Sinatra and the first Black music that drew White audiences. That move brought the White boy from Memphis, Elvis Presley, and Black singers, who helped spring Rock and Roll and in our area Swamp Pop and the Gulf Coast Sound. I don’t believe any other decade matches up. The 50’s gave way to the 1960’s, maybe our worse decade, that brought the Vietnam War, Flower Children, Hippies, Revolt and the first drug epidemic which started a problem that has grown through the years. War protesters sprang up in this country for the first time. We never again were able to duplicate the fun-loving 50’s. Some of the greatest country music stars came along in the 1950’s like Hank, Tubbs, Lefty, Acuff, Jones and many more appearing on the Louisiana Hayride and the Grand Ole Opry. You would have had to live it to appreciate how great the 1950’s were. Now it’s on to a new decade which finds the country in decline, morally and otherwise. That’s my take on the dawn of my tenth decade. Thanks for your readership and support for all these many years. Best to you and yours in the new decade.
REMEMBERING MS. ALICE
Alice Louise Rothrock, age 85, passed away on Christmas Day. A memorial service was held Sunday at Slade Chapel, First Methodist Church, Orange. Ms. Alice was a wonderful lady who always had a welcoming smile. We got to know her and her husband “Rock” over the last three years as regular attendees of the Wednesday Lunch Bunch gatherings. Alice was the fifth member of the Lunch Bunch to pass away in 2019. One other was she and “Rock’s” son Charlie. Our condolences to the family including 11 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. May she rest in peace. Our hearts go out to “Rock” for his two great loses. Please see obit.
TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
10 Years Ago-2019
This is our first column of the year 2010. The big news this week will be the worst winter blast in years. On Jan. 12, 1997, we were turned into an ice bowl with the great ice storm. This is not expected but there may be a few wet snowflakes and probably it will be colder than in 1997. Eighteen degrees will just about kill any plants in the yard. I remember in the 1970s it got as low as 14 degrees here and the place really looked ugly and dead. *****Bill Maddox died Jan. 2 in San Antonio. He was 71. We first met Bill around 1970 when he was a young editor at the Port Arthur News. Later he worked for the Lamar University system. Bill then went into the political consultant business. He was politically savvy and had great connections. He was very close to Gov. Ann Richards and Sen. Lloyd Bentsen but was also wired into many other political connections. Years ago, he and Harold Beeson wrote a book “Rags and Patches” about a boy and his dog. Those two guys were a riot to be around. He died of bone cancer after a long illness. He was married to the former Christine Stanfield, J.D.’s daughter, of Orange. ***** Donnie Harmon, with his wife and two daughters, drove 3,500 miles over the holidays. They made several stops at points of interest along the way to reach their final New York destination. At the midnight dropping of the ball, through a chance of luck, they found themselves in the frozen zone reserved for special guest. They were at the foot of the ball looking straight up. The Harmon’s all agree they would do it all again.*****Last week, we missed the death of one of the nicest ladies we have ever known, Joyce McGraw, age 54, who passed away Dec. 26. Joyce was a teller at Bridge City Bank. She was so compassionate and always sincerely concerned about customers and their families. To know her was to love her. This religious lady exemplified goodness. Our condolences to husband Bruce, daughter Beth, her family, friends and brothers and sisters in the First Church of the Nazarene.*****Special friends celebrating birthdays this week are our buddy for over a half-century Skipper Free on Jan. 6.***On Jan. 8th Lanston Fall, former Bridge City and Lamar football star, will celebrate his special day. He was a member of Coach Chief Wilson’s last season at Bridge City in 1973. It was a great team and a good bunch of youngsters. *** Our young friend and a great guy, Collin Slade Gros, “Billy Jack” turns 15 on Jan. 10. It seems just the other day he was 2 years old and known as “Blue Eyed Bill.” This kid will do to ride the range with. ***Our former editor Darryl Brinson and wife Greta’s son Sean Brinson celebrates this week. *** On Jan. 12 the late Shane Dronett would be marking his 39th birthday. His mother Candice Henry truly misses him everyday. The autopsy on Shane showed he had multiple scar tissue on his brain. Pro football and the blows to the head have caused many to have dementia or brain damage. We will always remember Shane as a boy growing up in Bridge City. *****The family of Judge Marlin Shelton personally requested that Constable Mark Philpott escort the judge’s body and led the funeral procession.*****Congrats to Christy Khoury who will be the new county treasurer replacing Vergie Moreland. Christy announced early, worked hard and didn’t draw any challengers. A nice lady who will serve us well. ***** Two great American institutions, the coffee break and the cocktail, originated in New Orleans. Crawfish boiling was started by some Cajuns in the bayou country through necessity to keep from starving. Now the dish is fit for a king. *****We were sorry to learn of the death of Richard Smith, 70, who passed away Jan. 4. A Port Arthur native, he was a longtime Bridge City resident. *****Sharon Bearden turned 71 on Dec. 27. His New Year’s resolution is again to go on a diet. (Editor’s note: This time it worked. ***** After a great season TCU fell 17-10 to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.*****The next big game in the headlights for us Texans is the Jan. 7 national championship game with Texas facing Alabama. Here’s where folks will think Creaux and I have gone nuts. We believe Colt McCoy and company will put it altogether. We will all be pulling for our local guy Earl Thomas.*****Orange native coach Wade Phillips, whose first coaching job was at Stark High right here in Orange, takes his Dallas Cowboys into the playoffs Saturday against the Eagles. Phillips’ record as a head coach, with stops in New Orleans when dad Bum left, Denver, Buffalo and Atlanta, is 81-54. Wade has never gotten the credit he deserves by the national sports media. A defensive genius, Wade has never been recognized right here at home either. He and Bum deserve a lot more credit than they have been given here.
40 Years Ago-1980
Vickie Curtis, who for the last eight years has been the cartoonist and creator of the Opportunity Valley News “Office Hound” logo, wed Frank Brown on New Year’s Eve. Vickie is completing her art degree at the University of Texas after transferring from Lamar. Vickie was once offered a job by cartoonist Al Capp. (Editor’s note: Vickie and Frank are still married 40 years later and for most of those years have lived in Lawrence, Kansas. Frank has been a college professor. (Editor’s note: I understand they are back in Orange.)*****Diana, Brooks, Angie and Jim Hill joined Orangeites Louis, Beth, Reagan, Evin and Clay Dugas on the slopes of Winter Park, Colo. Also joining them were Nan, Nancy and Frank Fincham, Romey Jones, Kelly Fort, Houston Baker, Shawn Fuller and Sam and Lauren Leifeste.*****Frank Riddick is Dupont plant manager. Assistant manager is Bill Sprout. *****The Houston Chronicle chose five Bridge City players for their area 9-3A All-District Team.” They include Russell Gauthier, Bryan Ward, Greg Koci, Shannon Foreman and Bucky Thompson.*****The No. 1 top 10 country song is “Happy Birthday Darlin” by Conway Twitty.*****The Couvillion boys Mark, Keith, Craig, Steve and Ken were all prominent high school football players during the 1970s. Happy New Year. Welcome to the 1980s.
45 Years Ago-1975
Laverne and Hal Ridley threw one heck of a great New Year’s Eve party. Phyllis and Roy Dunn were special guest celebrating their 20th wedding anniversary. (Editor’s note: Roy and Phyl, on this New Year’s Eve, celebrate their 65th. Most of the people who attended their 20th anniversary are now gone. Roy is now in bed long before the ball falls. The guys back then fired their shotguns to welcome the New Year. *****Wilson Roberts is Bridge City police chief. ***Leslie Jones is Orange police chief. ***Luther Seabrem is county auditor. ***Orange city manager is Louis Fox. ***Bill Townes is manager of Kroger. ***Marlin Thompson and Martin Dies III are law partners. ***Grover Halliburton is county judge. ***Clara Edwards, of Bridge City Bank, presented Arthur Farris with the first prize award in the bank’s Christmas tree decorating contest. ***Allene Yokum, singer, is now selling her newest release “Jimmy’s Love” for $1.19 including postage from Orange Recording Co., Rt. 4, Box 375. ***Carl Thibodeaux says if things ever get tough – the way you make ends meet is by living on beef tongue and oxtail soup.
70 Years Ago-1949
Sheriff Chester Holts arrested Paul J. LaFleur in a small town in Tennessee at Christmas time. A dropped bus ticket was the clue that led Holts to the small town. Holts posed as an insurance salesman to make the capture. The ticket was found several miles from the rape site of a young girl and shooting of a young man that had taken place Dec. 3. The arrest of LaFleur and filing of charges was reported to be one of the most outstanding law enforcement jobs ever in these parts. LaFleur was a transit and no one had a clue who did the crime until Holts arrested him. District Judge F.W. Hustmyre set LaFleur’s rape trial for Jan. 9. Also four other cases of assault with intent to murder and three cases of robbery were scheduled for trial Feb. 6. Orange Policeman Alton Williams joined Holts in Tennessee where the two officers transferred LaFleur to Orange County. (Editor’s note: Sheriff Holts, after 21 years in office, left with no unsolved major crimes. His daughter Nova Strickland has written a book “Bug Scuffel, Are We There Yet?” depicting the life and times of Orange County when Holts was sheriff.
A FEW HAPPENINGS
Our friend Evelyn Brandon came by with Shipley Donuts for the weekend crew and a big bag of Satsuma oranges from her Dad’s tree. Her dad, Norris, is fighting Parkinson’s disease but otherwise doing fairly well, even though he is unable to live alone. Evelyn is looking after him. Mr. Brandon is a great guy and we wish him the best in the New Year.*****Longtime friend Joel Beckcom gave me a great book titled “Ellis Island Interviews.” In the book immigrants tell their stories in their own words. Chances are, if you were born in the United States, one of your ancestors passed through Ellis Island. One-hundred immigrants, from Europe and the Middle East, offer their accounts of the difficult steps they had to take to get through Ellis Island’s Golden Door and the life they left behind. Many moving stories. Thanks Joel for the great gift.*****A belated Happy Birthday to a wonderful lady, Irene Stevens, who turned 92 on Dec. 27. She and her late husband Steve are longtime friends who raised a great family.*****A few folks we know celebrating in the next few days. Jan. 3: Our old buddy, former commissioner Owen Burton celebrates another birthday. Owen has battled some health issues over the last year and we wish for him that the New Year will bring improved health. Best wishes also to pretty Nelda, who is still overcoming back surgery. ***Today, we send best wishes for a happy birthday to a boy I’ve known always, Jim Sharon Bearden, Jr. I was honored to be a guest at the feast put on by his grandmother Jewel Bearden to celebrate his swearing in by Judge Buddie Hahn as a member of the Texas Bar. I’m proud of Jim Sharon who proves the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree. ***Jan. 4: I’ve known Beth Rach since she was a teenager. Beth celebrates a birthday today. Over the years she worked in state government as the local assistant to State Rep. Ron Lewis and Mike Hamilton. Beth has been battling cancer and our prayers are with this good lady for a complete recovery. ***Also celebrating is our friend, former Orange County Treasurer, Vergie Moreland. We wish this lady a great birthday. ***Jan. 5: This day finds Lamar Port Arthur’s Gerry Dickert, a great sports writer, celebrating a birthday. Also celebrating on this day are Lora Simpson and Malinda Vail. ***Jan. 6: A very happy birthday to Skipper Free, who we’ve known over 60 years. I haven’t seen or heard from her over the last year but hope she is doing okay. This lady has a great life story going back to entertaining with Gordon Baxter in the honky tonk days. ***Jan. 7: Happy birthday to Mike Collins, Sue’s little boy. We’ve known Mike since he was in short pants. ***We also wish Chance Chatagnier and Mary Hebert a very happy birthday. *****Every law enforcement officer in the country should take exception to Trump’s vile accusation that the FBI, the world’s greatest law enforcement agency, is referred to as “Human Scum.” Also, that his own attorney general, William Barr, calls the FBI spies. Bill knows the FBI was doing legal surveillance of Russian interference into the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, when they discovered the Trump campaign was working in conjunction with Russia to interfere in the election. Barr is an embarrassment to every legitimate prosecutor in the country. He sold his soul to the detriment of the country as head of the Justice Department.***** According to the Associated Press “End of the Year Poll,” the top news story was the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The story that got bigger with each passing week after details emerged about a phone call in which Trump pressured the newly elected Ukraine president to announce an investigation into Trump’s Democratic rival Joe Biden. The second top story was Trump’s immigration policies that saw record numbers of immigrant children die while held in U.S. custody. The third top story was the Mueller Report that found the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. Twenty-five Russians were accused of interfering. Several Trump aids ended up being convicted from reports that came out of Mueller’s investigation. Also Politico “End of the Year Fact Finder” found that to date Trump has told 15,413 lies. He’s well on his way to hitting 20,000 lies by the end of his term a year from Jan. 20.*****About a month ago John Kimbrough predicted L.S.U. would beat Ohio State for the national championship. I’m sure he feels the same against Clemson. After watching the Tigers historical slaughter of Oklahoma I’m going to hook on to Kimbrough’s wagon and predict L.S.U. will win the national championship.
CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK
Clovis Comeaux is a faithful New Orleans Saints fan him. He wouldn’t miss a game at da Super Dome for nuttin. Comeaux him, had 50-yard line tickets for da undefeated Saints and da Dallas Cowboy game. As he sits down wit his beer a man comes down and axe Comeaux if anyone is sitting in the seat next to him.
“No,” Comeaux say, “Da seat is empty.”
“Dis is incredible,” da man say, “Who in dere right mind would have da best seat in da house for da New Orleans-Dallas game, da biggest sporting event of da season and not use if?”
Comeaux say, “Well, actually, dat seat belongs to me. I was suppose to come wit my wife but Anges, she passed away her. Dis is da first Saints game we haven’t been together since 1987.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear dat me, dats terrible. Couldn’t you find someone else, a friend or relative or even a neighbor to take her seat hanh?”
Comeaux him shake his head, “No, dem, dey all at da funeral.”
A Serious Collector
Jay Leno, the comedian, has a collection of 180 cars and 160 motorcycles, ranging from steam cars, to fire trucks, to high-end sports cars. His collection is valued at $52 million. Leno makes sure his cars are always ready to cruise. He can often be seen driving his classic and exotic cars around Las Angels. Leno predicts alternative vehicles, especially electric cars, are the future. “A kid born today will probably ride in a gas car as often as people now ride in a car with a stick shift,” Leno says. Forbes says one million electric vehicles were sold in the U.S. in 2018 and will be nearly double in 2020. Leno says today’s cars are built to last; precision is an art from that’s at almost unbelievable levels. These days, most cars don’t come with a spare tire because most tires are so well made they will last a long time. Most cars are now good for 300,000 miles. Leno says, “One of the myths about cars is that they’re worn out at 60,000 miles. I have a 68’ Mercedes that has 326,000 miles and runs fine. Many cars with 150,000 to 200,000 miles still have years of service left in them.”*****There is a lot of good reading inside. Read us cover to cover and please shop our family of advertisers. Stay warm and take care. God bless.