Sherlock Breaux in the Creaux’s Nest
GOVERNORS TAKE LEADERSHIP ROLES
The real heroes during this crisis, besides the health care givers, are the nation’s governors. They stepped up and rescued a major problem from the federal government that was on standstill. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, New York Gov. Andrew Coumo, California Gov. Gavin Newson and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee picked up the ball and ran with it as soon as they realized they couldn’t depend on our national leadership to manage the Coronavirus crisis. If not for the states governors moving the ball forward we would still be waiting for someone to do something. They used executive order to lock their states down and other states followed. In the greatest public health challenge in living memory, the present administration, instead of leading, followed the leadership of the nation’s governors. They recognized just how deadly this crisis would be and will continue to escalate if they don’t run with the ball.*****Come along, I promise you it won’t do you no harm.
FROM 1918, WWII, FLU TO PRESENT
The unexpected happens in every presidency. Throughout my long life, I’ve witnessed our country go through many major crisis, not only wars but also major health crisis. I heard my father tell the stories about the health crisis in 1918, during WWI. He was on a ship with 3000 soldiers crossing the Atlantic when, like the rest of the nation, they were hit with the national crippling influenza. So many people died in the first few days that they ran out of U.S. flags to wrap the dead in and just started throwing service men’s bodies overboard. By the time they arrived in France they had lost nearly 500 men. My father got tears in his eyes when he told of several mornings waking up and finding that the soldier on his left and the one on his right were both dead, with their eyes and mouths open. It was a harrying experience for a young man. They died not from the war but from the flu that had no cure. Many others died on the battle field fighting a hand to hand combat. In March, 1933, during the Great Depression unemployment hit its highest number ever at 29%. Everyone was instantly poor, but that was not all, sickness followed as the country was hit with Tuberculosis. People by the thousands were confined to special hospitals where they were isolated and many died. Four members in our neighbor’s family were taken away and yes, I was a victim. I was very sick, thin with a constant cold and cough. I was very frail, sick for a longtime and probably near death. Today my lungs still show the scars of that illness. It always baffles x-ray technicians. Shortly after that TB crisis, Polio struck the nation. I have friends who have lived all their lives with the results. Patients were put in breathing machines called Iron Lungs but many still died. Again there was no medicine except for Sulphur drug that had little effect. Polio continued for many years until Dr. Jonas Salk discovered a vaccine. Through the years we have had other health crisis, several different types of flu, including Swine flu, mumps, chicken and small pox, typhoid fever etc. Many people died from these illnesses. Then there was Aids. Today’s Coronavirus is only the second pandemic, the first was in 1918. How long will this last? Will unemployment breaks the all time record? One would think with all the technology that has come along this country would be better prepared and not be so blindsided with what will be this great blow to our country. We’ve known about the illness long enough to have gotten ahead of the curve but our government sat in denial a couple months and did nothing, saying, “It will go away, it will pass in time, we’re a strong wealthy nation, not like we were during the Depression.” It will pass but at what cost and how long will it take. When this is all done, and it won’t be quick recovery, a total investigation must be held to see why this country was caught with our pants down and failed to see how bad our asses were exposed.
REMEMBERING DEAN GRANGER
We were sorry to learn about the death of Dean Granger, age 60, who passed away March 21. Over the last few months we constantly checked on his progress in his battle with cancer. Over the last month we hadn’t seen him arrive at the Granger dealership and assumed the worse. He was so young and had so much to offer. Dean had a keen interest in the future development of our county. He believed, by starting with young school aged children, the value towards expanding our community could be instilled in them when they grow up. Dean gave much of himself for our betterment. His passing is a great loss, not only to his family and friends, but also to a grateful community. Our thoughts are with his mom Ms. Carol on the loss of her child, condolences to his wife Kim, brother Al, son Shelby and his entire family. May this good man rest in peace. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
We were saddened to learn of the death of longtime friend William Whitney “Bill” Mello, age 66, who passed away March 20, 2020. Please see obituary.
TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
10 Years Ago-2010
This time of year I miss sitting under the hackberry tree, at the spool table back in Mr. Cox’s Neighborhood. *****High School Baseball is back. The most dramatic finish to a baseball game I’ve ever seen happened last Friday in the Bridge City-Hamshire Fannett first district game. The youngster from HF had a no-hitter going into the last inning, score 1-1. In the previous inning Bridge City had moved a batter, who had walked to third on a throwing error to first. (I suspect they thought they had read coach Chad Landry’s steal sign.) The BC player had moved to third. Matt Hicks tied the score 1-1 with a long fly ball out. In the next inning Matt Menard, Judge Janice’s grandson, (she would want you to know that) took a waist high pitch and put it over the right center wall. Game over. Bridge City won 2-1. I bet that HF kid will be telling his grandkids about once pitching a no-hitter and losing the game. By the way, Hicks struck out 15 batters in seven innings. Coach Chris Stump predicted Menard’s walk away homerun. How’s that for dramatic. Also while I’m at it, let me compliment the Bridge City school system for allowing senior citizens to attend all athletic events free of charge. I spoke to one elderly man who lives alone since losing his wife. He makes all BC sporting events. It’s entertainment for him and he says he couldn’t afford it otherwise. Roy says he and Judge Joe Parkhurst attended an LC-M freshman game that cost $4 per person. ***** Maj. Joey Hargrave, after 26 years with the Bridge City police department, has retired. Joey, a BC grad and former football kicker, has seen 26 graduating classes and known most of the town’s youngsters. Bridge City youth knew and trusted him. Over the past few years Hargrave was actively involved in running the police department under Chief Faircloth and was acting chief until Chief Paul Davis was hired.*****Condolences to Jerry Pennington and family on the death of his dad “Penny.”*****We understand Jimmy Schofield, who lives in Katy, fell and broke his hip. An Orange native and the son of Dr. Schofield, Jimmy has devoted his life to orphaned children. His life is really remarkable. *****Clint Landry, with MetLife is offering 2.35 percent on a $25,000 CD.*****Houston’s richest person, worth $9 billion, Dan Duncan, age 77, died Monday. He was a country kid from Center, in Shelby County, the same place Grady Johnson, the governor of Pinehurst is from. That was also birthplace of Don Campbell. Something about that east Texas water cultivates those money making folks. *****A couple of aces we ran into were Doug Harrington and former police chief Andy Verrett. Those two old boys are always up to some mischief. Doug tells the story about Andy being a Humming Bird caretaker and setting the house on fire fixing the birds some food on the stove.*****Most of you are too young to remember Muddy Waters and Billie Holiday. Both were great artist and both will turn 95. *****Speaking of birthdays it’s hard to believe that little April Fontenot will turn 46 on April 2. We knew her pretty mother Janet when she was 15 years old. *****Burl “Burlie” LaSalle celebrates Easter Sunday, April 4.***Others celebrating this week are Joe Peery, Dean “Dino” Martin, Lannie Claybar, Nevella Toal, Dan Domas and our longtime friend and recipe writer Nancy McWhorter.*****Most people might not be aware that Orange Police Department Maj. Mike Broussard’s wife Loretta speaks fluent Cajun French. Her grandparents lived in Delcambre and Erath, in Vermilion Parish, and she picked up the language on visit and summer vacations. Mike, on the other hand, was raised in a Cajun home and doesn’t speak or understand it. So Loretta, who is a lovely lady, speaks in French with Mike’s mom.*****Attorney Sharon Bearden, a Baylor grad, almost got revenge on Judge Pat and the constant ribbing from U.T. grads. The Baylor Bears lost to Duke Sunday 71-78. A win would have put them in the final four. For a while it looked like they might make it. They went much farther than Texas, A&M and others anyway.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
10 Years Ago-2010
Fain Chalmer Holbrooks, 78, was a native of Piedmont, Ala. I first met Fain in the latter 1960s when he and Vivian, his wife of 57 years, moved to Orange. Throughout his life Fain had been one of the true characters, always good for a laugh, always upbeat, seldom, if ever, negative. A self motivated guy with an unforgettable smile he hustled life on his wits and never failed to put food on the table. Fain was a salesman, always best at selling himself. Give him five minutes and you would believe he was the greatest guy you’d ever met. He sold appliances, first for Verrett’s, then was manager at Wilshire’s and later worked at other stores. I’ll always remember the times he worked at Montgomery Ward and Inez Hearn was store manager. They were a riot to be around. Through the years Inez thought so much of him. He and Coy Charrier were in the appliance and car repair business together before Fain went in the used car business and later the roofing business. Always a hustler, carving out a living while accumulating friends along the way.
The low point in he and Vivian’s life was the death of their 15-year-old son Clay in 1971. We were very close to the Holbrooks at that time and I still remember the pain our friends went through. Opposites attract is probably true. Vivian was somewhat shy, reserved and always a lady. Fain didn’t have a shy bone and was always joshing someone, especially Vivian, his best friend and companion. Together they raised a nice family, daughters Pat, Sheila and son Fain “Butch” Holbrooks Jr. He loved his family, grand and great-grandchildren.
About 15 years ago Fain nearly died in an Alabama restaurant when he choked on a piece of steak. An off-duty policeman saved his life. The local newspaper reported Fain was near death when the officer saved him. The policeman was later awarded for his heroic effort. That was sort of ironic because Fain had always counted policemen as his close friends. He would have loved to have lived in the Western days and been Wyatt Earp. He loved John Wayne movies.
He was one of a kind. We will never see his likes again. In his latter days he enjoyed attending Orangefield volley ball games where his granddaughter Kristinn is the coach. Although he never drank or smoked Fain died of liver cancer March 25. Services were Monday, March 29, 2010. We will never forget him. (Editor’s note: Fain’s wife Vivian still lived in the Orange area when we ran into her a year ago.)***** Jack Lovett, 83, passed away in Houston Saturday, March 27, 2010. Services were Tuesday, March 30, in Troup. Jack and wife Arthena were residents of West Orange many years. She died in 2007. Jack moved to Houston two years ago. He owned Lovett Electric Co. and was also a concrete contractor. He was an inventor who developed the process of separating shrimp sizes on shrimp boats as well as other inventions. Jack also was a writer and a member of the Writer’s Guild. He authored two books, one about his Navy career, and the other about being raised in an orphanage. He spoke three languages. I first met Jack in 1962 and we remained friends throughout the years. Jack was also an original member of the Wednesday Lunch Bunch. Many of you will remember Jack, who drove a long station wagon and lived near Mayor Roy McDonald on Irving Street for more than 45 years.
45 Years Ago-1975
Shirley Marks, 42, filed to run for Bridge City council. He was an elected member of the charter commission in 1973. He is employed at Jefferson Chemical in Port Neches. (Editor’s note: Shirley and his wife, Dorothy have both passed away.)****Last week the Opportunity Valley News celebrated its fifth anniversary at LaPlace Restaurant and Sound Studio, owned by Ernest and Ann McCollum. A remote broadcast by radio station KOGT was hosted by Bill Clark, Richard Corder and Joan Lovelace. Among the many guests were former sheriff Chester Holts and Judge Sid Caillavet, Gordon Baxter, police chief Wilson Roberts, Bridge City city manager Bill McClure, Henry Stanfield and Joe Blanda. Don Jacobs furnished the guitar picking and singing. Bax sang all 40 verses of “Philadelphia Lawyer.” Tee Bruce sang “Jolie’ Blon.” Judge Grover Halliburton, Uncle Jim McKay and former sheriff Buck Patillo stood in amazement. Bridge City mayor P.M. “Red” Wood was named Citizen of the Year. The Dunn family, Roy, Phyl, Mark and Karen played host to the large gathering.*****Ann and Jimmy Segura have just returned from South Carolina where they attended son Tommy’s wedding.*****Harry Stephens, who has owned Harry’s Appliance since 1963 is holding an anniversary celebration at his Front Avenue store. (Editor’s note: Harry has been servicing the people of Orange County 57 years this April. *****Nellie Pruter was admitted to Orange Memorial after suffering a fall.***** Will and Katherine Frey opens Frey’s Nursery and Garden Center on 16th Street. Helpers are four daughters, Kim, Sabrina, Karen and Stephanie and son, Mark.
A FEW HAPPENINGS
We heard from former county clerk Karen Jo Vance who told us she recently had Pestco spray mosquitoes and Termites. She said she has a contract with Pestco to spray yearly and they always do a great job keeping those pesky critters out of their home and yard.*****A few folks we know having birthdays. Warren Claybar, CEO of Claybar Funeral Home has a birthday on March 25. He is the son of Linda and Brown Claybar and grandson of the late Lannie Claybar, funeral home founder. *****A fun guy, Orangefield’s Billy LeLeux, affectingly known as “The Postman” celebrates March 26. Also the late attorney Joe Alford marked the 26th as his birthday.*****Garrett Clay Gros, the oldest of Karen Dunn Gros’ three sons celebrates March 28.*****Al Granger, of Granger’s Chevrolet, Inc. has a birthday on March 29.*****A special little guy, Chase Bellou, turns 4-years-old on March 30. He’s one of Mark Dunn’s four grandsons. With another on the way, Mark will have seven grandchildren from daughters Amber and Jenna.*****A special young lady celebrates her 16th birthday on March 31. She’s Christy Kourey’s little joy Coree. For a dozen years we’ve wished her a happy birthday and we wish her a great one on this day.
Kim Faulkner, Jennifer Miller, Katie Birdwell and Matt Thompson celebrate birthdays on March 25.*****On March 26, Karen Bozman, Sherry Stevens and Christy Day celebrate.*****March 27, Nancy Crew, Ruth Platt, Dale Forse, Beau Berry and Jane Scherer have birthdays.*****March 28, Mike Roberts, Dorothy Keith, Steve Holland and Jason James celebrate birthdays.*****On March 29, Kaydee Wingate, Robert Clark, Jr., Julie Walker all have birthdays.*****March 30, Karen Bergeron and Lisa Smith all celebrate.*****On March 31, Dana Myers, Danny Carter, Hunter Wilson, Rebecca Hunter are a year older.
CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK
Thophile Dartez and Calvin Thibeaux went for a beer at Tee-boy’s Lounge. They were jus making small talk wen Dartez said, “Yesterday was my 85th birthday.”
“Da hell you say,” said Thibeaux. Den he axe, “Wat did you git for your birthday hanh?”
Dartez answer, “My wife gave me a SUV, her.”
Thibodeaux say, “No kidding, dats amazing yeah. Imagine a SUV, wat a great gift dat is.”
Dartiz says, “Sure is, she gave me some Socks, Underwear and Viagra.
FDR inherited the Great Depression from Hurbert Hoover and immediately began to change things to put people back to work and also reopened banks. He started the WPA and C.C. Camps, but it was the invasion of Pearl Harbor, WWII and the war, that cost thousands of lives, that got us out of the depression. In 1988, George W. Bush inherited the 1987 Recession of Ronald Reagan. Geo. W. was never able to get unemployment below 10% and lost the election in 1992 to Bill Clinton. He turned the country around and left office after eight years with full employment and a strong economy. I believe he was the second best president in our history. After eight years under George W. Bush, in 2008, Barack Obama came into office during the greatest recession since the great depression, unemployment was over 10%, the auto industry was on the brink of bankruptcy, Wall Street and the banks were failing. Obama changed things and put in an economic structure that brought full recovery. He left a stable and growing U.S. economy to President Donald Trump with just 4.2% unemployment. Trump spiked the economy with $1.5 trillion in giveaways to companies and the very wealthy. He also dropped interest rates to zero to again spike the economy. He accumulated the largest deficit, over a trillion dollars, since the Iraq War. In time, the country was headed into another recession by the end of Trump’s first term or shortly after. That brings us to today and the situation that this Coronavirus has created. It will take someone with more government experience than Trump to come in and like other presidents, change things and start to make our country whole again. It’s going to be a long haul under the best situation and better leadership. A clean start is necessary. *****My time is up, thanks for yours. Stay in, Stay safe and God Bless.