Sherlock Breaux in the Creaux's Nest
Last updated 1/25/2022 at 7:18pm
STARTING WEEK WITH MY BOAT FULL
I had great intentions for this week’s column but my boat filled up before I knew it. Between doctors visits and falling way behind, I’m playing catch up. Besides that, I just heard my friend of over 60 years Essie just died. I need to do something on that in her honor. She deserves it. I received a gift from Pat Pate recently. She sent me Eddie Lovelace’s book. He now goes by the name Eddie Love. He and Christina Ledbetter wrote the book, ‘The Saint, The Sinners and Eddie.’ I read it over the weekend and intended to write my take on it but I can’t find the time this week. Pat called me Monday morning from Tyler and I told her some of what I know about the characters in the book. They are not depicted by their real names and some of the details are off but in all the story is in the ballpark. Two people, Lloyd Gilbeaux who was the bartender at the Jack Tar Hotel in the ’60 and ’70, and D.J. Ace Amodeo, who was in the know on everything in Orange, both dead now, could have really added some good stuff, *****I need to get on down the road. I’ll have more to say about it later. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.
REMEMBERING MAYOR ESSIE BELLFIELD
CIVIL RIGHTS PIONEER
I got word Friday that Essie Bellfield, age 88, my friend for over 60 years, was giving up the fight. She had recently overcome COVID and after a hospital stay, she was sent to The Meadows Senior Center. She expressed that she was tired and had done all the fighting to live she wanted to. She gave up all medication and requested to be put on Hospice. “I’m ready to go home,” she declared. She had sent me word that she would see me on the other side. Essie and I had been friends since our 20’s. She called me her white brother. Through the years we always kept up with each other. She was a single mom with two small girls I would babysit with when she had chores to run. At the time she owned a confectionery on Second St. and Cherry Ave. Born in Pittsburgh, she was raised in Jennings, LA. Essie never met a stranger and made friends over the years with state and federal government officials. She never failed to call on them if need be. She was a Civil Rights pioneer. In March 1965, when LBJ was president, she made the Civil Rights march over the Edmund Pettis Bridge with Velma Jeter, Fred Early, James Rogers and Zay Roberts, and future congressman John Lewis. Lewis and others were beaten, blooded and tear gassed. The March lasted less than a half-mile. Two weeks later, after a federal judge overturned an order by Alabama Gov. George Wallace that declared the march illegal, Lewis and Martin Luther King, Jr., accompanied by 3,000 marchers, finished the 54-mile march from Selma to the state capital in Montgomery. Essie made many bus trips to civil rights events. Over the years, she and John Lewis remained friends. As a high school graduate Essie was refused admission to L.S.U. and had to attend a Black college. That was her civil rights inspiration. She was elected to the Orange, Texas City Council and in 1997 she was elected as the first woman and first Black mayor of the city she loved. That elected seat opened doors to many friendships which included Texas Gov. Ann Richards, U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee. Essie Bellfield rode buses and marched all over the country with the NAACP. She was truly a faithful in the Civil Rights era of the 1950’s and 1960’s. Richard Spector, a devoted friend, has been looking after Essie the last couple of years but has been a friend for many years. Essie Bellfield died Sunday, January 23, at the age of 89. It is said when an elder person dies, it’s like a library burning down. Nothing could be truer with the passing of Essie, her home is like a museum. I will really miss her. May she rest in peace. Services to be announced.
TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
15 Years Ago-2007
There is so much sickness going around. A lot of sore throats, etc., but worst of all is the stomach virus, causing cramps, vomiting and loose bowels. At some time or other most everyone here at the Nest has been affected, including the Creaux. Today our Girl Friday, Debbie, is on her second bout. Ace reporter, Margaret Toal, is grounded and had to cancel Monday interviews and covering commissioner’s court. Roy used the sick excuse not to pen a Life’s Highway column. Mark and wife, Sharon, have been knocking at death’s door from winter crud. Harrington, the other pharmacist, and the doctors are loaded with patients. I’m ready for a real hard freeze to kill all the germs and for sunshine and spring to get here. This up and down weather, hot today, cold and rain tomorrow, along with the air we breathe here in ‘cancer alley,’ is taking its toll. We’re operating with a skeleton crew. ***** It’s the Bears and Colts in the Super Bowl, Feb. 4.*****Gas prices have come down. T. Bone Pickens said he miscalculated back in August.***** Things are looking great for the future of Orange County with lots of major projects coming. The Stark property on Hwy. 87, from Hwy. 105 to the airport has recently been sold. A big housing project, restaurant and maybe a Lowe’s on the way. Cowboy’s Coach Bill Parcells leaving the Cowboys is not really a big surprise. ***** Our friend Shaun Davis, who is now putting in time in Austin working for State Rep. Allen Ritter, has a thousand Charlie Wilson stories. Shaun was once an employee and longtime friend of the Congressman. Shaun and wife Tammy, an account executive for The Record, tells us Charlie is having a ball traveling from East Texas to Hollywood and even to Morocco advising on the film, “Charlie Wilson’s War.” The film is expected to open next Christmas and will star Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts. It depicts Charlie’s campaign to arm the Afghan Mujhadeen for their battle against Soviet occupiers in the 1980s. Charlie is counseling Tom Hanks on how to play Charlie Wilson. The East Texan has told friends that Hanks is the perfect actor to portray him and has the Charlie Wilson swagger. Con. Wilson has many friends in Orange County and was the best friend Orange Countians could have in Washington up to his retirement in 1996. Film director Mike Nichols says, “We’re aiming for an Academy Award.”*****We were saddened to learn about the death of George Clary, 50, on January 17. He was too young to be parting this life. George came from a great family. Parents, Laura and Bob, real salt of the earth people.***** Attorney Sharon Bearden, former district attorney and judge, along with the late Louis Dugas, has been one of the most successful criminal attorneys in the area. Since leaving the D.A.’s office he has been in private practice flying solo. That will change this week when the firm becomes Bearden and Bearden Law Firm. Sharon is being joined by his son, Jim Sharon and the father-son combo brings a new dimension to the firm. Jim Sharon has vast experience in the civil law field and as a general practitioner in all aspects of the law.***** Congrats to Judge Carl Thibodeaux, the recipient of the ‘Monk Award.’ It’s a big honor and well deserving. He also has been picked unanimously by Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties to serve as Regional Incident Commander, a position created by the governor. No doubt he’ll do a good job.*****Best wishes also to Commissioner John Dubose, new president of Southeast Texas Regional Planning. He will be in Washington on Feb. 2 to meet with our senators, congressman and committee members. *****Over the years, Orange County has had some colorful elected officials. Present County Commissioner Owen Burton, a native who has a vast knowledge of present and former citizens, is quite a storyteller. Owen tells the story of Joe Heinen buying the county mosquito plane after Junior Bruce was forced to get rid of it. According to Owen, Joe sat on a five-gallon bucket to fly it and Amos Roy was the only person around with nerve enough to fly with him and sit on the other bucket.***** President Bush’s approval poll numbers are now at 34 percent.
45 Years Ago-1977
Bridge City Chamber holds it’s annual banquet. Roy Dunn served as Master of Ceremonies, former Sen. D. Roy Harrington, who replaced Harry Hubbard as guest speaker, spoke on the need for better communication between labor and management. Dr. Mark Messer was welcomed in as new president. Bobby Smitherman chosen as Bridge City ‘Citizen of the Year.’*****The new Orange Noon Lion’s club is chartered. Robert Nelson is it’s first president. Other officers are Victor Campbell, W.E. Pritchett, Oscar Dominguez and Lennart Carlson. *****Former sheriff Chester Holt is hospitalized after suffering a massive heart attack. He is on his way to recovery and was praised as one of the state’s best sheriffs. When he left office there were no major unsolved crimes in Orange County. *****Mike and Sis Keogh and the H.D. Pates attended the Union Station Presidential Inauguration Ball. President Jimmy Carter, Vice-president Walter Mondale and their wives visited the ball. The Keogh’s and Pates were part of the 973 Texas delegation to the inauguration.*****Rocky Holt came down from Arkansas, where he is stationed with the Air Force, to visit his grandfather Chester, who is in the hospital.*****Construction starts again on Lynwood Sanders’ office after being destroyed by fire.*****Mildred Alborn is in Orange Memorial intensive care unit. Her condition is not very good.*****Waggoner Carr, former Texas Attorney General, writes a book on the Sharpstown scandal. Carr has a lot of good friends in Orange County, including W.T. Oliver. Carr was Speaker of the House when Oliver served in the House. ***** Don Campbell is appointed ‘Go-Texan ambassador for 1977 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. His Orange County committee includes Don Kachtik, Elaine Meyers and Wayne Frederick. Singer Mac Davis will perform during Orange County Night.
50 Years Ago-1972
Jim Sharon Bearden, first assistant district attorney since 1967, announced Jan. 26 that he will seek the office of district attorney in the Democratic Primary. In a statement he said, “After having served in the county attorney’s office as first assistant under Roy Wingate, Feagin Windham and Louis Dugas, Jr., I wish to announce my candidacy for the office.” Bearden is a lifelong resident of Orange, a 1957 graduated from Lutcher Stark High School, Lamar University with a BS degree in government in 1962 and a law degree from Baylor in 1965. He is married to the former Carolyn Mease. They have one child, Tyler, who is two months old. Bearden will announce his platform at a later date.*****Special thanks to Corky and Don Harmon, The Compraph Corp, Tom Herline, Frank Manchac and the Shreveport Journal for making our Super Bowl VI trip possible.*****Mr. Edgar Brown, Jr. is a new subscriber to the Opportunity Valley News. He sent a nice complimentary note with his request for subscription. Other noted subscribers lately are Mrs. Eunice Beckinstien, Edgar Brown III, Sen. John Tower, Sen. Lloyd Benson, Lt. Gov. Ben Barnes, J.K. Conn, Alvin Keown, just to mention a few.*****Attorney Jim Graves is voted on the board of directors at Orange Bank. (Editor’s note: What became of that 6 ft. 7in. guy anyway?)*****Orange boxers winning over Lake Charles and Menchaca Boxing Club of Port Arthur were Delano, Norris Leger, Keble Free, Oscar Dominguez, Mark Hogden and Roy Hogden.
75 Years Ago-1947
This week in 1947, Ike Khoury, the darling of Orange’s wrestling fans, in a major championship match, defeated the ‘Machete Chop Merchant’ Gorila Macias, in the best two out of three falls. (Editor’s note: Later in life I got to know this wonderful man. He was such a pleasure to be around. He spoke with a slight accent. I don’t know what nationality he was. He was county treasurer Christy Khoury’s grandfather.*****Prices at the Navy Store, 2007 N. 5th. St., Cigarettes, $1.59 a carton, any brand. Admiration coffee, 43 cents pound.
A FEW HAPPENINGS
Congratulations to everyone who played a part in bringing back to Orange County a full hospital health care center. That will provide around the clock emergency room, diagnostics, a full lab and a women’s center. For years Dr. Marty Rutledge has been the driving force for a complete health facility in Orange County. Many others worked on the project, none any more than County Judge John Gothia, but the key to success was Gisela Houseman, widow of Tony Houseman, who would be proud of Gisela and the success of this important health project. Mrs. Housemen donated the land that will house the new Gisela Houseman Medical Campus, located at IH10 and State Highway 62. Christus Southeast Texas will manage the new health campus. Thanks to everyone who played a part, even a small part, it took everyone’s effort to make it happen. (Editor’s note: I wonder about the big vacant Baptist Hospital building on Strickland. I still believe it would be a great V.A. facility for Southeast Texas veterans care.)*****Best wishes and congrats to new West Orange Stark head football coach Hiawatha Hickman. He brings to the job many years of experience. He has spent the last six years as a defensive assistant under coach Cornell Thompson, plus the previous 10 years as assistant defensive coordinator in Silsbee. I once heard former WOS coach Dan Hooks say about hiring an assistant, “If he’s good enough for Cornel, he’s good enough for me.” Well about Coach Hickman, “If he’s good enough for Cornell, that’s good enough.”*****We are glad to announce that Robert’s Meat Market and Deli is now open. The restaurant will be ready to open in April. Meanwhile, Robert will be making two trips to Houston for checkups. Robert is a good guy and we wish him good results.*****Please welcome Angela Schram and her business, Hearing Resolutions Center, to our family of advertisers. She opened on 16th Street a few weeks ago. Be sure to look for her ad this week.*****A few folks celebrating birthdays in the next few days. Jan. 26: Marilyn Roccaforte celebrates number 96 today. Much younger, longtime friend, Nancy Vincent, also celebrates as does Karla Cloud, Mike Faulk, Ron Huebel and Frank Richardson.***Colby Bryant was killed on this day in a plane crash in 2020.*****Jan. 27: Happy Birthday to Elyse Thibodeaux, Tommy Wolfford, Tori Lummus, Mick Weidner and Kimberly Barclay.*****Jan. 28: Today is a special day for Leland Clay Gros, he becomes a teenager. Thirteen years have gone by quickly. Leland is Garrett’s son, Karen’s grandson and Phyl and Roy’s great-grandson. Also celebrating is Mary Stanton, a friend who made great memories. We haven’t seen her since Don passed away. Judge David Dunn is a year older today. He seems to have disappeared. Sidney Longron turns 89 today. Happy Birthday also to Judge Bill Dixon, Justin Gearhart, Colin Briggs, Chase Rendall and William Carpenter.*****Jan. 29: Wyman Ogden celebrates along with Bobby’s better half, pretty Devra Cormier. Also Caitlyn Eubanks, Traci Anderson and Ricky Miller.*****Jan. 30: A great friend, lovely lady and wonderful person, Rosalie Clark celebrates today. She’s the longtime bride of Pat Clark. We wish her many more healthy years. Also celebrating are Jason Myers, Brenda Dubose and Amy Campbell.*****Jan. 31: Skipper’s youngest, Scott Free celebrates as does Regina Gaspard and twins Lucas Adams. His twin celebrates the next day. Feb. 1: Mason Adams, Theresa VanMeter, Gera Benoit, Garrett Kerger, Jake Williams, Brittany Leonard and Lisa Monceaux.*****We were happy to hear from Wade Gillet, who pointed out two mistakes in our 50 Years Ago portion of this column. It seems Tody Smith was called Toby Smith. Wade also informed us Tody was raised in Orange and only attended school in Beaumont. Thanks Wade for keeping us straight.*****We want to send our sincere thoughts and prayers to one of our own, Penny Leleux and husband Gerald. Gerald’s brother Bill passed away on Tuesday. He had lived with them for 19 years.***** One thing I haven’t heard mentioned is that Essie Bellfield was famous for giving out $2 bills. Every new baby she saw got one, also hundreds of people have an Essie $2 bill. I have two in my wallet.
CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK
Tee-Man Comeaux was driving down old Highway 90. Bout da time he get to Esterwood, a policeman pull him over for speeding. He axe Comeaux for his drivers license. Comeaux fumble around and finally got it out. All dis time da policeman him, was looking him over. Den he say, “Mr. Comeaux, I can’t help but notice your eyes, dey are bloodshot dem. Have you been drinking, hanh?”
Comeaux him, he bolt up and gets really indignant and says, “Let me axe you something Mr. policeman, I couldn’t help but notice me, dat your eyes are glazed, have you been eating doughnuts?”
A FOOTBALL WEEKEND TO REMEMBER
A great weekend of NFL football, four games, three upsets. The last team to have possession of the ball won the game. What made all the games so special for me is that I had no favorites playing. Without Dallas and New Orleans, I just lay back and enjoyed the talent and excitement of the game. One thing that the four games proved is that the older, great quarterbacks will soon be history, replaced by youngsters in their mid-20’s. The epic game of all time was the AFC title game between the K.C. Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. The lead changed hands three times, with 25 points scored in the last 13 seconds and won in overtime by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs with a 49-yard touchdown. It was the fourth straight AFC title win for Mahomes, 42-36. Bills quarterback Josh Allen was also very impressive. Over the weekend we saw 44-year-old Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers bite the dust 30-27 to the LA Rams. Meanwhile, Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers were knocked out of the payoffs 13-10 by the 49ers. Talk is that Rogers and Brady may have played their last game. I don’t believe that, but I do believe that neither will again play in a Super Bowl. Next Sundays playoff games features AFC Bengals at Chiefs, 2 p.m. on CBS. The NFC championship game, 49ers at Rams, 5:30 on FOX. I don’t care who wins but I admit I’m hooked and can’t get enough of Mahomes’ great talent and look forward to watching him do his magic for two more games so I’m pulling for the Chiefs to be in the Super Bowl All that being said, the real unsung heroes are the great receivers who make stars out of quarterbacks. They run five miles a game and may get to make only a few great catches thrown their way. The fans say, “What a great throw.” What about the catch that made the quarterback a star.
*****Special thanks you for your loyalty. Read us cover to cover and check our website daily. See you on the next turnaround. Take care and God bless.