Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Sherlock Breaux in the Creaux's Nest


Here’s hoping you had a nice Christmas. I’ve been writing for many years and as the new year brings us to 2023, I’m just thankful that I had the opportunity. I’m very grateful to have enjoyed some success with a loyal base of readers. Over the years, we have recorded Orange County history that will live through the ages. That would not be possible without the advertisers who make it possible for us to have such a wide circulation. My hope is that more local advertisers will take advantage of our offer of low cost advertising and large readership in two publications and a very active website at HYPERLINK "mailto:[email protected]. We" [email protected]. We are the only locally owned print outlet that features a staff of professional writers who are also historians. Every week read about local folks and what’s happening at home. Thanks for the many years of loyalty. Here’s wishing you and yours a very healthy, successful and Happy New Year.*****I’ve got to get going. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.


I was sorry to learn of the passing of Mary Bryant, age 85. I had heard a rumor that she had died but could not find confirmation until after her service. She passed away December 10. Funeral service was held December 17, at her longtime church, First Baptist Church in Bridge City. Mary was a wonderful, kind lady I had known her and husband Casey Bryant since the late 1950’s. Casey and his brother Cecil were two of the first coaches at B.C.I.S.D. Casey remained a school employee until retirement. The Bryant’s raised three boys, Kim, Billy and Matt, all good athletes. Matt was a longtime star place kicker in the NFL. They had one daughter Sherry Mulhollan and several grandchildren. I always enjoyed visiting with Mary. She was down to earth and never had an unkind word to say. She and Casey, who were complete opposites, raised a great family. Our condolences.


10 Years Ago-2012

The new issue of Las Sabinas, the official publication of the Orange County Historical Society is out. This issue features John Moses Hatton, the Cormier family of Orangefield and a lot of other interesting facts. ***** By the way, our friend Phillip Welch, a Lunch Buncher and Granger Chevrolet, PR man celebrated his birthday Thursday, Dec. 20, age 54 *****Johnny Montagne went off to the deer lease and got sick the first day, 100 miles from the nearest doctor. He toughed it out for a few days but never took his gun out and came back home empty handed. *****Dec. 31st is also a special day for Roy and Ms. Phyl. She’s put up with him 58 years.***Jerry and Barbara Childress also mark their anniversary on Dec. 31. *****Judge Troy Johnson’s longtime court coordinator, Toni Dyer, is retiring Dec. 31. She began work at the county in 1987, 35 years ago. Toni says it breaks her heart to leave her “Court House family.” Replacing her at Judge Johnson’s court is Diana Edwards.*****Mark Anderson and Phillip Welch were guest of Jamie Harrison, former Bridge City School Superintendent and now in the hierarchy covering all Texas high school sports. Mark and Phillip joined Jamie in his personal box for all nine state high school games at Jerry Jones’ country stadium. They arrived in Arlington Thursday and stayed through Saturday’s games. Meanwhile, Jamie was on statewide television during the events. Of importance to local high school fans, Navasota, who beat WO-S in the playoffs, won state 3-A Division II championship with a 39-3 win over Gilmer.***** We say goodbye to County Commissioner John Dubose this week. In the over 50 years of watching commissioner’s court, there has never been a commissioner who has done a better job. He was dedicated, knowledgeable and concerned.

20 Years Ago-2002

Laurence Winfree named “Citizen of the Year” by the Greater Area Chamber of Commerce. “An honor that is long over due,” said Chamber president Betty Harmon. Winfree is considered a legend in Orange County. The Winfree Community was named for his father, Will Winfree, who pioneered the area. According to J.B. Arrington, Laurence, a longtime rancher, promoted and helped the Junior Chamber with the purchase of land to produce some of the finest RCA approved rodeos in Texas. “Several Hollywood and music stars participated in many rodeos right here in Orange County,” Arrington said. Winfree’s wife Gladys died of cancer in 1977 after being married 57 years. They had two children Lester “Buckshot” and Jeannette Winfree. (Buckshot has since passed away as has Laurence.) ***** Newly elected officials to be sworn in to office New Year’s Day. Owen Burton, who turns 60 in a few days, is the newly elected County Commissioner of Pct. 3. He defeated incumbent Sue Bearden for the post. Only his second elected post, the Mauriceville businessman was on the Orange County Drainage Dist. Board 30 years ago. He gives credit to Commissioners John Dubose and James Stringer, along with newly elected Pct. 4 Commissioner Beamon Minton for preparing him for the post. “They took the time to show me around and educate me to the issues the county faces,” Burton said. On returning recently from a state seminar he said, “I’m eager to go to work; and instead of rocking the boat, I plan to get an oar and row.” Burton is a fiscal conservative Democrat.*****Roy Derry Dunn after a 33 year career in education, is leaving the Little Cypress-Mauriceville School District to become Justice of the Peace in Pct. 2. This week, he said goodbye to the students and the teachers he has worked with. He was principal at LC-M High. A resident of Mauriceville, he is the son of Wilson “King” Dunn, longtime Port Master. His uncle, Gordon Dunn, was a County Commissioner. Dunn, a conservative Democrat, in his first run for office defeated Cimron Campbell, the incumbent J.P.*****After working in the J.P. office in Pct. 3 for 20 years, Janice Menard ran to succeed her boss Judge Fl Edgerly. Menard reflected on the past 20 years with Edgerly starting as a part time clerk and being promoted to chief clerk, “Not only experience in the J.P. Court but also life experiences has prepared me for the job.” In 1990 she lost her daughter Julie Traver and her husband Bobby, who died at age 62 in 1999, while at the dinner table. Her brother Patrick was killed on FM 1442 in 1994, her youngest brother died in 1992, her oldest brother in 1976 and his two sons have died since. Of five siblings, Janice only has one sister left. Her father died at age 82. (Editor’s Note: At the time of this writing, her mother was still alive and lived alone in the Cove, however since then she has passed away, also Janice and her sister Millie have died.) “One of the hardest things about the Justice of the Peace position is dealing with death Judge Menard said, I’m prepared, I’ve been through so many deaths of loved ones.” *****Every major newspaper in the country headlines Matt Bryant, of Bridge City, after he kicked the winning field goal in overtime to put his New York giants in the NFL playoffs in a 10-7 win. Five months ago, Matt, who worked at a local pawn shop, was umpiring 11 and 12 year old Little League baseball games for $25 a game to earn extra money. It’s a Cinderella story of how a local boy became a star. (Editor’s note: Twenty years later, Matt is enjoying retirement.)*****Over 300 people showed up for Judge Flo Edgerly’s retirement party at the Bridge City Community Center. Barry Pickett played the music, with special guest Jivin’ Gene. A few folks spotted were Sheriff Mike White, Judge Carl Thibodeaux, Scott Barnes, Joey Hargrave, Owen and Nelda Burton, John and Joyce Dubose, Jessie and Nolton Brown, Glenda and Danzel Thompson, Judge Barbara Dorman, Shorty Woods, Roy and Phyllis Dunn, Darlene and Bob Zavada, Mark and Ronda Carter and many, many more well wishers.


Thank goodness the heat wave hit on Tuesday with the temps going up into the 50s. Orange County is thawing after a freezing few days at Christmas time. The wind chill got down to 3 degrees early Friday morning as the Artic front blew in. Luckily, Shangri La had finished the lighted Christmas strolls on Wednesday night before the cold strong winds began blowing Thursday afternoon. On Tuesday, the Stark Foundation announced 30,005 people had gone on the strolls in December. Each year Shangri La adds more lights and lighted features. Seems like everywhere was dripping in lights this year. Wonder what next year will bring? *****Unfortunately, those strong winds blowing in Friday morning led to a Christmas tragedy for a Bridge City couple The home of Dustin and Brittany Chalmers Yu on Suncrest was destroyed by a fire that quickly spread by the gusty winds. Luckily, they and their two children escaped, but they lost not only their house and belongings, but their two vehicles, too. Community members and friends immediately pitched in to help them out. Bridge City showed more signs of kindness as officers with the Bridge City Police Department went to some neighborhoods handing out Christmas stockings to kids.*****Disney World seems to have been a popular Christmas vacation spot for some Orange County residents. Chris and Christi Kovatch took all six children to Disney World for an extended stay. Thayer didn't lose his ice cream this time and Styker helped keep the lines moving. Terri Catano is enjoying her retirement from the Orange Police Department with family and extended family touring all the parks in Disney World… Looks like they enjoyed posing with Darth Vader and of course watching the castle covered in lights.***No word yet from Orange County Commissioner Johnny Trahan or his wife, Becky, on taking their grown kids and grandchildren to the Magical Kingdom.***Brandi Griggs decided to get her Christmas Disney fix by taking her two youngest on a Disney Magic Cruise.*****Lori and Joel Ardoin were celebrating a special surprise when son Heston Cheshire proposed to longtime girlfriend Ashley Eby. Wedding plans may have to be set around hurricane season, what with Joel being the county's emergency management director and Lori the county's communication officer.***Looks like the Tony and Nancy Dallas family has another wedding coming up. Cheese (Chad), the youngest, popped the question to longtime sweetheart Madison Wilson. Tony and Nancy's daughter Leigh Anne got married in October and son Jack in November. Chad wasn't too busy with getting engaged to visit Aimee Fregia, his good friend since childhood. She loved her visit from 'Cheez Elf.'***** Sue Cowling celebrated her 80th birthday this week and we're wondering if she will share her beauty routine. It sure works. Other birthdays this week included Orange City Councilor Terrie Turner, former KOGT personalities Iva Kay Odom and Bobby Lynn Hudson, Carol Sims, Sue Louviere Ryder, Theron Pool, Kim Dickerson, Doug Manning, Bohn Dorman, Ellisia Carpenter, and Eva Smith. Christie Thompson had a Christmas birthday. The retired police dispatcher is now a volunteer dispatcher for Pinehurst.  George and Nevella Toal marked their 46th wedding anniversary a couple of days after Christmas. ***Bianca and Charles Garrett share birthdays on January 2. They will be turning 39 and 40.*****Skipper Yeaman sure knows how to give the gifts to bride Gina Simar Yeaman. He gave her presents for days, including jewelry. But most people will be envious of Gina when the heat returns of her new fancy icemaker that produces 'Sonic-style' ice.*****Edie Burch showed off black diamond stud earrings she got for Christmas.***Father Jim Sichko got some 'Texas trash' from David C. Claybar. No, not the Waste Management kind. The good, buttery, spicy crunchy kind. Wonder if you should snack on that while sipping Father Jim's gifts from the bourbon fairy?  Will the taste of the bourbon ruin the taste of the trash?*****On Christmas Eve, Wendy Jenkins and her middle son Tyler brought us a special gift, two loaves of Wendy’s homemade bread, one cinnamon, one sweet bread. Oh, so good. Judge Chad tried to take credit for the gift, he signed the cards. Wendy tipped me off not to buy into that. I’ve missed a lot being away from the Lunch Bunch the last two years. For example, I didn’t know Judge Chad and Wendy were grandparents of one-year-old twins or that their son had been run over by a pickup truck last year. Thankfully he has fully recovered.*****I fully appreciate my annual Christmas gift from Philip Welch, a quart of Bo Henley’s Bobcat Farm honey, produced by “Happy Bees.” I’ve eaten honey from around the country but none as good as local honey. I’m sorry I missed Philip’s birthday on Dec. 20. Happy late birthday Philip. Philip told us about taking son Sterling to see the ”Million Dollar Quartet Christmas" at the Lutcher Theater recently.  In the coming days, Sterling showed that he had some skills on the piano.  When “Killer” was asked to perform, he had the bench tossed and the right foot on the keys putting on a show. Philip has him on video.***** Christmas Eve I got a call from our friend Robert Ramirez. He calls now and then to check up on me. I hear from a few friends now-a-days and the calls are much appreciated. Robert is that kind of guy. He has been fighting cancer and taking regular treatments and has also had COVID three times, one almost fatal. With sickness, a fire at his business, and repairs, he still finds time to check on others.


A few folks we know celebrating their big day in the coming week. Dec. 28: Karen Jo Vance, Debbie Thomas, Lynda Montagne, Stacy Roberts Debbie Taylor, Linn Cardner and Raymond Costilla all celebrate.*****Dec. 29: Kenny Dupuis, Donna Self, Julie Bock, Karen Phares, Harriet Dubose, Pam White, Pam DeDoux, Jacklyn Bradberry Sherrie Reid and Lauren Leger.*****Dec. 30: Happy Birthday to Kari Stringer, Kyler Walron, Paula Aven, Madison Reene Hanusch and Rebecce Hannegan.*****Dec. 31: Norma Fusilier, Holly Friend, Branda Amy, Richard Hunter, Jessica Anderson, Sandra Hovind and Hayden George.*****Jan. 1: Happy Birthday to Joanne Hill, Cynthia Hernandez, Glenda Wilburn and Ronnie Hearn.*****Jan. 2: Johnny Acevedo, Amber Cortez, Cody Johnson, Courtney Anderson, Jason Sieck, June Gunstream and Kathy Mercer.*****Jan. 3: Celebrating today are Jim Sharon Bearden, Owen Burton, Betty Johnson, Ann Burns and Barbara Dardeau. Happy Birthday to all. (To announce birthdays or anniversaries call 409-886-7182 or [email protected].


Wen little Sid Fontenot got home from school Friday to start the Christmas Holiday vacation, his dad, Big Sid, axe him, “How was school today Little Sid?” “Well, Papa, I tell you, da darnest ting happen,” he said. “Wat was dat?” Big Sid axe. “Well, Papa, some of dem high school boys turned one of dos white mice from da science lab loose in our turd grads classroom. Everybody started screaming as dat little mice run all over da room. Finally, dat little mice run under Miss Badeaux, da teacher’s desk. Den Papa, dat mice him, run up her leg. Miss Badeaux her, screamed, grabbed her skirt, jumped up on her deck and you know wat Pappa, she squeezed about a pint of water out of dat little white mice.”



Orange County Prepares for the Boom

The new year will start to bring economic changes to our county. It will be a boom like we’ve not seen since WWII. Thousands of construction workers are coming for the next few years. Housing will face shortage but many RV parks are being made available. In the coming years life will change from a quite industrial base community to one that becomes more stressful but very good for young people entering the job market. We are blessed with good leadership across the board in all our municipalities and different boards. Our county has excellent leadership in its Commissioners Court. County Judge John Gothia is a dedicated servant and leader. He’s the right person at this time to lead the county forward in what is a windfall for all of us. Along with commissioner Johnny Trahan, Pct. 1; incoming new commissioner of Pct. 2, Chris Sowell; Pct. 3, served by Kirk Roccaforte, who has many years of government experience; and former Vidor mayor, Pct. 4 commissioner Robert Viator. Education will continue to be an important part of our growth. Lamar State College, Orange, is one of the fastest growing schools in Texas percentage wise. The college has always had good leadership but today Lamar is fortunate to have Doctor Tom Johnson as its president. A Port Arthur native, Dr. Johnson is a wide open type of guy. His motion is always forward with new ides that fit right in with our future growth. Johnson is dedicated to working with our high schools which gives our students extra advantage and in time will keep more of our graduates at home with good paying jobs. 2023 brings a bright future for our little part of Texas. I’m confident in the well being of our four school districts that will continue to grow under good leadership. We should see and expanded business base that will bring more sales tax for growing citizen services. Our time has come. Exciting times that should profit all of us. *****My time is up. Thanks for yours. See you in the New Year until then happy trails to you. Take care and God bless.


Reader Comments(0)