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ORANGE

Living M A G A Z I N E

Russell Holt

Demonstrates a “Man of Excellence” with his efforts

W.H. Stark House From celebrating the roaring 1920s to honoring Mother’s Day

Spanky’s Bar and Grill

Nothing deters this food connoisseur

APRIL 2018 ISSUE


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TABLEOFCONTENTS CULTURE

A LOOK AT THE HISTORY

Cormier Museum: More than one town’s history������������ 6

The Orchid Lady: Frances Ann Lutcher ����������������������� 26

DAY TRIP

LIFESTYLE

Avery Island: TABASCO® visitors center and Jungle

How prom came to precede the pomp and circumstance

Garden���������������������������������������������������������������������������� 14

��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� 28

RESTAURANT

HEALTH

Spanky’s: Nothing deters this food connoisseur������������ 16

Gift of Life Provides Health, Healing & Hope from Prostate Cancer������������������������������������������������������ 30

FEATURE Russell Holt: Demonstrates a “Man of Excellence”������ 18

ON THE SCENE See who was seen out and about������������������������������������ 32

HOME W.H. Stark House: Adds beauty and charm������������������� 22

WHY I LOVE ORANGE

On the cover: The staircase in the W.H. Stark House. Photo courtesy of the Stark Foundation. Photographer Will France

Larry Spears Jr.�������������������������������������������������������������� 42

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PUBLISHERLETTER

Pushing Back the Darkness A Faith-based novel bringing spiritual awareness to human trafficking in America Visit my website to buy the book and products: authorlauraaranda.com Email to schedule speaking events: lauraaranda@owlofhope.com facebook.com/AuthorLauraAranda

The azalea blooms are currently providing a colorful drive around town. By the time you read this, their time will have expired but other blooms should be popping out. I have been many times to Shangri La Botanical Gardens but never have I managed to make it when the azaleas are blooming. I should mark my calendar for March 2019 and make sure I don’t miss it again. Bassmasters Elite 2018 will be on the Sabine River about the time you have the opportunity to enjoy the April edition of Orange Living. Art in the Park and live entertainment at the City of Orange Boat Ramp will provide a well-rounded community event for all to enjoy. Soon after you should plan a trip to Avery Island. Although it does not measure up to Shangri La, they do have a garden you can tour on foot, bicycle or auto well worth your time. My favorite was eating at the restaurant where you can indulge in at least a dozen varieties of Tabasco products. It makes a good day trip. Check out the information within. As we put each magazine together we look for community events where we can take photos to place in the On the Scene section. Look for us when you are out. We would love to capture your smiling faces for the next edition of Orange Living Magazine!

ORANGE NEWSMEDIA, LLC PUBLISHER Bobby Tingle DESIGNER Dawn Burleigh PHOTOGRAPHY Dawn Burleigh Van Wade Ginger Broomes

WRITERS Ginger Broomes Dawn Burleigh Mike Louviere Van Wade Holly Westbrook AD TRAFFIC AND SALES Candice Trahan Bobby Tingle

ABOUT Orange Living is published and distributed by Orange Newsmedia, LLC for Orange County residents promoting and encouraging the cultural and social scene in the Greater Orange Area. For information about advertising, to ask a question or make a comment about our magazine, contact Orange Newsmedia, LLC at 409883-3571 or by email at editorial@ orangeleader.com.


d l e fi e g n a r O Cor mier Museum

More Than One Town’s History


T

By Ginger Broomes

hose in Orangefield know the name Paul Cormier. Not only did he build and stock the Orangefield Cormier Museum, located between K-Dan’s grocery store and Orangefield High School, but he was, by all accounts, a brilliant oilman and philanthropist whose contributions are still seen to this day. Driving into Orangefield on Highway 105, you could pass the nondescript metal building and not notice it, save for the large wooden oil derrick and farm implements stationed out front. “The 1st big well that hit here was in 1922, which was when the excitement came in,” said Jesse Fremont, one of several volunteers who work at the museum. “The population just exploded for such a small community - more than what the town could keep up with. That got people excited - several big discoveries - you know, you got Spindletop in Beaumont, and here - and it just followed the whole coast line quite a bit.” He was talking of course about the boom that changed the face of this small town during 1922, off and on until about 1925. A boom so great it had guys sleeping in the hallways in the only hotel which was in neighboring Orange, and had locals transforming their homes into boarding houses to accommodate the oilfield workers that descended upon the town. “When the town exploded there were no hotels, people rented out bedrooms,” Jesse said as he pointed to a room set up to look like a boarding house. “They called those beds hot beds because when one shift would leave the other shift would come in the bed was still warm from the previous guy.” Jesse knew the ins and outs of this museum, and the town of Orangefield, having arrived here in 1972 and working as a teacher for 35 years. He is one of a handful of very dedicated volunteers at the museum, each one helping to preserve and teach history of the town and surrounding areas. It is something he is not only very knowledgeable about, but very passionate about as well. Jesse conducted the tour with Harvey Wilson, lifetime Orangefield resident and another volunteer. “I knew the Cormier family,” Jesse said, saying he couldn’t ask for a better friend, someone who was very sharp in the oil business too. “When the larger companies would leave because production was down, like Texaco, Paul would go in there, take the older wells and go a little deeper.“ From the outside of the building you

would never know what awaits you inside. To say it is like a trip back through time is a statement that is overused and doesn’t do it justice. It is not only a museum but also a view into a man’s formerly private collection and passion, a view through history, and a lesson in preserving heritage not only of a community, but of a time that many still see as “the good old days”. Paul Cormier’s father, a roughneck himself, moved his family from Ged, Louisiana to Orangefield. When he was older, Paul worked with his dad in building wooden oil derricks, before going into business for himself in drilling and the work- over part of the oil business, and later making his money by buying up oil leases. Over the years he visited a lot of flea markets, his favorite, according to Jesse, being the Winnie Trade Days, building a collection of artifacts that represented all the best parts of his childhood and youth. As his collection grew, other people who would call him with things to sell or donate. The collection was built and remained at his home until it outgrew his house and, much to his wife’s delight, he bought the current building on Highway 105 and set his collection there. Cormier owned the museum until his death in 2009, when his family donated it to the Orangefield school district. Today, Paul Cormier’s son owns Orange Oilfield Supply in town and still stops by to take a look around. “When Paul died, family donated to

Orange Living Magazine | 7


school district,” Jesse said when asked who runs the museum and the two massive buildings on the grounds. “It’s hard for the school to pump money into a museum when their priority is for kids. But we get funds raised by our festival every Christmas, and our biggest help is the Orange County hotel-motel tax.” In keeping with Cormier’s wishes, he said there is still no cost of admission, only donations. The museum housed a replica of Cormier’s office from his oil days. His portrait also hung outside a room dedicated solely to the oil boom, black and white photos of wooden oil derricks that stretch out for miles, looking like an ancient, small city, photos stretched across wall after wall, with glass case after case of more photos – workers in the field, and maps of the well locations, and field journals with the scribbling of men long since gone. In this room was a black and white photo of patrons standing in front of the local saloon back then. Most of the men had the sense to turn their backs to the camera, save for the poor, overserved man who – as the caption on the photo said “had a combination of wood alcohol and a ‘k.o.’, and was photographed splayed out on the ground. Many of the people in the photos scattered throughout the museum are awaiting identification, a task made more difficult because the volunteers are the ones doing all the research, as they can, and they have to rely on Facebook, or the descendants of these men, for information. As a result quite a few of them remain unnamed.

8 | Orange Living Magazine

But the Cormier Museum doesn’t consist of just one man’s collection. Gradually he recreated scenes from his past, building individual rooms for each memory from his childhood, eventually becoming a 1920’s-era village that included a replica of a local gas station, a jail, a bank, a saloon, a boarding house, a post office, a dentist office, a general store, and a cafe. And that is only in the first building. This small town within a building was created to not only represent old Orangefield, but also many other small country towns all across the south. The work and planning was intensive, and, you can tell, a labor of love. Each room – or, historical scene – has been built mostly with materials from old buildings in town, and furnished with relics representing that scene and time. Take the aforementioned room set up as a boarding house. Jesse pointed to an old sign above the makeshift saloon and said that he personally dug up from someone’s property, the owner of which called and told Jesse if he could find it he could have it. Each room is carefully detailed without exception. Visible gas pumps, signs and old oil cans line the gas station. There is a jail. The “café” is a replica of a local café in the day. The shop in this “town” showcased many tools and implements used at the time, including odd-looking shovels with extremely long handles. “Post-hole diggers would only go so deep,” Harvey Wilson, also a volunteer at the museum, said, “And before post-hole diggers, they would plant telephone poles

with them; so they could go deeper.” Among the other farm tools was an oddity – an old butter churn with a miniature wood treadmill attached to the side. It was a dog-powered butter churn, which Jesse and Harvey said “They actually preferred for a goat to operate because ‘they don’t like to back up’.” Like the photographs, it has been an ongoing job to identify all of the tools, some of which are very obscure. The volunteers try to put items on their Facebook, hoping the public can identify them. Among the antique tools and equipment emerges a story. “1913 was the Bland well, first documented well in Orange County; 1921-22 was the large discovery well. Oscar Chesson had that lease. All a sudden he went from being a dirt poor farmer, to making $2,000 to $3,000 a day,” Jesse said. “I heard he bought a new pig,” laughed Mr. Wilson. The story goes that an oil company later tried to buy Oscar out for a half million and Oscar declined; one of the reasons he gave was he had some sick pigs or some sick goats and didn’t want to pack them up to move. Then there are the stories that have nothing to do with oil, as each room, each item in the museum, carries its own history. “Oldest rancher at the time was the Winfree Family,” Jesse said, as he pointed to a display of bullhorns, western wear and a saddle, in front of which is a bronze plaque from the Texas Department of Agriculture which read “Designated Family Land Heritage Property - 100 years of agriculture


WESTERN WEAR • WORK BOOTS • WESTERN BOOTS FIRE RETARDANT WEAR • JEWELRY • BELTS • BUCKLES • GIFTS

by the same family – Winfree Ranch Est. 1831.” The saddle was the saddle Mr. Winfree first rode into town on and the cattle ranch still exists. “Story goes that after Santa Anna was captured, to be taken to New Orleans, they went right through the Winfree place and camped out. There was a cattle trail, as ranchers were traveling, they had a place to put their cattle in pens, and spend the night; can’t find proof of this but we were told he (Santa Anna) stayed there,” Harvey said. Another room was constructed into a bank lobby, complete with all the details and décor of the 1920s. Across from the bank was a display that Jesse said was a favorite, particularly with the groups of elderly that bus in from Houston on free tours: an authentic-looking general store with a post office in it - common in the days of general stores. “They love the free bus rides. Spend the day, eat at the buffet at K-Dan’s, they love it,” Jesse said. In the spring after the schools complete their state testing, students looking to wind down enjoy field trips, and there is grandparent’s day with the day care nearby. You can see why the general store was a favorite – every item was carefully curated and authentic to the time – coffee grinders, tin cans, old displays. A counter with an old cash register. As with the other rooms in this museum village, old toys hung on the walls – pedal cars, trikes, even a wooden sled. “He was very big on toys,” Jesse said, referring to Cormier. “The word is that at

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Christmas, as a child, he was lucky to get one toy.� Therefore toys figured in heavily in his collection – present in almost every room of the first building, and most of the second building of the museum. Beside a display of a large iron church bell was a story, plastered on the wall in just photocopies of old articles, no plaque, no grand artifacts. Copies made by the volunteers who had no other means in which to tell the story they thought needed to be told. At the turn of the century, around 1907, the Kichimatsu Kishi and his family, along with several men who worked for him, migrated to the area to a small town called Terry, located then halfway between Beaumont and Orange in Orange County. Moving from their farm in Japan, their migration would prove beneficial for their adopted community. Kishi began to farm land along Cow Bayou – rice, at first, then branching out to other crops, bringing along with him several young men to establish what became known as the Kishi Colony on 9,000 acres. Not only did he look out for his young men, he built churches for his Christian workers, even though he was a Buddhist. His family prepared meals for the workers according to their nationalities. His workers included Mexican Americans, African-Americans, Anglo-Americans and later even some French Americans. When neighbors fired a shotgun at the living quarters of the African-American workers, Kishi purchased a revolver and went to the neighbors to show them his firearm. No one bothered any of his workers again.

10 | Orange Living Magazine


Making it as a successful farmer, he would eventually have one son to become the first Asian American to letter in football at Texas A & M. When World War II broke out and Japanese internment camps began to crop up, he voluntarily took himself to the FBI in Port Arthur, spending two months of internment at Camp Kennedy before having his hearing, at which time he was released. He insisted that that his family and employees learn and speak English outside of the home, so that they would have one foot planted in each culture. He donated land to the town of Terry and built a church there and paid half the pastor’s salary. He was constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Terry. Around the time of the Great Depression, following crop disease and freezes, the farm folded and he died in 1956. The town of Terry is no more and all that remains as physical reminders of the colony is the Kishi Cemetery. “A lot of (Kishi family) members still live in the area,.” Jesse said. “Very nice people.” He gestured to the photocopies on the wall, “I just wish we could do more than this.” In the next building you’ll find a replica of a 1928 Orangefield school building, whose nickname was The Alamo. Like the first building, Paul Cormier used materials from other structures in town, where he could, and portions of the brick wall of the school display were from the original school. The inside of the room was filled with old plaques, the original school books and lunch boxes of the period. Then and now photographs lined the

walls along with old letterman jackets. The pictures depicted former students and the careers they went on to have after Orangefield. Again, there was a story with every item. One of the letterman jackets belonged to a 1945 Orangefield High School student who was drafted during World War II,

just before graduation. In 2016, the student, Abner Simon, finally received his diploma at age 89, upon returning to Orangefield to obtain his transcript and then being informed that he was listed as a graduate. He walked with that year’s students at the commencement ceremonies.

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A roller rink, representing the skating rink built in Orangefield in 1956, was located across from the school, as authentic as the real deal. Cubbyholes were filled with the original leather skates from the time period, games and pinball machines as well as the sign from the original rink line the walls. Even the floor was part of the original wooden floor. Other rooms in this second building were dedicated to musical instruments, more 1950-60s era pedal trucks and cars, model cars, trucks, airplanes and more. Within this second warehouse was what’s called the back room, housing old farm equipment including a manure spreader, sugar cane grinder, and Farmall tractor, all donated to the museum by locals. Antique cars line the wall - a Model T, a ‘58 Chevy, and Paul Cormier’s personal work over rig from his oilfield days. Beyond this row was the centerpiece – a massive wooden wheel that took up most of the back half of the building. It was called a bull wheel and used during the boom to operate the oil pump jacks. It

12 | Orange Living Magazine

was a piece so massive that Cormier had to build a portion of the building around it. “That YouTube’s the greatest thing ever made,” Jesse said, speaking about trying to find out information about it and how it worked. “Came from a little community outside Beaumont called Batson. When it would turn, it could operate several pumps at the same time.” At the conclusion of the tour, Jesse apologized for the cardboard boxes that lined the concrete floor. The museum didn’t take on water during hurricane Harvey but the school next door did; the museum still housed many of their documents. He spoke fondly of his fellow volunteers, how dedicated they are, how much work they put into this place. The school owned the museum, and kept the utilities on and insurance, which, along with the hotel-motel tax, kept it operational. But the day to day activities – the group tours, the meeting space (open to all groups), the much-needed publicity – are up to people who do this strictly out of love. More than a man’s collection and a

town’s history, the museum carries the history of a time period. The stories found there cannot be found anywhere else, and, much like the antique tools and black and white photographs, they would possibly go unnamed, untold, without a place like this to hold them, and share them. And the people, the volunteers who work so tirelessly, do so with great love and no expectation of reward, other than preserving this history. The Orangefield Cormier museum is located on Highway 105, right before the Orangefield High School and just past K-Dan’s. For non-locals, take I-10 exit 873 to TX 73/62 south 2.5 miles. Turn right on FM 105. Drive 2.5 miles to Orangefield High School. The museum is on the east side of the campus. Open 3rd Saturday of each month, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Admission is free, donations are accepted. Contact Brian Ousley at 409-735-2285 for admittance after hours.


Orange Living Magazine | 13


DAY TRIP

By Holly Westbrook

Photos courtesy of Stacie Belanger, photographer and owner of WhimsyClo

14 | Orange Living Magazine


Avery Island: ® TABASCO visitors center and Jungle Garden A

lligators, TABASCO® and Buddha – oh my! Well, it’s not a trip down the yellow brick road to Oz filled with “lions, tigers, and bears,” but the picturesque views of Louisiana’s Avery Island present closer-to-home beauty to the southeast Texan eye. A wildlife sanctuary, the island, a 170-acre semitropical garden that stretches along Bayou Petite Anse, has a unique feel of the South Louisiana marshes and bayous to the nature preserve inhabited by indigenous plants and animals. The birthplace of TABASCO® brand pepper sauce, according to their website Avery Island has been owned for over 180 years by the interrelated Marsh, Avery, and McIlhenny families. Lush subtropical flora and venerable live oaks draped with wild muscadine and swags of barbe espagnole, or Spanish moss, cover this geological oddity, which is one of five “islands” rising above south Louisiana’s flat coastal marshes. The island occupies roughly 2,200 acres and sits atop a deposit of solid rock salt thought to be deeper than Mount Everest is high. Geologists believe this deposit is the remnant of a buried ancient seabed, pushed to the surface by the sheer weight of surrounding alluvial sediments. Today, Avery Island remains the home of the TABASCO® brand pepper sauce factory, as well as Jungle Gardens and its Bird City wildfowl refuge. Jungle Gardens is a man-made oasis that spans miles of tended gardens with imported color-camellias, azaleas, wisteria, bamboo, boxwood, and other exotic plant life. Trails traverse live oak forests, palm groves, marshes, and a historic bird rookery in this paradise. It was on Avery Island that Edmund McIlhenny’s son Edward, a naturalist and conservationist, helped save the snowy egret from extinction. Around 1895, when the bird was being hunted for its plumage, McIlhenny built an aviary on Avery Island and raised eight wild egrets there. Since then, thousands of egrets have migrated

annually from South America to Avery Island’s Bird City. Attractions range from beautiful flowers to birds to Buddha, a centuries-old statue on the grounds. In season, visitors can see azaleas, camellias, and colorful bamboo - as well as alligators, deer and the thousands of snowy egrets that nest in Bird City. Jungle Gardens is open every day of the year, including holidays with only the gift shop closing on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. Photo permits for Jungle Gardens can be obtained with a photography fee of $49.99. Photography and videography sessions are allowed on the grounds of Jungle Gardens year-round and yield incredibly breathtaking photographs. The photo shoot pass is valid for one day and the pass allows up to five individuals to enter the Gardens for free; all other individuals entering the Gardens must pay applicable admission rates. Once you purchase your photography pass, which must be purchased by 5 p.m., you can stay on the grounds until dark. They have a personal break room that they do allow guests to change in. Azaleas, irises, and wisteria fill the property in spring, the summer provides lots of greenery, in the fall, the grounds explode with colors as our many tree species change into yellows, oranges, and reds, and as fall turns to winter, our camellias and Japanese magnolias begin to bloom. For Jungle Garden only tickets adults are $8, and children are $5. For both Jungle Gardens and the TABASCO® visitors center it is $12.50 for adults and $9.50 for children. There is a 10-percent discount for seniors and Veterans. If you are a group of 25 or more, please call 337-369-6243 for more information. The Tabasco factory and the gardens are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and located at Hwy. 329, Avery Island, LA 70513. For tourism information, visit www.TABASCO.com or call 337-3658173.

Orange Living Magazine | 15


Nothing deters this food connoisseur

By Holly Westbrook

W

hat’s in a meal? Is it the nutritional value that feeds the body or the warmth of the hands that make it help feed the soul? Here in Southeast Texas, many families have a strong connection to our recipes, traditions, and ties to the meals unique to us. For one Orange man, food is more than a means to fuel our mind, body, and soul – it’s his way of life. Mike LeMoine, currently owns and operates Spanky’s restaurant and has from the time it was first established in February 1989 with his father Eddie LeMoine, himself and Joe Heinen. With the original concept of serving bar-b-que, it soon became obvious about a year after opening that the recipes and ambiance would be changing to satisfy the growing customer base’s needs. Although, bar-b-que still is served today. “Some (recipes) were handed down and some were developed over the years,” Mike LeMoine said of what is cooked at Spanky’s. “We started off slowly by adding hamburgers, shrimp baskets, and other similar menu items,” LeMoine said. “As time went on, we remodeled and upgraded our atmosphere to make Spanky’s more inviting to our customers.” “You can’t go wrong here,” Anniece Andress, of West Orange, said. “I like their fish,” Andress said. “Their fish is excellent, and their Gumbo is delicious

16 | Orange Living Magazine

with the roux thick like Cajon homemade roux. I highly recommend the waitress (I had) here, she knows her stuff.” A full-service bar was added in 1993 and in 1999 father and son bought Joe Heinen’s shares of the business. “We then remodeled again and expanded the restaurant sitting area to accommodate our growing number of customers,” LeMoine said. “We continued to grow and to become one of Orange’s favorite restaurants.” It’s hard to dispute his pride as so many, not only from Orange County but from Houston to Louisiana come to Spanky’s for his food. “I am a shrimp person,” Betty Broun of Katy, TX, said when she talked about the coconut shrimp she ordered for her first trip to Spanky’s. “And this (shrimp) is to die for. The food is really, really good.” She and her two others were meeting up at the eatery after a long absence and it was time for a girl’s day out. The three all had the shrimp “that was to die for.” In May of 2003, Mike’s dad, Eddie LeMoine, died of cancer leaving him with the task of taking care of the family business. When hurricane Rita hit the area, bringing massive damage to Spanky’s and the surrounding community, it was yet another blow to the restaurant family. “As Orange struggled to come back so did Spanky’s,” LeMoine said. Spanky’s opened the bar portion of

the restaurant about two weeks after the storm to provide a meeting place for those who stayed through the storm and those who were working to repair Orange. “During this time, we started rebuilding Spanky’s,” he said. “We totally remodeled the dining rooms and rebuilt the entire kitchen. We modernized the kitchen, buying all new updated equipment and expanding its size to make it run more efficiently.” The fish dishes are made fresh daily and according to Mike the most popular dish is Grilled Shrimp Dinner, with customers telling him and his staff “how much they love it.” “Not sure why (it’s so popular I) guess they love the spice in the grilled shrimp dinner that drains out over the rice from the butter its cooked in,” he said. “It just blends together well.” “(Spanky’s Special Grilled Seafood Platter) doesn’t have a fishy taste,” Rusty Wells, one of Spanky’s cooks said. “It’s mild, delicious and I love it. If someone doesn’t know what they want, then I tell them the Tilapia. Spanky’s offers catering, take out, a full bar that is out of view of most diners and dining. They are located at 1703 N 16th Street and can be contacted by calling 409-886-2949. Visit their website at www. spankysgrill.com for more information on any of their services including a full menu.


Q&A with Mike “Spanky” LeMoine: Q - Please list your Fish dishes by most popular? A - Grilled Shrimp Dinner, Shrimp Fettuccini, Fried fish dinner, Fried shrimp dinner, Blackened Mahi dinner, Spanky’s grilled seafood dinner, Blackened fish dinner Q - When founded, do you know what the most popular fish dish was. A - Grilled Shrimp dinner Q - What’s behind the name? Spanky’s A - Lol long story. Basically, it’s a nickname a select group of friends gave me Q- What is your most requested item? A - Crawfish of course, when in season Q - What are your busiest times of day? When are the best times to come to avoid crowds? A - 5-9 p.m. for sure is the busiest, 2-5 p.m .to avoid crowds

Spanky’s Special Grilled Seafood Platter with a piece of blackened tilapia and served with five jumbo shrimp grilled with onions and bell peppers.

Orange Living Magazine | 17


Holt definitely demonstrates a “Man of ” with his efforts T

here’s no doubt about it, Russell Holt loves his alma mater and loves his town. And with his efforts over the years, plenty of folks in the Orange area love him as well. Holt, a 1988 West Orange-Stark graduate, has seen his share of many great times on what his school has accomplished. He’s seen the Mustang football program compete in eight State Championship Games, winning four of them. Holt was a member of the 1986-87 state title squads as a lineman. His house is full of Mustang memorabilia, full of pictures and articles of former Mustangs and a special place for all of the state rings. This past October, Holt was presented a “Super Fan” certificate by the WO-S administration. However, it’s not all about being a super fan and alumni that makes Holt shine, he does so much for the kids of Orange. He is a member of the Men of Excellence program, a community-based partnership program. Volunteers in the program work on WOCCISD campuses and within the community to impact student academic success. “It’s something I love to do,” said Holt. “It’s a super group of men to work with. We try to mentor kids and help guide them into a positive direction. We try to make the kids feel comfortable and help them make decisions. We tutor them with their schoolwork some. We try to guide them the best way we can. Many like to weigh their options, like should they go to college, should they go to a trade school or should they just go straight to the work force.” Holt has heard many wonderful stories

18| Orange Living Magazine

and tough ones as well. “A lot of kids we deal with are in one-parent homes and we try to step in and help as much as possible and try to be somewhat of a father figure to them,” said Holt. “I’ve heard stuff that just tears at your heartstrings but we’re to help in any way we can. We’ve dealt with kids that have lost their loved ones and have helped them cope and telling them they can keep their dreams alive. We try to lead them in a direction as far as academic success. We try to build positive self-esteem, to respect everyone around them and keep up a positive morale, not only while they’re in school but outside of it as well.” Holt is raising his daughter Anna’Lecia, an eighth-grader at WO-S, on his own as a single parent. “I know how tough it can be, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Holt. “That kiddo is my life and I would do anything in the world to keep her happy and thriving and if I can help other kids do the same, that’s a tremendous feeling.” Holt has been a supervisor at Walmart in Orange the last seven years. And with that, is known well throughout the community. “Kids have actually came to the store asking me about things like “Mr. Russell, what do I need to do about this and that,” said Holt. “I just love it and I express to them that I’m always here for them when ever they need me.” Holt has deep roots within the WO-S athletic program going back to his days as a student and player. “I can remember my Dad taking me to those early WO-S games and watching Frank Delarue run all over the place and I’ve been hooked ever since,” said Holt. “I love me some WO-S football. Some may say I’m a fanatic, but I’m fine with that.”

By Van Wade


Of course, Holt has great memories of those first two State Championship seasons, something he will cherish forever. “When I was a player, those state titles we won happened so fast and it was like a whirlwind type of feeling,” said Holt. “Everyone was expecting us to win it all, especially in 1987, and we went out and delivered it. It was like a dream, and I felt

20 | Orange Living Magazine

like pinching myself to see if it was actually real. The last four years going to State was so amazing. As a fan, I was able to kick back and enjoy it. It just amazes me how much the program has accomplished. It really is the most winningest program in the state.” Holt found some role models to look up to along his path, including current WO-S

head coach Cornel Thompson and former long-time head coach Dan Hooks. “Being with those guys – legends – on a daily basis, really shaped me into who I am,” said Holt. “Coach Thompson, I would say, is my mentor and still is today. Anna’Lecia looks up to him so much too. I can always go to him for advice. My Dad always gave me ‘tough love’ and Coach Thompson was and still is the same way. When my Dad passed away, ‘Coach T’ has definitely been a father figure for me and I know he’s always there for both us. He wasn’t the only coach that inspired me, there were many, but he’s ‘The Man’”. With coaches being such excellent role models for him, Holt definitely wanted to give back to his alma mater and has never stopped. “Whether it is volunteering or donating, I always want to give back because so many people were so inspirational for me along my journey,” said Holt. Holt has actually helped donate over $1,000 to help some players get State Championship rings the last couple seasons as well. Even at his job, Holt helps promote local schools and Walmart really had excellent sales during WO-S’ run to the state title games the last four years. “I was able to talk my manager into creating a little section where we were selling anything from T-shirts, pom-poms, cowbells and such and it got a lot of people involved,” said Holt. “From the people that produced the items and the store, we all benefitted from it. Plus, a certain percentage of the actual price, actually went to the school itself, which was great.” For all of his hard work and effort, Holt was so proud of getting the WO-S Super Fan Award. “To many, it may not mean a whole lot, but to me, it was like winning an Academy Award,” said Holt. When Holt is not dedicating his time at work and on his mission to help kids, he loves spending quality time with Anna’Lecia. They love getting away to Galveston, their favorite spot, as many times as they can throughout the year. “She just loves Galveston and so do I and that’s our spot,” said Holt. “The folks at Moody Gardens practically know us by name, same thing at The Rainforest Café. It’s an outlet for us for sure. Raising my daughter is my 24-hour job and I couldn’t be a prouder dad. She is my rock, for sure.”


From celebrating the roaring 1920s to honoring Mother’s Day

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W.H. Stark House adds beauty and charm By Dawn Burleigh

A

First Floor, Library at the W.H. Stark House, Orange, Texas Photograph by Will France

magnificent green house stands on Green Avenue in Orange. A house many wonder who lives there while driving past it for the first time. The house was the home to a wealth of history of the Stark family and a history of their contributions to the community. William Henry Stark married Miriam Melissa Lutcher on December 22, 1881. In June 1893, W.H. purchased the property at the corner of Sixth and Green Avenue where he and his wife built the 14,000 square foot home that stands today. Built in 1894, The W.H. Stark House is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission. A part of the Stark Cultural Venues, the house is open for visitors 12 days a year. On April 7, W.H. Stark House guests will revisit the 1920’s which include staff members dressed in the time period. Guests will explore the art, culture, and economy of the 1920s with hands-on, history based activities and a specialized tour. Learn things like, how much did food cost and what did people earn while touring the 12-foot ceilings and nine-feet high windows offering a feel and beauty of a time since past. On the second floor of the Carriage House, features the family’s collection of crystal and other pieces such as Miriam’s lace or purse collection. Originally, the second floor of the Carriage House was the home of the Grinstead family, who lived and worked on the property for decades. George and Barbara Grinstead were both born in England and came to work for the Starks early in the history of the House. George was the head gardener and Barbara had household duties. They raised their nine children while living on the second floor of the Carriage House on the Stark property. In 1932, W.H. and Miriam Stark bought them a house as a Christmas present, according to the official website. Also on the second floor of the Carriage House is a phone once used to speak to the servants from other parts of the main house as well as the history and connection of the family and the American Red Cross. Tours will also be available on May 11 and May 12 as the annual Mother’s Day event is continued. Glimpsing into the dinning room or the library on the first floor as furniture is placed as it was as

Orange Living Magazine | 23


the Stark’s lived in the house, one can feel the sense of family and make it a special experience as one walks through with one’s mother. Mother’s Day became an official U.S. Holiday in 1914, after only six years of local celebrations. Anna Jarvis, widely considered the founder of Mother’s Day, wanted to honor her mother with a memorial. In 1912, Anna trademarked both, ‘Mother’s Day’ and the ‘second Sunday in May.’ The W.H. Stark House is located at 601 West Main Avenue in Orange. Tours begin in the Carriage House located at 610 West Main Avenue. For more information, visit whstarkhouse.org

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Orange Living Magazine | 25


The Orchid Lady:

Photo courtesy of the Stark Foundation’s Library & Archive. Frances Ann Lutcher, The Orchid Lady.

26 | Orange Living Magazine


e.

y.

Showing appreciation for church and community A

By Mike Louviere

wedding, in Pennsylvania in 1858, would have more of an effect on Orange, Texas than the young couple being married would ever have imagined. Henry Jacob Lutcher married Frances Ann Robinson on January 23, 1858. In 1876, the young couple relocated to Orange to take advantage of the opportunities in the lumber industry being born in that area. Stark built a sawmill and by the late 1880s had partnered with G. Bidell Moore. The Lutcher-Moore partnership prospered and by 1900 the value of the business was estimated at $3,000,000. Not content to just be wealthy, the Lutchers wanted to do something for their fellow citizens. Frances Ann had proven to be an astute businesswoman. Her husband often asked for and listened to her advice when he discussed his business with her. Frances Ann decided to do something to show their appreciation for their church and for their community. She began to design a magnificent church. She often traveled with her daughters, Miriam and Carrie and began to find materials of the finest quality, including Tiffany stained glass and pink granite from the same quarry that furnished the stone for the Texas state capitol. She contacted the Buffalo Forge Company and had their new “system for conditioning air” installed. The First Presbyterian Church of Orange became the first commercially air conditioned building west of the Mississippi River. The church was a memorial to the Lutcher family and was dedicated on January 28, 1912. Henry Jacob Lutcher died on October 2, 1912. Their daughter Miriam Melissa had married William H. Stark. Their other daughter, Carrie Luna, married Dr. E.W. Brown. Along with Frances Ann, the sons in law took over the sawmill; and other business interests. For some time, Frances Ann had been concerned about the number of employees of the sawmills in Orange being injured and

killed. Now in her 80s, she decided that Orange needed a hospital. With the same energy and dedication she used in building the church, she began the design of the hospital. The hospital was completed and opened in 1921. Frances Ann Lutcher Hospital was considered one of the two best equipped in the United States when it opened. It had several new innovations, including the “No Shado” light installed in the smaller of the two operating rooms. This meant that operations could now be done on cloudy days as well as at night. Formerly, the light in the operating rooms came from a large skylight. Mrs. Lutcher had a hobby that she enjoyed and put the same energy into as she did her business operations. She was an avid gardener. Her greenhouses on the Shangri-La properties were among her favorite places to be. She was especially enamored with orchids. Her cultivation of many varieties resulted in her collection being the finest in the south. During World War I as troop trains carrying soldiers stopped in Orange, she would visit the young men and give each of them an orchid from her greenhouses. As a result, the diminutive lady became known to thousands of Doughboys as “The Orchid Lady.” Frances Ann Lutcher died in New York City on October 21, 1924. She and her husband are buried in the Lutcher and Stark family mausoleum in Evergreen Cemetery in Orange. The sawmills are gone, the hospital was razed, there are no longer as many orchids grown in the greenhouses at Shangri-La, the church she built as a memorial to her family still stands as the most magnificent structure in Orange. The original duct work still functions as well as it did over 100 years ago. The Tiffany stained glass windows are still beautiful. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. As proud as she was of the church and hospital, she was even more proud to be known as “The Orchid Lady.”

Orange Living Magazine | 27


28 | Orange Living Magazine


How prom came to precede the pomp and circumstance

A

s the final weeks of students’ high school careers whittle down, many milestone events dot the calendar. During this time, prom is the pinnacle celebration for many outgoing seniors. Prom, short for promenade — wherein guests parade around amid lavish fanfare — is an American tradition, but semi-formal dances and dinners for students are held throughout Canada and the United Kingdom as well. Even though modern proms are closely tied to high school, the tradition actually began for college students. The first recorded prom took place with the all-male student body at Amherst College, who in 1894 invited women from nearby Smith College to dance and dine. Teenagers pushed the prom tradition out of colleges and into high schools, and by the early 1940s, proms were exclusively tied to high schoolers. Proms have remained essentially unchanged for the last 60 to 70 years, with the exception that proms have become more grandiose over the years. Largely gone are the gymnasium-held dances, and now catering halls, hotels and other top-tier facilities typically host the festivities. Perhaps the grandest prom venue was the White House. In 1975, Susan Ford, daughter of President Gerald Ford, hosted her senior prom mere steps from the Oval Office, becoming the only First Child to do so. Promgoers and/or their parents spend sizable amounts of

money on gowns, tuxedos, flowers, transportation, and much more to solidify their prom memories. Quite often prom nights turn into entire prom weekends or vacations, with after-parties and travel built into the tradition. Greater emphasis is now placed on the drama of the “promposal,” with certain individuals going to great lengths to orchestrate the ideal way to ask a date. And while at one point attending prom alone might never have happened, many students now relish the idea of attending as groups of friends to downplay the stress on prom couples. Thanks to social media and the connectivity of the internet, some enterprising high schoolers have attempted to make their prom experiences more memorable by asking their favorite celebrities to attend prom with them. Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Jason Derulo, Shaun White, and Miley Cyrus are all celebrities who have gone to prom with fans. Others like Selena Gomez have crashed proms. Even President John F. Kennedy crashed a prom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel when the students of John Burroughs High School had already booked the same room in which the President intended to have a fundraising dinner. JFK opted for a smaller room and let the kids have their fun, later popping in to say hello. Proms have been going strong since the late 1800s. Proms are fixtures of the spring and summer season and events that high school students look forward to as graduation nears.

Did You Know?

I

t is commonplace for female guests of honor and those attending special events to wear floral corsages. Corsages are a popular feature at proms, graduations, weddings, and big birthday bashes and generally coordinate with gentlemen’s boutonnieres. The corsage has French origins and actually means “bodice.” “Corsage” was the common term for the top part of a woman’s dress or jacket. Eventually the word “corsage” was used as part of the term bouquet de corsage and represented the flowers women would wear to special events. Although corsages are now typically placed about the wrist or pinned to the lapel or shoulder of a dress, corsages originally were worn on the hip or at the decolletage. They gradually shifted to other locations, but today requests can be made for wrist, ankle, waist, and even hair corsages. The corsage is generally designed to not only match the attire, but also the personality of the wearer. Favorite flowers are often chosen. In certain circumstances, groups of people will all wear the same type of flower or corsage to symbolize awareness of convictions to a cause, patriotism or another group effort.

Orange Living Magazine | 29


By Holli Petersen Photos courtesy of Gift of Life

Gift of Life Provides Health, Healing & Hope from Prostate Cancer

C

ountless hometown heroes traversed the rising tide of Hurricane Harvey. With little more than boats, trucks and a determination to serve, they put their lives at risk to save others. One such person was Jefferson County Constable Earl White. Despite needing rescue from his own flooded neighborhood, Constable White spent his days and nights assisting flood victims from across the region to the safety of higher ground. Constable White bravely rose to the occasion, but few – if any – knew that he was also battling for his life on another

30 | Orange Living Magazine

front. In August, shortly before the storm, an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and subsequent biopsy revealed that White had prostate cancer. Without exhibiting any major symptoms, the cancer was solely detected after routine blood work. While the storm is over, Constable White is still working to rescue fellow Southeast Texans – this time from the threat of prostate cancer. “I had surgery November 29 and now look at me,” White said. “Through faith, family and friends, I survived and now I’m carrying the torch to let others know that

you too can survive. I’m telling every man – young or old – to get checked because early detection is the key. Early detection saves lives.” This year, Constable White is serving as the 2018 Gift of Life Men’s Health Month Honorary Chair. He is sharing his story with the region and serving as an ambassador of early detection to inspire other men to be “man enough to get checked.” “I’m alive today because I was screened for prostate cancer,” White reiterated. “Although I had insurance and could afford my care, there are many who are not as fortunate. The Gift of Life is a lifeline for


Gift of Life

Men’s Health Month Screenings Saturday, June 2 | Beaumont Beaumont Civic Center (701 Main Street) 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday, June 23 | Port Arthur Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center (1800 Lakeshore Drive) 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Jefferson County Constable Earl White

Southeast Texas men who cannot afford health insurance or their high deductibles.” Studies indicate that men live five years less than women, with African American men having the lowest life expectancy. One contributing factor is that a higher percentage of men lack health insurance coverage. In the United States, men also make half as many preventative physician visits than women. Aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most prevalent cancer among American men, with about one in every nine men being diagnosed with the disease in his lifetime. Though the five-year survival rate for prostate cancer is nearly 100% when detected early, about one in every 41 American men will lose his life to the disease.

The Gift of Life Program is committed to saving the lives of medically uninsured or underinsured Southeast Texas men by providing the most effective prostate cancer detection tool – the PSA blood test – at no cost. Since 2000, more than 9,000 men have benefited from the Gift of Life’s free provision of this lifesaving prostate cancer screening, which has diagnosed 74 local men with prostate cancer. Every man diagnosed with prostate cancer through this service is provided with free diagnostic testing and treatment, as necessary, along with support services and knowledgeable case workers that guide each client through their journey of health and healing. Recently, the Gift of Life expanded its services to include a battery of primary care tests for eligible men. In addition to the free prostate cancer screening, local men receive blood glucose panels; cholesterol and blood pressure screenings; Hepatitis C and HIV tests; critical health information and education; and individual physician consultations. Clients with adverse test results are navigated to local services that can affordably provide the care they need. Gift of Life Men’s Health Screenings are provided annually at locations in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange throughout the month of June (see box for screening details). Last year, Orange Mayor Jimmy Sims and West Orange Mayor and prostate cancer survivor Roy McDonald attend-

Saturday, June 30 | Orange West Orange-Stark High School (1400 Newton Street) 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. Contact the Gift of Life at 409-833-3663 or the 24-hour hotline at 409-860-3369 to determine eligibility.

ed a screening event at the West Orange-Stark High School to congratulate clients on their choice to live healthily. “It is very important to come out and thank the Gift of Life for doing this,” Sims said. “Most of [the men diagnosed with cancer] walk around with no pain and don’t feel anything. It’s a walking time bomb. If you come to the Gift of Life and get it detected early, it will save your life.” The Gift of Life screens men who are at least 45 years of age (40 if African American or younger if there is a family history of prostate cancer) and have not had prostate cancer, have limited income and do not have insurance or cannot afford their high deductibles. Please encourage the men you love to take advantage of this free lifesaving opportunity. For more information, please visit giftoflifebmt.org or call 409-833-3663. To register for a screening, please call the 24-hour hotline at 409-860-3369.

Orange Living Magazine | 31


On the Scene:

J Scott Aflorist Open House December 2017

Scott Hasty, Kay Stone, Lisa Doucet, Jazmine LeBlanc and Adam Potts

Bridge City Network Coffee January 2018

Jim Surber, Dave Derosier, Denisha Keszeg and Charles McMurray

32 | Orange Living Magazine

Michael Hanneman, Christy Khoury, and Wanda McGraw


On the Scene:

Blossoming Minds MLK Gala January 2018

Salem U.M.C Pastor Beverly Woodard and Debbie Marshall

Brunette Roberts and Clyde Temple

Annette and James Pernell

Roosevelt and Patricia Spears

Terrie Salter and Essie Bellfield

Jeanne Rhines, Clara Alexander and Carolyn Jones

Orange Living Magazine | 33


On the Scene: Krewe of Krewe’s Mardi Gras Ball February 2018

John Dugas, Pie Bridges, David Bridges and Jackie Dugas

Ralf and Cindy Mims

Pam and Rusty Honeycutt

Jody Kelley and Johnny Trahan

Lindsey Laughlin and Amy Walker

34 | Orange Living Magazine


On the Scene:

Saintina Robertson and Horace Broussard

Glynis and John Gothia

Joy Jacob, Trey and Amie Smith

Freddie Champine and Russell Bottley

Delores Stephens and Lori Ardoin

Kim and Dean Granger

Orange Living Magazine | 35


On the Scene: Bridge City Chamber Taste of the Bayou January 2018

Ty Wilson, Chad Irvine, Seth Kelone, and Thomas Bunch of Boy Scout Troop 290

Dean Crooks with daughter Catherine Crooks

Marty Balismo and Dean Granger

36 | Orange Living Magazine

Heather and Jimmie Evans

West Orange Council member Shirley Bonnin, LaVerne McDonald and West Orange Mayor Roy McDonald


On the Scene: Greater Orange Area Chamber Breakfast Connection February 2018

Alvin Touchet and Jim Surber

Stephanie White and Kacey Harrell

Bobby Tingle and Mary McKenna

Christy Khoury and Chris Kovatch

Robert Jones, Michelle Glover, and Eddy Ruiz

Orange Living Magazine | 37


On the Scene:

United Way Dueling Pianos Event February 2018

Brent and Jordan Kemp with Mark and Wanda McGraw

Rob and Jana Clark

38 | Orange Living Magazine

Taylor and Canaan Barborek

Ashley Moore, Curtis Laird, Ed and Amy Baird all of International Paper


On the Scene: Do Val Meet and Greet February 2018

Carl Harbert and Dave Young Tad McKee and Lucy Fields

Orange Mayor Jimmy Sims and Police Chief Lane Martin

Jon Iles and Bill Powers

Orange Living Magazine | 39


On the Scene: Cecil Toyota Mustangs Tribute February 2018

Brenda Spencer, Jerrick Spencer, Jarron Morris, and Elmarie Morris

Shahin Salehoun, Cornel Thompson, and Orange Mayor Jimmy Sims

Shelby Wilson and Jay Trahan

40 | Orange Living Magazine

Rickie Harris and Demetrius Hunter


On the Scene: United Way Annual Banquet March 2018

Whitney Jones, Maureen McAllister, David Jones, Leslie Uzzle, Chuck Uzzle, and Dave Young

B.J. and Michael Hanneman

Mary McKenna and Joe Love

Orange Living Magazine | 41


Why I Love Orange  By Larry Spears, Jr.

Â

W

e are the first taste of Texas for those entering from Louisiana and the last impression for travelers headed East bound. Orange is a place where the same teacher has been there long enough to instruct your parents, you and now your children as well. I love my town because it is my home. It is where my family and friends reside as well and home to many self-proclaimed chefs when it comes to Gumbo and Crawfish recipes. It is a town where just six months ago you found five people in a two-person boat out rescuing others during Hurricane Harvey. A place where everyone pulled together to help their neighbors and even total strangers regardless of what side of town you lived in or claimed residence. There has been both great times and sad times in my hometown but that is just a part of life here in Orange, Texas. We may not always get along but we know where our help comes from and the Good Lord has blessed us many times over. I live here, worship, work and raise my family in Orange and for that I am blessed and thankful. I love my hometown and look forward to making great memories here. God Bless it’s citizens and may everyone have an amazing 2018. Trisha and Larry Spears Jr.

42 | Orange Living Magazine


ORANGE, TEXAS CONTAINERBOARD MILL International Paper is a force for good in our communities. We make sustainable investments to protect and improve the lives of our employees and mobilize our people, products and resources to address critical needs in the communities where our employees live and work.

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We delivered and distributed boxes to Orange County neighborhoods to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

We proudly sponsor and We support the Southeast Texas Food Bank with volunteer at the Special donations and volunteers. Angels Rodeo for special needs residents in SE Texas. ©2018 International Paper Company. All rights reserved.


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Crowley Motor Co. & Ford Building 425 N. Parkerson Avenue Crowley, LA 70526 337-788-0824 Built in 1920 at the cost of $40,000.00 the Crowley Motor Co. was the city’s Ford Motor Model T dealership. The building is also home to four museums; The Rice Interpretive Center, the History of Crowley, J.D. Miller Music Recording Studio and Ford Automotive Museums. J. D. “Jay” Miller wrote “It Wasn’t God That Made Honky Tonk Angels”, a Gold record hit, sung by Kitty Wells and recorded at his studio in Crowley. No Charge for tour.

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Orange Living April 2018  

Orange Living magazine - a quarterly publication of The Orange Leader.

Orange Living April 2018  

Orange Living magazine - a quarterly publication of The Orange Leader.

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