PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

June 7, 2014

Temple gardens a “gem” in Port Arthur

Mary Meaux
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Leeda Luciano leaned in close to a budding lotus flower, aiming her camera lens in as near as possible, before snapping a photo.

“They have an amazing variety of lotus’,” Luciano, of Nederland, said as she gently held the stalk of the graceful, soon to bud, flower at the 16th Annual Lotus and Bamboo Festival at Buu Mon Buddhist Temple on Saturday.

Luciano used to paint and do film photography until she began having problems with her eyes. Now she’s into macro, or close-up, photography.

“The camera is my eyes,” she said.

The Nederland woman wasn’t the only snapping photos — dozens of other visitors to the temple gardens were busy snapping photos with cameras, cell phones and iPad’s.

The gardens are divided into sections with one section featuring a pond with koi fish and vegetation, small bridge and stonework with statues. Other sections feature walking paths, various fruit trees, bamboo and lotus flowers.

Inside an air conditioned room Mary “Sudassi” Marcontell presented a lecture on hot tea and meditation. She spoke of the many distractions in day to day life and of how to focus on one thing and finding peace.

Marcontell has been part of the temple for two years, she said.

Visitors also had a chance to go inside the temple as well as grabbing a bite to eat. Several booths offered vegetarian Vietnamese food to go or to eat inside an air conditioned building. Tam Pham and Le Thy were at one table creating handmade spring rolls which Jennifer Laird was a fan of.

“They have delicious food and beautiful flowers, Laird said, summing up the afternoon. Laird was one of the dozens taking photos at the gardens. “This (temple gardens) is a gem in the midst of Port Arthur,” she added.

The annual celebration takes place during Vesak, the celebration of the birth, enlightenment and passing of Buddha. The festival will continue on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the temple, 2701 Procter St. Admission is free.

E-mail: mmeaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews