PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Port Arthur

December 14, 2013

Annual cultural parade lights up Procter Street

PORT ARTHUR — Downtown Port Arthur got into the holiday spirit when Procter Street transformed into a sea of twinkling lights and Santa hats for the city’s annual Cultural Lighted Holiday Parade.

And the frequent blasts of frigid air didn’t hurt the holiday mood, either.

“I can’t wait until we get started,” Lakessha Landry, instructor of Abraham Lincoln Middle School’s Flaming Star drill team, said before the parade, as members of the team hugged each other for warmth. “I am freezing.”

Temperatures dipped below 50, but Yuletide cheer was in full force as floats decorated by entities such as Valero and New Hope Missionary Baptist Church tossed candy and beads as they rode from Procter Street to Houston Street. Bands from Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson Middle Schools, as well as Memorial High School, marched down the street, all of them sporting Santa hats. Speaking of Santa, Mr. Claus himself sat in a place of honor upon the Valero float.

Theresa Parker, of Port Arthur, stood on the frontlines of the audience for prime candy catching for her young son, but she wasn’t there solely for the treats. Her two daughters marched in the parade with the Thomas Jefferson Middle School band.

“I get to actually see my babies,” Parker said.

Doreen Babeaux could have taken sanctuary in the warmth of her parents’ home on Procter Street — located directly across from the festivities — but she chose to brave the cold.

“My parents are watching from the window,” Babeaux said. “I decided to be a bit more spontaneous.”

Babeaux, who works at the Port Arthur Seafarers Center, said the parade was a good community event.

“I was born and raised here,” she said. “It’s nice to see something positive in downtown Port Arthur.”

After all the floats had rolled in, citizens gathered at the boardwalk for warm eggnog and flaky beignets, catered by Luby’s. The post-parade event, sponsored by the Port Arthur City Council and the Port Arthur Youth Advisory Council, was the first of its kind. Christe Smith, secretary to Mayor Deloris “Bobbie” Prince, said she thought the citizens would benefit from something a little different.

“We thought it would be nice for them to have someplace to sit, and something good to eat,” Smith said. “Plus, the boardwalk is really beautiful.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA

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