19 Port Arthur highlights of 2019

Published 7:02 am Monday, December 16, 2019

Where to begin? Port Arthur Convention & Visitors Bureau’s award-winning website, visitportarthurtx.com, for starters.

Our busy Port Arthur year included techie advances, birding wonders, globe-trotting to promote our city, museum inductees and big plans for the future.

Here’s our top 19 highlights of 2019!

A replica of Janis Joplin’s Porsche is seen at the Museum of the Gulf Coast. (Will van Overbeek)

  1. Our New Look — You’re already here, in fact. Don’t you love it? Visitportarthurtx.com has a splashy new look that shows off our natural beauty, attractions, birding and fishing sites, tempting eateries and hotels. Enjoy the views as you plan your visit to Port Arthur. Rhyme & Reason Design gets the credit for helping us create our new look.
  2. Sea Rim State Park — This 5 miles of natural beach along the Gulf of Mexico is known for shore birding, and the park has opened a new elevated birding stand for better views and another birding site on the kayak trail. The Gambusia Nature Trail is getting reworked and you can spend the night on a marsh-side raft. The annual KidFish was a hit, again.
  3. Our website’s new look we just mentioned, it’s officially a winner. The mobile version placed first and the main site placed second in its division at Texas Association of Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Idea Fair. Our travel peers picked Port Arthur.
  4. Museum of the Gulf Coast continues to induct accomplished personalities with local ties into halls of fame. The 2019 inductees are: Jay Bruce, baseball; C.J. Chenier, Zydeco musician; Clifford Antone, music promoter/club owner; The Honorable Carl Parker, lawyer who served in the Texas house and senate; Ragan Genussa, artist; Tim Foust, 5-octave singer; Mark Henry, wrestler/weight lifter ; and Don Narcisse of football fame. The Museum’s sports, music and notable people galleries feature our area’s talented legends.
  5. Hashtags — We created #loveportarthurtx and #flavorsofpatx to help you show off your good times in town.
  6. Port Arthur Public Library re-opened with a high-tech flair after Hurricane Harvey flooding. The youth section is particularly welcoming. Alli Gator helped cut the ribbon.
  7. On the Go — Port Arthur CVB representatives promoted our assets at several shows offering built-in audiences who love what we have. They included the Houston Fishing Show, Dallas Travel and Adventure Show, bird festivals and home, garden and travel shows in Texas’ largest cities.
  8. Festive — Texas Mariners Cruising Association returned to Pleasure Island Marina in 2019. Port Arthur also hosted Mardi Gras of Southeast Texas, Mexican Heritage Fiesta, Cajun Heritage Festival, Buu Mon Garden Festival, Rotary Taste of Gumbo, Mistletoe Market, CavOILcade and other festive affairs.
  9. Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp — It’s no secret we’re crazy for Tex-Mex around here. This bustling new hangout seems like a block-long block party with several dining areas where you can enjoy friends and platters of seafood and more with both a Cajun and Mexican flair in a fun and casual setting.
  10. Ana’s Delights — This sweet little sweet shop is part of the Tia Juanita’s Fish Camp complex on Jimmy Johnson Boulevard. Come with a companion for coffee, cake or a cool frozen treat.
  11. Blog Love — The visitors bureau attracted several travel writers who shared their Port Arthur adventures with birding, the beach, festivals and great food. They write and post so others will know how much fun we are. Port Arthur CVB joined Texas Outdoor Writers Association to promote awareness of our fishing and other outdoor experiences.
  12. Main Street’s on the Move — Port Arthur’s downtown is home to proud architectural structures getting a new life to keep our city growing. Some, listed in historical registers, have withstood hurricanes – yet have not seen occupancy in decades. Our “city by the sea” continues to inspire development. Port Arthur is home to North America’s largest refinery, Motiva Port Arthur. Motiva has invested in our downtown by purchasing two historic buildings to be renovated as offices for more than 500 employees. The city is seeing a resurgence of interest from investors seeking to purchase property. The former Port Arthur News building will house Lamar State College-Port Arthur’s culinary arts program.
  13. Everybody wants to come! More than 33,720 people requested information packets on visit Port Arthur.
  14. Be a Winner — PACVB staff is rocking new T-shirts. Follow our Instagram and other social media accounts for chances to win one, or some other super-cool Port Arthur VIP amenity.
  15. Big Birding — We hosted a birding familiarization trip for writers, guides, videographers and festival coordinators to show off our nationally acclaimed birdwatching assets such as migratory visitors to Sabine Woods, shore birds of Sea Rim State Park and waders who hang out at our refuges. We also hosted a bus load of Galveston FeatherFest field trippers and are planning their next visit.
  16. Chet Garner, of “The Daytripper” television show, visited with his crew in November to experience Cajun foods at The Boudain Hut; Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site; Sea Rim State Park and Museum of the Gulf Coast; and barbecued crab at The Schooner. We’ll have to wait until February to see the show.
  17. Texas Artists Museum completed renovations in 2019 and is set to re-open as a gallery in Jan. 2020. TAM features work by local artists and has been a base for art classes, summer youth camps and art openings. Hurricane Harvey floodwaters closed it for a while and we can’t wait for the new look. Support the arts by renting TAM for events.
  18. Get the Guides — We’re always updating our brochures and guides to keep visitors updated. Call 409-985-7822 for free copies of both general and very specific references including our Port Arthur brochure, birding and waterways guides, Regional Visitors Guide magazine and Museum of the Gulf Coast, Janis Joplin trail and Music Legends brochures. Read up and come visit us.
  19. Arty Boxes — Uplifting images are popping up on Port Arthur utility boxes. Be on the lookout!

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So that was the Port Arthur 19 of 2019. Make sure you are part of our 2020 stories!

An American Avocet is seen at Sea Rim State Park. (T.J. Senters)