STEPHEN HEMELT — Greater Port Arthur The Magazine arrives next week

Published 12:08 am Saturday, January 18, 2020

Bart Bragg told me it was something I had to see.

The veteran photographer and chronicler of all things Port Arthur knew I was new to the area and not aware of all the amazing historical nuggets this community possesses.

The thing he wanted me to learn and write about was the conch shell fence created almost 100 years ago that sits along Proctor Street in Port Arthur.

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So, I did.

Assembled by seminal talent Dionicio Rodriguez in 1929 as part of numerous one-of-a-kind features at Eddingston Court (another local landmark with great history), the fence served as a jumping-off point for a column I wrote in December and sent off for publication this month.

We’re featuring that story in Greater Port Arthur The Magazine, which publishes its first 2020 edition next week.

Bart suggested the idea because he knows how important telling these stories are. You never know when tragedy could strike and take something away.

So it was that we sent our magazine to print Jan. 13. Less than 24 hours later, The News’ crime reporter, Mary Meaux, was called to Eddingston Court. One of the abandoned apartment buildings was on fire.

A piece of our history was severely damaged.

That makes our jobs at The Port Arthur News, Greater Port Arthur The Magazine and even more vital.

Our shared history deserves to be saved. Our stories must always be told.

That’s why we’re excited to share news of the next Greater Port Arthur The Magazine, which publishes next week.

Outside of a story on the Eddingston Court conch shell fence, we also examine the truly remarkable restoration process that was completed at Rosedale Manor on Rosedale Drive in Port Arthur.

Originally built in 1925 by Munger T. Ball, co-founder of Sabine Towing and Transportation, the house stood as testament to a tremendous Port Arthur success story.

Yet, it fell into disrepair. That is where the father and son team of Tom and Patrick Flanagan came in, purchasing the property and renovating it to its previous charms.

Additionally, our history isn’t confined to inanimate structures. It’s our people that truly make us special.

It is with that in mind that we are featuring the story and family behind Ana’s Bakery. Albaro and Ana Reyes, with children Alvaro and Karen, came to Port Arthur from Michoacán, Mexico, in 1998.

They worked hard to establish family roots and make something for themselves in their new home. The journey included Ana’s learning of a special baking skill that eventually spawned a thriving business. Now, it is her children looking to make their mark in our community as the next generation of entrepreneurs.

With that theme of people and why they make our community so important, I was especially excited to interview Vanessa Holmes Broussard for our “Why I Love Port Arthur” feature.

The 12News Daybreak Anchor is already a familiar face to so many in our region, and it was great to hear her talk about her roots and the people who drive her to persevere when life’s toughest moments take hold.

Also, we received a tremendous assist from former sports editor Bob West, who wrote this edition’s cover story on Chris Stroud.

The Port Neches-Groves graduate already has one victory on the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, along with big plans for an exciting 2020.

Bob’s story really takes readers inside the mind of one of our own, a professional athlete striving for more success at the most competitive level.

We’re very proud of 2020’s fist edition of Greater Port Arthur The Magazine. We know you’ll like it as much as we do.

Give us a call at 409-721-2400 to see how you can get a copy.

Stephen Hemelt is publisher of The Port Arthur News. He can be reached at 409-721-2400 or