Taste of Gumbo networks people, ‘Gumbo King’ Dr. Johnny Brown says

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, January 22, 2020

When visitors take different tastes of local gumbo in one setting, they’re helping to create an environment for networking and helping those in need.

Fourteen restaurants will be on hand at the Bob Bowers Civic Center on Feb. 8 to bring their best bowls of the entrée to the Taste of Gumbo, the Rotary Club of Port Arthur’s largest fundraiser.

“This idea for having this kind of program is part of our demonstration of service above self, which is the major part of why we exist, to bring together, community leaders and those interested in giving back to the community to help those who need help,” said Dr. Johnny Brown, a Rotary member who holds the title of “King Gumbo” as event organizer.

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“We do that through, in this particular case, the Taste of Gumbo, a fundraiser to put together resources such as Salvation Army, Capland Speech Center and student scholarships.”

The Taste of Gumbo is scheduled for 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 8. Tickets are $10 per person.

Visitors are treated to samples of different gumbos and can participate in a silent auction and vie for door prizes as well. Games for children are included.

“A portion of the proceeds will go toward scholarships for high school seniors,” said Ron Fletcher, Rotary Club of Port Arthur president. He added the application process started for seniors at Memorial High School, Sabine Pass High School, Bob Hope School and Tekoa Academy.

This will be the 33rd year for the Taste of Gumbo and the second consecutive since the 2018 edition was canceled due to damages the Bob Bowers Civic Center sustained during Hurricane Harvey.

“The community has supported us in the past, and we look forward to them supporting us this year,” Fletcher said.

Brown looks at the Taste of Gumbo as a networking opportunity for people to converse about how to make a difference in the lives of others, which he believes speaks to the purpose of Rotary.

“As we communicate with them, they communicate with their customers, so it builds kind of a network through our efforts where we’re continually trying to have a network of people across the community, including those who purchase tickets to come, whose ages range from a month or so to over 90 years old, to come together in a commonplace to provide service and support to people,” he said.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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