STEPHEN HEMELT — Tastes of our community celebrated in latest magazine

Published 12:46 am Saturday, July 17, 2021

A story idea grows fast from a passing comment.

Overheard in the Port Arthur Newsmedia newsroom one day this spring, a writer mentions the new Mexican pizza at Carmela’s Mexican Restaurant.

The successful eatery off U.S. 69 is easily visible to northbound drivers.

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It’s delectable offerings and family friendly environment have developed a wide variety of customers. Now, they’re serving pizza. Yeah, we’re intrigued.

Would leadership members at Carmela’s share a recipe or break from their busy schedule to tell the tale of the restaurant’s origin?

Journalist Mary Meaux gave it a try and returned with one of the features in the upcoming Greater Port Arthur The Magazine, which is sure to delight our readers.

During her trip to the restaurant, Mary met a group of brothers who typically gather there for breakfast Monday through Thursday because they enjoy just about everything on the menu.

Mary also learned from the Abarca family about the special meaning of the restaurant’s name, the hard work of generations to learn the business and start their own and how an important visit from a priest in Arizona led to the restaurant’s beginning and current days of operation.

As a Mexican food fanatic, I loved that Mary also got the backstory to the new Mexican pizza and a recipe to share with readers for restaurant-grade salsa.

This story is one of many that will be featured in Greater Port Arthur The Magazine when Volume 4 publishes this month for our community.

I was lucky to contribute to this issue via a cross-world interview with Port Arthur native and Memorial High graduate Gregory Davis Jr.

Thanks to the miracle of email, Davis’ remarkable commitment to getting the job done and some help from the military, we were able to put together an interview-style story from my office in Port Arthur and his office on the Erbil Air Base in Iraq.

Davis is now a leader within the National Guard, working each day to defeat Daesh and the remnants of ISIS throughout the Middle East.

It takes a lot of responsibility and commitment, and I feel comfortable saying the world is a safer place because of women and men like Gregory Davis Jr.

It’s an honor to share his story.

Former Port Arthur teacher Linda Griffin-Lucas made an impact in the classroom, in her neighborhood and through generations of community members aided through Linda’s Lighthouse, a nonprofit started five years after Griffin-Lucas’ passing due to complications from cancer.

Daughter Amber Lucas continues to keep Port Arthur in the spotlight, evidenced by a school supply drive planned in August — that story of commitment is one not to be missed.

There are numerous other highlights in this summer edition, including a business profile of Top Golf, a musician’s feature with flame throwing drummer JaKeithen Green and photo-page spotlights of Port Arthur fireworks attendees and the business home return of Sabine Pilots to Port Arthur.

The magazine is expected to arrive at the end of next week, and when it does, feel free to pick up a complimentary copy (or two) by stopping at our office, 2349 Memorial Blvd. in Port Arthur.

If you are interested in receiving a 6-edition-per-year subscription delivered directly to your mailbox, call 409-721-2400 for details.


Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes The Port Arthur News, and other products. He can be reached at or 409-721-2445.