Joe Washington Jr. coming to Humidor in Port Arthur to share signature cigars — Smoke Thru A Keyhole

Published 12:20 am Tuesday, October 10, 2023

NFL and college football star Joe Washington Jr. knows exactly what he remembers most about growing up on Port Arthur football fields.

He remembers Friday nights before he was even in high school helping out his father, Joe Washington Sr., who led Lincoln High School from 1965-95 as head coach.

“When me and my little brother were real young and just water boys and trainers for my dad, we used to run out and wipe the guys’ faces with the towels,” Washington said. “Right before we would wipe their faces, they would take off their helmets, and we would look at each other and say, ‘Oh my goodness, look at the mist.’ The steam is coming off their heads. That was exciting for us. I had an affinity for smoke.”

Joe Washington Jr.

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Many know that Washington exceled in college at the University of Oklahoma. It was during this time rival coach Darrell Royal of the University of Texas dubbed Washington, “Smoke Thru A Keyhole.”

“Coach Royal always told of the gamblers in the Old West days,” Washington said. “They would get locked up in a smoke-filled room and put their guns and cash on the table. The only thing that can get out is ‘smoke through a keyhole.’ When he put that in reference to me, that was pretty dog gone flattering. I really enjoyed it.”

Washington’s love of smoke and natural talent eventually led to a 10-year career in the NFL and a growing appreciation of cigars and the smoke they produce.

Today, at 70, he remains an avid golfer known to break 80.

On the golf course he initially used a cigar as a wind indicator. Some of his golfing buddies also played and smoked cigars at the same time.

“Smoking a cigar and seeing the smoke come out always reminded me that I was back in that sacred mist,” Washington told Port Arthur Newsmedia. “It’s just crazy stuff.”

The Joe Washington Signature Cigar – Smoke Thru A Keyhole is available at smokethru.com.

One of the guys said, ‘Joe, you need to do your own cigar and name it ‘Smoke Thru a Keyhole.’ Washington dismissed the idea at first before ultimately admitting how interesting it sounded.

The Joe Washington Signature Cigar – Smoke Thru A Keyhole — was born. It’s available at smokethru.com.

It’s also available a little closer to home, now at Humidor Cigar Lounge, 1645 Jefferson Drive, Suite 140 in Port Arthur.

Chandrea Celestine, Humidor co-owner, said the location is hosting a cut and light (meet and greet) with Washington from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday.

Washington is going to introduce the cigar to local customers.

“We just want to introduce the citizens of Port Arthur to Joe’s new cigar and let them get a chance to chat with him,” Celestine said. “We will also have food. After Joe is done, we will have live entertainment. We want everyone to come out, feel welcome and enjoy the vibes.”

Humidor has been open for approximately 14 months, and lounge owners began speaking with Washington 6 weeks ago to bring his brand home.

It’s an opportunity that Washington relishes.

“Anything in Port Arthur is always pretty cool with me,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed the fact that we have had a few reunions and I have given a lot of my buddies and friends plenty of cigars. One of my friends gave a cigar to one of the guys at the Humidor and people started talking. I thought it was pretty cool of these guys to want to promote one of Port Arthur’s own. I was really flattered and pleased with the fact that these guys are willing to do that. It’s humbling to have that situation occur.”