Humidor Cigar Lounge going strong, bringing in special events for Port Arthur

Published 11:22 pm Friday, October 13, 2023

Chandrea Celestine and co-owners David Marcel and Vincent Shelvin opened Humidor Cigar Lounge at 1645 Jefferson Drive, Suite 140 in Port Arthur with a goal to introduce a lot of people to the cigar industry and cigars in general.

It’s also a great place for veteran smokers to find classic brands and others rarely available somewhere else.

“We have knowledgeable people about cigars,” Celestine said. “Customers who come in who have never experienced or smoked a cigar; we introduce them to a walk-in humidor with a whole array of different cigars. We cater to boutique cigars, those are cigars you won’t find in a lot of other humidors: small brands and a lot of African-American owned lines.

The lounge offers a plethora of cigar choices. (Chris Moore/The News)

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“We also stock some of the bigger brands, but you can’t easily find a lot of the brands we stock, so a lot of people come by just to see what we have. It’s an interesting humidor, to say the least.”

That sense of homegrown pride and Port Arthur discovery are coming together from 6 to 10 p.m. today (Oct. 14) for a cut and light (the cigar’s industry’s version of a meet and greet). The star of the show is Port Arthur’s own, Joe Washington Jr. and his signature cigar — Smoke Through a Keyhole.

Washington starred in college football at the University of Oklahoma (twice finishing in the top 5 in Heisman voting) before embarking on a decade-long NFL career.

Having an opportunity like this with Washington is part of why the team at the Humidor got started in the first place.

“It’s truly a blessing because we are almost done with the vision we have for the Humidor,” Celestine said. “There are a few more things we have to do esthetically. Entertainment will start coming into Port Arthur and it will be a great thing.

“We have a lot of customers who come in who have never smoked a cigar. We have a lot of people who come in and who smoke pretty frequently. Everyone is enjoying it, happy to be a part of it, have it grow and have the city work with us and the citizens of Port Arthur work with us. It’s an exciting time in our lives.”

Port Arthur special

Washington said smoke and Port Arthur are part of his journey, making this weekend’s event extra special.

The cigars are kept in a room with a humidifier in it. (Chris Moore/The News)

“When I wrote my book, I talked about Friday Night (Football) being in the middle of the sacred mist,” he said. “It’s the fact that you’re on one knee, it’s a timeout and you take your helmet off. It’s cool out, but hot under your helmet. That mist just flows out.”

To this day, Washington calls Southeast Texas high school football the “greatest football on the planet.”

“I know they talk about Friday Night Lights being out in West Texas,” Washington said. “In the Golden Triangle, we have had some fantastic players. We’ve had the most competitive area for as long as I can remember and I love it. There is nothing like it.”

Having recently turned 70, Washington is showing no signs of retiring.

“I try to do everything I did when I was 30 or 40,” he said. “I may not be as good at it or as efficient, but I make sure that I do it. You can’t slow down. I try to make sure I extend what I am doing. I don’t plan to retire from doing anything.”

He joked he has never been able to sit still.

“When I played, I was never able to sit still,” Washington said. “My teammates would always tell you, ‘when he is eating, he is not sitting still. He is always rocking, humming, moving back and forth.’ I am kind of like the Energizer bunny.”

That action, that movement and that smoke will all be on display in Port Arthur once again. If you have the opportunity, make sure you visit Humidor Cigar Lounge in Port Arthur on Saturday for a chance to see “Smoke Thru a Keyhole” live and in person.

Stephen Hemelt is the president of Port Arthur Newsmedia, which publishes panews.com, The Port Arthur News and Greater Port Arthur The Magazine. He can be reached at stephen.hemelt@panews.com or 409-721-2445.