I met up with a friend for a few days in Port Arthur, on the Texas Gulf Coast and on the Louisiana border. It’s not a famously beautiful town; it’s an oil town, which makes for the stinky smells and a somewhat one-note local culture. One would not normally travel to Port Arthur for pleasure, but this is where we were able to meet up (seeking, among other things, warmer temperatures than the ones I’d been finding in northeast Texas). I set us a challenge: to find something beautiful in Port Arthur.
And we found lots to do and learn. We started our one long full day with a few paying-of-respects trips to a few artists.
Janis Joplin is the town’s most notable person.
Next we drove into the town of Groves, where Mary Karr comes from. There’s no childhood home to visit here (for one thing, her mother burned it down; also, location unknown), but we visited the neighborhood, and the American Legion post that might be the one where her father spends so much time in The Liars’ Club.
Next, we drove around the old downtown, which is decidedly rundown. But we found some gorgeous – and tragic – old buildings to photograph.
We visited the Museum of the Gulf, which was a surprisingly large place with a surprisingly wide range of stuff: history including geology, biology, and human war and industry, and the modern story of Port Arthur, including local and regional notable figures. Janis Joplin, of course, figures significantly.
We moved on from there just a few blocks to the campus of Lamar State College, contiguous with the library and Lions Park.
And then the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, where Hops was relieved to stretch his legs. (He may have had a few fried crawfish tails for lunch. It was a good day for Hops.)
It was quite a long and satisfying day… so we finished up at a local brewpub.