KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE!
Port Arthur is a city in
Jefferson County within the
Metropolitan Statistical Area of
U.S. state of
Texas. The population was 57,755 at
Port Arthur is located on the western bank of
Sabine Lake. The
Rainbow Bridge across the
Neches River connects Port Arthur
Aurora was located near the mouth of Taylor
Bayou on Sabine Lake, at the site of present-day Port Arthur. The
town was conceived as early as 1837, and by 1840 promoters led by
Almanzon Huston were advertising town lots. Although some lots were
sold, Houston's project failed to materialize. The area came to be
known as Sparks after John Sparks and his family moved to the shores
of Sabine Lake near the Aurora townsite. The Eastern Texas Railroad,
completed between Sabine Pass and Beaumont just before the outbreak
of the Civil War, passed about four miles west of Sparks. The
railroad passing track at this point was named Aurora after the
Houston project. The rails were removed during the Civil War. A few
scattered settlers remained until 1886, when a destructive hurricane
led residents to dismantle their homes and move to Beaumont. By 1895
Aurora was a ghost town. The abandoned community, however, soon
became the site of Arthur E. Stilwell's new city, Port Arthur.
Port Arthur was founded by
Arthur Edward Stilwell in the late
19th century, and was once the center of the largest oil refinery
network in the world.
Port Arthur's Museum of the Gulf Coast is
recognized as the area's definitive collection of items and displays
for personalities from Port Arthur and the surrounding communities.
Notable residents of Port Arthur include singer
Janis Joplin, golfer/track star
Babe Zaharias, casting
Whitney Valcin, artist
Robert Rauschenberg, and former
Dallas Cowboys coach
Jimmy Johnson. Other professional
athletes include Stephen Jackson of the NBA, Kendrick Perkins of the
Boston Celtics, and Jamaal Charles of the NFL. In the last two
decades, Port Arthur's profile has risen on the
hip-hop scene with the emergence of
UGK. Both members,
Bun B and the late
Pimp C, are from Port Arthur and
often refer to their hometown in their songs.
Gulf Intracoastal Waterway runs
past the city, separated from Sabine Lake by Pleasure Island. The
18.5-mile (29.8 km) man-made island was created from
dredged material from 1899 and 1908
Corps of Engineers projects.
Port Arthur is located at
/ 29.885; -93.94
(29.884864, -93.939902). According to the
United States Census Bureau, the
city has a total area of 143.8 square miles (372.3 km˛), of which,
82.9 square miles (214.8 km˛) of it is land and 60.8 square miles
(157.6 km˛) of it (42.32%) is water.
As of the 2000
there were 57,755 people, 21,839 households,
and 14,675 families residing in the city. The
population density was 696.5 people
per square mile (268.9/km˛). There were 24,713 housing units at an
average density of 298.0 per square mile (115.1/km˛). The racial
makeup of the city was 43.70%
African American, 20.02%
Native American, 5.89%
Pacific Islander, 8.88% from
other races, and 2.06% from two or
Latino of any race were 25.45% of
There were 21,839 households out of which
33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were
married couples living together,
had a female householder with no husband
present, and 32.8% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were
made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65
years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the
average family size was 3.25.
In the city the population had 28.7% under the
age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to
64, and 15.5% who were years of age or older. The median age was 35
years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100
females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males. The median income
for a household in the city was $26,455, and the median income for a
family was $32,143. Males had a median income of $30,915 versus
$21,063 for females. The
per capita income for the city was
$14,183. About 22.9% of families and 25.2% of the population were
poverty line, including 35.2% of
those under age 18 and 14.4% of those age 65 or over.
After decades of stagnation and neglect in the
area economy, Port Arthur is in the early stages of an economic
boom. Several large projects involving the energy infrastructure are
underway or proposed, the two largest being the
Golden Pass and
LNG terminals. These separate
projects under construction in neighboring Sabine Pass have brought
cumulative initial investments of $2 billion, and will employ
thousands at peak construction.
Home to a large portion of United States
refining capacity, Port Arthur is now seeing renewed investment in
several key installations.
Motiva Enterprises is undertaking a
major addition to its western Port Arthur refinery, expanding
capacity to 600,000 barrels per day (95,000 m3/d).
This $10.0 billion project is the largest US
refinery expansion to occur in 30 years.
Premcor Refining (now Valero) recently
completed a $775 million expansion of its petrochemical
plant, and BASF/Fina commenced operations of a new $1.75 billion
gasification and cogeneration unit on premises of its current
installation, which had just completed its own $1 billion upgrade.
These operations are supported by the
Port of Port Arthur, one of Texas'
The city was the site of an
oil spill in 2010, when an
oil tanker and
barge collided, causing 450,000
gallons of oil to spill into the Sabine/Neches waterway alongside
Port Arthur also has a significant
air pollution problem that some
believe has an impact on the health of its residents. There
are 4 large industrial complexes in the southern part of the city.
These factories can have
upsets, incidents where a
dangerous situation at the plant necessitates the release of
thousands of pounds of air toxins, often
volatile organic compounds or
nitrogen oxides, the two major
contributors to ground-level
The chemicals are run through
flares that incinerate almost all
of the substance through
combustion, but may still
infrequently emit dangerous amounts. Any such releases are reported
to the TCEQ and EPA, and are typically reported to the media through
Sabine-Neches Fire Chiefs or the Jefferson County
Local Emergency Planning Committee.
The high incidences of
cancer among residents in western
Port Arthur is often attributed to the frequency and magnitude of
the upsets, but could also be attributed to low general health often
observed in poor areas.
Tropical cyclones that affected Port Arthur
In September 2005's
Hurricane Rita, Port Arthur
sustained major wind damage and some flooding.
Struck in the early hours of September 13,
2007. It formed in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico and intensified
faster than any other tropical cyclone on record before making
landfall at High Island, Texas. The path of the eye continued
northeastward and passed over Port Arthur, Nederland, Port Neches,
Groves, and Bridge City, Texas at Category 1 hurricane strength.
This was the second time within two years (following Hurricane Rita
on September 24, 2005) that these cities experienced a direct hit
from a hurricane. Hurricane Hunters reported sustained winds of
85 mph (140 km/h) about two hours after landfall. However,
post-storm analysis later determined that the winds were a bit
stronger—about 90 mph (150 km/h).
On the morning of August 5, 2008, Port Arthur
saw the effects of
Tropical Storm Edouard. The
tropical storm made landfall to the west of the city, and wind
speeds of 55 mph (89 km/h) were recorded.
In September 2008, Port Arthur again sustained
major wind damage, with several areas experiencing major flooding.
Ike made its final landfall near Galveston, Texas as a strong
Category 2 hurricane, with Category 4 equivalent storm surge, on
Sept. 13, 2008, at 2:10 a.m. CDT. Hurricane-force winds extended 120
miles (193 km) from the center. Due to its immense size, Ike caused
devastation from the Louisiana coastline all the way to the Kennedy
County, Texas region near Corpus Christi, Texas. The hurricane also
resulted in the largest evacuation of Texans in that state's
history. It became the largest search-and-rescue operation in U.S.
history. The seawall of Port Arthur protected the city from the
storm surge that devastated surrounding communities such as Bridge
City, but water did overtop the seawall for about 30 minutes,
flooding some of homes along its length with over a foot of water.
KOSHER DELIGHT - YOUR JEWISH ONLINE MAGAZINE! כושר דילייט - מגזין
החדשות והמידע מהעולם היהודי ומישראל, כולל מסעדות כשרות, בתי כנסת ועוד ועוד