In a large heavy saucepan, over low heat, melt 1 cup of the butter. Add the flour, and cook on low heat until the roux is dark brown; about 30 to 45 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the onions, celery, peppers and garlic and saute until translucent.
Mix in the okra and the remaining ingredients, including the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter, and simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 1 hour. Before serving, remove the bay leaves. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve over white rice, if desired.
Brown does not mean burnt; if you burn the roux you have to throw it out and start over again.