Smiley: Crunch time

Here’s what I regard as an “Only in Louisiana” idea about an insect featured in a recent Advocate story:

Ann Marix asks, “Is there a festival dedicated to the emergence of cicadas in Louisiana?

“If not, we are slipping as a state.

“If so, it’s me who’s slipping (quite possible).

“Just another good reason for a celebration (as if we need one).”

And I’ve learned that it’s possible for the main dish at the Cicada Festival to be cicadas.

Last year, we ran a story out of New Orleans about the cicada shish kebab served in the “Bug Appétit” restaurant at the Audubon Butterfly Garden & Insectarium.

It was described as “crunchy.”

The eel deal

Speaking of offbeat festivals:

In the ’80s, when I lived in New Roads for a short time, my buddy Chris Morrison lived by the Mississippi River levee, and we would have cook-outs on the large beach on the other side.

Chris told how people who lived near the river would fish for eels and suggested a Louisiana Eel Festival to honor that neglected seafood.

I thought he was putting me on until I saw Andrew Zimmern on “Bizarre Foods America” grilling some Chesapeake Bay eels and dining on them.

Sorry to doubt you, Chris. Let the festival begin!

Punch and putt

Jack Terry, BREC’s golf development manager, sent me a news release about the Al Michael-Emile Zachariah Memorial Golf Tournament at Howell Park and Webb Memorial golf courses on Saturday, May 31, and Sunday, June 1, honoring two icons “who shaped Baton Rouge golf for decades.”

But what struck me in the release was the story of Al Michael’s boxing career at LSU.

It seems when the LSU and Alabama boxing teams squared off, young Al “flattened” his opponent.

The Bama boxer Al knocked down was George Wallace, who went on to become governor of that state.

For information on the golf tournament, call (225) 272-9200 or visit golf.brec.org.

Which reminds me

I took golf as one of my LSU phys ed classes, and our student teacher was Ed Cassidy, a fireplug-shaped football player from Bogalusa who had caused my Istrouma Indians a lot of trouble when the two high school teams met for their annual battle.

For the course, I was using an old set of clubs in a canvas bag that my uncle in Natchez had given me.

I did OK in the course and got into the habit of playing every so often with my friends at the City Park or Howell Park courses.

I was an only mildly terrible golfer, and luckily, I was playing with people just as bad as I was, so I seldom embarrassed myself on the course.

My golfing career came to an abrupt end one day when some buddies announced they were going to New Orleans that evening for an adventure on Bourbon Street.

Desperate to take part in the debauchery, I found a buyer for my clubs, who gave me $60 cash for them, a princely sum back then.

But after a few hours on Bourbon, I found myself with only enough cash for a Lucky Dog and my share of the gas money to get us back home.

I should have learned a valuable lesson about a fool and his money and Bourbon Street.

But I didn’t …

Rocking proms

Harold Bourgeois, of Dutchtown, says my story about Istrouma High in the ’50s brought back some memories, especially of the great music in this area at that time:

“I didn’t attend Istrouma, but I dated several girls from Baton Rouge High. We went to Hopper’s on Florida Boulevard and sometimes ventured over to Hopper’s on Scenic and also Alessi’s.

“I graduated from Dutchtown High in 1956. We had Sugar Boy Crawford and the Cane Cutters for our senior prom.

“The following year, I attended the Baton Rough High prom with my date, who turned out to be my future wife.

“They had Fats Domino at theirs.”

Inquiring Minds Dept.

Alex Chapman, of Ville Platte, wonders how the expressions “shooting the breeze” and “chewing the fat” came to be.

I assured him that my readers have an answer to every question — sometimes even a correct answer.

So don’t you let me down …

Laugh or cry

“This would be funnier if it weren’t true,” says Algie Petrere as she passes along this story:

A young, newly elected politician decided to get his first tailor-made suit.

So he went to the finest tailor in town and got measured.

A week later, he went in for his first fitting. He put on the suit and he looked stunning.

As he was preening in front of the mirror, he reached down to put his hands in the pockets.

To his surprise, he noticed there were no pockets. He mentioned this to the tailor, who asked him, “Didn’t you tell me you were a politician?”

The young man answered, “Yes, I did.”

The tailor then said, “Whoever heard of a politician with his hands in his OWN pockets?”

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.