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Smiley: Literal bucket list

Chick St. Germaine, of Harahan, tells this “bucket list” story: “In 2006, my nephew Randy had a lady friend, Michelle, who was diagnosed with inoperable, terminal brain cancer. Her one last wish was to be able to milk a cow. Uncle Chick was called to solve this request. “God bless and… Continue reading →

Smiley: Werewolf? There wolf!

Richard Fossey, a professor at UL-Lafayette, tells of getting into a big argument with his family about the proper way to spell the French name for a Cajun werewolf: “Some argued that the word is ‘rougarou,’ and others said it should be spelled ‘loup-garou.’ “I’ve forgotten how we wandered onto this topic, but the discussion got pretty… Continue reading →

Smiley: Other victims

Sidney Vallon offers this Katrina anniversary thought: “During this week of endless reminders in all levels of media of the Lower 9th, may I remind everyone that thousands of people (including me) in Mississippi and coastal Louisiana, where The Storm actually struck, lost everything? “We were the victims of a devastating and unavoidable natural disaster,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Not ever lost

Dear Smiley: At the risk of starting a new subject for your readers (men who never ask for directions): I recently traveled from Florida to New Orleans and stopped at the Alabama welcome station to stretch my legs. At the map/information desk was an elderly man talking to the young lady working the desk.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Disturbing quiet

For the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, here’s a column item about its aftermath, written on Oct. 26, 2005, titled “Vieux CarrĂ© without noise an eerie place:” “‘It’s the quiet that bothers me,’ she said. “She had returned to her apartment on New Orleans’ Royal Street, above an antiques shop, to pack a few things needed at… Continue reading →

Smiley: A time of tears

To remind me (and possibly you) of the emotions we shared at that time, here’s part of a column dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, from Sept. 8, 2005, titled, “Finally, tears for a beloved old town:” “A week after the storm, my wife finally cried. “She had been busy… Continue reading →

Smiley: A decade ago

I’ve resisted saying anything about the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, because everyone in reach of a keyboard seems to be weighing in on the subject. But I finally succumbed, and dug out some columns I did just after New Orleans went under. I thought I was well over the sadness… Continue reading →

Smile: Take that, coach!

High school football season is also high school band season, and Jack V. Story, of Denham Springs, a retired band director, kicks off both seasons with a gentle gigging of his former colleagues of the athletic persuasion. He says one of his favorite lists is “Things you will probably never hear a high… Continue reading →

Smiley: Spaced out

Dear Smiley: Your recent mention of a UFO brought to mind my days as a cub reporter at The Morning Advocate in the late 1960s. One night a call came into managing editor Ed Price from a guy who said a UFO was hovering over his house. Ed ordered… Continue reading →

Smiley: Lonely Marine

Here’s story to show that not all casualties of war are on the battlefield: When Earl Newman saw the name in the obituary, he knew it was a guy he had grown up with in north Baton Rouge in the ’50s and ’60s. They parted ways when Earl was at Istrouma… Continue reading →

Smiley: Heartbreaking Saints

My Fearless Football Forecast for the New Orleans Saints has become an annual tradition, despite protests from readers. Except for that one glorious Super Bowl year, the Saints have a way of breaking your heart. And this year is no exception. I hope I’m wrong with this year’s prediction. And you can take… Continue reading →

Smiley: Dress like a Tiger

Like a lot of other folks, I find that wearing LSU gear outside Louisiana is a great way to meet people who used to live here, know someone from here, or just want to comment on the Tigers. (One lady I met in a bar next to Wrigley Field after a Cubs game… Continue reading →

Smiley: Louisiana health food

Linda H. Whitman, of Denham Springs, adds to our series on how folks from this part of the world cope with life in the Frozen Nawth: “Several years ago we were sent to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, for a surgical procedure on husband Herb. “We had a young surgeon who truly cared about his patients.… Continue reading →

Smiley: The right wrong number

Robert DeBate, of Sorrento, is another of our readers bothered by phone scams. Here’s how he handled his latest call: “I received a call from a person stating our computer ‘has a major problem.’ “He then asked to speak to Madeline, my wife. “I told him to call another… Continue reading →

Smiley: Winner for dinner

Dear Smiley: Recent talk about soft shell crabs reminds me of a meal dating back decades. When Linda and I were first married, my father-in-law, Billy Verret, invited us to dinner at Alonzo’s restaurant on Central Avenue in Jefferson. We were in the heart of the crab season, and… Continue reading →

Smiley: Bordelon the Hero

Wayne Turner, of Baton Rouge, offers a timely war story: “The approach of the 70th anniversary of VJ Day brings to mind a story that my Uncle Rhine Bordelon of Bunkie told me about his World War II exploits. “After spending three years serving with a coastal battery that successfully defended the Esso refinery in Channelview, Texas,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Tough year for Tigers

If it’s August, it’s time for my Fearless Football Forecast regarding the LSU Tigers. I should explain to any new readers that I am woefully unqualified to make any kind of prediction. The closest I ever came to a football field was on the sidelines as a cheerleader at Istrouma High School. I read only… Continue reading →

Smiley: Cutting him off

Richard Fossey’s story is one that could no doubt be told about a lot of folks in south Louisiana: “My parents-in-law, Ivy and Kitty Alford, once had a camp on Graveyard Island in Belle River near Pierre Part. “During those years, Kitty and Ivy caught hundreds of fish: bass, catfish, sac-a-lait… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sad nostalgia

Most of our nostalgia items are about good times, period, but Tim Cummings reminds us of how things have changed for too many young people today: “This morning over coffee we were discussing how good it was to grow up in the ’50s. “When there were no ‘official’ dances scheduled, we… Continue reading →

Smiley: Drunk ‘dillos?

Glen Naquin, of Baker, contributes this tale to our seminar on armadillos: “A few years ago, in my younger and slightly wilder days, a friend and I decided on the spur of the moment to take a road trip up U.S. 61 toward Natchez, Mississippi. “Well, it must have been that time of… Continue reading →

Smiley: Whole other country

Dear Smiley: Visiting friends in Illinois, I was introduced to a gentleman who exclaimed, “I once met the U.S. ambassador to Louisiana!” (He could have been a bit more diplomatic.) PAT ALBA Metairie Dear Smiley: Reading the stories about armadillos got… Continue reading →

Smiley: No UFOs here!

Joe Eustis, of Metairie, says, “Back in the old days of 1967, after a long day of skydiving at the Hammond Airport’s Southern Parachute Center, we were discussing unique sky-dives to try next. “It was suggested we do a night jump. Supposedly, all that was required to meet FAA ‘night flying’ rules was to wear a… Continue reading →

Smiley: Rhyme is no crime!

Proving that you people have WAY too much time on your hands, entries keep pouring in for Smiley’s Poetry Contest. And they cover a wide range of topics. For instance: — Pat Alba, of Metairie, titles her seasonal poem “Dog Days:” “I try to wax poetic, Although I’m apathetic: The more humidity, The less… Continue reading →

Smiley: Mellow yellow news

Those of us who signed on at LSU for the glory and riches of a career in journalism owe a considerable debt to our training ground, The Daily Reveille. We learned a lot deal from our classes, but it was the Reveille that taught us what it was like to actually put out a daily newspaper.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Death and casseroles

If I came in from school and found my mom in the kitchen frying chicken (a Sunday dish) or baking a green bean casserole (a holiday dish), there was only one explanation: someone had died. In her great book, “Last Tales: Passin’ On in Southern Style,” the Clinton writer Mildred P. Worrell discusses the Southern… Continue reading →

Smiley: Hot-day homily

Doug Lee’s story combines weather and religion: “While visiting Orange Beach, Alabama, we attended our favorite church, St. Thomas by the Sea. “When we got close to the church we could see all the doors open, and stepped inside to realize that the A/C was not functioning and it was sweltering… Continue reading →

Smiley: Educational experience

Dear Smiley: My brother graduated from LSU, worked a few years, and earned his MBA at Vanderbilt. In those days, the Monday before the NFL season started, they telecast a big football game. On his first Monday night, he attended his first class at Vandy. At the same time Alabama was playing Georgia. Someone asked… Continue reading →

Smiley: Doggerel barking

Thanks to all who have entered Smiley’s Poetry Contest, competing for the opportunity to win fame plus a po-boy and root beer. Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, addresses a common problem: “Come to Baton Rouge “And I’ll bet you a dime, “No matter where you’re going, “You can’t get there on time.” Another from Bo, with a happier… Continue reading →

Smiley: Darn those ’dillos!

Thanks to Eileen Turowski Taylor, of Walker, for confirming my contention that folks in Louisiana don’t have to fight off alligators every day, as people in other parts of the country believe. She says it’s armadillos: “After several days of finding my garden uprooted, I borrowed a live trap. That evening I heard… Continue reading →

Smiley: Horsing around

Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, gives us another reason to cherish our children — they’re so cute when they remind us how old we’re getting: “When my son Rob was in first grade, he came home one day excited about having learned how and when different things came into being: the steam… Continue reading →

Smiley: Art of teaching

George McLean, of Metairie, continues our series on great teachers: “Way back in 1942, when I was a freshman engineering student at Tulane, one of my classes was taught by the dean, Dr. Roberts. “One day, while discussing a problem with the class, I asked why a certain conversion factor was… Continue reading →

Smiley: No lunch for Sam

OK, I give up. I’ve tried to convince folks outside Louisiana that we’re not hip-deep in alligators, but the stories of encounters with gators keep coming in. So I guess I’ll just keep running them, even if they frighten readers in the Frozen Nawth. Pat Alba, of Metairie, tells… Continue reading →

Smiley: Slippery student

Dear Smiley: Your story about the grade-school knuckle-rapping reminds me of the favorite attention-getter of the nuns teaching at Cathedral Elementary in Natchez, Mississippi, in the ’50s. It was either grabbing an ear or a handful of hair. A classmate named Will, with a full head of red hair, was a favorite target… Continue reading →

Smiley: The grocer’s fire

“Papenton” tells a story about a time near the end of the Great Depression: “My father told of walking with his long-time friend, Mr. Charlie Gayer, to a burn pile behind Mr. Charlie’s store, The Spot Cash Grocery and Grain, in Franklinton. “Mr. Charlie carried a large grocery basket filled with charge pads for his customers who… Continue reading →

Smiley: Promised beer

Melvin Daigle says our series on south Louisiana honky-tonks of the past brought back this memory: “In the early ’50s at Plaquemine’s Casino dance hall, there was a band playing there with a lead singer who was really good. “During a break I bought him a Goebel beer (20 cents at… Continue reading →

Smiley: Don’t move!

I just found another reason to love Pat Shingleton. The other day, the venerable TV weatherman was talking about the current Baton Rouge heat wave, and I was watching in a rather desultory manner. Then he got my attention. Telling of things to do to deal with the sweltering… Continue reading →

Smiley: A routine matter

She was apprehensive as she stood in front of the East Baton Rouge Clerk of Court’s office. She knew that her applying for a marriage license was now legal, but she wondered if she would get a sigh, an eye-roll or muttering under the breath — the kinds of things she and her partner had endured during… Continue reading →

Smiley: Meeting an explorer

Carl Spillman’s note struck a chord, because a favorite weekend activity is piling in the Jeep and heading off to somewhere we’ve never been before — a boudin shop in Jennings or a barbecue joint in Woodruff, a shrimp place in Delcambre or a cracklings stand in Port Barre. Carl describes a gent… Continue reading →

Smiley: Turning pro

Dear Smiley: A few weeks ago you mentioned in your esteemed column a parent who used monetary means to bring out the best in his son in a sporting event. That reminded me of a similar situation I had with son Ryan, now 27 and a civil engineer. He… Continue reading →

Smiley: Met a candidate yet?

Barbara McKasle, of Hammond (“and proud of it!”), offers this sign of the times: “On my way to a meeting I’m thinking who was going to be there, and this paraphrase occurred to me: ‘Where two or more are gathered there, also shall you find political candidates.’ “Sure ’nuf, there they were.” (How… Continue reading →

Smiley: Long-distance teacher

Here’s another teacher story, following the one in the Wednesday column about the teacher aunt who corrected a thank-you note. I’m staying on this topic because I have a great deal of respect for the teachers who guided me through my younger years. Without the devotion to their calling of these overworked, underpaid people, I… Continue reading →

Smiley: Nannie’s still teaching

Those of us who revere the English language have a new hero, says Ronnie Hotz, of Lafayette: “For 30 years my school teacher aunt used the prevailing attention-getting method of popping knuckles with a wooden ruler. In other words, she was the epitome of ‘strict.’ “Fast forward into the future. My daughter Christy received a… Continue reading →

Smiley: South Brooklyn?

Ransdell Hebert, of Slidell, adds to our collection of accent stories: “I spent my grammar school days in Thibodaux, and moved to New Orleans for junior and senior high. “My New Orleans teachers would really come down on me for my ‘dees, dem and doze’ Cajun accent, so I imitated the… Continue reading →

Smiley: The escapee

Jimmy Varnado likes to mess with people’s minds. He tells of going out to a doughnut shop one morning: “I still had my pajamas and slippers on. When the lady was filling my order, I said in a rather loud voice, ‘Those people are not going to keep me… Continue reading →