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2015 Baton Rouge Attorney Profiles
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Smiley: Eat your troubles away

Gary E. Penton, of Pineville, has a possum story: “My father told me about the possum he killed in a persimmon tree when his dog wouldn’t stop his nightly barking at it. “He mentioned the kill to his pastor, a very country boy from North Carolina. “The pastor said,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Close possum encounter

Louise Hargon says she was one of Susan Lipsey’s bridge partners who told her a possum story, leading to Susan’s request for more such tales from our readers. Here’s the one from Louise: “Our son, Chad, was awakened one night by his wife, Stacey, who said she thought she saw a mouse tail… Continue reading →

Smiley: Almed and dangerous

Dear Smiley: Remember Bishop Stanley Ott? He was the bishop of Baton Rouge from 1983 until his death in 1992. My wife, Gloria, taught at Sacred Heart School during that time, and she recalls one occasion when Bishop Ott came to Sacred Heart to speak to the student congregation.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Stuff that owl!

Gerald Moses offers this sports commentary: “Florida’s baseball team came up with a stuffed owl to answer LSU’s ‘Rally Possum.’ But as the game wore on into Thursday morning, it became clear that the owl didn’t give a hoot.” Two final thoughts on a new name for the New… Continue reading →

Smiley: The Possum Files

“All of Baton Rouge is talking about the ‘Rally Possum’ at LSU baseball games,” says Susan Lipsey. “It’s a frenzy I’ve never seen before. “I was at a bridge luncheon, and many friends told me they saw me on TV swinging my stuffed possum by the tail to rally the team.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Love and traffic

Shelly Strobel, of Watson, knows an elderly lady who put a “Honk if you love Jesus” bumper sticker on her car, and said she was thrilled by all the people who expressed their love — most often when they were behind her at a red light and it changed to green.… Continue reading →

Smiley: An ill wind...

As hurricane season approaches, Pete Lambousy tells a chilling story about “hurricane hunter” planes: “After reading the story in the Thursday Advocate about hurricane hunters, my mind was jogged back to 1963 at Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station in Puerto Rico, where the planes were stationed. “As a journalist for the… Continue reading →

Smiley: Goodbye, Mr. Fix-It

Rob Foley adds to our growing “funny funerals” file: “Several years ago, my father’s younger brother, Don Foley, passed on, leaving behind his 14 children and his wonderful wife, Ro, in Lafayette. “Uncle Don may have been the originator of the saying, ‘If it can’t be fixed with WD-40 or… Continue reading →

Smiley: Loving closeness

Dear Smiley: Your recent readers’ comments on Louisiana traffic reminded me of a certain trait I noticed years ago. When I moved down here from the Midwest back in 1980, I tried to follow the Midwest rules I had learned earlier as a teenager. One of them was, when driving in traffic, you stayed… Continue reading →

Smiley: Crawfish boil blasphemy

“I agree with your reader who wrote that if you can’t smell the cayenne in the air at a crawfish boil, it ain’t real,” says John LaCarna, of Baton Rouge. “I’ve always said if a dish is fit for human consumption, it’s not hot enough for me. “But I… Continue reading →

Smiley: No retirement here

Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, says she’s still chuckling about this encounter: “I was registering the other day for blood work to be performed. My name was called, and I handed the lady the paperwork with the information she needed. “The registrar asked if all of the information was the same as it had… Continue reading →

Smiley: Crowd control

Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, who was once an Advocate sports reporter, says, “My favorite legend of the old New Orleans Pelicans baseball team concerns a season-ending game that attracted only 18 paying fans. “The legend is that a Pelicans player invited all the fans to sit behind the dugout. He then informed them that there were… Continue reading →

Smiley: Obscure tradition

Beth Justus adds to our “funny funerals” collection: “Gordon Cotton, of Vicksburg, Mississippi, a great Southern historian, tells of the time he was asked to be a pallbearer at a Catholic funeral. Growing up Primitive Baptist, he had never been in a Catholic church, much less to a funeral. “As he was… Continue reading →

Smiley: “Bless their hearts…”

Robert Nethken, who taught at LSU and is now living in Slidell, tells a story that brings back memories of my childhood in Natchez, Mississippi. A bevy of great-aunts helped raise me, and while they were quintessential Southern ladies, they always had a way of letting you know when they weren’t fond of someone… Continue reading →

Smiley: Goodbye, Rockhead

Dear Smiley: I could not let all this discussion of humor in funerals go by without sharing the story of George J. “Rockhead” Fanning, my stepfather. He was given that nickname as a teenager. Seems a bit of amicable rock throwing occurred in the Irish Channel, and a rock broke… Continue reading →

Smiley: Bad day at the bar

“Having grown up in Mississippi during its prohibition days,” says Frank Carney, “I can relate to the ‘unusual’ events. “One of note occurred when the governor and the Mississippi Gulf Coast legislators were at odds over something. “The governor was so mad, he threatened to call out the National Guard and crush all illegal… Continue reading →

Smiley: Rough spell in Portland

Diane Barrilleaux says, “My husband accompanied me to a conference in Portland, Oregon, some 25 years ago. “After finishing a meal and receiving our bill, he handed me his credit card and said he was going to the men’s room and would meet me up front. “I handed the credit card to the cashier, followed… Continue reading →

Smiley: New Orleans drivers border on psychotic

Before my spouse became my spouse, she worked for a couple of years in New Orleans, living one year in Mid-City and one year Uptown. She got to know the town pretty well, and when I visited, she’d drive me around to off-the-beaten-path restaurants, bars and other entertainment venues she’d discovered. I quickly noticed that after… Continue reading →

Smiley: Island to die for

Diane T. Martin, of Morgan City, adds to our “fun with funerals” file: “The story about people coming to Louisiana to visit cemeteries reminded me of my trip with my daughter to Venice, Italy. “Venice, of course, is noted for its beautiful canals and lack of vehicles. “One of our excursions from Venice… Continue reading →

Smiley: Nicknames tell a story

Faye Hoffman Talbot, of Jackson, says, “I always read the obits and am intrigued with the nicknames. “In the Friday paper alone, there is Morgy, Rodgus, Lil Sis, Longpants and Chuck. “Some are self-explanatory. Others leave you guessing. How did Longpants get that name? “It would be nice if there was a little note such… Continue reading →

Smiley: Laughing at aging

Dear Smiley: Having reached the octogenarian stage, I do not dwell on the past, but I have a lot of fun remembering earlier times. Especially when I contrast “then” and “now.” I used to proudly flex my developing biceps, but now I say, “I still have most of my teeth.” I used to… Continue reading →

Smiley: They were very attached

Earl C. Johnson, of Baton Rouge, adds to our “funny funerals” collection: “At the end of my uncle’s funeral, the casket sat at the front of the church. The pallbearers then carried the open casket to the side door, where the hearse waited. “As the casket top was lowered, the end of a pallbearer’s necktie… Continue reading →

Smiley: Know that gender!

Camille Plaisance, who teaches at LSU’s E.J. Ourso College of Business, can sympathize with that boy named Sue: “With all the talk about mispronounced French last names, how about confusing first names? “My last name, Plaisance, has been mangled like other names mentioned. But my first name, Camille, has caused the most confusion. “I was… Continue reading →

Smiley: In the pink

Bo Bienvenu, of Prairieville, this column’s unpaid legislative observer, files this report from the Capitol: “With all the problems facing the state, it is nice to see the Legislature set priorities and come together in a rare display of bipartisanship to pass a bill that will undoubtedly help propel the state forward.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Boy to Marine

Billy Couvillion, DDS, of Baton Rouge, has another drill sergeant story to add to our collection: “While at Parris Island, South Carolina, Marine Recruit Depot, I witnessed a very stern drill sergeant approaching a platoon of fresh recruits. In a most vigorous manner, he got in the face of a young man standing at… Continue reading →

Smiley: Ask your doctor

Dear Smiley: Dudley Lehew’s story about Mississippi being a dry state brings to mind alcohol laws during Prohibition in the 1920s. Liquor could be acquired only through a physician’s prescription. The prescription form had a stub retained by the physician, and a certificate given to the patient to be filled out, titled “Treasury Department… Continue reading →

Smiley: Louisiana thrill rides

After driving from Baton Rouge to New Orleans for dinner Wednesday night (Port of Call cheeseburgers, in case you were wondering), I find myself agreeing with Patrick Hughes, who sent over a list titled “It’s a Louisiana thing.” A number of the “Louisiana things” involve our highway manners, such as: “Never use turn… Continue reading →

Smiley: Root for the Jambalayas

I knew it was going to happen. When I read that the New Orleans Zephyrs Triple-A pro-baseball team was looking for a new name, I figured it was just a matter of time before my ever-helpful readers would be offering some creative titles for the lads. Perry Snyder says… Continue reading →

Smiley: Hokie’s mighty swing

Bill Quinn says the late Hokie Gajan was known as a football star at Baker High, LSU and the Saints, but he was quite a softball player too: “Thirty years ago, I pitched a softball to Hokie. At this time, softballs were so ‘hot’ that some pitchers were killed when line drives hit their heads (after two… Continue reading →

Smiley: My favorite story about longtime Baton Rouge news anchor John Mahaffey

The death of John Mahaffey, longtime news anchor at Baton Rouge TV stations WAFB and WBRZ, brought a flood of stories about him. Here’s mine: John, who always considered himself to be in the news business rather than show business, loved to tell stories about his reporting days. And some of… Continue reading →

Smiley: Our new shell game

There’s been considerable social media chatter about Gov. John Bel Edwards installing chicken coops at the Governor’s Mansion to provide eggs and bring a more down-home feel to his new abode. Personally, I think it’s a cool idea. My dad raised chickens when he lived in Oakdale, and my brother and sister-in-law in Oakdale still raise… Continue reading →

Smiley: A wet dry state

Dear Smiley: About your stories concerning Louisiana and Mississippi’s colorful relationship: When I joined The Associated Press in Jackson in 1962, Mississippi was a dry state, no liquor allowed. But Louisiana, where liquor was legal, printed extra alcohol tax stamps, and Louisiana liquor stores used the extra… Continue reading →

Smiley: Last laugh on the boss

“Your recent stories about Cajun accents and names brought this story to mind,” says Fay Weilbaecher, of Covington: “I was transferred to Tucson, Arizona, and worked with wonderful people. Very few co-workers were native to Arizona, except my boss, who had lived there all his life and knew very little of Louisiana — except when he played… Continue reading →

Smiley: Swinging ringer

“I became an altar boy in the summer between third and fourth grades, in an old wooden church in Harahan,” says Jean Haydel. “My weight of around 85 pounds and height of under 50 inches were small handicaps in ringing the church bell to announce Masses and toll for funerals. “The bell was rung manually… Continue reading →

Smiley: Grin and bear it

“My daughter’s wedding is about a month away,” says Glenn Everett. “Her soon-to-be in-laws tell us that their grandsons have asked when they would get their bear costumes. “When asked what that was about, they reminded them that they were ‘ringbears’ in the wedding.” Colleague George… Continue reading →

Smiley: Joyful noise

Adding to our series on church mishaps is Melba Thibodeaux, of Opelousas, with this gem: “Back in 1967 my daughter, Gina Speyrer, then just a toddler, was attending church with the family one Sunday morning. During a quiet part of the service she decided it was just too quiet, and proceeded to do something about… Continue reading →

Smiley: Those Cajun names

I don’t understand why people outside the state have trouble with Louisiana names. Sure, we call our dog “Phideaux” and pronounce Hebert “A-bear” and DeBlieux “W,” but is that really so hard to grasp? Louisiana folks tell of especially having trouble in the service when their names came up at roll call:… Continue reading →

Smiley: Read or else!

Dear Smiley: Just back from the National School Boards conference in Boston, I received a message from an old friend named Bob Dabney, who once lived in New Orleans but has moved to Barbados. It seems that in 1961 Fidel Castro formed “education brigades” that went out into the countryside and… Continue reading →

Smiley: Give ’em credit

Alex “Sonny” Chapman, of Ville Platte, has a story for our “Why we love small Cajun towns” file: “In the mid ’80s, during the oilfield crash, a friend of mine moved back to Ville Platte from Lafayette with his ‘city girl’ wife. “When they went to purchase furniture from a long-established store, she was shocked by the… Continue reading →

Smiley: Sarge vs. Cajuns

Kirk M. Briggs, of Lafayette, continues our discussion of problems people outside south Louisiana have with Cajun names: “If you want to get into a drill sarge’s massacre of Southern names: I was in basic training at Fort Ord, California, with a group of guys from New Iberia who quickly learned to answer roll call to just… Continue reading →

Smiley: Beware of flying rodents

Carol Moore says our comments on flying squirrels bring to mind this teenage experience when she lived in Crystal Springs, Mississippi: “Our Girl Scout troop spent a week of summer camp at Percy Quin Park near McComb. “My patrol settled down to sleep the first night with all our stuff stowed away, including… Continue reading →

Smiley: Let’s annex Natchez!

My hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, is all over social media these days. After Mississippi passed a controversial law discouraging diversity, there was concern among folks in the Natchez tourism industry that the inevitable backlash might keep people from visiting their beautiful old town. Patrick Mulhearn, a Natchez native who lives in… Continue reading →

Smiley: Naming rights

Barry “Butch” Raffray says, “Your article in the Wednesday Advocate, about the name the nun gave to the student, reminds me of the time I was in the Army in 1962. “Donald ‘Duck’ Aucoin and I joined the Army six days after graduating from White Castle High School. “At the start of basic… Continue reading →