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Smiley: Growth industry

Odeal, of St. Gabriel, has an idea to help Louisiana obtain plants for its medical marijuana program. Hearing that potential growers are going to Cuba to get advice on cultivation, she says, “There is absolutely no need for that. A lot of unemployed people in Louisiana know how. Hire them...We have experts here...Some may have… Continue reading →

Smiley: The Great Crack-up

Dear Smiley: Your mention of driver’s ed in the Wednesday column reminded me of the not-to-be-forgotten driver’s license test for my sister. After taking the written part of the exam, it was time to take the OMV guy for a ride and do the stop signs, hand signals and also the… Continue reading →

Smiley: One tough bunny

Jeanne Schexnayder’s roadkill story: “When we were first married, Wayne still had a semester of college (LSU) left before graduating and, needless to say, we were poor as church mice. Our close friends, Gerry and Sonny, were in the same financial straits. “The guys decided to go fishing, but didn’t catch… Continue reading →

Smiley: Cool duds, cool dudes

Recently, after I donned my new seersucker suit (a gift from my loving spouse), I wondered about how long I could wear it without hearing from the fashion police, since it’s a summer garment. I just got the answer from an article by Errol Laborde, editor of New Orleans Magazine. He… Continue reading →

Smiley: First Rally Possums?

Here’s a football story from Easton Pitre: “Back in 1971, the South Lafourche High School Tarpons had a very special football team. Their offense was great, but the defense was awesome. It became known as the ‘Possum Defense.’ “The state championship was at Tarpon Stadium in Galliano against Winnfield High School.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Hometown voices

Ellen Mayeur McCubbin, of New Orleans, continues our accents discussion: “Several years ago my husband and I, along with several LSU fans, went to the LSU-University of Washington football game in Seattle. We wore LSU purple and gold outfits the entire trip. “Walking downtown, a lady stopped us and said, ‘Stop, talk to me. I’m… Continue reading →

Smiley: Avoid red roadkill

Dear Smiley: Now that your stories of opossums have come to an end, please let me tell you about another animal, mentioned at a party many years ago. Our host told a story about his family when the children were quite young and the family budget was very limited. He developed a process… Continue reading →

Smiley: A death in the family

Every year around Father’s Day I think about the death many years ago of my dad, also named Smiley. When I tried to write about him for the column back then, I found it was much harder than I had expected. How do you sum up a long, full life in just a few words? Here’s part… Continue reading →

Smiley: Head out on the highway

It’s the travel season, when folks pile into cars or stand in long lines at airports to go someplace else. Linda H. Whitman, of Denham Springs, is here to help those travelers who are hitting the road: “Just having returned from a 20-day driving vacation out West, I thought I’d share some tips. “Everywhere you stop, folks… Continue reading →

Smiley: No shotgun wedding

Before you say anything, this isn’t a possum story: it’s a shotgun story, and a wedding story. But not like you think... Faye Melancon tells this one: “Dating in the late ’50s was set up to cuddle in the front room, keeping an ear out for possible adult supervision.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Dangerous bands

Some people may think LSU’s new policy of banning halftime shows in Tiger Stadium by visiting football teams’ bands (as a “safety issue”) is a solution in search of a problem, but as a drummer/cymbal player with two marching bands in my youth (the Istrouma High band and the LSU ROTC military band), I can understand the… Continue reading →

Smiley: The sound of silence

We know that some Louisiana names, such as Atchafalaya and Tchoupitoulas, baffle the uninitiated. Roy Pitchford, of Monroe, tells of an incident from his days as an Advocate sports reporter: “A radio sportscaster kept asking me for information at the 1968 Southwestern Relays. When it came time for the high school… Continue reading →

Smiley: Big fight in Houma

Dear Smiley: An email from L.P. Bordelon informed me that on March 3, 1975, when he was principal of H.L. Bourgeois High School in Houma, Muhammad Ali visited the school. L.P. and the assistant principal “went a few rounds” with Ali, to the delight of the students. My reply… Continue reading →

Smiley: Be kind to possums

The other day I was lunching at Rocco’s with some accomplices, and was just about to tackle my breaded veal cutlet po-boy and Diet Barq’s root beer when a lady announced that she was tired of reading about possums in my column. A short time later a gentleman accosted me with the same complaint.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Passing by pasta

Chef KD (Kevin Diez, of Gonzales) tells this story of mistaken identity: “Last Saturday we were catering a wedding reception, and quite a few guests were from north Alabama. “We had pastalaya as one of the entrees, and I noticed that no one from Alabama was even putting it on their… Continue reading →

Smiley: Pick a Lee

Leave it to the readers of this column to offer ideas to solve the major issues of the day — unsolicited ideas, of course, but ideas nevertheless. For instance, Mark Lazarre comes up with this solution to the problem of what to call Baton Rouge’s rebuilt Lee High School: “I propose that we keep the name of… Continue reading →

Smiley: A close shave

Fernand Dionne, of Metairie, makes a good case for requiring intelligence tests before issuing driver’s licenses: “It is a good thing that stupidity does not kill, because there will be a lot of dead bodies around. “On my way to work this morning I saw a guy driving his pickup truck at least 25 miles above the… Continue reading →

Smiley: That’s entertainment

Gene Dartez says, “My wife and I, on a trip to the ‘Far Nawth,’ rendezvoused for a few days in St. Ignace, Michigan, with Art and Mary Ordoyne, who were making a similar journey. “My wife is a Texas gal, I’m a Cajun boy transplanted to Texas and back, Mary is a lifelong Baton Rougean,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Stop and go

Dear Smiley: A while back, a friend took me and my wife on a journey in his top-of-the-line imported car. The interior was in beautiful leather, and the sound system seemed to have hundreds of miniature musicians. At a stop light, my friend pointed out that the engine had turned off to save gas.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Accidental mourner

Sam Raney tells of the educational experience of a thoughtless driver: “In the 1980s I worked on Government Street for the old Gulf States Utilities, and many of us would gather at the Baton Rouge Frostop for lunch. “There was a table in the back room where we could meet and eat, as we knew… Continue reading →

Smiley: A useful possum

We’ve had so many animal stories lately that this column is becoming a written version of “Wild Kingdom.” Vallan Corbett tells how a possum served a useful purpose (other than becoming barbecue, discussed in an earlier column): “At 6 a.m. every morning the dog and I used to walk the Sherwood Forest Country… Continue reading →

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 →