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2015 Baton Rouge Attorney Profiles
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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 →

Smiley: Meeting Santa

Dear Smiley: When I was elected sheriff, the youngest in the history of Louisiana at the time, I had just been sworn in and was heading to a Law Enforcement Commission meeting in New Orleans. I was driving a brand-new vehicle with no license plate, and I had not received any registration. I had nothing… Continue reading →

Smiley: Wrong Tigers, colors

Earl C. Johnson says he was at Baton Rouge Clinic when a gent noticed his umbrella and asked, “Is that an Auburn umbrella?” When Earl said it was, the gent observed with a grin, “No wonder you have it folded up.” Earl says, “He got off a good joke at my expense. “But… Continue reading →

Smiley: Forgive me, Father …

Joan Waguespack Barre, of Metairie, says her family had a priest friend, Father Jules Toups, who loved to fish. “He was assigned to Pierre Part in the 1940s, and shortly after his new assignment a parishioner planned a fishing trip for him with an elderly fisherman. The fisherman’s son went with them, and neither knew the gent they… Continue reading →

Smiley: Crossing crossly

Several readers responded to Farrel McDaniel’s Tuesday suggestion that we find a new name for Baton Rouge’s periodically clogged “new” bridge over the Mississippi River. Glenn Giro, of Denham Springs, says choosing whimsical names for a dysfunctional bridge isn’t a new idea: “Back in the ’70s when NOLA hadn’t yet built the parallel bridge, Scoot-in-the-Morning… Continue reading →

Smiley: Ancient artifact

Dorothy Stutes, of Baton Rouge, tells a story that makes some of us feel very old indeed: “My nephew Sam Broyles and his wife, Christy, from Dallas, along with their daughters, Katherine and Caroline, aged 9 and (almost) 7, recently stopped by to visit us en route to a week on the beach… Continue reading →

Smiley: Gator racing

You people are not cooperating! For some time, I’ve been trying to convince residents of the Frozen Nawth that folks down here don’t all live in houses built on stilts over the swamp and have to fight off alligators every day on our way to work. And what do you do? You keep sending me stories… Continue reading →

Smiley: Fictional Louisiana

Dear Smiley: In 1972, I was stationed with the U.S. Army in Heidelberg, Germany. I quickly discovered that a majority of GIs and Germans had preconceived notions of our state, and nothing I would say could change their minds. So quickly I started going along to get along.… Continue reading →

Smiley: Incarcerated Mom?

From our “Memorable Misunderstandings Dept.,” this story from Arthur Paine: His daughter-in-law Allison was on a business trip to San Francisco, but had time for some sight-seeing. She called home to speak to husband Mike, son Trey, 12, and daughter Jaidan, 8. Here’s how the call went: Mike: “Hello!”… Continue reading →

Smiley: Worth fighting for

T-Bob Taylor, our correspondent in Panama City Beach, Florida, says, “I was listening to the local news outlet and a story popped up that two workers had to TWICE be separated in the heat of a serious fight. “I’m thinking, ‘What a couple of nuts!’ “Then the announcer tagged, ‘The argument… Continue reading →

Smiley: Losing the race

Pat Alba, of Metairie, tells of her short career as an auto racer: “I owned a Camry in the early ’80s, when that model was something of a novelty. “Maybe that’s why one day when I was waiting for a traffic light, another car pulled up beside me and the driver raced his engine repeatedly — an… Continue reading →

Smiley: The hitching chicken

We’ve been telling stories about alligators and foxes in recent days, so I suppose we should offer equal time to chickens: Jim Carruth, of Lafayette, tells this one: “Back in the early 1950s my dad worked at Standard Oil (Esso) in Baton Rouge. “We had this big red chicken named Hennie Penny. Dad… Continue reading →

Smiley: Foxy paper thieves

Advocate photo by Glenn Holden --  Rick and Rene Nevils and their neighbors in Stanford Place, located in Baton Rouge near the LSU Lakes, began noticing that their copies of The Advocate werent showing up in the mornings. A family of foxes were making off with the papers. Rick says the foxes are tearing up the papers for nesting material inside the den. The Advocate circulation department is working on a solution to the delivery problem.

On Friday I told of a lady in Vacherie who went out to get her newspaper and found an alligator sunning himself alongside it. It seems gators aren’t the only critters fond of the written word. Rick and Rene Nevils and their neighbors in Stanford Place, near the LSU Lakes, noticed… Continue reading →

Smiley: “Making” birthdays

Dear Smiley: I notice that in spite of the efforts of radio and TV to make us all speak the same language, “Yat” survives and has even spread across all of the known universe — the area between St. Bernard and Baton Rouge. Mr. Cleveland Bailey reported a conversation between the great Pastor T.J. Jemison… Continue reading →

Smiley: Gator invasion!

Joan W. Waguespack, of Metairie, adds to our seminar on Louisiana gators: “A few years ago, while visiting my mother, Eva Waguespack, in Vacherie, I read an article in the newspaper about alligators in Louisiana. “I commented to her that people from outside the state must think alligators roam freely all over. “She began to… Continue reading →

Smiley: Lively neighbors

Fay Weilbaecher, of Covington, recently told us the story of Rocky Raccoon, who lived with her family for almost two years. She continues the story of his exploits after they released him: “We expected him to be glad to be free, but instead he ran amok through the neighborhood, harassing people working in their gardens,… Continue reading →

Smiley: Official state footwear

Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, has a “local color” story: “During Hurricane Katrina, we had 16 family members and friends from the New Orleans area staying with us. “Someone noticed water leaking through the ceiling — Katrina had ripped off a roof vent and rain was pouring in the attic. “Many of our visitors already… Continue reading →

Smiley: The kind trucker

Like a lot of folks who drive four-wheelers, I’m intimidated and sometimes irritated by the 18-wheelers on the interstate, especially when they come roaring off the Mississippi River bridge and head over into my lane (I always let them in — what’s the option?). Rhetta Sellers points out something good that came out… Continue reading →

Smiley: Turning pro

Keith Horcasitas’ story shows how professionalism in sports can start at a tender age: “My late daddy always encouraged me in Little League baseball in N’Awlins. We lived Uptown and played ball at Carrollton Boosters behind the majestic Milne Boys Home. “As an 11-year-old, I was pitching in a game that… Continue reading →

Smiley: Blurry, blurry night

Dear Smiley: During the early ’50s, I gave my girlfriend (now my wife) the best “Sweet 16” birthday present: a night of dancing and a floor show at the Blue Room in the Roosevelt Hotel. My father gave me his credit card, we dressed in our best clothes and off we… Continue reading →

Smiley: Defining Cajuns

Z. David DeLoach addresses a matter discussed in the Thursday column: “To satisfy the curiosity of those naive New Yorkers asking, ‘What in the world are Cajuns?’ Simple: Canadians with good taste.” Readers continue to recall memorable musical moments: — Kat Canatella, of Convent, remembers an Elvis… Continue reading →

Smiley: “Planet of the Mudbugs”

This column is finally getting some class — we’re featuring comments from noted authors (besides me, I mean...): Sam Irwin, author of “Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean,” says, “Referencing the item about the scarcity of live crawfish in Seattle — the Louisiana red swamp crawfish is a bit of a bully, identified as… Continue reading →

Smiley: Dad’s Day Do’s, Don’ts

“With Father’s Day on the horizon,” says Dudley Lehew, of Denham Springs, “here are some gift buying guidelines: “What NOT to buy: 1. A new tie. The one we have been wearing for 40 years is still good. Might use a cleaning, though. 2. A new dress shirt. Same guidelines apply. 3. A new belt. Our old one… Continue reading →

Smiley: Aroma therapy

Richard Fossey, who teaches at UL-Lafayette, has a “choosing your college” story: “My friend John has lived in Baton Rouge for many years, but he is a graduate of Auburn University. “When his children were young, John and his wife, Mary, lived in Alabama, and John was worried that some of his children might want… Continue reading →

Smiley: “Flag day” every day

In our Nostalgia Corner, Joan Waguespack Barre, of Metairie, recalls growing up in Vacherie: “My grandfather, Dr. Lionel O. Waguespack, began practicing medicine in the early 1900s. He traveled in a horse-driven buggy and later owned one of the first automobiles in the area. He treated most of his patients in his office, but visited those who… Continue reading →

Smiley: Attack mules!

Dear Smiley: Here’s some encouragement for the driver whose car was damaged by a “flying alligator” (as reported in the Wednesday column) and your concern about whether her auto insurance will cover repairs. I once spent the night with a friend who lived in the Ozark Mountains. I had… Continue reading →

Smiley: No pie for you!

Mike Manes, of New Iberia, adds to our tales of Lea’s Lunch Room in Lecompte: “Back in the late 1970s I was headed to Monroe to meet my wife and children at her mother’s house for Thanksgiving. Tradition required that I pick up a pie or two at Lea’s. “I stopped in late that Wednesday evening and… Continue reading →

Smiley: The pastor’s lesson

Cleveland Bailey Sr. tells this cautionary tale: “The late Rev. T.J. Jemison, pastor of Mt. Zion First Baptist Church here in Baton Rouge, learned that one of his senior deaconesses had made a birthday. “After a Wednesday evening Bible study session, he innocently said to her, ‘Sister Jones, I understand you… Continue reading →

Smiley: Warning: Gator Crossing

“Louisiana Lipsey,” aka Wendy Lipsey, tells a story I would dismiss as fantasy if it came from a less trustworthy source: “The craziest thing happened to me Friday night on my way home from Roberto’s River Road Restaurant. “I was coming down Nicholson Drive when the car in front of me… Continue reading →

Smiley: A happy mechanic

John Logreco Jr., of Metairie, says, “My brother-in-law and sister-in-law came from Folsom to visit us early one morning several years ago. “Since it’s a 50-mile drive and the traffic can often be horrendous, I thought the forlorn look on my brother-in-law’s face and the tone of his voice meant he needed something strong to drink when… Continue reading →