Smiley: Silky’s run ends

By smiley anders

There are some iconic figures who have run bars and restaurants — legends like Jack Sabin in Baton Rouge, Diamond Jim Moran in New Orleans, and Thomas “Silky” Sullivan in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and Memphis.

Silky’s friend Jim Dumigan told me of the recent death at 71 of the owner of Silky O’Sullivan’s, a Beale Street institution since 1992. (He opened his first Memphis bar in 1973.)

Jim says in Silky’s Baton Rouge days he owned the Southdowns Lounge, and when he opened a Silky O’Sullivan’s location on Decatur Street in New Orleans, he marked the occasion by bringing 100 costumed revelers down from Memphis by train. (Jim says he sold that location just before Hurricane Katrina.)

Silky was noted for his stunts — his beer-drinking goats at his Memphis bar, his St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl, cooking pork chops in Red Square, etc.

Although he was identified with Memphis, he was a popular figure in New Orleans. He ran for a Louisiana seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2002 and for lieutenant governor in 2003. And he was named “King Pontchartrain” by the Krewe of Pontchartrain during the 2013 Carnival.

Years ago, when I first met Silky at Baton Rouge’s Fuddrucker’s (remember that burger joint?), he told me he was trying to arrange an NFL game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit in the Colosseum in Rome.

He would bill it as (are you ready?) “The Christians vs. The Lions.”

As Jim put it succinctly, “The King of Beale Street lived life very large indeed!”

Two grandmas

Lesley W. Marcello, of Thibodaux, says, “All our lives my sister Ann and I (born eight years apart) have rejected the idea that we looked alike.

“Recently this issue was settled.

“Our extended family had gathered in New Orleans for my daughter’s wedding. My almost 2-year-old grandson Benjamin had not seen many of them, including Ann, since he was 3 months old.

“Benjamin calls me ‘Grandmother,’ or the closest thing to it that he can say.

“When I walked into his room, he joyously shouted, ‘Grandmother!’

“Seconds later as Ann entered, he looked at her, then at me, and back at Ann and yelled, ‘Another Grandmother!’

“Through the laughter, my other sister Priscilla said, ‘There is no question now that you and Ann look alike. Benjamin has decided.’ ”

Colorful cuisine

Marsha Reichle comments on Glenn Giro’s story in the Thursday column, about his mom’s obsession with food coloring:

“My mother also combined resolute frugality with unbridled creativity.

“She worried that she had to buy more sets of food coloring when she still had all that blue left.

“One of her memorable creations featured cream puffs filled with lovely blue whipping cream. No one would eat them.

“As my brother alleged, ‘They look like they came from tubercular cows.’ ”

Was Jackie here?

Ted Landaiche says the movie “42” reminds him of the old “Red Stick Stadium” overlooking City Park Lake, home of the Baton Rouge Red Sticks minor league baseball team:

“My father Theo, neighbor Mr. Milo Landry and I would attend a game at least once a week.

“The game I remember most was an exhibition game featuring the great Jackie Robinson.

“The stadium was packed, with standing room only on the sidelines, which is where we were.

“I can’t find anything on this game. Was anyone else there, or was I dreaming?”

Worthy causes

The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) holds its first monthly support group meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday at La Madeleine on Jefferson Highway, in the Bocage Shopping Center.

The meetings are for anyone “new to Type 1 diabetes or currently facing the daily challenges associated with living with T1D.”

The free meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of every month — in even months at 10 a.m. and in odd months at 7 p.m.

Go to http://louisiana.jdrf.org or call (225) 932-9511 or Al Flettrich at (225) 975-1188.

Special People Dept.

Gracie McNemar, of the Guest House, celebrated her 95th birthday June 9.

Sign language

Dick Davis, who signs his note “Cooling it in Fairhope,” tells of a filling station near his home “a few eons ago” that had a sign out front reading “Free ice water — Discount to truckers.”

Grin and bare it

“I have misbehavin’ hair,” says Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut:

“It sticks up every which way no matter how much ‘product’ I put on it.

“Think Woody Woodpecker after sticking a fork into an electric socket.

“Our daughter Robyn and I were in New York and stopped at a bodega.

“At the checkout she complained she was having a bad hair day.

“I said, ‘Try a bad hair life!’

“The clerk, who was bald as an egg, said, ‘Neither one of you gets my sympathy!’ ”

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.