Smiley Anders for Jan. 21, 2013

Here’s another story of an unbeliever converted to Louisiana cuisine:

Al Leone, born and raised in Philadelphia, says when he moved to Baton Rouge three years ago, his diet was built around cheese steaks, hoagies, scrapple and pork rolls:

“I had never had jambalaya or chicken and sausage gumbo, and up north catfish was a throwaway.”

He says that as an Italian-American, he was delighted when neighbors invited him and his wife to dinner at Roberto’s:

“I said to the wife, ‘Oh, Roberto’s; I’m ready for a good Italian meal.’”

He was a bit taken aback to discover that the River Road restaurant offered catfish and crawfish rather than Italian dishes.

His neighbors suggested he try the specialty, “Catfish Billie.”

“I did, reluctantly. Life has never been the same since. I came to the conclusion that one could eat himself into a coma in Louisiana — and I haven’t even scratched the surface.”

He’s become addicted to Louisiana cuisine — catfish as well as oysters, gumbo, crabs, shrimp, etc.

“I even make it a point to go to Our Lady of the Lake doctors, so I can have lunch at Copeland’s.”

Not that he’s given up the tastes of home: “South of Philly on Sherwood Forest makes an authentic cheese steak. And I do the Italian cooking at home.”

Bowled over

Eric A. Kracht says he recently saw the movie “Les Miserables.”

“Not what I expected.

“Thought it was going to be about LSU football and Coach Miles’ reaction to the Chicken Bowl.”

Distressed Damsel Dept.

From Sarah Stravinska, of Chestnut:

“My mama taught me how to change a tire.

“Just stand by the car and look pitiful.”

Horsing around

Janice G. Bernard, of Metairie, says when she started getting The Advocate in October, she recalled this Advocate moment in 1938, when she was 10:

“I was visiting my grandparents and aunts and uncles in Mansura. I was in front of my uncle’s house and barber shop, and the paperboy came riding up on a horse to deliver the Morning Advocate.

“He tied the horse to a post and walked quite a distance to bring the paper to my uncle’s barber shop.

“I decided to take a ride on his horse. Well, it ran away with me. The paperboy started running after us and finally got the horse to stop.

“That was my first experience with riding a horse. I only tried riding a horse two more times, and each time it ran away with me.

“I decided three times was the charm, and since I had not been thrown off or killed, God was telling me something. (‘Stay away from horses.’)”

Good News Dept.

Gathy Reed, of Lafayette, is one of many Advocate readers who were touched by Steven Ward’s Wednesday story about Brandon Farrar’s dog Sierra, who was found and returned to him after being missing 16 months:

“Being an animal lover, I naturally was so happy to read of the outcome for the beloved pet.

“But I was also thrilled to read about the wonderful, caring people in Baton Rouge who worked so hard to reunite her with the owner.

“I wish I could read a story like this more often.

“Many thanks to the Baton Rouge residents involved in this rescue — you made this Lafayette resident very happy!”

Worthy causes

The Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation has a social from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Ringside at Sullivan’s Steakhouse to promote the “Battle Against Autism Car Raffle.”

A 2013 Lincoln MKZ, worth $38,000, has been donated by Robinson Brothers Lincoln as the raffle prize.

Raffle tickets will be sold during the event. Call (225) 362-9049 or email soevents@cox.net.

Special People Dept.

  • Louise Leake, a World War II veteran, celebrates her 94th birthday Monday.
  • Bobbie Martin celebrated birthday No. 93 Saturday.
  • Flossie and Boykin Bourgeois Sr. celebrate their 62nd anniversary Monday.

Thought for the Day

An Italian proverb from Carl Spillman: “After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box.”

Love and death

Joe Guilbeau, of Plaquemine, should feel sheepish about submitting this story:

Seems a zoo decided to pipe in music to the animals to relax them.

But one morning the employees found that their prized ram had run full speed head-on into a tall brick wall and killed himself.

An investigation revealed that the music machine had jammed, and blared all night the song “There Will Never Be Another Ewe.”

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.