When I hear the word “philanthropist” I think of some well-dressed person in a fancy office writing checks to worthy causes.

I do not think of a bunch of scruffy old hippies, like the guys who make up the Society for the Preservation of Lagniappe in Louisiana.

But these folks, who put on the Spanish Town Mardi Gras events — the parade and ball — certainly qualify as major philanthropists.

At a recent, raucous meeting at the Office Bar on Third Street, the SPLL presented checks totaling $75,000 to a dozen groups that make our community a better place to live.

Benefiting from the Spanish Town Mardi Gras festivities were the Arts Council’s Art in Schools program; the Baton Rouge Area Drug & Alcohol Center; the Children’s Advocacy Center; Community Radio 96.9; DebRA of America (dealing with epidermolysis bullosa, a genetic skin disorder); the Fallen Heroes program of the Baton Rouge Police Department; FORE! Kids Foundation; the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank; KBRH (1260 AM), Baton Rouge Magnet High’s radio station; McMains Children’s Developmental Center; the Southside Marching Band, and the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots drive.

The guys who make up the SPLL have so much fun putting on the parade and ball that it’s easy to forget how much good they do for Baton Rouge.

They’re not pretty, but in my book they’re local heroes.

Hank II

Joe Guilbeau, of Plaquemine, recalls the “Hadacol Caravan” of the early ’50s, a collection of stars such as Bob Hope and Hank Williams who traveled the South by train to promote Dudley J. LeBlanc’s tonic:

“In one concert, the emerging country legend Hank Williams had just left the stage after about six encores of ‘Lovesick Blues’ when Bob Hope followed him on stage — and introduced himself as Hank Hope.”

Incidentally, Joe says a book was written about the Hadacol Caravan, and he’d like to find a copy. Call (225) 687-6534.

Tickets, please

Bob Neese, of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, says Monday is the deadline for entering the lottery for the 3,000 sets of free tickets for the July 27 visit of Antiques Roadshow to the Baton Rouge River Center.

Winners will receive two tickets and the right to bring two items for appraisal.

Visit http://www.lpb.org or call (888) 762-3749 to enter your name in the lottery. Winners will be notified by the end of April.

Worthy causes

A “Hat Run” to fight melanoma will be held Saturday by the Lauren Savoy Olinde Foundation, starting behind Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

A one-mile fun run starts at 8 a.m., with a 5K run at 8:30 a.m. There will be free melanoma screenings, and runners are asked to wear hats to protect their skin. Register at http://lsofoundation.org.

Kids and quilts

“Kids Draw for Kids,” sponsored by the National Quilting Association, will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales.

School-age children draw quilt blocks to be sewn into a quilt and donated to a deserving child. Contact Renée Hoeprick at (760) 815-5305 or bkdrk@cox.net.

Dog day

Allison Claudet says Looking Fur Love Dog Rescue has a garage sale and bake sale from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 9694 Ashentree Dr. in Tanglewood subdivision, Central. Adoptable dogs will be there. Go to http://www.lfldr.com or Facebook.

Special People Dept.

  • Rose Richardson celebrates her 95th birthday Sunday.
  • Ruth Schexnaildre Clement celebrates her 91st birthday Friday.
  • On Thursday Bill and Myrna Loy Ray Taylor celebrated their 60th anniversary.

Foreign affairs

Bill Dawson says, “We were in Nashville for Easter, and went to church with our son’s family.

“The pastor began his sermon by talking about the tradition of honoring the deceased on All Saints Day in south Louisiana.

“He talked about this south Louisiana tradition in great detail. Then he said, ‘However, in America we don’t celebrate …’

“I know some people in Thibodaux who agree middle Tennessee and south Louisiana are not in the same country.”

Really, Grandpa?

Ralph Drouin says while children and grandchildren were visiting for Easter weekend, 6-year-old grandson Noah, in the back yard, noticed a centipede crawling nearby:

“He asked me what kind of insect that was. I told him it was a centipede, with 100 legs, and asked if he could count them.

“I then told him the story about a man who had a pet centipede, named Clyde.

“One day, the man asked Clyde if he wanted to go for a walk.

“Clyde didn’t answer, so he asked him again.

“Clyde finally exclaimed, ‘I heard you the first time! I’ll be ready when I’m finished putting on my shoes!’

“The quizzical look followed by the ‘Yeah, right!’ look he gave me was priceless.”

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.