Smiley: From Shuckers to Crackers _lowres

Biloxi Shuckers

When son-in-law Boyce Smith, of Long Beach, Mississippi, told me he was spending the baseball season working for the Biloxi Shuckers, I had to chuckle. The Shuckers’ logo shows an oyster’s two eyes (do oysters have eyes?) peering out of an open shell. The minor league team, named for the Mississippi coast’s oyster industry, is a farm club of, appropriately enough, the Milwaukee Brewers.

I got to thinking about other great minor league team names: the Montgomery Biscuits, Toledo Mud Hens, Hartford Yard Goats, Lansing Lugnuts and Akron Rubber Ducks, to name just a few.

Then, a day later, on a visit to Poor Boy Lloyd’s in downtown Baton Rouge, I was talking baseball with Larry Moore, and he told me his dad, Alonzo, had played for the Atlanta Black Crackers in the ’40s while in the Army at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Curious about that name, I looked it up and found that the team not only played off and on from 1919 to 1949, it took its name from the all-white Atlanta Crackers team.

There’s a fascinating account of the Black Crackers by Leslie Heaphy on the SABR (Society for American Baseball Research) website.

No concert for you!

Another women’s dress code lament, from Andree Herrington, of Metairie:

“When I was at ULL (USL) in the ’60s, we had the same dress code as the other schools.

“One Saturday night I had a date to a hayride. I changed to pants after my date picked me up, leaving my skirt in his car.

“While I was on the hayride, his car was towed. I had to enter the dorm in my jeans.

“I was ‘campused’ for two weeks, causing me to miss the Kingston Trio concert!

Creole in Kuwait

Michael E. “Mickey” Hughes, of Oregon City, Oregon, is wrapping up two weeks working at a university in Kuwait City, Kuwait — and, of course, keeping up with this column.

Of our seminar on cush-cush, he says, “While I didn’t find cush-cush at the hotel breakfast buffet here in Kuwait, I was amazed to find ‘Shrimp Creole’ on the buffet two nights ago. It wasn’t like my old French MaMa Toni would make, but not too bad this far from Louisiana.

“As a student at LSU in the ’60s, I too, like others, chanted, ‘...cold cush-cush’ when the Tigers were playing, but MaMa Toni would prepare our morning breakfast of cush-cush with old stale cornbread crumbled up in a black iron skillet with a little oil and cook it till hot. When not enough cornbread was available, there was always some old cooked rice to add to cornbread while heating. Then she served it with some cane syrup. We had it for breakfast, of course, and at night for dinner sometimes.

“Amazing what was a necessity in the old days became a wonderful comfort food a generation or two later.”

Pound that ground!

Russ Wise, of LaPlace, says, “On Saturday, Alexander Barkoff told of a shout-off between LSU ROTCers. But like most Air Force ROTC Bird Men, he was wrong — we true Army vets proudly know we aren’t ‘Ground Stompers,’ we’re ‘Ground POUNDERS!’”

Looking for stuff

Carolyn Ponder Ellender says her Class of 1964 at Istrouma High has refurbished the statue of Nawaganti, the school’s Native American mascot, and is donating it to the Baton Rouge Room at the Goodwood Library. A reception on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. will mark the occasion.

She says librarian Melissa Eastin asks for “others in the Baton Rouge community to donate memorabilia from their schools to be kept in the archives, and to have the items on rotating displays. We are also looking for a good picture of Istrouma High in its early years to add to the archives.”

Carolyn’s at (225) 802-2633 or

His own language

Herb from Algiers says, “About 40 years ago my older son, then 2, had a desire to chatter that outstripped his vocabulary and pronunciation abilities.

“Thus ‘gorilla’ became ‘boogrilla,’ record player was ‘eckerplecker’ (German spelling) or ‘ekkerplekker’ (Dutch spelling).

“He also combined facial features of ‘sideburns’ and ‘eyebrows’ into ‘eyeburns.’ Maybe some especially hirsute fellows have this combination.

“A few years later, after his little brother had come along, they both had a propensity to ‘tump’ (combining ‘turn’ and ‘dump’) things over. It was always ‘on accident.’”

Playing with words

Algie Petrere says, “The Washington Post has an annual neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words. These are a few of the winners.

Coffee: the person upon whom one coughs.

Flabbergasted: appalled over how much weight you have gained.

Abdicate: to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

Negligent: describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.

Balderdash: a rapidly receding hairline.

Contacting Smiley

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.