Dear Smiley: To continue suggestions of running with the bulls, reindeer, or nutria, here’s another suggestion — feral pigs.

We have an abundance in the Felicianas we would love to share. My neighbor had two cross her driveway the other day, with 17 piglets in tow.

We won’t even charge you for them, and then after the race you can have a cochon de lait. Cracklings, anyone?



They also served

Dear Smiley: Veterans Day got me remembering that while all my uncles were veterans, my father wasn’t.

But he WAS part of World War II preparedness.

Shortly after Pearl Harbor, draft board people visited the Esso plant, talking to all the male employees.

They asked my father what his job was, and he said he was a shift foreman on the docks.

Asked what that meant, Dad said, “I get crude oil off the ships and refined products back on them.”

The draft board man took Dad’s draft card and stamped it “Key man; key position.”

So Dad spent the war on the docks, and I was born in 1943.



Bah! Humbug!

Dear Smiley: After the football debacle of the weekend, I would like to suggest some name changes.

The Green Wave should be named the Wavelets, the Tigers as the Kittens and the Saints the Superdoomeds.



Recycled hospital

Dear Smiley: In the early ’50s and for many years, WAFB radio studios and TV offices occupied the top floor of the former Baton Rouge General Hospital on Government Street.

Soundproofed rooms, one the nursery with its big viewing window, served as offices.

Some swear they often heard crying babies.

The boss’s office was the former operating room — where, ironically, one of his children was born.

In the basement, once the hospital morgue, was a cafeteria serving building occupants — which no doubt freaked many workers.


Baton Rouge

Closed hospitals

Dear Smiley: Seeing notes about Hotel Dieu brought memories of another closed hospital on the “Best Bank” — in Algiers.

Jo Ellen Smith was a small hospital, the first one I worked at, as social services director from 1988 to 1991.

The hospital was named for a great nurse who was unfortunately killed in her generous outreach work to a needy area.

Every day I went to work, I would see her picture by the elevators, and she inspired many of us to emulate our own “Florence Nightingale” hero!

I would transfer many patients to rehab services at another now-closed hospital affiliated with Jo Ellen in Algiers, named for U.S. Rep. F. Edward Hebert, who represented the New Orleans-based 1st Congressional District from 1941 to 1977.


Baton Rouge

Down Memory Lane

Dear Smiley: Almost every issue of The Advocate evokes memories of things long past.

In a recent obituary there was mention of family members living in the small country town where I grew up — Waverly, Tennessee.

I phoned my sister, who still lives there, and learned that she knows some of them.

Another recent obit mentioned Covington Baptist Church in the small mountain town of Covington, Virginia, where I was a member in the late 1950s. The pastor was Dr. Wilson, said to be from New Orleans. On hearing him speak, my first thought was that he must have come to New Orleans via New York.

That was long before my first visit to the Big Easy and hearing the accents there.



Faulty design

Dear Smiley: Claire, the youngest of my niece’s four girls, in the second grade, was choking and coughing a little on a big bite when her mom asked if the food had gone down the wrong pipe.

In a few minutes, after recovering her breath, Claire asked her mom, “Why do we have a wrong pipe anyway?”


Columbia, Tennessee

Close shave

Dear Smiley: Your reminiscences of the LSU “Pajama Game” brought back a darker 1963 memory for me — of the then-hallowed LSU tradition of requiring freshmen men to have their heads shaved for the game.

It was an ROTC option of “Shave it yourself or we’ll shave it for you.”

It’s good to know that LSU eventually outgrew this barbarism. (I wonder if the Beatles had anything to do with that?)


Spartanburg, South Carolina

Dear Everett: Having heard horror stories about head-shavings by upperclassmen, I had a barber shave my dome before my freshman year at LSU. It was not a pretty sight.

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.