Dear Smiley: Dudley Lehew’s story about Mississippi being a dry state brings to mind alcohol laws during Prohibition in the 1920s.

Liquor could be acquired only through a physician’s prescription. The prescription form had a stub retained by the physician, and a certificate given to the patient to be filled out, titled “Treasury Department U.S. Internal Revenue Prescription Blank National Prohibition Act.”

Prescriptions written by Dr. Lionel O. Waguespack, of Vacherie, for his grandfather Leonard Babin in 1926 read: “L.B. Babin, Good Whiskey. Ailment for which prescribed: Acute Bronchitis. Direction for administering: Toddy.”

Another prescription prescribed for L.B. Babin was for “Port Wine for General Debility.”

Four Roses whiskey was frequently prescribed for others.

Many ladies of the community were issued prescriptions for port wine for “general debility.”

The prescription stub book contained the names of many ill men in the community. As the saying goes, “There is more than one way to skin a cat.”



Help for the thirsty

Dear Smiley: Dudley Lehew’s story on Mississippi bootleggers reminded me of one I heard from my late friend, Pat Beach.

After graduating from LSU, Pat got a job as a salesman for a Baton Rouge wholesale liquor distributorship, calling on liquor stores in the northeastern part of the state.

One of his first stops was a small store in a remote area. After taking the order from the owner, Pat said he stopped at a pay phone and called in the order to Baton Rouge.

When he finished, the fellow taking the order laughed and commented, “Pat, those quantities are for cases, not number of bottles.”

“They can’t be,” Pat said, “the store won’t hold that much liquor.”

He was then advised to get there before the delivery truck arrived the next morning and just watch.

Upon arrival, he found the parking lot full of pickup trucks. When the delivery truck arrived, the owner came and carried a couple of cases inside, and then proceeded to instruct the truck driver as to how many cases of liquor to load into the back of each pickup.

In short order, the lot cleared. Pat said that was his first lesson on the learning curve in the wholesale liquor business.


Baton Rouge

Sports grammar

Dear Smiley: Sue Robinson’s yelling at sportscasters all baseball season for saying “less than three outs” reminds me of a problem I have with sportscasters during football season.

Every time I hear them say, “Les Miles,” the voice of Miss Fehr, my ninth-grade English teacher in Pennsylvania, comes into my head saying, “No. No. NO! Not ‘less’ miles, ‘FEWER’ miles!” followed by her explanation of the difference.



Ruling Texas

Dear Smiley: Growing up in southeast Texas, we jokingly proclaimed Port Arthur to be the capital of Louisiana because so many Cajuns migrated there.

But I wonder how many people know that the capital of Texas (then Tejas) actually was once in Louisiana.

It’s true — for 49 years, from 1721 to 1770, the capital of Spanish Texas was in what is now western Louisiana.

The town was called Los Adaes, near the present town of Robeline in Natchitoches Parish, between Many and Natchitoches. Louisiana has a State Historical Site marker at the location.


Baton Rouge

No bird, him!

Dear Smiley: I was born and raised in the Baton Rouge area, and thought I knew ethnic names.

But while a college student, I was covering a district basketball tournament as an Advocate correspondent. I was sitting at the scorer’s table when we realized the public address announcer was missing and it was time to announce starting lineups. I was handed a microphone. I made it through Thibodeaux, Falgoust, Schexnayder and Waguespack. The final player’s surname was Robin. I pronounced it like the bird, and he glared at me.

“Help me out,” I mouthed, and he said “Row-ban.”



Juicy confession

Dear Smiley: After reading the article in your column about the person putting orange juice on their cereal by mistake, I thought I would share this with you.

I always put orange juice or apple juice on my cereal, because I don’t like milk! I sometimes use yogurt. I learned this from my mother many years ago!

If you haven’t tried it, don’t knock it!


Baton Rouge

Dear Frances: I was the person who mistakenly poured orange juice on my cereal early one morning.

I’ve tried it, and I’m knocking it. …

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.