You people have got to take better care of your smartphones and iPhones!

Gazelle, a trade-in site for consumer electronics, says New Orleans (No. 2) and Baton Rouge (No. 8) are on its “Top Ten Klutziest Cities” list.

Gazelle says it “calculated the percentage of phones sent in that were cracked, dented or water-damaged to compile our list.”

Tallahassee, Fla., was No. 1, indicating that folks in the South are a careless lot when it comes to their phones. (Virginia Beach, Va.; and Memphis, Tenn., also made the list.)

I’m not sure what all this means (except that Gazelle just got a free plug in this column).

Welcome to Louisiana

Thomas Mixson tells how he was introduced to Louisiana coffee and cuisine years ago when he came here from Texas:

“I knew no one, didn’t have a car and only had a little change in my pocket. A Cajun family at the very end of Bayou Teche took me in, gave me a place to sleep and a few meals.”

He found work in Morgan City in a crew handling materials needed for Shell offshore operations.

There he learned to make coffee — a pound of Community Dark Roast in a 32-cup urn with the hot water poured back and forth through the grounds “till the rich, strong coffee had reached the right consistency.”

After living on peanut butter or baloney sandwiches for a time, he went to the Berwick Bay Cafe “in hopes of eating a good ole chicken fried steak.

“The waitress looked at me with pity, and asked if I wouldn’t rather have some turtle sauce piquant — if I tried it and didn’t like it she would cook an order of chicken fried steak.

“Needless to say, she never had to fry up that steak!”

War is hell!

Viola Britt, of Pineville, says, “Adding to the discussion of the ubiquity of rice:

“My daddy, Art de Vries Sr., moved to Baton Rouge to work for Standard Oil.

“He loved to tell us of his amusement at the signs during World War II encouraging the populace to ‘Eat potatoes … a great substitute for rice.’

“As a native of West Virginia, he was more of a potato guy, although he ate anything and everything until the day he died.”

Lint magnet

“I know you said we were through with old sayings,” says Pam Rice, “but as I got in the car to go to work one morning and looked down at my clean black pants and saw lint on them, it reminded me of what my mother would have said in the same situation: ‘These pants pick up everything but men and money.’”

Ham it up

“Nashville Native” says, regarding our discussion of Tennessee hams, the hams can be ordered online from Clifty Farm in Paris, Tenn., by going to

Worthy causes

  • Chancelier “xero” Skidmore, executive director of Forward Arts Inc., says “The Perfect 10” is a drive to raise $10,000 between now and April 30 to help fund the seventh annual All City Teen Poetry Slam Festival, “the largest youth literary event of its kind in the South.”

Funds also help in-school, after-school and summer programs.

Online donations can be made via at

Or you can mail a check, payable to fiscal sponsor Of Moving Colors, to Forward Arts Inc., 100 Lafayette St., Suite 227, Baton Rouge, LA 70801.

  • The Baton Rouge Eye Bank Auxiliary has its “A Day at the Races” Thursday.

Buses leave for the Fair Grounds racetrack in New Orleans from the Mall of Louisiana at 9:30 a.m. and return about 7 p.m.

The $75 ticket covers bus fare, clubhouse admission, a racing form, buffet lunch and a snack on the return trip.

Call (225) 766-8996.

  • Threads of Love, a sewing ministry for premature babies and sick children, has a craft sale of handmade items Thursday at the Ochsner Medical Center on O’Neal Lane from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hello, crab

Kevin Dufresne, of Walker, says, “All this talk about gumbo and crabs reminded me about a saying from my childhood.

“As you parted company with someone, instead of saying, ‘Goodbye’ you could say, ‘See you in the gumbo.’

“Unless they were familiar with the saying, this prompted a somewhat quizzical look from them or a question as to what you meant. “You would then tell them, ‘Yeah, you and all the other crabs.’

“This, unless they really were the crabby sort, drew a bit of laughter.”

Getting their goat

Algie Petrere says when she came across this story, she thought that this was the kind of trick her husband, Andy, would pull:

At a high school, a group of students played a prank: they let three goats looses inside the school. But before turning them loose, they painted numbers on the sides of the goats: 1, 2 and 4.

The school administrators spent most of that day looking for No. 3.

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.