Paul Vance, of Baton Rouge, says, “Earlier this week one of your readers mentioned the New Roads restaurant Hot Tails as having unique door handles.

“Only in Louisiana would an establishment named ‘Hot Tails’ be accepted by everyone hearing its name for the first time as being a family restaurant...”

Buddy’s version

Bob Veitinger, of Franklin, says “The recent ‘Yat’ comment regarding the late great Buddy Diliberto’s colorful comments on WWL radio brings to mind my all-time favorite: Saints great Deuce McAllister became ‘Duke McNaster.’

“I’m still laughing!”

Can you top this?

Val Garon, who grew up in Belle Rose, says he had the same experience as Mel Daigle, who wrote recently about how his mom in Grand Bayou served crawfish stew over everything to stretch a meal:

“Mel should go to The Grill on Perkins Road by Troop A headquarters.

“They serve fried catfish covered with crawfish stew on Fridays and ‘Eggplant Charlie’ on Tuesday — eggplant on a bed of pasta, covered with crawfish étouffée.”

No Kidding?

Mac Hopper, the son of the fine actor B.J. Hopper, tells of his dad’s brief modeling career:

“It’s been about three years since my dad passed away. An Advocate story about the USS Kidd reminded me of this:

“Years ago, when they brought the ship to Baton Rouge and were advertising it, my dad was picked as the model for the swashbuckling pirate, appearing at (I think) the opening ceremonies.

“I still have the picture of him in tights and everything else.”

The music man

Congratulations are in order for Gibbens Robichaux, on 50 years as an organist at the St. Joseph Catholic Church in Thibodaux.

Says Gibbens, “I did 400 weddings and 1,500 funerals. I semi-retired in 1998, but still play if they need me.”

He says he’s seen a lot in his half-century of playing for services, including two occasions when the bottom fell out of coffins at funerals — once on the church steps and again at a graveside.

“I call them ‘a grave mistake’ and ‘a coffin spell,’” Gibbens says.

Those old stores

The opening of the new Matherne’s supermarket on Third Street prompted a discussion of early Baton Rouge downtown grocery stores. I used some old city directories to pinpoint the location of some of these stores:

Bob Carr recalls, in the ’50s, Thompson’s Grocery (439 N. 6th), Buster’s (210 Europe) and Lombardo’s (748 Louisiana Ave.), plus Capitol (later National) supermarkets at 625 Florida and 628 N. 21st, among others in several parts of Baton Rouge.

Buddy Powell says a ’50s supermarket he recalls was an A&P at 635 Government.

And while it’s not exactly downtown, Olive M. Campbell and several other readers recalled H.G. Hill Stores, a New Orleans supermarket chain that had a store at 3060 Florida. Made from three huge Quonset huts, the building is still there. By 1959 it was a Winn-Dixie, and is now a beauty supply store. (Trivia note: I bagged groceries at the Hill store in 1955, between high school and college.)

Other readers remember that the McCrory five-and-dime store on Third Street had a grocery section in the basement — but as I recall it had a limited selection, with no fresh meats or vegetables.

Thank-you notes

Pete Heine, of Baker, thanks feature writer George Morris of The Advocate for the March 15 story about Pete’s grandson Jared Heine, a Marine corporal wounded in Afghanistan who was reunited with his bomb-detecting dog Spike after both returned to the U.S. (Spike had wound up in Richmond, Virginia, with a new owner).

Pete also thanks “my old buddy Carl Meriwether,” who goes to the same church as George and told him about Jared and Spike to start the ball rolling on the story.

Pete adds, “I pray every day for the men and women in the United States’ armed services.”

A World War II veteran thanks the “tall, smartly dressed young lady” he met in Baton Rouge’s new Main Library, who saw his U.S. Navy cap and stopped him to say, “Sir, thank you for your service!”

Special People Dept.

Thelma Cambre Diffey celebrates her 90th birthday on Monday, April 13.

The littlest joker

“Oh, grandson Marvin is taking after me,” says longtime column contributor Algie Petrere:

“He posted this on Facebook:

“‘I was standing in the park wondering why Frisbees got bigger as they get closer. Then it hit me.’”

Pest control

Pat Alba, of Metairie, says, “Thanks to Doug Johnson for the tips on treatment of insect bites — ammonia or bleach.

“In my youth, we children had a cure for redbugs, or chiggers — sand and whiskey.

“The insects would get drunk and throw rocks at each other.”

Contact 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.