Mention of the old New Orleans hospital Hôtel-Dieu in Wednesday's column brought this response from Edie Bender, of Baton Rouge:

"Having lived in New Orleans for the first three decades of my life, I frequently saw the Hôtel-Dieu sign.

"The only time it truly bothered me, though, was when the letter 'u' was not lighting up and at nighttime the sign read 'Hôtel-Die.'"

Masked bandit

Since our animal stories have shifted from squirrels to raccoons, here's one from T.W.:

"One night, when I was on a business trip, my wife and I were talking on the phone when our conversation was abruptly interrupted by a blood-curdling scream and the phone went dead.

"When we reconnected, she said her terror was caused by a 'bear-sized' raccoon in the laundry room helping himself to some goodies in our trash can (The 'trash panda' had come in through the cat door).

"Her scream spurred him to head out the way he came. But over the next couple of years, we would catch him coming in and out the cat door, helping himself to their food and even eating side by side with them.

"At one point, we came home to find the large container of cat food pulled up against the cat door opening, with the flap propped open.

"We all, cats included, felt betrayed by the newest member of our family so greedily taking advantage of our generosity."

Privileged parking

Returning to an earlier topic, Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "Your recent submissions about tickets on campus at LSU reminds me of the story that Dean Blanchard (the outspoken Grand Isle businessman) tells.

"On his first day on campus at Nicholls in Thibodaux, he was amazed at how well he was being treated — because as he drove up to the administrative building, he saw a parking area with his name on it: 'DEAN.'

"He later learned that he had taken the parking spot of the dean, Dr. Donald Ayo."

Before GPS

J.C. Robillard, of Port Allen, our unpaid historian, gives us this history lesson about Christopher Columbus and his voyage to the New World in 1492: "He didn't know where he was going. When he got there, he didn't know where he was. When he got back to Spain, he didn't know where he had been."

Special People Dept.

  • Bill Gilbert celebrates his 99th birthday Friday, Oct. 6.
  • Mary Margaret Watts Burris celebrates her 97th birthday Friday, Oct. 6. She is a retired business education teacher.
  • Dollie Singleton celebrates her 97th birthday Friday, Oct. 6.
  • Nelva LeBlanc, of Convent, celebrates her 96th birthday Saturday, Oct. 7.
  • Frank Newchurch Sr., of Labadieville, celebrates his 95th birthday Saturday, Oct. 7. He is an Army veteran of World War II.
  • Bernice Bellum Lammert celebrates her 93rd birthday Friday, Oct. 6. She is retired from Franklin Press after 66 years. During World War II, she was a "Rosie the Riveter" at Consolidated Aircraft.
  • Albert Kidd, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 91st birthday Friday, Oct. 6.
  • Evelyn and Leroy Guitreau, of Livingston, celebrate their 67th anniversary Saturday, Oct. 7.
  • Ray and Marie Matherne, of French Settlement, celebrate their 67th anniversary Saturday, Oct. 7. They are both retired educators. He is a World War II veteran and also joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1939.

No guys here

Marvin Borgmeyer says, "I was reading about the NASA robot Curiosity, which landed on Mars.

"As many of your readers enjoy the educational aspects of your column, they may be interested to know that early pictures from this spacecraft showed no signs of ESPN, beer or scantily clad women.

"This seems to make it very clear that men are not from Mars, as has been previously suggested."

Coming out even

Ronald Scioneaux, of St. James, says, "I read where Doug Sanders, a professional golfer, said, 'I'm working as hard as I can to get my life and money to run out at the same time.'

"If I can just die after lunch Tuesday, everything will be perfect."

Write Smiley at Smiley@theadvocate.com. He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0371 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.