How we got our Cajun population

A reader pointed out that I missed acknowledging a special day Thursday - a “Day of Remembrance” for Acadians.

In Halifax, Nova Scotia, on July 28, 1755, British Gov. Charles Lawrence signed the deportation order setting in motion “Le Grand Derangement” and forcibly removing thousands of Acadians.

From 1755 to 1763, it is estimated that 7,000 - half the entire population of Acadians - perished during their diaspora.

But many made their way to Louisiana, establishing a Cajun culture that to this day enriches our state - and keeps us from being Mississippi West.

So despite the suffering his order caused, it turns out that old Charlie did us a favor....

Dumbing down

Chuck Willis, of Elizabethtown, Ky., says, “In reference to our Washington, D.C., situation, I’m reminded of a Will Rogers quote:

“ 'If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?’ “

Money hunt

Keith Horcasitas, returning from a vacation in the Adirondacks, couldn’t find an unused traveler’s check he had hidden - evidently too well:

“Finally I called the toll-free number to report the loss, and was on hold when I remembered one other spot - my Bible.

“It was there, used as a bookmark at Proverbs 23:4: 'Wisdom gives one proper restraint in the pursuit of money.’ “

Swede talk

Karen Martin and Antoine Thibodeaux were the first to point out to me the Swedish “kr?ftskiva,” a “crayfish party” being held at some of its U.S. stores by IKEA, the giant Scandinavian home products company.

It’s on Aug. 19, but not at the Houston store, the nearest one to Baton Rouge. (I assume Houston was too close to Cajun crawfish country and they wanted to avoid an influx of experienced crawfish eaters.)

At the party you can “learn how to eat crayfish” Swedish style and enjoy prawns, salmon and meatballs with lingonberries in addition to crawfish.

But in scanning the menu I saw no mention of aquavit or vodka, which I understand are vital to the success of a true Scandinavian crawfish feast.

Maybe it’s BYOB. ...

Keep it hot

Doug Johnson, of Watson, agrees with “Fighting Okra Alum” that it’s good to order the local specialties when eating outside of Louisiana:

“But I slip a small bottle of Tabasco in my pocket before leaving home, just in case.

“There are some remote and uncivilized places, such as Boston, that do not have it either on the table or in the kitchen!”

Which reminds me

Once, while eating steamed clams in a Boston restaurant, I asked for a bottle of Tabasco sauce, and found that a drop of the sauce on each one greatly enhanced their flavor.

Then I heard a guy with a Kennedy-like Boston accent at the next table ask the waiter for “A bahttle of that Tahbahsco” for his clams.

Value of cleanliness

Al Bethard, of Lafayette, says our seminar on S&H Green Stamps reminds him that “before Green Stamps there were Octagon Soap coupons:

“When my great-aunt Eva Young Brunson died in Eunice in 1943, her family found thousands of Octagon Soap coupons she had saved and never redeemed.”

Special People Dept.

-Delphine Albert, of Plaquemine, celebrates her 104th birthday Friday.

-Ola King, of St. Clare Manor, celebrates her 98th birthday Friday.

-Paul Bourg, of Ethel, celebrates his 93rd birthday Friday.

-W.H. “Buddy” Thibodeaux celebrates his 93rd birthday Sunday.

-Anne Abshire celebrated her 92nd birthday Wednesday.

Cat scan

Carolyn Bourgeois mistakenly calls me a “cat lover,” when I am more of a “cat tolerater,” in that I tolerate the three cats who come in and out of our home at odd hours.

Anyhow, she thought we’d enjoy the tidbit she ran across recently:

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.”

Nuts to you

Joe Guilbeau, of Plaquemine and our authority on Cajun cuisine, says our mention of New Orleans restaurants reminds him of the origin of trout almondine, an almond-encrusted delicacy at Galatoire’s and other fine dining establishments:

“The idea for this haute cuisine specialty originated on the prairies of southwest Louisiana during the Great Depression.

“It was known then as sardines and peanuts.”

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.