Billy Couvillion, DDS, of Baton Rouge, has another drill sergeant story to add to our collection:

“While at Parris Island, South Carolina, Marine Recruit Depot, I witnessed a very stern drill sergeant approaching a platoon of fresh recruits. In a most vigorous manner, he got in the face of a young man standing at strict attention. He stood in front of the recruit, eyeball to eyeball, and asked, ‘Boy, what is your name?’

“The recruit replied, ‘Sir, I ain’t no boy, I’m a Marine!’

“The drill sergeant went on to the next recruit.”

The color purple

The death of the musical phenom Prince resulted in a sea of purple at events honoring him, such as the jazz funeral procession in New Orleans. Even the lights on The Advocate’s building in Baton Rouge shone purple one evening.

Keith Horcasitas says this rain of purple brought back memories of an earlier time:

“With the recent unfortunate death of Prince, his purple emphasis brought me back to a former institution in N’Awlins: K&B, with its distinctive ‘purple flair’ in their signage and marketing.

“In the summer of 1977, after I had graduated from De La Salle High, I worked for a month at the K&B warehouse off Jefferson Highway, and used to frequent the one on Broadway and St. Charles. The K&B headquarters were located near Lee Circle, and used to display some pretty avant-garde art work that streetcar riders could behold!”

Keith mentions the nectar sodas at K&B; when the chain opened Baton Rouge locations, I discovered the Creole cream cheese ice cream, a wonderful summer treat.

And I recall driving down many New Orleans streets that were lined with the purple plastic garbage cans sold at K&B stores.

(Historical note: Gustave Katz and Sydney Besthoff opened their first store at 732 Canal St., in 1905.)

Speaking Tennesseean

I’m confused about Tennessee names.

George McLean, of Metairie, tells of “one of my classmates at St. Louis University by the name of Russ Beauchamp, from Tennessee. He would not answer to the name ‘Bo-shomp,’ only to ‘Beechum.’”

But Doug Johnson, of Watson, tells of a meeting at a social club in Nashville where “one lady had a tag with the name ‘Beauchamp.’

“Thinking I would impress her with my knowledge of how to pronounce it, I addressed her as ‘Bee-chum.’

“She corrected me, saying that in Tennessee it was ‘Bo-champ.’ So much for my impression.”

Going green

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, who’s been both a sheriff and district attorney, adds to our tales of mispronounced names:

“During my many years of campaigning, I was subjected to being called a lot of different things besides mispronunciation of my name. I was called Faltamore, Faltas and Falter; however, the best was by a very good friend and supporter who had no idea how to pronounce my name but knew that all of my campaign signs were painted green.

“He spoke at many of my rallies, and always introduced me as THE GREEN MAN! It worked! The green signs are a story for another day.”

Reflected glory

Marion Denova says, “Driving to work in the rain one morning, I thanked Mr. Batts.”

I had no idea who Mr. Batts was, but Marion went on to explain:

“He invented the reflectors that mark the lanes on the interstate. Without those reflectors, there would be a lot more accidents on the highway.”

Special People Dept.

— Janet Cloninger, of Covington, celebrates her 91st birthday on Monday, May 2.

— Linda Ewell Martrain, of Chandler, Arizona, says her mother, Edwina Ewell, of Tara in Baton Rouge, celebrated her 90th birthday in style during a visit to Arizona:

“Mother, my sister Stacey Ewell Lucas and I took a hot air balloon flight over the Phoenix Sonoran Desert. Mother thoroughly enjoyed the event, judging it exhilarating!”

Thought for the Day

From Algie Petrere: “Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine for your mother on Mother’s Day. After all, you’re the reason she drinks.”

End game

Since we opened this column with a military story, let’s end it with one.

Karen Tatum, of Prairieville, says, “Even simple, easy to pronounce names can cause some hilarity in the military.

“When I was in Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida, I was the yeoman of our company, so I marched in the back wherever we went.

“Our last names were not only stenciled on the front of our chambray shirts, but also over the back pocket of our very stylish bell-bottom dungarees.

“Since my maiden name was Bye, we were considered a very polite company as we passed by.

“We were also very descriptive. The poor master at arms’ last name was Butt.”

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.