My hometown of Natchez, Mississippi, is all over social media these days.

After Mississippi passed a controversial law discouraging diversity, there was concern among folks in the Natchez tourism industry that the inevitable backlash might keep people from visiting their beautiful old town.

Patrick Mulhearn, a Natchez native who lives in Baton Rouge, wrote a letter to the editor in the local paper suggesting that Natchez seek to be annexed by Louisiana, since it’s never quite fit into Mississippi anyhow.

The obviously tongue-in-cheek idea has taken off — an online petition has gotten hundreds of signatures, and folks on Facebook and Twitter are saying it’s an idea worth exploring.

I can testify that Natchez has always been Louisiana-oriented: LSU is the closest big university, and has always attracted Natchez students; the Saints are by far the nearest NFL team, and have loyal fans there, and Mardi Gras is celebrated in Natchez (I understand Jerry Lee Lewis was king one year ... You don’t get any cooler than that).

Unlike the rest of the state, Natchez opted out of the Civil War, which kept its lovely mansions from being shelled all to hell by the Union forces.

When the rest of Mississippi was dry, Natchez folks never paid much attention of liquor laws. (My Uncle Harry would make one phone call, and a short time later a case of good bourbon would mysteriously show up on his front porch.)

Annexation wouldn’t even affect the map that much — if the city was taken in, there would only be a slight protuberance in the Louisiana boot.

To be fair, there are other parts of Mississippi that share Louisiana’s joie de vivre.

Today Natchez, tomorrow Biloxi...

Some bad day!

I’m not a golfer (I played in college, but sold my clubs to finance a trip to Bourbon Street; which is another story...), but I’ve been following former LSU golfer Smylie Kaufman’s play at the Masters. After all, he played at my alma mater, and we share a rather odd first name (even if he doesn’t know how to spell it).

Up until the final day, he was very close to winning the whole thing, but a 9-over-par 81 put him a dozen strokes behind the winner.

I’ve heard sports folks talk of his “disaster,” what a terrible day he had, etc.

But I checked the fine print, and found that his “bad day” resulted in him taking home $68,000.

I don’t know about him, but that kind of bad day would be enough to make me smile — pardon me, smyl...

Nunsense revisited

Larry Nicholas has another story about nuns and names:

“In my senior year at Redemptorist in 1965, my homeroom teacher, a nun, told us to write our full name, as it appeared on our birth certificate, on a piece of paper so it could go on our diploma.

“I wrote ‘Larry John Nicholas.’

“As she was reading all of them, she crumpled mine up and threw it at me, stating, ‘I said your FULL name.’

“The next day I brought my birth certificate for her to see.

“No apology was accepted, because none was given.”

Church music

Nancy J. says, “With all the discussion about church keys, I had to chuckle when I heard this on Jimmy Buffett’s XM radio station: there is a song called ‘Church Key’ by The Revels with Barbara Adkins.

“It was released in 1964, and sounds like one of those fine old surfin’ instrumentals.

“The title comes from the sound of a carbonated beverage being opened (obviously with a church key) and Ms. Adkins giggling.

“The video on Youtube includes old photos of 1960 Ford Thunderbirds!”

Water hazard

Geralyn Klug, of Denham Springs, says, “In the summer of 1975, during a water skiing trip on the Tickfaw River, the boat picked up a skier and he said, ‘We just passed an alligator.’

“This started the question about how long can an alligator stay under water? Some said a month, others, weeks, days, hours.”

She says her brother ended the argument by pointing out that since he wasn’t an alligator, his only concern was how long HE could stay underwater.

(I assume there was no more skiing that day.)

Coin that word!

Algie Petrere shared this story:

“I discovered my 13-year-old leaning against the kitchen door with his eyes closed. When I asked if he was feeling sick, he replied, ‘No, I think I just have narcosleepy.’”

No temperance here

Bill Jacobson says this about our story in the Friday column, where recent arrivals to New Orleans from Chicago, at their first Southern football game, thought cheerleaders were yelling “Fat, team, fat:”

“It reminded me of the first football game I attended after moving to Baton Rouge.

“I thought I was at an open-air temperance meeting when everyone jumped up and began shouting, ‘Ale eschew, ale eschew, ale eschew...’”

Contacting 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.