As I advised a couple of years ago, after an idyllic trip to Chicago by train: “Don’t write off passenger trains yet.”

I just heard from Jeri Flynn about a beautiful green passenger train she saw going east-west on the tracks that run along Perkins Road.

She hasn’t seen a passenger train coming through Baton Rouge in a long time, and wonders what it was.

I’m guessing it was a special chartered train.

Then, at a promotional event by the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau at L’Auberge Casino Hotel, I learned of a new Pullman service between New Orleans and Chicago that offers a new level of luxury. (Check it out online at “Pullman Rail Journeys.”)

And after conservative columnist Michael Barone expressed disdain for passenger rail travel in a column in The Advocate, he got a letter from Julaine Deare Schexnayder, of New Iberia, telling of her experience on a train to Houston:

“Passenger travel by train is a very well-kept secret! Shush now, Michael. Don’t go spreading the word and ruining the experience for us, the smart ones who are using Amtrak for the most pleasant and inexpensive personal travel option.”

She cites “a wonderful comfortable reclining seat,” on-time performance, courteous attendants and more room to spread out than an airplane provides, plus gourmet dining “at a table set with a white cloth and fine china.

“I now consider myself a cheerleader for Amtrak. …”

The Lyons king

“The Port Hudson Plodder” has this coffee story:

“When I first moved to Baton Rouge I had my real dark roast coffee, Lyons Leader, mailed to me from Crowley.

“We lived not far from the old Louisiana Creamery on Choctaw, and while I was recovering from surgery the milkman dripped a pot of coffee for me and then shared a demitasse with me.

“He must have liked Lyons, because he came by every day for a week or so, even though he only delivered milk twice a week.”

The Plodder says he gradually developed a taste for Community Coffee, and Lyons Coffee Co. went out of business.

(The two events might be related …)

Flat nice police

Charles E. Rissler thanks Baton Rouge police officers Sgt. Robert Schilling and Detective Dustin P. Conde:

“As my wife, Dorothy, and I exited Interstate-110 on our way to the Main Street Market, we ran over something sharp that flattened our pickup’s front tire when we arrived on North Street.

“A 5-K run prevented AAA from reaching us.

“After the runners had passed us, the officers offered to change our tire. I am 73 years old, recovering from severe back surgery, so I accepted their offer.

“They changed our tire in less time than a race car pit crew. We are ever grateful and proud to have such fine men representing our Baton Rouge police.”

Worthy causes

A Child Abuse Prevention Breakfast will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at Camphor Memorial United Methodist Church, 8742 Scenic Highway. It’s hosted by Metro Council member Chauna Banks-Daniel and the Daughters of Naomi to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Contact Kimberly R. Brown at (225) 389-4699 or

Get a pet

Friends of the Animals BR will have pet adoptions days from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Mall of Louisiana and from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at Orvis in Perkins Rowe. Friends of the Animals BR also will be set up at Baton Rouge Earth Day downtown on Sunday.

Special People Dept.

  • S.P. “Bud” Broussard celebrates his 96th birthday Wednesday at a family crawfish boil. He is a retired Ethyl Corp. employee.
  • Bessie Elain Kershaw celebrates her 93rd birthday Wednesday.
  • Sebastian “Bus” and Evelyn DiPalma celebrate 65 years of marriage Wednesday. He is a Navy veteran of World War II.

Creative math

Marvin Borgmeyer says, “With tax season over, I was reminded of the person interviewing four job applicants. He asked each, ‘How much is two and two?’

“The journalist answered: ‘22.’

“The engineer answered: ‘Between 3.999 and 4.001.’

“The lawyer answered: “I have cited a court case in which two and two was proved to be four.’

“The accountant answered: ‘How much do you want it to be?’”

Cats drink beer?

Dennis R. Aucoin, of Clinton, says this happened when his friend Mike Ragsdale and Mike’s son C.J. visited him at his camp:

“My cat had two kittens, and C.J. wanted to know if they were boys or girls.

“So I told him to turn a kitten over and look.

“He did, and told us it was a boy kitten.

“We wanted to know how he came to that conclusion, and he said, ‘Because it has a big belly.’ ”

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.