Willie Price, of New Iberia, tells a story from the late 1970s, when Hôtel-Dieu hospital was operating in New Orleans. The Catholic facility, whose French name means "hostel of God," was sold to the state in 1992 and became University Hospital.

"When my wife and I lived in Westwego, I had a very good friend, George, who was in that hospital. I had a note with his room number on it and was unaware that my note fell out of my pocket and my wife found it.

"The note read 'Hotel Dieu,' with his room number and the phone number for the hospital.

"When my wife dialed the number and asked to be connected to the room on the note, George answered the phone.

"My wife said, 'George, what are you doing answering this phone?'

"George said that he wasn't so sick that he couldn't answer the phone.

"My wife said, 'Why are you sick at a hotel?'

"George said, 'This isn't a regular hotel; this is the Hôtel-Dieu.'

"My wife, not knowing very much about New Orleans, said, 'Is that the name of a hospital?' George said that yes, it was.

"She told George about the note that fell out of my pocket and said she thought she was going to catch me with a another woman.

"We all had a good laugh about the Hôtel-Dieu."

Italian version

After Vince Caruso, on Monday, told of New Orleans-area Italians referring to a restroom as a "bah-cow-sa" ("back house"), Mary Guarisco, of Erwinville, added this:

"It's not just New Orleans that goes to the 'bah-cows-sa.'

"My Sicilian relatives and friends always used that same phrase here in Erwinville, Maringouin and Baton Rouge.

"You may be right about the origin, since it is not in the Italian dictionary. It could also be related to Sicilian dialect.

"I remember my mother always saying she had 'agita' (heartburn), but the word was also used in another way such as, 'You give me agita,' meaning you give me a pain 'you know where.'"

Handy song

We recently mentioned ways to remember passwords, important numbers, etc.

Keith Horcasitas tells of one especially easy number to remember:

"I had to change one of my many access passwords and recalled what a social work intern I supervised about 25 years ago told me was an easy access code used by the staff at a local nursing home: 867-5309."

That's from the 1981 hit song "867-5309/Jenny" by the band Tommy Tutone.

Says Keith, "How many kids like me tried to call that number?"

Special People Dept.

  • Jane Carles celebrates her 94th birthday Wednesday, Oct. 4.
  • Virginia Hood Hager, of Metairie, celebrates her 93rd birthday Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Jack's secret weapon

This column's unpaid golf editor, Ernie Gremillion, adds to our stories about encounters with great pros:

"Seeing the PGA players' stories reminds me of an event in the New Orleans Open years ago, when I was following Jack Nicklaus.

"There were no ropes then, and I was virtually walking with the player and his caddie, Angelo Argea.

"On one hole after his tee shot, Jack was discussing club selection with his caddie. Jack pulled a club and Angelo disagreed, offering him another club.

"Jack took it and proceeded to hit the ball within 'gimme' distance from the pin.

"I looked at them both and in a loud voice exclaimed, 'Way to go, Angelo.'

"It's hard to describe the look I got from Jack."

Don't tease me!

Ronald Scioneaux, of St. James, airs this complaint: "Why won't TV newscasters just tell us what they want to tell us instead of telling us that they are going to tell us what they want to tell us?"

(I assume it's so you'll sit through the commercials to hear the story that follows. …)

Hitching posts

Marsha R. says, "According to the Association for Wedding Professionals, New Orleans sees 36,000 weddings each year, making it the No. 3 wedding destination in the country.

Las Vegas and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, are No. 1 and 2, respectively.

"Two sin cities and a country town. You can see the trend."

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.