Patrick Dehon Jr. offers a tale of a New Orleans adventure:

"Friend Tom Rigney drove our group to St. Charles Avenue for Mardi Gras day.

"Tom parked the car in an 'outlaw' lot, a vacant piece of land operated by a local resident (not the landowner).

"Tom paid the attendant and left his keys as requested. At the end of the day we returned to the car. The attendant was gone, the car was there, but the keys were nowhere to be found (surprise!).

"A policeman friend was in the area, and inquired why were still out on the street long after the parades had ended.

"Upon explaining our dilemma, he left with a promise to return shortly. Our hero officer (who shall remain anonymous) returned with a Parish Prison inmate who not only unlocked the car, but 'hot wired' the engine.

"We were sent on our way with instructions not to turn off the motor until an extra set of keys were located.

"A great Mardi Gras memory."

Suspicious behavior

Nancy Broussard, of St. Gabriel, has another locked-car story involving the police:

"Back the late 1970s, when I worked in an office on the LSU campus, I locked myself out of the small Toyota truck I drove to work occasionally.

"This happened often enough that I kept a coat hanger in the bed of the truck, and had become adept with it. I was in the act of using the coat hanger one day when a campus police officer walked quickly up with a very serious demeanor and asked what I was doing.

"I sorta nervously explained I had locked my keys inside, which were easily visible through the window, and (embarrassingly) why I kept a coat hanger in the truck bed.

"To my great relief, he believed me, and watched, slightly amazed and impressed, as I proceeded to quickly finish breaking in."

Grits and more

Thomas Murrel, of Church Point, says, "This is for those people who don't like or have never tried grits.

"If you ever try grits with its cousin, you'll never get enough of it.

"And what is grits' cousin, you ask? Why, grillades, of course. And the gravy that comes along with it."

It goes rather well with shrimp and andouille, too…

Faux gumbo

Speaking of food, Barry Dufour, of Carencro, tells of a common culinary atrocity involving a beloved Louisiana dish:  

"My daughter played fast-pitch tournament softball while in high school. The team traveled a lot west of Louisiana; to Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and even California.

"The team would eat their good meal at night, usually at buffets. The girls would only eat healthy selections, but the parents could eat anything.

"What stands out on the buffets was the gumbo. We would take the ladle and slowly stir it, then lift some just to see.

"Needless to say, their idea of gumbo was disgusting. The color was very light, with big pieces of okra and some tomatoes.

"Of course we didn't try it, but it was fun just to see what they thought gumbo was!"

Special People Dept.

  • Alberta Williams, of Ethel, celebrates her 98th birthday Thursday, March 25. She's been vaccinated for COVID, so plans on giving and getting hugs. She will also attend church for the first time in a year.
  • Spellman "Pat" Decoteau, of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 91st birthday Thursday, March 25.

Thought for the Day

Charlie Anderson says, "I worked with a fellow who, when a problem arose and someone declared 'If only…' responded 'If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had some eggs.'”

Jobs and names

"When I was teaching the Middle Ages," says Alice Couvillon, "I was explaining how the occupations of the people became their surnames.

"I asked them to think of teachers at the school whose last names were derived from jobs many generations ago. Students called out 'Mr. Smith' and 'Mr. Skinner' and 'Mrs. Carpenter' and 'Ms Baker.'

"One boy raised his hand and sheepishly said he had one more.

“'Great,' I said. 'What is it?'

"He answered, 'Mrs. Hooker.'"

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.