It's nice to have Jay Dardenne back in the column after a long absence, while he did something involving politics:

"The recent commentary about names suiting professions reminded me of some fun I had while editing the LSU Law Alumni newsletter in the early ’80s.

"The premise was members of the alumni establishing fictitious firms solely on the basis of their names. Some of my favorites:

“ ‘An admiralty practice would await Keith A. Rowe ’80, Charles R. Rowe ’78 and Yandell Boatner Jr. ’42, of Rowe, Rowe and Boatner.’

“ ‘Show business clients could prompt a situation comedy for John F. LaVern ’70 and George M. Shirley ’76, of LaVern and Shirley.’

“ ‘Teachers would seek representation of Oscar E. Reed Jr. ’73, Ned D. Wright ’77 and Carroll L. Spell Jr. ’78 as Reed, Wright and Spell.’

“ ‘Gregory Lyons ’64, Karen Katz ’79 and Mike Baer ’74 could form Lyons, Katz and Baer, specializing in four-legged clients.’

“ ‘Rex English ’76, David French ’65 and Claire Germain ’75 would have quite an international law practice as English, French and Germain.’ ”

Big Ernie

The death of my Istrouma High classmate Ernest J. "Big Ernie" Hernandez brought memories of our "class character."

With a raucous laugh and a loose-limbed dancing style that drove chaperones crazy at our sock hops, Ernie seemed to be at the center of every event, good or bad.

The Coasters' song "Charlie Brown" always reminds me of Ernie's antics. While he may never have called the English teacher "Daddy O," I wouldn't be surprised if he had.

He was often in trouble, but it didn't seem to bother him. His favorite stories were about his own foul-ups.

As an adult, Ernie got in the fast lane for a time. But when he got off — for wife, Brenda, and his kids, and his future life — he did it seriously. He would often call to tell me about his newest AA button, signifying a year of sobriety. These calls spanned more than 30 years.   

Nobody at Istrouma in those days thought Big Ernie would wind up a solid citizen. But he fooled us all. ...

Copy that!

My favorite "Big Ernie" Hernandez story is about the time he was sitting behind me in Clyde Lindsay's algebra class during an exam.

I felt that his desk was too close to mine, but didn't realize he was copying off me until coach Lindsay got the exams from us and told the class, "The two best scores are by Smiley Anders — and Smiley Anders."

Turns out Ernie was so intent on copying every answer that he had even copied my name at the bottom of the exam paper.

As coach Lindsay marched Ernie off for his punishment, they were both grinning. ...    

Stop, thief!

Sara B., of New Orleans, says, "When I lived in Brooklyn in the ’90s, before it was trendy, my small pickup truck was broken into so often the lock on the driver's-side door was gone. You gained entrance via a butter knife kept in the truck bed.

"Once inside, the only way to start it was by inserting the key, depressing the clutch, and pushing the cigarette lighter.

"My stepdad, Buddy, rigged up this 'New York security system.’ ”

Special People Dept.

  • Elsie Arceneaux, of Donaldsonville, celebrates her 90th birthday Saturday, April 10.
  • Polly Johnson, of Paincourtville, formerly of New Orleans, celebrates her 90th birthday Saturday, April 10.
  • Mary Lou Falcon, of Napoleonville, celebrates her 90th birthday Sunday, April 11.

Pogo's swim

Susan Lipsey says husband Richard was "walking our two big Labs in the backyard when they ran full-speed ahead toward something on the ground by the lake behind our house.

"He followed them and saw a dead possum. The dogs kept nudging and pawing it, and he also nudged it two or three times before he kicked it into the lake.

"Well, the 'dead' possum, upon hitting the water, started swimming all over the lake and crawled back on our property.

"He sure fooled us. I now truly understand the phrase, 'playing possum.’ ”

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.