Winding up our Carnival stories, Mary Pramuk, of Baton Rouge, offers this account of a culinary adventure:

"A few Mardi Gras ago, a young man from Tennessee was with a group of people staying at a house in New Orleans.

"All of them got up early and went out, letting him sleep in.

"Although he had never experienced Fat Tuesday, he’d heard of king cake, and when he opened the refrigerator, there was one in all its purple, green and yellow glory.

"He cut off a slice and bit in. He had heard that Louisiana food could be pretty spicy, but for a cake, it was downright HOT.

"He thought this was probably just the way it was. Later, he found out that a jar of jalapeño sauce had tipped over and dripped down on the cake."

Mary adds this postscript: "He now lives in Texas, where you are more likely to find jalapeño on just about anything."

As others view us

Speaking of the late lamented holiday, Ronnie Stutes, of Baton Rouge, came across an article on Mardi Gras on the Travel Trivia website. He recommends reading it and adds, "Prepare to be un-amazed."

It's titled "6 Things You Never Knew About Mardi Gras."

The first five are fairly blah, but when you read the last one, Ronnie says, "you'll realize that the title is valid only for people who have never heard of Mardi Gras."

The list is compiled by travel writer John Ferri, of Tacoma, Washington (TACOMA?). The six are:

  • "Mardi Gras falls on a different day each year."
  • "The first Mardi Gras in North America was celebrated in Alabama, not Louisiana." (And the folks in Mobile haven't shut up about it yet.)
  • "There are multiple Mardi Gras museums."
  • "Mardi Gras king cake has Biblical roots."
  • "It's illegal to wear masks in New Orleans except on Mardi Gras."
  • And the one that got Ronnie going: "Mardi Gras and Carnival are the same holiday."

Explosive reaction

Jo Ann Paulin, of Metairie, says, "While reading about the early remotes that responded to different sounds and turned the TV on accidentally, I was reminded about something that happened to my late father-in-law.

"He had bought a 'clapper' and hooked it up to his television. One night his TV kept going on and off. He couldn’t figure out why, and called the TV repairman to come out.

"Turns out someone in the neighborhood was shooting fireworks, and that was causing the TV to turn on and off via the clapper. We all had a good laugh over that one."

Highway hero

Lindsay Rougon gives "a shout-out of appreciation" to Jake Jennings, of the Department of Transportation and Development Emergency Motorist Assistance Patrol:

"I was driving west on Interstate 10 during afternoon rush hour and had a flat tire. I called 911, and within 10 minutes, Mr. Jennings arrived — before my husband.

"He was so polite, professional and calming as, vehicles were zooming by at 60-plus mph.

"He went right to work putting out safety equipment and explained every detail to us. My husband, an ex-race car driver, stepped back and let him do his job.

"A great day for us, and a man who said he 'loved his job and helping people.'"

Special People Dept.

Rose Guarino Deckelman, of Metairie, celebrated her 100th birthday Saturday, March 9.

Happier days

My old friend Hector Lopez, one of this column's earliest contributors, is back in Baton Rouge, having resolved that little misunderstanding in Juarez, Mexico.

Hector has become a huge LSU basketball fan, and being a guy who always looks on the bright side of life, he penned a poem celebrating the Tigers' season, which was extraordinary — despite the current bump in the road. (Rene Daze, another optimist, assures us, "LSU will wade through its problems with men's basketball.")

Here's Hector's epic, in part. It's sung to the tune of the "Happy Days" TV series' theme song. Follow the bouncing basketball: 

Happy Days at LSU

"Monday, Tuesday,

Skylar Mayes;

Wednesday, Thursday,

Darrius Dayes.

Friday, Saturday

It’s rainin’ Treys;

Happy days,

LSU plays,

Scorin’ a bunch for you …

It’s happy days at LSU,

It’s happy days at LSU."

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.