More tales of Californians experiencing Louisiana weather:

  • Cindy Moran says, "Our New Orleans daughter entertained a house guest from San Diego last year.

"As they prepared to go to Jazz Fest, she checked the radar to see if rain was imminent. Her guest was astounded — apparently no one ever feels the need to check the weather in San Diego!" 

  •  Rolonda Mayer, in real estate in New Orleans, says, "I find myself showing homes to people from all over. One group consisted of a family from California — mom, dad, two youngsters maybe 2 and 4.

"As is usual on many a hot, humid Louisiana summer afternoon, storm clouds were gathering as we set out.

"As we toured the house, I was about to slide a glass door back so we could inspect the backyard when big thunder cracked across the sky and rain came down in buckets.

"The kids screamed, wailed and jumped up and down, clutching their parents' knees.

"I asked the parents why the kids were so frightened of a rainstorm. The dad said California had been in a drought for at least five years, and the children had never seen rain, thunder or lightening. They did not move here."

Pile-driving man

Robert E. Howell, of Gretna, tells Superdome construction stories:

"My employer, S.K. Whitty and Co., won the contract to drive the pilings for the project. I periodically worked as a 'hand' on one pile-driving rig. My uncle Clifton 'Blackie' Richoux drove a truck for the company, delivering creosoted wood pilings."

Robert says when his uncle was off work, he'd explore the dome, once climbing to the rafters, where "he saw a set of piers a few hundred feet tall in the very middle of the dome, used as a landing stage for the steel that went from the perimeter of the dome to meet at the top. When all the steel had been erected, they removed those piers.

"The guy in the World Trade Center who saw concrete pilings driven for the dome was correct. They were driven in three pieces…

"We used the same technique on the 40-story building at Howard Avenue and Loyola, called Plaza Towers at the time. That building stands on pilings driven to bedrock some 250 feet down."

The legend is better

Alex "Sonny" Chapman, of Ville Platte, gives this example of how the truth can ruin a good story:

"In the '70s a bar on Baton Rouge's Highland Road was named Joe Reed’s.

"The story I heard was that one night before the bar was named, Joe Reed came in, got into a fight and beat up everybody there. The owners were so impressed they named the bar after the battler.

"Years later I was in Joe Reed’s and asked the bartender if that story was true. He laughed and pointed to a fellow a few stools down.

"'That’s Joe Reed right there.'

"I asked him, and Joe Reed told me the true story: he had helped with opening the bar, so they used his name — since it had a good ring to it."

Special People Dept.

  • Josephine Danna Phillips, of Metairie, celebrates her 98th birthday Tuesday, June 16. She is a native of Hammond.
  • Dan and Karen Safford, of Donaldsonville, celebrate their 50th anniversary Tuesday, June 16.

Make a wish

Greg Thompson, of Baton Rouge, ran across this story:

"A married couple, both 60, were at a restaurant celebrating their 40th anniversary.

"Suddenly an angel appeared and congratulated them for their long and happy marriage. He said, 'I have been authorized to give each of you one wish to honor you on this happy occasion.'

"He asked the wife, 'What would you like?' She answered, 'I would love to travel!' There appeared in her hand two tickets to anywhere in the world.

"The angel then asked the husband, 'What is your desire?' The man whispered, 'I would like to be married to someone 30 years younger than me.'

"The angel replied, 'No problem!' — and suddenly the man was 90 years old."


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