Our home remedies series wouldn't be complete without mention of traiteurs, healers in Cajun country when physicians weren't close by.

Mike Richard tells this story:

"Some 70 years ago, when we lived in Opelousas, my younger sister, 6, fell while running toward the street carrying glass milk bottles. A broken bottle punctured her neck.

"Our dad tried to stop the bleeding with a handkerchief. He told me to get Mr. Lavergne, the local traiteur, who lived three doors down and spoke no English.

"Mr. Lavergne told my dad to go to the barn and get all the cobwebs he could find. He mashed them into what looked like a pancake, spitting tobacco juice on it.

"He applied it to the affected area, and held it until it dried and the bleeding stopped. He then told my dad to take the child to the new doctor.

"I had a bicycle with a very large basket, and Daddy put my sister in it and headed for town to see young Dr. Jerome Romagosa at his office above Doc McCarthy's drugstore.

"Dr. Romagosa became well known throughout south Louisiana as an oncologist. In 1990, while serving on the Council on Aging, I again met him.

"He remembered my sister, and said she would have died if not for the action by the traiteur. He told me he spent a lot of years studying the methods of traiteurs, and said the spider web mixed with saliva and tannic acid from the tobacco formed a type of coagulant.

"By the way, my sister is now 78 years old, residing in Lafayette."

Beat it!

Proud grandpa Ronnie Abboud, of Metairie, says, "My 14-year-old grandson, Ross Michael 'Sticks' Abboud, and the Vandebilt Regiment Indoor Percussion Group of Vandebilt Catholic High of Houma rocked last week in Dayton, Ohio.

"They finished 7th of 48 world groups in Scholastic Class A World Competition."

He adds that Sticks' proud dad, Ronnie's son Bobby, and some of his buds were roadies for the band, transporting its equipment over 2,000 miles.

Nice People Dept.

Paul Hoffman says, "Our family would like to thank Sgt. Brian Taylor and Officer Adam Alford of the Baton Rouge Police Department, who changed a tire for a family member who had driven into Baton Rouge for a doctor’s appointment.

"My brother was unfamiliar with the location and features of the spare in his new vehicle, so the timely appearance, efficiency, and friendliness of these officers was much appreciated."

Special People Dept.

  • Marian Cupples celebrated her 94th birthday Wednesday, April 17.
  • Edith Shellington celebrates her 92nd birthday Saturday, April 20.

Lunch at the bank

"Small town banks are the best," says Julaine Schexnayder, of New Iberia:

"Banks have many more uses than just holding our money and keeping it safe. I’ve used them in times of crisis — or to help me get my bearings when I’m lost in a strange city.

"Once when a grandson was an infant, I was driving on I-10 toward Baton Rouge when he decided it was time for his bottle. Luckily, I had some in a cooler with me.

"When I saw an exit (perhaps at Brusly), I also spotted a 'Bank' sign. I went to the door, stuck my head in, and asked the tellers if I could use their microwave to heat his bottle.

"Then they invited us to sit in the lobby while he enjoyed his early lunch."

Where's the beef?

John West, of Prairieville, says, "In 1967 three fellow workers and I, from Monsanto Corp. in Pensacola, Florida, came to Louisiana for a job interview in Geismar.

"We had driven most of the night, and got to Baton Rouge too early for our appointment. We stopped for coffee at the Alamo Restaurant and Motel on Florida Boulevard.

"When we all ordered coffee, the waitress asked, 'Light roast or dark roast?'

"My friend replied, 'No ma'am, we do not want anything to eat, just coffee.'

"After her explanation, we got a good laugh out of that. In Pensacola back then, you just ordered coffee; no dark roast."


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.