Frances Billeaud, of Baton Rouge, tells her parents' love story, set to music:

"In the spring semester of 1934 Maryce Robert and Jack Pickering, both LSU music majors, shared several classes and fell in love rather quickly.

"Huey Long hoped to run for the presidency and wanted to make himself known to other areas of the country. So he sent a band from LSU to New York City to play and attract crowds who could hear about Louisiana — and about Huey. 

"Jack, a trombone player, had a brother in New York City, and immediately signed up for the trip. But Maryce, a harp player, said she was not going to let Jack go without her.

"So they decided they'd marry, thinking it could enhance the probability of both being able to go.

"They traveled by train with the others, and completed their engagements to promote Huey's visibility. But when the time came to return for the fall semester at LSU, Huey simply could not find the money to pay for their return trip.

"So they stayed in Manhattan, where Jack worked with dance bands. After a move to California during World War II, Jack was with the Desi Arnaz band (just before "I Love Lucy") until he returned to Louisiana to get his degree from SLI in Lafayette (now UL)."

Sonny who?

Gail Stephenson, of Baton Rouge, comments on a recent "generation gap" story in the column:

"Tony Chachere isn't the only person the younger generation doesn't know is real.

"This semester my students at the Southern University Law Center were supposed to analyze whether a statement the hypothetical 'Vincent' gave a police officer was a 'dying declaration.'

"Vincent was hit by a truck while riding his bike and suffered a head injury. Just before going into surgery, he told the officer, 'I don't want to end up like Sonny Bono' (dead from a head injury).

"I asked a student why she hadn't mentioned the Bono comment in her analysis. Looking puzzled, she asked, 'You mean Sonny Bono was a real person? I thought he was Vincent's neighbor or something.’ ”

Smiley's song

Ken Toups, of Lafayette, says, "The recent mention of Smiley Burnette in your column caught my attention, as I had just played one of his 1947 recordings — 'House Trailer Blues' — on my '20th Century Pop' podcast (aocinc.org/podcastnetwork)."

Thanks, Inez

"Speaking of small town banks and the wonderful services they provide," says Donald Landaiche, of Donaldsonville, "I had a checking account at the First National Bank in Donaldsonville.

"Inez Landry was a teller, and was also in charge of overdrafts. Several times I overdrew my account. When Inez saw this, she would call me immediately and say, 'Mr. Donald, you need a little deposit.' Ms. Inez was a true angel."

Mighty Cavaliers

John Logreco, of Metairie, adds to our Friday story about LSU basketball center Tom Conklin and his early career in New Orleans:

"Tom came to De La Salle High in 1956, his junior year, and was starting center on our state championship teams in ’57 and ’58.

"From 1956-1962, a seven-year span, De La Salle won the state championship in basketball four times and was state runner-up twice. I'm still trying to figure out what went wrong in 1961."

Bayou geography

Yogi Naquin says, "Growing up in Chauvin, we had three directions we gave to everyone — 'up da bayou, down da bayou, and across da bayou.'

"I have a friend who moved from Chauvin to Minnesota. He used to live down da bayou; now he lives up da bayou."

Yogi says he's from Bayou Blue, "which is up da bayou from Chauvin."

The vision thing 

Paula King, of Gretna, offers this way to deal with one of those "compliments" that are more judgmental than complimentary:

Statement: "You look better when you don't have your glasses on."

Reply: "YOU look better when I don't have my glasses on, too!"

Oldest groaner?

Algie Petrere, of Central, claims this is "one of the world's oldest jokes":

"April showers bring May flowers.

"What do May flowers bring?

"Pilgrims!"


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.