Dear Smiley: The day I met Ed Orgeron (now LSU's Coach O), I was working in the LSU Infirmary. It was July 1979.
He was a teenager coming in with the rest of the football team for physicals, EKGs, etc.
He was wearing a white T-shirt and white shorts. He has not changed much; a few wrinkles and a few more pounds.
The nurse calling him pronounced his name like the Pacific Northwest state. He answered in that gravely voice, and told her proudly how to pronounce it. This really brings back some memories.
A flatlands guy
Dear Smiley: When in high school, I lived in Montegut, in Terrebonne Parish. After I finished school, I worked in West Africa with Frenchmen and Belgians.
When they asked me what part of Louisiana I came from, and I said "Montegut," they thought I said "Mount Aigu," which in French means "Sharp Mountain."
I assured them that there were no mountains — either dull or sharp — in Louisiana.
New York version
Dear Smiley: Your columns about pronunciation of names in the South bring back a memory of when I worked at my first real job after high school, in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
I was hired at Western Electric in New Orleans, on Broad Street at Earhart Boulevard, as the file clerk, mail person and whatever else needed to be done in the office.
One day the switchboard operator asked if I'd like to be her relief, and she would teach me what to do. I said, "Of course!"
So I'm relieving for lunch one day and the board rings. I answer, and on the other end a lady calling from the New York office asks to speak to a Mr. Wally Bru Axe.
I told her we had no one by that name, and could she spell it.
She said, "His name is Bru Axe — it's spelled B-R-E-A-U-X!"
Dear Smiley: I remember one LSU football game in particular on national TV at night against Alabama, when the announcer kept pronouncing Tyler Lafauci as "Lafanzi."
Dear Smiley: Crazy dog names remind me of my friends who have a farm near Newellton (in Tensas Parish).
They come up with some great names. My favorite is Fix-in-to. The others are Ida Clair, Ought Be, Lit, Mosey, and Sassafras. And their daughter has a dog named Whobe-at-the-door. Best I could do over the years is Abby, Annie and Rosie.
Love comes to Joe's
Dear Smiley: This is a bar story that's a little different. Early in 1963 when I was in my senior year of nursing school at Mercy Hospital in New Orleans, students were required to rotate to different hospitals for training.
A group of us were finishing our psychiatric rotation at DePaul Hospital, and decided to celebrate by going to Joe's Bar near Charity Hospital.
Seating was in booths, and there was a jukebox for music and dancing. The three of us who went were seated on one side of the booth, and I was on the end.
Four Army guys from Camp Leroy Johnson (where UNO is now) were there also. One of the guys wanted to ask my friend to dance. But she was seated in the middle. That meant I would have to get up so she could get out.
The gentleman that he was, he decided to ask me to dance instead. Politeness went a long way; we exchanged phone numbers and started dating. That gentleman, Ron, and I will be married 56 years next month!
Dear Smiley: A friend of mine was with a group touring one of the Anheuser-Busch breweries several years ago.
At the end of the tour they were allowed to ask the brewmaster a few questions.
Someone in the group asked “How do you make light beer?”
Apparently this offended the brewmaster, who answered in a brusque manner with a thick German accent, “Virst we make a good beer, zen we rrruin it.”