Here's an explanation of New Orleans' "Yat" accent, from J.R. Madden, of Baton Rouge.

He says the accent "bears a striking similarity to the working-class New York or 'Brooklyn' accent. Yats drop their r's, say 'doze' for 'those,' and rhyme 'quarter' and 'water.'

"Why do the two cities have similar accents? Both received Germans, French, Italian, and Irish immigrants (the last two more so).

"Some of the Yats' English phrases are slightly different, coming from French.  Rather than 'The party’s at noon,' a Yat says, 'The party’s for noon.' Also, 'making groceries' — shopping — is from the French verb 'faire,' meaning either 'to do' or 'to make.'"

Don Garland adds, "The commonality with East Coast accents is the ports. The merchant seamen spread a similar accent."

Accent trouble

Hugh McClain Jr. adds to our accent stories:

"During World War II, my dad, Hugh McClain Sr., served in the Navy, and was stationed for a time in Yonkers, New York. He was in his early '20s.

"His sister, Millie, took the train from New Orleans to visit him. She was in her mid-20s.

"Her train was late, and it was after dark when my dad picked her up at the station.

"Although it was after normal visiting hours, he tried to get her on the base, to show her where he worked.

"The guard at the gate was adamant; she wasn’t allowed to come in.

"My dad pleaded his case, telling the guard she was his sister who had come all the way from New Orleans to see him.

"The guard scoffed and told him, 'Do you take me for a fool? That woman is no more from New Orleans than I am. I can listen to her talk and tell she’s from Brooklyn. You’re just trying to sneak a woman onto the base!'"

Creamed spinach?

Brian Boudreaux, of Terrytown, says, "Your Friday story about hiding green beans in the milk carton to fool the nuns brought back a similar memory.

"While at Christ the King School during the '60s, we had spinach for lunch. We had plate checks before being allowed out to play.

"Ricky Vela had the bright idea of hiding the spinach in the milk carton, and was caught by the principal, Sister Marjorie. She poured the milky spinach back on his tray and told him to finish it. He couldn't, and received a detention.

"The moral: 'Don’t try to get over on the nuns or you will pay the price!'"

Those eyes!

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Tom Reagan, of Central, shares this memory:

"In '76-'78 I lived in Wise, Virginia, a small coal mining town in southwestern Virginia.

"There wasn't much to do in Wise. However, the Wise Inn had a restaurant that offered a buffet on Sunday afternoons and Wednesday evenings.

"In the late spring of '78, a couple of friends and I went to Wise Inn for dinner one Wednesday. While waiting for the roast beef to be sliced and served, the woman in front of me turned to me and asked a question.

"I was immediately spellbound by her eyes, a beautiful violet, and could only stutter while she smiled. It was Elizabeth Taylor, there with her husband, John Warner.

"Later that year, John Warner announced he was running for the U.S. Senate. The article in Thursday's paper about John Warner's death pulled up this old memory."

Special People Dept.

— Elton Miller Sr., of Breaux Bridge, celebrated his 94th birthday Saturday, May 29. He is a World War II veteran.

— Mona and O.C. Guilliot, of Youngsville, celebrated their 66th anniversary Friday, May 28.

— Herb and Becky Stein, of Algiers, celebrated their 51st anniversary Saturday, May 29.

Revised version

After our Saturday story about the guy who received a fortune cookie correctly predicting a job change, we heard from Terry Grundmann, of Kenner:

"True story: Waiter brought two fortune cookies.

"First: 'You will be rich.'

"I should have stopped there.

"Second: 'Ignore your last fortune cookie!'"

Infrastructure blues

Marsha R. came across this discouraging observation:

"Don't you agree America is just like Rome right before the fall?"

"No, Rome had better roads and drainage."


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.