As I watched Michigan State's basketball team roll over LSU in the Sweet Sixteen, I was reminded of Lady Katherine's late Uncle Jack, who taught me that no matter how much we want to believe it, the Tigers do not have a monopoly on die-hard, somewhat crazed fans.

Uncle Jack, an engineer in southern Michigan, was a Michigan State alumnus and an ardent supporter of the Spartans (to put it mildly). 

In 1995, when my future spouse and her sister Valeri were both living in New Orleans, he told them he and his wife would visit them after they attended the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, where the Spartans were playing the Tigers.

I came down, and when Uncle Jack drove up and saw me in my LSU sweatshirt, he pretended to drive away. We all laughed about it, and he told me that while his team had lost the game (45-26), they were optimistic about the future due to their new coach Nick Saban.

We had a nice time — Pat O'Brien's Hurricanes, Acme's oysters, carriage ride through the French Quarter, etc. — and didn't discuss football any more.

When the Tigers hired Coach Saban away from the Spartans in 1999, I mailed Uncle Jack an LSU cap, figuring he'd get a chuckle out of it; maybe show it to his buddies and tell about his niece's crazy LSU boyfriend.

When I saw him later at a family gathering, I asked him if he'd enjoyed the cap.

Without even the hint of a smile, he told me flatly, "I took it out to the backyard and made a fire and burned it."

I never mentioned sports to him again. …      

Laughter as weapon

Like many other readers, Richard Orgeron, of Lafayette, says, "I am sick and tired of the unwanted phone calls from unknown phone numbers of telemarketers and scammers.

"In order to combat this and have a little fun of my own, I purchased a 'laughing box,' and when I get one of these calls, I hold the phone next to the box and press the button, which activates uncontrollable laughing.

"My only regret is that I cannot see the reaction of the person on the other side."

Spring feverish

CC "Cactus Clyde" Lockwood, of St. Francisville, the noted wildlife photographer, says, "Just saw the springtime poem you ran a few days ago (about the arrival of pollen). Since the pollen does not bother me, mine is shorter.

"Spring is my favorite time. While walking in the woods, with everything growing and blooming so fast, I thought of these words:

"Green and blue, black and grey

"Life is blooming I have to say

"From grass to sky and all between

"All those colors enhance my dreams."

The King ruled

Paul Duffy comments on a memory of a concert I reviewed in 1977 for The Morning Advocate and wrote about recently:

"I also attended that Elvis Presley concert at the LSU Assembly Center in the '70s, and I have to agree with you. At that point, the King had seen better days.

"That didn't bother his adoring fans, though. In fact, I seem to recall several women — of various ages — rushing the stage to toss a particular piece of clothing up to him.

"Even though he was off his game, the group of musicians with him were top notch. I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, perhaps not as much for the music as watching the audience. He still had them under his spell. It was truly amazing."

Special People Dept.

  • The Rev. Joel P. Hilbun celebrates his 90th birthday Tuesday, April 2. The event was marked at his church, Vietnamese Hope Baptist, with an open house Saturday, March 30.
  • Wayne and Bonnie Hebert, of Lafayette, celebrated 52 years of marriage Monday, April 1.

Aggravating robbery

Wayne LeCompte, of Metairie, says the Saturday and Monday column items about providing portable potties to stranded motorists "brings to mind the story about all the toilets being stolen from a Chicago police station.

"The police have nothing to go on. …"

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