Robert Mills, of Shreveport, says an article about "the LSU Assembly Center's concert heyday" by Ed Cullen in the Spring 2019 LSU Alumni Magazine brought back the "glorious years" in the '70s when he was a student worker on the stage crew.

Robert recalls the "hard-working kids making a couple of bucks an hour doing the many odd jobs required by the best multi-use 15,000-seat arena of its day. …

"The events included basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, theatee, "Disney On Ice," graduation and grand balls, but our favorite events were rock concerts. …

"The Rolling Stones 1976 World Tour opening concert was the highlight and finale of my career. The Assembly Center had a great reputation at the time as a new arena with the best acoustics of the day.

"The elaborate stage had been designed and built in California, then disassembled and shipped to Baton Rouge in trucks. We reassembled the stage about 10 days before the concert to prepare for a week of rehearsals and finally a full dress rehearsal.

"The band was staying in New Orleans and traveled daily to Baton Rouge by private plane and limos for rehearsals. During the week of rehearsals, the show's music and lighting combinations were scripted (Robert tells how the students worked with the band's roadies to set up the elaborate stage).

"Geraldo Rivera created additional buzz when he arrived to cover the opening two shows for national news.

"The Assembly Center stage crew ran the house sound, house lights and spotlights during the show, then took it all down and sent them on their way for the rest of the tour."

Which reminds me

In the above-mentioned '70s, I was often at LSU Assembly Center shows reviewing them for The Morning Advocate.

After one of Elvis Presley's last shows before his death, I was heading back to my car when a matron from Zachary stopped me and gushed about how wonderful "The King" had been.

"Didn't you just LOVE him?" she asked.

"Well, no," I said. "I thought he looked tired and sick and was just going through the motions."

Whereupon she whacked me on the head with the rolled-up Elvis poster she was carrying.

I took it in stride — nobody ever said it was easy being a music critic. …

Engineers' duel

Ernie Gremillion comments on my Monday mention of the long-ago Daily Reveille cartoon showing two engineering students wearing slide rule holsters in gunfighter poses:

"My memory of the LSU engineering student slide rule face-off was that there would be a third party calling out a number, and the challenge would be to come up first with the square root of that number."

Mishawaka request

John Michael Dabler III, a student at Queen of Peace School in Mishawaka, Indiana, has chosen Louisiana to write about for his class project, and would like to know why we like our state and why visitors should come here.

You can write him at the school, 4508 Vistula Road, Mishawaka, IN 46544, or email his teacher at

He also wants a copy of this newspaper, which can be purchased for a nominal price at fine retail outlets all over south Louisiana.

Life imitates cartoons

Jo Ann Paulin, of Metairie, comments on the report of a raccoon spotted rocking another one in a hammock:

"While reading a story about animals in your column and how they remind us of Disney cartoons, I was reminded about our little dog Rocky.

"First of all, he was just like Snoopy — because he sat on top of his doghouse.

"We also had a cat that was raised with Rocky, and they really loved each other.

"There was a mean tom cat in the neighborhood that used to attack our cat. When we heard that going on, we’d open the dog’s kennel and say, 'Sic him, Rock!', and Rocky would go after the tom cat.

"He would be running and barking, and the minute the cat would turn to him and hiss, Rocky would run away yelping. It was really funny, just like in the cartoons."   

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.