A common last name in Louisiana usually confounds newcomers the first time they hear us pronounce it — Hebert, pronounced A-Bear.

This oddity even made an episode of "Seinfeld," when Jerry, in a diner scene with George Costanza, brought up the name of Bobby Hebert, then quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.

— Robert DeBate, of Sorrento, says, "My son Scott brought me a Great Pyrenees dog from Mississippi to protect my goats.

"His name was Bear. I wanted him to have a Cajun moniker, so I renamed him Hebert. He comes when I call."

— Gary E. Penton, of Pineville, says, "In 1948 I moved to Baton Rouge, and lived briefly on Scenic Highway.

"My introduction to Louisiana French was a store with a sign picturing a large neon bear topped by the letter A.

"The store's name was on the front plate glass — HEBERT.

Which reminds me

When my family lived in north Baton Rouge, we weren't far from Charlie Hebert's general store and its iconic A-Bear sign.

One of my dad's favorite stories, which may or may not have been true, was about the country guy who was told the sign gave the name of the store's owner — and went inside and asked to see Mr. A-Hog. 

Dinner attacks!

Karen Poirrier, of Lutcher, says, "When my siblings and I were rambunctious derelicts, one afternoon our dad brought home a foot tub full of crabs and shrimp.

"As we tottered around the tub of moving creatures, I reached in and caught a crab by its shell. As I raised the crab into the air to display my courageous act, it clamped one claw onto my baby brother Dale's left ear and dangled as he screamed and ran around the kitchen table.

"My mother ran behind him trying to detach the crab from his ear while his siblings screamed for our dad to come quickly; Dale's ear was bleeding onto the hanging crab.

"Our dad cradled Dale as Mom pried open the pincher, detached the crustacean, disinfected the swollen ear with iodine and affixed a Band-Aid. What a memory!"

Pine tree TV

Glenn Balentine, of Prairieville, offers this history lesson:

"In 1976 I was living in what was once my grandparents' house in Tioga. Back then television in the area was one channel, KALB in Alexandria, unless you had an antenna.

"I was working at Lafayette Electronics, so bought the best color TV antenna and 100 feet of cable.

"With the help of my roommate Mike on the ground, I climbed 80 feet to the top of a pine tree, dropped a rope and Mike attached the antenna. I hauled it up, strapped it to the tree and Wow! Now we could receive two Baton Rouge channels and a Lafayette channel!

"As a bonus, I installed a CB (citizen band) radio antenna so Mike could talk to people 50 miles away. CB’s were the cell phones and Facebook of the '70s."

Special People Dept.

— T Ellis Peak Jr., of Baton Rouge, celebrates his 96th birthday Wednesday, August 19, via Zoom with his family, some as far away as Barcelona, Spain. He was an active member of the Baton Rouge Bridge Club until the COVID-19 quarantine shut down in-person play.

— Mike and Connie Leonard, of Prairieville, celebrate their 53rd anniversary Wednesday, August 19.

Neighborly kitties

A couple of “Name that cat” stories:

— Terry Grundmann, of Kenner, says, "We had one cat called CC, for 'Christopher Columbus' — because he’d explore the neighborhood."

— Beverly Bulligan, of Kenner, says, "There was a cat that would visit three or four houses on our street for food and treats. Inasmuch as he was a neighborhood cat, I aptly named him 'Mr. Rogers.'"

Some welcome back!

After my stay-at-home vacation last week, I thought Michael Hess, of Slidell, would be offering me some kind words about my return. Instead, I got a groaner:

"I sincerely hope your suitcases weren't too upset when you told them they weren't going anywhere this year.

"It is so hard to deal with emotional baggage."


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.