Another story about our simian friends, from Noel Gilbert, of River Ridge:

"Back in the '60s I played cards with some rather shady characters. We took turns hosting games on Wednesday nights. (Since some of them are still around, I will not mention any names.)

"One of our card players lived on the edge of the French Quarter and had a pet monkey. One night, during another of his losing hands, the monkey suddenly jumped off his perch, swung down from the ceiling light and scattered all the cards on the table.

"He vehemently denied that he had trained his monkey so that when he made a certain hand motion, the mean little guy would jump down on the table and scatter everyone's hand, so the game had to be played over. But I do not recall playing cards at his place again."

Monkey whisperer

Fran Shurz says, "Speaking of monkeys, many years ago my great-uncle Jim Warren was a doctor in New Orleans.

"His office was near Audubon Zoo. He ate lunch at the monkey cage most days and so became great friends with them, even developing a way to communicate.

"Once there was an escape, and to round up all the errant monkeys the zookeeper had to solicit Uncle Jim’s help in coaxing them back. All the runaways were located and safely returned home."

Irma rules!

Mention of the legendary New Orleans singer Irma Thomas  brought back a memory to Martin St. Romain illustrating her mastery over her audience: 

"This incident occurred when I was with the original Rhythm Kings band in the mid '50s at one of the south Louisiana nightclubs on the bayou.

"The club owner hired us to play on alternate Saturdays, and occasionally hired recording artists to boost attendance.

"On one Saturday he hired Irma Thomas, because she was a very popular rhythm and blues recording artist (as she still is).

"During the first half hour there was boisterous laughter and occasional arguments between some patrons on the dance floor.

"Without warning, as she was singing, Irma turned to the band and said, 'Stop the music.' Then she addressed the crowd, saying, 'You guys want to argue, or dance? If you want to argue, I’m out of here. Let’s try again.'

"She got their attention. The grownups prevailed. It was a memorable night for the fans and the band."

Win an island

Speaking of games of chance, Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, says, "During my first years as Assumption Parish sheriff, the biggest employer was J. Ray McDermott Inc., which employed thousands of people from Assumption and surrounding parishes, and provided engineering and construction services to the offshore oil and gas industry.

"Ernie Gravois of McDermott would occasionally arrange fishing trips to what he called 'Diamond Isle' for local officials.

"The story told by employees and crew was that the island was won in a New Orleans card game by Mr. McDermott from his friend and fellow entrepreneur, the French Quarter restaurant owner 'Diamond Jim' Moran! Hence the name, Diamond Isle!"

Arrivederci, aroma 

Neill Spaht points out that wearing a mask has another benefit in addition to protecting us from the coronavirus:

"Have you noticed that nobody has bad breath anymore?"

Special People Dept.

  • Joseph Dillon, of Prairieville, celebrates his 91st birthday Tuesday, July 7. He is a Korean War veteran. Before the coronavirus, he split his year between Prairieville and upstate New York.
  • Salvatore and Angiolina "Angela" Madaffari, of Ponte Vedra, Florida, celebrate their 75th anniversary Tuesday, July 7.
  • Victor B. and Ruth Berthelot, of Livingston, celebrate 69 years of marriage Tuesday, July 7.
  • Frank and Roselyn Richard, of Baton Rouge, celebrated their 60th anniversary June 25.

Don't forget Phideaux

David Earle, of Baton Rouge, tells of a considerate granddaughter:

"My wife showed the X-ray photos of her recent rotator cup operation to our granddaughter.

"Our granddaughter was fascinated to learn that the doctor cut off part of her grandmother’s shoulder bone to install the bionic one.

"However, her only question was, 'Did you save the bone for the dog?'"


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.