Byron Davidson says, "Mike Manes' story (on misconceptions about Louisiana) in the Wednesday column reminded me of a similar one.

"In 1962 I was a sergeant serving in the 11th Armored Cavalry in Regensburg, Germany.

"My boss, a second lieutenant, decided to teach two college speech classes through the University of Maryland at our post, Fort Skelly.

"A fellow Baton Rouge native, Curtis Mitchener, was also 'invited' to take the courses.

"The final exam was to a 'how to' speech. I chose 'Alligator Hunting in Louisiana.'

"Only Mitchener and I were from Louisiana — most of the others were from the Frozen Nawth.

"I described how we hunted gators in the bayous from float planes with chairs bolted to the floats. (Mitchener choked trying to keep from laughing and had to leave the room.)

"I said thousands of gators lined the banks and we shot them in wholesale lots. A large boat followed the plane and picked them up.

"The speech was a roaring success, and I got an A in the course. Years later, as a senior at LSU, I gave a version of the same speech — from the standpoint that some people will believe anything you tell them. I got another A."

Gator Avenue

Jo Ann Paulin, of Metairie, says, "Reading stories about peoples’ opinions of Louisiana reminded me of my supervisor, Otis.

"We spoke with our offices all over the country, and every time he would talk with someone, he would tell them that there were alligators in the streets.

"At that time it didn’t happen so often. Seems like now it’s happening almost every day. I guess eventually things come to pass."

Flood hero

Etta Jester, of The Advocate's front desk at the Rieger Road building in Baton Rouge, says, "A lady in an SUV went into our front ditch during that horrible rain Thursday morning.

"A young man driving a silver truck parked in our driveway and dove into the neck-deep water to grab her and bring her to the street. Some others also stopped to help him.

"That young man, who left before we could thank him, is unbelievably brave. He saved her life."

Coffee history

Chuck Heine says, "When my dad, the Rev. Charles A. Heine, was 17, he worked as bag boy and floor sweeper for Norman 'Cap' Saurage in his Baton Rouge grocery store near Magnolia Cemetery.

"When Mr. Cap founded Community Coffee, he put Dad to work at the coffee plant, behind Cap's home by Godchaux's department store.

"When Dad was old enough to drive, Cap put him to driving a route truck, delivering coffee in most of Louisiana.

"When I was 10, it was a thrill for me to ride with Dad. In 1938, Cap lent Dad a few hundred dollars to buy a small grocery store on Perkins Road, Heine's Pure Food Grocery. Older Baton Rouge residents know the location as Perkins Road Hardware."

Special People Dept.

Donald L. Garrett, a U.S. Coast Guard retiree, celebrates his 99th birthday Sunday, June 9. An Illinois native, he moved to New Orleans to "eat grits, not rice, for breakfast."

Open door policy

Debbie Roques, of Donaldsonville, says, "During a visit with my 99-year-old mother, Inez 'Nez' Landry, she was telling us of residents who leave their door open at night at the assisted living facility.

"I told her I thought it might be a good idea for her to do the same.

"Her reply: 'Maybe when I’m 100!' ”

Doggone smart

Doug Johnson, of Watson, says, "Reading about crawfish in your column reminds me of a small dog I once owned named Tootsie.

"I lived in the small town of Waverly, Tennessee, and a small creek ran through our backyard.

"Tootsie would catch crawfish there by turning over rocks in the stream bed, then grabbing the crawfish in her mouth. She would bite them until they died and eat them.

"I would catch them by the hundreds for fish bait, but little did I know about how good they were to eat back then.

"Tootsie was smarter than me in that sense!"

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.