LSU linebacker Devin White (40) leaves the field after being ejected for targeting in the second half of LSU's 19-3 win over Mississippi State, Saturday, October 20, 2018, at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, La.

James Carville's letter to the editor in the Monday Advocate is the talk of the town — actually, the talk of Louisiana.

In his missive, James was not his usual quiet, reticent self. He came right out and said, regarding the ref's questionable call that removed LSU's best defensive player for half of its game with Alabama, "The league is in cahoots with the Crimson Tide."

These are strong words, alleging a conspiracy between the SEC and Alabama to keep the Tide happy.

I've never been a conspiracy theorist, but James isn't the only fan of an SEC team that's not Alabama to believe that years ago the SEC quietly changed its name from "Southeastern Conference" to "See Everything Crimson."

Sorry, Edgar Allan

Speaking of football, Hodges "Hoodlum" Mercer, of Slidell, apologizes to Poe (as well he should) for this poetic effort about the Saints' miracle win over the Baltimore Ravens:

"Once upon a midday dreary,

The Ravens hoped to be so merry.

But along came the Saints,

And said, ‘No, you ain'ts!’

And their win streak is now — nevermore!”

Flunking French

Jo Ann Paulin, of Metairie,  adds "another funny experience trying to speak a foreign language" to our series:

"When I discovered I had relatives in France, I took French for a few weeks before visiting them.

"I could speak a very small amount of French, but tried when I got there since I heard they appreciate that.

"I was in a store and asked in my best French where the restrooms were.

"The clerk responded — in English — 'Over there.'

"I guess my French wasn’t as good as I thought."

Sears vs. Soviets

Henry Bradsher says our "recent recollection of shopping at the Baton Rouge Sears store, with entrances on both Third Street and North Boulevard, only applies for the 1940s and ’50s.

"In the ’30s, Sears was some blocks up Third Street, expanding in a mid-’40s move to wrap around Stroube's corner drug store (whose soda fountain made the best malts in town).

"The Sears catalogs were lifesavers for my family when I was a correspondent in Moscow in the ’60s. Among other things, we depended on Sears to mail clothes for our infant sons.

"In the Soviet economy of poor quality goods, severely limited choices and perpetual shortages, our Russian maid and our occasional baby sitter were amazed at the catalogs' variety and low prices.

"We snuck a few things for them into our orders."

Still standing

Speaking of Sears, and our Tuesday mention of houses it once sold, Joe Fairchild, of Thibodaux, passes along this information:

"There are three nice-sized, attractive Sears houses on the right side of La. 308 just prior to the intersection with La. 1014, driving toward Napoleonville past Labadieville.

"They all are of similar design and easily recognized."

Tony Falterman, of Napoleonville, adds, "Montgomery Ward also sold homes, from about 1921 to 1931.

"In Assumption Parish, near Cedar Grove Plantation, I have been told that the three homes standing next to one another were either purchased at Sears or Montgomery Ward."

Status symbol

Speaking of Montgomery Ward, Nobey Benoit says country folks regarded the presence of a Ward catalog as a sign of an upscale outhouse. 

Special People Dept.

  • Estelle Smiley, of Pride, celebrated her 95th birthday on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
  • Ralph Folse Dupuy celebrates his 95th birthday on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

Light humor

"Old Friend" offers this example for our series on misunderstanding words:

"Some 20 years ago, when our grandson Matt was 6, his mom (my daughter) called from Houston. Amid our tele-visit she told me, 'Matt has gotten headlights.'

"I immediately thought the other grandmother had given them to him for his new bike. I thought, 'What was she thinking, that he would be out riding in the dark?'

"I asked my daughter, 'Where did he get them?' She said, 'We don't know.'

"I said, 'Wasn't there a postmark or return address on the box?' She answered, 'Mama, WHAT are you talking about?'

"I said, 'Surely you know who sent them.'

"Well, in another 30 seconds we got together. Matt had head lice, and after treatment was free of the critters (and riding his bike during daylight hours)." 

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.