Dear Smiley: A few years ago, a friend asked for a suggestion for a half-way point between Lawrenceville and San Antonio and I suggested Lafayette. He said, in that oft-used pronunciation that sports broadcasters love, "I'll make reservations in 'Lauf 'a yette.
I told him, "If you don't want to sound like an outsider, you need to know it's simply pronounced "Laf-fa-yet."
He repeated it just fine, but when he returned a month later and I asked him about their trip, he said they enjoyed their overnight stay in "Lauf 'a yette."
He added, "When we checked in, we asked where we could get some authentic Cajun food, and he sent us about one mile to 'Pre-Jeans.'
"The food was great, and we were glad someone had a birthday, because 'Happy Birthday' was the only English words we heard from their band all night!"
I said, "Are you sure the name of that restaurant wasn't pronounced 'Pray-Jau'n's?'"
"YES, that IS what he said!"
Dear Smiley: On several days you have provided hilarious examples of non-natives trying to pronounce Louisiana’s French, Cajun, or Indian names.
My favorite story occurred back in the '60s, when my husband had a real estate sales firm. One day one of the salesmen took a call from a gentleman who said his name was “LAT-ee-OHL-is.”
When asked to spell it, he said, “L-a-t-i-o-l-a-i-s.”
The salesman said, “Mais, MAN! Dat’s not LAT-ee-OHL-is; it’s 'Latch-oh-lay!' ”
The man laughed and said, “I know. I was from Louisiana, but when I moved to Texas nobody could pronounce it, so I finally just gave up and started calling it Lat-ee-ohl-is.”
Dear Smiley: Of all of the “different” French pronunciations of names, the one I find to be the furthest from the spelling is Gauthier (Go-chay).
We didn’t have that one in the Gonzales area. I had to learn it after moving to Lafayette.
Dear Smiley: I am not trying to slap you silly with another mention of Canandaigua, New York, but serendipity has struck.
Looking up a biography of actor Humphrey Bogart, born 1899, I read he spent most summers, until he joined the Navy during World War I, at the family get away on — that's right — Canandaigua Lake.
Bogart's father was a prominent New York City surgeon, and Canandaigua was and still is called "The Gem of the Finger Lakes."
It's only 1,500 miles from south Louisiana, Smiley. Look into it and try a change from Back Brusly for your vacation.
By the way, when my son moved to St. Amant in 1995, we learned to pronounce it "San-Amaw."
Of dogs and cats
Dear Smiley: When I was a child and growing up on a farm, I was enamored of the barn cats, but my mother said, "Don't touch them. They might scratch you."
Both Mom and Dad liked dogs, so when we got a beagle, I named her "Kitten." Kitten had a crook in her tail; the last two inches formed a V shape.
She went on to have several litters, and in each were several puppies with crooks like hers in their tails. Kitten lived a long life, but was always somewhat embarrassed about her name.
Having a ball
Dear Smiley: One of the highlights of our day is my reading your column aloud to Hubs.
We had a good laugh over the letter about Loreli, the dachshund with the "outsize disposition" who became "Dogapotamus" and then "Potty."
Early last year, we rescued a doxy named "Lucy." To avoid confusion, we changed her name to "LuLu."
But once she started to eat better and put on a good amount of weight, Hubs affectionately dubbed her "Wrecking Ball."
Kansas City, Missouri
One good turn
Dear Smiley: On Thursday, you wrote that once you were going down Magazine Street in New Orleans, made a "wrong turn" and wound up in front of the Half Moon Bar at happy hour.
What was the wrong turn?