Joy Braud, of Baton Rouge, thinks of her mother whenever she hears anyone making fun of a Cajun accent:

"My mom was born and raised in White Castle, and her first teaching job was in 1935, as a 19-year-old teacher in Bayou Goula.

"She lived on a houseboat with a married couple next to a one-room schoolhouse. Children of all ages came to the school, some in pirogues.

"Their hardworking parents lived off the land; fishing, hunting, farming, etc. Like their parents, the students spoke Cajun French and no English. She spoke English and no French.

"At the end of the year the children were all speaking English, but she still could not speak French. She told us this story to defend that Cajun accent.

"Sophie Ramirez Braud later taught first grade for 33 plus years at Sacred Heart School in Baton Rouge.

"I think about her every time I hear that wonderful 'smart' Cajun accent."

Know your turkey

Richie Schega, of Baton Rouge, asks, "Ever notice how in certain locales restaurants have cute names for the women's and men's rooms?

"Years ago, the family was traveling, and stopped for lunch at Bates House of Turkey in Greenville, Alabama.

"The boys went to the restroom, and I followed a few minutes later. When I got to the doors, they were labeled 'Gobbler' and 'Hen.'

"Always one to play a prank on them, I opened a door and walked in, gobbling like a mad turkey — only to find no urinals, no boys, and one pair of blue slacks visible below the divider.

"After a hastily retreat to the table, I saw my sons laughing; they had heard the whole thing through the walls.

"Then a woman in blue slacks came running by at full speed, heading out the front door.

"I had gone into 'Hen.'"

The 'whatever' room

Wayne Smith, of Covington, says, "While women in men’s restrooms and vice versa is such a big deal in the U.S., there are places best characterized by this sign I found on a restroom door in Scotland: a female figure on the left, a male figure on the right, and a transgender figure in the middle, with this message underneath: 'WHATEVER — Just wash your hands.'

"So simple. Nobody gets their bloomers in a twist, and any wait lines are mixed genders."

I might suggest this is how the Scots handle the problem of kilts. Have you ever noticed how that symbol on the ladies room door could easily been interpreted as a guy in a kilt?

Bright light blues

Carrol DiBenedetto, of Baton Rouge, says, "Since you were so successful with your last public safety issue, the use of turn signals, I thought you could provide us with another campaign to benefit the driving public.

"Too many folks like to drive with their bright lights on, and refuse to dim them at a blinking request."

Special People Dept.

Donna and Dr. Gerd Benda, of Houma, celebrate their 65th anniversary Wednesday, Feb. 3. He is retired from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and is a Korean War veteran. She is a retired teacher.

Priority One

OK, just one more restroom story:

Wanda Gee says, "One night in the ’60s in Tiger Stadium, the lines were very long in front of the dozen or so stalls in the ladies restroom.

"The game was exciting, halftime would soon be over, and we were anxious to get back to our seats.

"Several of us soon spotted a huge rat on the slanted beam directly over our heads. You never heard such hysterical screaming — but the amazing thing is not a single lady left her place in line to run out; me included.

"The rat wasn't fazed. I think he enjoyed the attention."

Try to remember

Russ Wise, of LaPlace, presents the revolutionary notion that this column serves a useful purpose. He explains why he thinks this:

"One reason I enjoy your column is that my memory is like an old hand pump. It still works, but it has to be primed before anything can come pouring out."


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.