As I sift through my mailbox every morning, I sometimes come across surveys by national firms that purport to have determined the "best" of something in our state.

I recall one recently that said "AirHeads," whatever that is, was the favorite candy in Louisiana.   

I was about to dump one I got from, listing "The Best College Town in Every State," when I perused their survey result and found it rather — extraordinary.

The research organization ranked college towns of 250,000 or less, measuring things like rental costs, college education rates, transportation access, unemployment rates, bar availability, etc.

Iowa City, Iowa, home of the University of Iowa, was ranked No. 1. And coming in at No. 40 out of 50 towns was Louisiana's best college town — Metairie, home of the University of New Orleans (?).

To tell the truth, I hadn't expected this result, but I suppose congratulations are in order…

Tiger on wheels

Joe Fairchild, of Thibodaux, adds to our legends about LSU's Mike the Tiger:

"I am surprised that no one has brought up this before, but at one time, I remember reading about Mike the Tiger's trailer cage coming loose on Airline Highway from the car that was taking him, I believe, to the Tulane game in New Orleans.

"I don't believe anyone was injured, but can you imagine driving along and meeting a tiger cage with a live tiger in it coming down the highway? Only in Louisiana!"

Coors and cavities

Jim Mestayer, of Baton Rouge, recalls the days when Coors beer from Colorado was a sought-after beverage in these parts:

"When Coors was not available in Louisiana, our Saturday afternoon tennis group enjoyed drinking it on a regular basis. How could this happen?

"Among the members of our group was a dentist who had an agreement with an interstate truck driver. Every time the driver went to Texas (where Coors was available) he brought back the beer for us.

"In return the dentist provided him with free dental service."    

Indispensable stick

Roland Guarino, of Abbeville, tells this terrifying tale:

"When I was about 7, in 1937, every Sunday my family would visit my grandparents near Broussard.

"In their outhouse was a long, thin bamboo stick, about 2 feet long. Having no idea why it was there, I threw it on the dirt floor.

"While using the facility, all of a sudden I felt a tremendous piercing pain in the tenderest part of my bottom. I shot straight up like a launching rocket!

"After clearing my mind, I searched for an explanation.

"I looked in the hole and saw two large hens. One of them cocked its head to one side, and I swear there was a smile on its beak and a glow in its eye.

"The bamboo stick was a chicken shooer. After that, I never ever used the outhouse without it."   

Special People Dept.

Ruth "Granny" Williams, of Metairie, celebrated her 100th birthday Saturday, Sept. 28.

Professional witness

Russ Wise, of LaPlace, comments on a recent offer from Shooter Mullins to serve as a witness to golfers hoping to get a hole-in-one:  

"Shooter seems to have a good idea. Now that I’m retired with plenty of time on my hands, I’m available to witness holes-in-one, large fishes that escaped, amazing feats of strength, or any other accomplishment that requires witnessing.

"Prices are negotiable, but must include beer and travel expenses."

Miracle golfer

A reader using the alias "Gefshadow" tells this golfing story:

"Out on the West Coast word got around in golf circles about an amazing lady who took up golf for the first time in her late 60s, and in only a month had SIX holes-in-one.

"A reporter for the local paper tracked her down for an interview, and asked the big question on everyone's mind, 'Tell us, please, what is your secret?'

"Her answer: 'I just don't know; I can't explain it. But I'll tell you this much, my confidence is really growing! So much so that I'm almost ready to stop walking the ball to the hole.'"

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.