P.J. Bourgeois, of Opelousas, says D-Day on June 6 reminded him of this story:

"I was a young boy during World War II.

"There was a camp for German prisoners of war in Port Allen, where I believe the courthouse now stands. It held about 500 prisoners.

"For a while, most of them came from North Africa, and were rather arrogant, as they still believed Germany would win the war.

"But then, when we started getting prisoners who had been captured on the mainland of Europe, they knew the jig was up and they were going to lose, so they became much less arrogant.

"My father, who managed Smithfield Plantation, used Germans to work in the fields. My brothers and I used to ride our horses out into the fields to talk to the Germans, some of whom spoke good English.

"My father gave two hogs to the prison camp, so they could have a good meal for Christmas.

"After the war, when the Germans had gone home, we received letters expressing their gratitude for the good treatment they had received in Port Allen and on Smithfield Plantation."

War's toll

Speaking of D-Day, Larry Sylvester says, "Reading about the Normandy visits and ceremonies in The Advocate this time of year reminds me of visits to military cemeteries I have made in my lifetime.

"The first one I remember vividly was Gettysburg, and I was struck at the time by the thought that the one lasting physical relic of that battle was the cemetery with its endless rows of graves.

"Later on, during visits to France, I was taken to see some American cemeteries in eastern parts of France, and finally to Normandy, where the sight of the American cemetery near Omaha Beach is something I found overwhelming.

"My poetic efforts to express my feelings on those occasions sounds much better in French because of the economy of words and the rhyme scheme:

"Tout ce qui reste

Après les guerres

C'est toujours

Les cimetières."

("All that remains

After the wars 

It's always

The cemeteries.")

Sunny side up

"Passionate, hysterical LSU baseball fan" Susan Lipsey says while she was "very disappointed" that LSU did not win the super regional with Florida State, "post-game news conferences and sportscasters made it sound like there was a death in the family. No way!

"I, along with thousands of our fans, thank and congratulate the team. We can’t get to Omaha every year and win it. But we ARE in the hunt every year.

"And guess what? The sun DID come up the next morning."

Special People Dept.

  • Audrey and Lloyd Schroeder, of Gonzales, formerly of Harahan, celebrated their 73rd anniversary Tuesday, June 11.
  • Curtis and Eleana Mitchel, of Baton Rouge, celebrated their 70th anniversary Wednesday, June 12, Curtis' 91st birthday. He is an Army veteran.  
  • Cooper and Marjorie Thibodeaux, of Zachary, celebrate 66 years of marriage Thursday, June 13.

Paula's mom story

When Pat Bourg told me his mother, Paula Trapani Bourg, died Friday, 52 days before her 101st birthday, I recalled her great stories she shared with us.

For instance, one about her surprise visit from Baton Rouge to New Orleans to see her mother:

"Finding myself short of cash, I went directly from the bus station to Hibernia Bank to have my paycheck cashed. When the bank officer asked for identification, I told him I was visiting my mother.

"Surprised when he asked for her name and phone number, I forgot to tell him everybody called her 'Miss Nellie.'

"When he called to have her identify me, and asked for 'Mrs. Trapani,' she denied any kinship, and told him he'd better arrest the imposter.

"After she realized he was serious, she apologized and explained that she ran a grocery store in the Irish Channel, and salesmen were always teasing her.

"Although I had the best mother in the world, there were times I wanted to wring her neck."

Thought for the Day

From Wayne LeCompte, of Metairie: "I finally realized it. People are prisoners of their phones — that's why they are called CELL Phones."


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.