Calvin Trillin, in the Sept. 6 New Yorker, writes of a trip to the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival with friend Peter Wolf, who grew up in New Orleans before moving to New York.

Calvin, who has a special interest in Louisiana's lifestyle and cuisine (his earlier article on boudin is a masterpiece), repeats a great line about our lawmakers:  

He says Peter Wolf's father "put the state government in perspective for me…just after I had returned from watching the Legislature in Baton Rouge stage some particularly bizarre entertainment in anticipation of the imminent desegregation of the New Orleans schools.

"'What you have to remember about Baton Rouge,' he said, 'is that it's not southern United States, it's northern Costa Rica.'"  

Lure of boudin

As mentioned above, the humorist Calvin Trillin penned a memorable article on boudin, in the Jan. 28, 2002 issue of The New Yorker.

For a guy from Kansas City who lives in New York, he shows a remarkable understanding of the Cajun treat and the best way to enjoy it:

"I figure that 80 percent of the boudin purchased in Louisiana is consumed before the purchaser has left the parking lot, and most of the rest of it is polished off in the car. In other words, Cajun boudin not only doesn't get outside the state; it usually doesn't even get home."

The Indiana way?

I hesitate to enter the ongoing "Great Potato Salad in Gumbo" controversy, since feelings evidently run strong and I don't want to alienate faithful readers.

Oh, what the heck — I'm a "gumbo over rice, potato salad on the side" guy. So sue me.

On that subject, Emily Vokes, of Ponchatoula, tells of this somewhat mystifying experience:

"I had never heard of potato salad in gumbo until a couple of years ago. I was having lunch with a friend at Middendorf's and she asked for it. She is from Indiana!"

Where's she from?

"PMR" says, "At a Baton Rouge Jambalaya Shoppe, I ordered a small bucket of jambalaya and a quart of gumbo. The clerk said rice came with the gumbo.

"As I was paying, the lady behind me tapped my shoulder and said, 'Tell the clerk to make sure they put rice with your jambalaya too!'"

Where To Go, What To Eat

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Sweaty times

Richie Schega, of Mandeville, adds to our seminar on surviving down here without air conditioning:

"As LSU freshmen in August of '72, my cousin Chuck, roommate Alex, and I lived on the fifth floor of West Stadium, which had no elevator or AC.

"The afternoon sun would heat up the concrete walls, and the heat would not subside till around 10 every night. Fans didn't help.

"On the bright side, when the weather turned cold, we'd lay wet towels on the hot radiators in the men's showers, and the whole floor would have a sauna night. Grrrreat times."

Special People Dept.

— Robert W. Mancill Sr., of Central, celebrated his 94th birthday Sunday, Sept. 26. He retired from Baton Rouge General Hospital as chief of the X-ray department after 36 years service. He is a Navy veteran.

— Hilda Mae Singleton "Granny" Treuil, of Port Allen, celebrates her 94th birthday Monday, Sept. 27. She walks two miles every day.

— Johanna Buckley, of Luling, celebrates her 90th birthday Monday, Sept. 27.

— Michelle Cave, of Baton Rouge, celebrated her 90th birthday Wednesday, Sept. 22, in style. Daughter Victoria Cave, a professional singer (Broadway shows, touring with Steely Dan, performing in Monte Carlo), hired a four-piece band for the festivities (with wine, food, tiara, balloons, etc.) 

— Ted and Dorothy Varnado, of Baton Rouge, celebrate their 70th anniversary Monday, Sept. 27. He's from Kentwood, she's from New York. They met when students at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

— Judy and Frank Traub, of Metairie, celebrated their 50th anniversary Saturday, Sept. 25.

Screen time

Marsha R., of Baton Rouge, says, "My daughter Leslie pointed out that nowadays we have the biggest TV screens ever…and we watch movies on our phones.

"And we wonder why aliens haven't dropped in to introduce themselves."


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.