Smiley mug

Advocate columnist Smiley Anders

Our mention of Bishop Stanley Ott, who led the Diocese of Baton Rouge years ago, brought this from Sara Lemon, of Baton Rouge:

"A friend and I were going to the opera at what was then the Centroplex. We parked just across the street and went in, and there in the lobby was Bishop Ott.

"I introduced myself, congratulated him on recently being made Bishop, and told him I had taken his classes on the Catholic Church when he was a young priest.

"When we stepped outside after the opera, it was raining. As we got in the car, we saw Bishop Ott, walking without an umbrella.

"I rolled down the window and offered him a ride, but he insisted that was not necessary.

"Then, seeing we would never be able to back out into the two lanes of traffic, he halted two lanes of cars with a mighty wave of his arm.

"A second wave directed us safely out onto the street and on our way. Hallelujah!"

Fun reading

Tim Palmer, of Lafayette, a former Prairieville resident, says Gonzales must have been one of the towns mentioned in the Friday column as having a multitude of nicknames among the populace:

"One of my dad’s brothers, who lives in Alexandria, always wanted Dad to get a copy of the Gonzales phone book for him, so he could see all the nicknames listed in the book."

Life in paradise

"As summer draws near," says Rick Marshall, of Baton Rouge, "I am reminded of how we spent our time as kids.

"We would catch bees in 'maynez' jars with holes poked in the top for air, pick blackberries for MaMaw to make a cobbler, catch bream with PaPaw for a fish fry, ride the city bus for a dime to downtown Baton Rouge to watch movies at the Paramount Theater, and go down that monster slide at Thunderbird Beach.

"And we only wore shoes when we had to."

Trouble in paradise

After several readers recalled the joys of childhood “barefootin’,” we heard from Nancy C. Van Den Akker, of New Orleans, with another view of the practice:

"Going barefoot was fine in the spring, and very pleasant on the feet.

"But into summer, the heat would melt the tar on the street, and did that burn! And it stuck!

"Then there were those tiny stickers in the grass."

(Yeah, what were those things called, and why were there so many of them everywhere?)

His final bout

Sonny Punch, of Lafayette, has another story about his days at Immaculata Elementary School, Marrero:

"Our Monsignor, Father Gaudet, was a great boxing fan. One day on the playground another boy and I were having a physical disagreement.

"We were apprehended by Sister John Ellen, our most no-nonsense nun, and brought before Father Gaudet.

"He gave us 60-ounce boxing gloves and told us to go at it; 3 minutes a round!

"I never thought 3 minutes was that long! It was almost like fighting with heavy pillows!

"After two rounds we couldn’t lift our little arms up anymore. No more playground fighting for me!"

Special People Dept.

Marian Cupples, of Landmark South, Baton Rouge, celebrates her 98th birthday Monday, April 17. (I'm told, "She loves to watch the geese outside her window, and is happy to report there is a new little family that just hatched.")

Sinful brother

A school story from Gail Stephenson, of Baton Rouge:

"In my hometown of Campti, the Catholic school required students to attend daily Mass.

"In those days, that meant the kids had to go to confession daily.

"A friend told me when he was 7, it was hard to come up with a sin to confess every day. So he started pinching his little sister every morning before he left for school."

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by mail at P.O. Box 2304, Baton Rouge, LA 70821. Follow Smiley Anders on Twitter, @SmileyAndersAdv.