Smiley: Emphatic de-emphasis

Some of my friends in the academic community (yes, I have such friends) have for years expressed the wish that LSU would place less emphasis on football and more on education.

Well, they finally got their wish, but the de-emphasizing of football came at an unusual time — late Saturday evening, in Tuscaloosa. …

The Guv

When I moved into my Spanish Town home in 1990, I was invited to a neighborhood party and was told the governor was going to make an appearance.

I had visions of Buddy Roemer strolling over from the Mansion, but soon learned that it was not the governor, but “The Governor,” aka “The Guv” — Jerry Norvell, who proclaimed himself governor of Spanish Town.

Jerry was a flamboyant guy, who favored big hats with flowers on them, and wore Mardi Gras beads year-round.

He always had a little furry, yappy dog with him, and he was known for arriving early and leaving late at all parties, telling outrageous tales of his adventures.

He was a character out of a Tennessee Williams play or a Truman Capote story, and if he had been in Savannah, he would have surely been in John Berendt’s “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.”

He was a perfect fit for Spanish Town, a diverse and fun-loving neighborhood.

The note announcing his memorial service at Ingleside Methodist described him as “revered and respected for his loyalty, commitment and enthusiastic patronage to the Spanish Town community at large.”

The Guv died on Halloween, a time for dressing up and having fun. How appropriate. …

Different jambalaya

After I made fun of “jambalaya over rice” on a restaurant menu, I heard from readers who said while this might not be the Gonzales way of cooking the dish, it can be done.

Barbara Maderson says, “I have never liked gummy rice. Back in the ’70s, a friend suggested I try Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice. WOW! That solved the problem.

“When I make jambalaya, I cook the rice separately from the jambalaya ‘base.’ When I am ready to serve, I just put the base in a pot, add the rice and heat it together.

“At a family celebration at the home of a famous New Orleans restaurant owner, they told me this is how they prepare it in their restaurant.”

A woman’s place

Mary Dan Kuhnle, a member of St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans, tells of “a unique situation” at her church:

“On Sunday, Nov. 17, a female will be our new pastor.

“The Rev. Elizabeth Lott is the only female pastor of a mainstream, predominately white Baptist congregation in the city.

“The times they are a-changing!”

Bitter bite

Zoe Schluter says my tale of super-hot chili peppers “reminded me of a ‘bitter tale.’

“I was traveling with my family in the Napa Valley. In the parking lot of one of the wineries there were many olive trees loaded with olives.

“I picked an olive and bit into it. It was so bitter I had to get rid of the nasty taste by sampling many wines in the tasting room — so I don’t guess the experience was all bad!”

Worthy causes

November is Eyeglass Recycling Month, and Lions Club members have recycling boxes all over Baton Rouge for your old glasses.

Call Bill Simon at (225) 270-9836 or (225) 756-7077.

“Celebrate the Family,” the 20th annual gala of Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge, is from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Friday at the Shaw Center for the Arts.

The event recognizes families that “have overcome severe adversity or contributed through their volunteer efforts to strengthen the community.”

Go to

Topless Maw Maw

Sulynn Ganey, of Denham Springs, says, “I have always wanted a convertible, and thought I had reached high status when I bought a BMW convertible.

“But I was moved up a notch by my granddaughters, who have placed the highest possible status on it by naming it ‘Maw Maw’s robot car.’

“It has this title because the top comes down when you push a button. Aren’t kids cute?”

Changing times

Ernie Gremillion says our recent story about the Girl Scout’s Camp Merrydale “reminds me of a story my daughter told about her experiences there years ago.

“When she was describing her roommates in her cabin, she said one of her roommates, instead of having underwear that had ‘Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday’ etc., on them, had ‘June, July, August’ etc.”

Recycled Aggie joke?

J.P. Morgan, of Geismar, says, “Recently my wife and I locked the keys in our car. We eventually got the doors unlocked, but it reminded us of the story about Boudreaux when he locked his keys in his car.

“It took him two hours to get his brother out of the car.”

Write Smiley at He can also be reached by fax at (225) 388-0351 or mail at P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA 70821.