Alligator wrangler saves day

When you tell somebody from out of state that you’re from Louisiana and talk to them long enough, the subject of alligators is bound to come up.

They may not think we have gators in our backyards, but they assume we’re likely to run into them on a regular basis.

I doubt that this happens to most of us, but sometimes we do indeed hear of a gator encounter. For instance:

Marilyn Bourgeois Hess, of Morganza, was sitting at her kitchen table having her morning coffee and reading The Advocate when she saw her cat inspecting something in the yard:

“I thought it looked too large to be a snake, so I went to the door to get a closer look.

“It was an alligator — true, it was only about four feet long, but a gator!”

Afraid her cat was going to wind up a snack, she called Serio’s Service Station.

Charlie Serio, 93, consulted with younger brother Jack, who suggested calling 911.

While Marilyn was talking to the very professional lady at 911 seeking help, Charlie flagged down Richard David, who had been reading meters in the neighborhood.

Says Marilyn, “A white truck rolled in the yard and Richard came to take care of it.

“Where he learned the art of roping and tying a gator, I don’t know, but he did it in no time.”

She thanks the Serio brothers and Richard — and hopes her cat chooses his playmates more carefully from now on. …

Happy returns

“I’m a dimwit!” is the way Kellie Brame, of Hammond, prefaced her note thanking “some honest, caring folks at The Recycling Foundation in Baton Rouge.”

Seems she reached for her iPad one day as she was leaving for work, and realized it had somehow gotten into her recycling trash, which had been picked up an hour earlier:

“I called the company, and Dawn Smiley answered the phone at 6:45 a.m. She showed great concern and explained that the truck would make its rounds in Hammond and Ponchatoula, then return to Baton Rouge.

“Dawn said she would get someone to help her try to find my iPad once the truck was dumped, but it might be difficult locating in 6,000 pounds of trash.

“Fortunately, we were able to send a signal to the iPad so it would make noise to help in the search.

“But when the truck returned, the hydraulics were broken so it could not be emptied as planned.

“That’s when employee Kevin Eackles decided to climb into the truck and dig through the piles of trash until he located it.

“On top of that, the driver of the truck, Cassandra Combs, offered to deliver the iPad to me when she returned to Hammond a couple of days later.

“Amazing folks at The Recycling Foundation!”

Mountain biker

Keith Horcasitas says, “As a N’Awlins Yat who grew up in the Uptown/Carrollton area, it was fun to ride my banana bike up and down the only ‘mountain’ there — the one at the Audubon Zoo we affectionately called ‘Monkey Hill.’

“I don’t really recall why it was called that — maybe some of your Yat readers could help me?”

Muddy for a cause

Danielle Chauvin says the Southern Mud Riderz, a Baton Rouge ATV group, hosted an event recently that raised $23,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.

(Congratulations to the mud-riding group — and I congratulate myself for not using the phrase “dirty money.”)

Worthy causes

A number of charities benefit from a raffle for restaurant gift cards by the Altrusa Club of Baton Rouge Foundation.

Ticket are $5 and the drawing is at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, at Drusilla Seafood, supervised by Constable Reginald Brown.

It benefits homeless children, food pantries, the Wounded Warrior Project, Volunteers of America and others.

Contacts: Marti Didier, (225) 939-0460 or; Jan Holmes, (225) 810-3203 or

Special People Dept.

Shelton LeJeune, of Grosse Tete, a native of Brusly, celebrated his 94th birthday Wednesday, Nov. 13.

This one’s for Tom

When I heard that the Rev. Tom Adams, of Denham Springs, had died at 89, I thought back to all the funny stories Tom had given me over the years, and thought the best way to remember him was to repeat one from him I used in my book, “Smiley! A Laughing Matter.”

(When I called Tom the other day to see how he was doing, he fussed at me for not using one of his jokes, so maybe this will make up for it.)

After Hurricane Andrew blew through south Louisiana, a New Iberia radio station urged people to go to the health center for inoculations.

A lady showed up there and told the receptionist she was Madame Melancon from Pecan Island and was there for her shot.

The receptionist said, “Madame Melancon, you got to get that shot in your precinct.”

Exasperated, the lady responded, “I don’t understand; those ladies over there are getting ’em in the arm!”

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.