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Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Leonard Earl Johnson (photo credit Frank Parsley) covered Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), and the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for ConsumerAffairs.com. He is a contributor to Gambit Weekly, New Orleans Magazine, SCAT, Baton Rouge Advocate, Advocate Magazine, The Times-Picayune, Country Roads Magazine, Palm Springs Newswire and the anthologies: FRENCH QUARTER FICTION (Light of New Orleans Publishing), LOUISIANA IN WORDS (Pelican Publishing), LIFE IN THE WAKE (NOLAfuges.com), and more. Johnson is a former Merchant Seaman, and columnist at Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans; and African-American Village. Attended Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, and Harry Lundeberg School of Seamanship at Piney Point, Maryland. Winner of the Press Club of New Orleans Award for Excellence, 1991, and given the Key to The City and a Certificate of Appreciation from the New Orleans City Council for a Gambit Weekly story on murder in the French Quarter.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

✍ Amtrikeling Along / June 2023

⚓ ⚓

ing Along
June 2023
Leonard Earl Johnson
Fiction ~
Roman à clef, cher! 

Sunset Limited bound for
Lafayette, Louisiana


Number One, the Sunset Limited 
is the first train in America to carry a name.  Its origins trace back to 1894, running daily (originaly as the Sunset Express) between New Orleans and San Francisco. Making it America's first coast-to-coast rail line, if you consider the Louisiana Gulf Coast a coast.

The route has shrunk.  Now it runs New Orleans to Los Angeles three days a week.  Departing (usually) at 9am, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

New Orleans is the Sunset's railhead, the end of the line.  Meaning the road ends ~ or begins ~ in NOLa.  It originates ~ or terminates ~ on the other end in Los Angeles.  

This great Iron Horse has had few on-time arrivals at either railhead, or anywhere in between in the past fifty years.  Federal law mandates right-of-way to passenger trains, but this unfortunate trainset crosses the bloated heart of bloody red Republican Texas, where the hat worn by a public service railroad does not hold much water.  Amtrak is routinely halted for the passage of oil and freight ~ while human cargo is left on the sidetrack drinking surprisingly good coffee.  

"But no longer, 'smoking big cigars' ", L. A. Norma says. "Like Johnny Cash used to sing about." 
"Not even little cigarettes," she adds, knocking a Camel ash into a long necked receptacle at the terminal house door.

Sunset Limited, Westbound

Yet it miraculously almost always departs New Orleans on time.  Providing its arrival the day before was the same day as actually scheduled. 


Dillard and Sylvia boarded for Lafayette, Louisiana.  Where they had decamped months ago, after being forced off a special Trump Rouge Train stopped overnight in the Cajun Hub City.
Cathedral Oak  /  Lafayette Louisiana

They stayed in Lafayette, took a large airy apartment overlooking the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral Oak Tree, and
joined the Cathedral congregation.   They begun making groceries at Rouses Market, "To show solidarity with Donald Rouse, Sr.'s presence at the January 6, D. C. Insurrection."

Dillard boasts of their assimilation to all who will stop and listen.

According to the Times-Picayune / NOLa.com, Rouse Market's ex- Human Rights Director, Steve Galtier posted photos on his Facebook page of him and Rouse, Sr. in facemasks and baseball caps at the park where Trump supporters gathered near the White House.  He posted more images of the surrounding crowd accompanied by the caption: Millions in DC today with us.

"We are not parlor pinks," Dillard points out. "We are deadhead deadeye reds."


The Red Women are so called for their red hair, hats, clothing, and politics.

Dillard and Sylvia fell from favor on the campaign train for their insistence on buttons, ribbons and banners encouraging Americans to rekindle their lost war for the Confederacy at home, and overseas in Vietnam.  

The Pack Leader of the Iron Horse Red Women is known as, The Red Mistress.  She says, "It is really not Party policy to advocate wars, or to deport Vietnamese fisher folk, but it is a good strategy for making America great again.  Keep them fighting again and again.  And again!"

"Till the streets run red with blood,
said a D. C. demonstrator wearing an aluminum hat and a leopard cape.


To this end these Rouge Republicans have abandoned Abe Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt ~ Republicans who liberated masses and dug the Panama Canal.  

Replacing them with the rote dogma that their own government is their own enemy, a wedge tactic of occupying armies older than New Orleans demonized Civil War governor, Benjamin 'Spoons' Butler.  They even aligned themselves with the remnants of the old Soviet Union and act like a Fifth Column for Russia inside the United States.

Their motto should be: 
"Think government can work?  Elect us and prove it can not!"


The Party wants to arm every man, woman, and child.  To mold streetfighters willing to attack America, from its Capital to school yards, to movie theatres, to temples and churches, to street cafés, to you and yours.

"They play chicken with the National Debt, triggering a raise in the debt's massive interest load,"
 L. A. Norma snorts, exhaling a gray plum of Camel cigarette smoke,
 "and the interest you pay on your bank cards, too! 

"Republicans don't mind spending money, 
as long as it doesn't do any good."
www.LEJ.world http://www.LEJ.org
 © 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 

⚓  ⚓ ⚓

~  *  ~      ~  *  ~      ~  *  ~

~    ~    ~


Leonard Earl Johnson, www.LEJ.world 
Photograph © Leonard Earl Johnson 

If you wish to read any month's column go to www.LEJ.world anytime. 
They are posted on the first of each month and polished for the next few years.

~   ~   ~

 LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.world
and historically at
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans
publication of the

It is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 



Lagniappe du Jour

Monday, May 01, 2023

⚓Return of the Red Women Warriors / May 2023

⚓ ⚓

Andrew Jackson on a horse 
Jackson Square, New Orleans / Photo credit: Eric Douglas


Return of the Red Women Warriors


Fiction ~
Roman à clef, cher! 
BY  Leonard Earl Johnson 

© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 

 Sylvia, the shorter of the two Red Women tipped her red beribboned hat and handed the bus tickets over to her slightly taller fellow traveler, Dillard.  The tickets are to Baton Rouge.

Dillard had waited at Rêve Coffee Roasters while Sylvia was entrusted to cross Jefferson Street and make the purchase.  

Dillard accepted the tickets and dropped them in her red purse.  Both women's purses, hats, and shoes are brilliant shades of various reds; and the sashes across their breasts read: "Turn Back Voter Turnout!"

Their departure is in a half hour from under the clock tower at the Rosa Parks Transportation Centré, Lafayette, Louisiana.  

The two Red Women Warriors are in pursuit of a place to promote their causes.  Causes not only of turning back voter turnout and reviving lost wars at home and in Asia, but also Party denial of Constitutional rights to privacy in all things but guns. Thus ending forever every American woman's choice. 

"The horrifying abortion wedge-issue!" L. A. Norma says. 

"Replacing it with politicians in black robes and stone council.  In other words, the American Taliban!"
🚥 🚦 🚥

Clock Tower,
Rosa Parks

Transportation Centré    
Lafayette Louisiana

 The Rosa Parks Transportation Centré clock is handsomely part Walt Disney and part French modern.  It towers over the parking lot bus bays, train platforms, and taxi stands, keeping track of time for travelers too hurried to keep it for themselves.  

 The two Red Women finish their Espresso Rosemary and walk across the street to the Greyhound loading platform.

Their first stop came twenty minutes after departure.  Then again in a half hour at crossroads somewhere where they were told to get off and board another bus. 

"All passengers going to Baton Rouge," the driver said, opening the hydraulic door.

Dillard looked at her ticket.  Then at Sylvia's.  "We are going down the Old Bottom Road," she said to no one in particular.  

A young man carrying a black and white chapbook and wearing white fisherman's boots with plastic colored jewels glued to the tops answered, "Yes."  Eyes heavily lidded, the fisherman, poet, and travel-advisor turned his shoulder enough to let a shaft of sunlight cut through the bus window and strike a large yellow jewel on his left boot.

Dillard's question had been rhetorical but she thanked him anyway.  He nodded and returned to the arms of Morpheus.  The yellow light splattered around his face and spackled the empty seat by his side.

Dillard and Sylvia moved down the aisle and down the bus steps. The driver explained they had taken the local, "The one making multiple stops and arriving in Baton Rouge after sunset." 

"But that's after the Governor's funeral!" Sylvia said.  Dillard glared back at her.

For no reason either woman could explain Dillard was the leader of their little landing party cast off for insubordination, as they had been from a trainload of Red Women Warriors for The Donald crisscrossing Louisiana.  

She thanked the driver and gave him a sticker that read, Turn Back Voter Turnout.  He looked at it before dropping it in the waste can. 

Dillard and Sylvia reboarded the bus with new tickets taking them to New Orleans.  "We will arrive there in time for Louis Sahuc's final second line," Dillard said.

Louis Sahuc
 New Orleans Photographer
Louis Sahuc lay in his own bed in his Lower Pontalba apartment above Photo Workshis streetlevel shop and studio on Jackson Square.  

Louis Sahuc lay in hospice care.  

Friends gathered beneath his balcony with traditional Louisiana bravado and musical instruments.  He did not rise to wave to the crowd ~ as some had hoped ~ but he did expire the next morning before Sunrise. 

💜 💚💛

Sylvia set to hanging a banner between the pillars below Sahuc's balcony, facing Decatur Street.  The second line band, To Be Continued, played The Saints Marching In, while celebrants waved their white handkerchiefs.  

Sylvia's banner read: 
Peace is the Cause of Bad Wars,
Never Stop Fighting
 🠇🠇 🠗

Two Vietnamese creole youths on skateboards swept down the sidewalk past Saint Louis Cathedral, rounded the corner by the Lower Pontalba, and took out the banner. 

They surged across Decatur Street and up the Battery ramp to The River.  At the bottom of the Moonwalk Steps they set the banner ablaze.  Sparks fluttered out over the gray rickrack.  The muddy Mississippi passed by.  


Sylvia and Dillard left Jackson Square in disgust. Their pamphlets to revive the War in Vietnam blew over the wrought iron fence, tumbled across the green, and gathered at the statue of Andrew Jackson victoriously astride his bronze mount after turning back the American's second war with England.

The two Red Women, dejected, walked up Rue Chartres with their red rubber shoes squishing faintly in the ear of the hot pavement.  At The Wrinkle Room they pushed open the door, and got very drunk

⚓  ⚓ ⚓

~  *  ~      ~  *  ~      ~  *  ~

~    ~    ~


Leonard Earl Johnson, www.LEJ.world 
Photograph © Leonard Earl Johnson 

If you wish to read any month's column go to www.LEJ.world anytime. 
They are posted on the first of each month and polished for the next few years.

~   ~   ~

 LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.world
and historically at
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans
publication of the

It is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 

Saturday, April 01, 2023

✍Easter on The River of Bourbon Street / April 2023

© 2023 Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

Your Comments and corrections are welcome
click here

Photo credit: Leonard Earl Johnson

 *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  

LEJ's Louisiana

a monthly e-column at www.LEJ.world

Yours Truly in a Swamp

by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana


Dedicated to

May 5, 1935 ~ April 7, 2023
~  *    ~  *  ~   ~  *  ~

Easter on the River 

of Bourbon Street

Leonard Earl Johnson
© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson,  All Rights Reserved

* * 
Jackson Square, NOLa    
 photo credit:  J. R. Tullos

After Easter Mass, L. A. Norma and I left the piercing witch hat towers of Saint Louis Cathedral and headed for the soaring two-story balconies of Bourbon Street.

There we were lifted on the chaliced wings of whiskey served from temples named Oz and Bourbon Pub.

here are many nightclubs named 'Oz' and 'Pub' on streets like this in every port city of the world. But only these two dancehalls flanking this intersection of Bourbon and Rue Saint Ann in New Orleans draw such a noted cultural line in the socio-political sand.   Once crossed mostly
 by gay men.  Then gay men and gay women.  Today added to the patron mix are many who read National Geographic and follow Liberty's Torch caring not a wit with whom the next table dances, nor in what attire they are bedecked.

This is the demarcation point that turns back Reader's Digest tourists.  Back to Canal Street's familiar hotels and edited narrative.  Beyond this intersection pass explorers seeking the gentrified bohemia of the lower French Quarter, and the musical sirens of Faubourgs Marigny, Tremé, and Bywater.

We took seats on the balcony above the Pub's swinging shingle, and watched the masses with their arms upraised in jubilation of Christ's Resurrection ~ or beads.  

There touched by Easter's spirit and the elfin Mr. Booze we saw Jesus walking down this street of sin. He wore a crown of thorns over His long black hair. He wore sandals, too, and was naked save for a loincloth cut like the one in the paintings.  He was thin and looked like He might be Filipino ~ but mostly He looked like Jesus. Everyone on the balcony saw Him.

The Battle of Bourbon Strassa, NOLa

Norma exhaled a cloud of cigarette smoke and this proclamation:
 "Forget the Crucifixion, skip the fasting and 
go straight to the Resurrection!"

True to His Book, Jesus was slumming with the local rabble and reveling in their Easter experience.  As were they in His.

"Their experience is a damn sight easier'n His,"  L. A. Norma said, tapping her fingers along the tiny silver figure hanging on her necklace.  The Crucifixion on a silver chain.  A two-thousand year old Roman gismo for torture elevated to a symbol of good.  

"It's like Donald Trump edited the Gospels!" Norma snorted.

Everyone laughed and glowed in the righteous wonder of her thought. 

A few years back, a few blocks up the street, the late Chris Owens ~ an elderly Bourbon Street dancer and nightclub owner with staying power ~ conducted her annual Easter Parade with self-anointed grand-marshal David Duke crashing the street party. 

"It's Bourbon Street," L. A. Norma said, "you don't need no stinkin' invitation!"

 A brass band made of midgets played along, while elder ladies of the snatched-bodies cult and a half dozen or so young bunnies in pastel furs marched down the street and rode atop pedicabs throwing Spring colored underpants and beads

 Margareta and Chiquita Bergen
None among this human eddy gave any notice whatsoever to our walking Jesus, except a tourist family standing against the downstream wall of then Pete Fountain's (now Club Oz) directly across the street from where we sat. 

The father was wide-eyed. The girl, about seventeen, waved up to us. The pubescent son giggled and hugged his mother. Then along came Jesus headed straight for them. The tourist mother looked offended. She gathered her brood and paddled them off back towards Canal Street. Jesus did not seem bothered by their departure. 

"After all," Norma said, "He wrote the book on forgiveness." 

The sinners went on with their sinning. Then the Pope appeared on the Oz balcony. He stood directly above where the tourist family had been, and he was dressed head-to-toe in yellow and white satin. He blessed all who passed beneath him. He looked across the River of Bourbon Street and blessed us, too. We waved, and he motioned us over. We crossed the street and took our seats at the Pope's table.

We looked back at the Bourbon Pub balcony. The Pope, ever wise, said, "You cannot see yourself on the balcony you have just left." We had all had a lot to drink. 

The Pope handed out Wild Turkey and iced water, "Holy Water from the Holy River," he said.

Three real nuns, in old-fashioned black-and-white habits, came trotting down Rue Saint Ann, returning from a later mass. They passed our intersection headed towards Cathedral School. The Sea of Sinners parted. We all cheered.

"What would they think of seeing Jesus," L. A. Norma asked of no one in particular. She leaned over the balcony rail and yelled to the crowd below for Carnival beads. A photographer looked up and took her picture. I yelled down asking if he had seen Jesus. "No!" he shouted back. Would he like to? "Yes, of course, yes!"

The Pope lay his hands on my shoulders, and said, "Watch that woman, do not let her fall over the communion rail."

 Green Carnival beads landed on the Pope's pointy hat. They looked interesting, but he took them off and tossed them to two college boys on the street below. Norma told him the two boys should have opened their pants. He frowned and said sternly, "This is not Carnival!"

I said, "It is not Laughingyette either," but the Pope did not hear me ~ he was gone to find Jesus. Norma looked past my forehead and talked of far-ranging things.

The Pope returned without Jesus. He was balancing fresh drinks and passed them round the table. "He can not be found in this wicked den," said The Pope, handing out Wild Turkey and water.

When we looked up from our drinks we saw Him again. He was at our old balcony table across the street, waving. We waved back. His naked arms were lifted heavenward. His loincloth flapped in the whiskey-flavored air. The man with the camera jumped and shouted, "Your cross, your cross, show us your cross!"

Jesus looked down and bellowed: "Don't you know what holiday this is? It is Easter, I have no cross!" 

When LEJ wore a younger man's beard.
Katrina evacuation, atop the Presbyter copula,
Jackson Square, 
New Orleans, 2006
The Pope, assorted communion-rail leaners, and other followers passing on the street below shouted, "Is it Carnival?"

It wasn't.  It was Easter on the River of Bourbon Street.


Copyright, 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

Your Comments and corrections are welcome
click here

For more L. E. J.'s Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp go to 

If  you wish to read any month's story go to the archives at www.LEJ.world (Posted on the first of each month and polished for the next few years.) 

Hope you do, I love talking with you,
Leonard Earl Johnson,
Columnist to the elderly and early weary. 

© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved.

* *

Lagnappe du Jour

          Archives: www.LEJ.world

* * * * * * * * * * * * * 

© 2023 Leonard Earl Johnson,  All Rights Reserved.

© Leonard Earl Johnson 

If you wish to read any month's column go to 
~   ~   ~
 LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.world,
and historically at
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans
publication of the
It is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserve