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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.

Monday, August 01, 2022

โœThe Rector and JFK's Rocking Chair, plus / August 2022

 http://www.LEJ.org 

๐Ÿ’œ

๐Ÿ’ง

 The Rector and 

JFK's Rocking Chair, plus

~ Fiction ~
Roman ร  clef, cher! 
by Leonard Earl Johnson 
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
 www.LEJ.world โœ
ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 


๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ’€
๐Ÿ’€
โ‡“

Dillard leans on the gate bell.
Silvia stands a couple feet behind her talking with Baltazar, the fisherman-poet they met on the bus to New Orleans.  They are talking about the colored jewels he has pasted to the tops of his white rubber boots.  In Louisiana such white boots ~ sans the jewels ~ are a shrimper's uniform and I. D.  

"The rubber keeps out the water," he tells her.  "No one knows why they are white."  They both laugh.

"Some people say boots are white so as to not scuff the deck," she says.

Baltazar replies"Those people have never been on a shrimp boat."

On the manicured lawn beyond the gate rests a path calmly guarded by magnolias and palmettos.  At the path's end sits the Rectory of the Cathedral of Saint John The Evangelist.  It is The Rector's home, office, and reception hall.

Cathedral of Saint John The Evangelist,
courtesy Dioceses of Lafayette
 
 Up a few stairs, windows line a broad gallery and sparkle in the morning sun.

 The Rector and his housekeeper, Hildegard Bottlebrush, watch unseen from behind double hung cut-glass windows set deeply in heavy mahogany doors.  

The Rector sees it is the two Red Women whom he does not care to see, and Baltazar Boudreaux, who he does.  

Baltazar has a JFK memento he wants to sell that would be a perfect gift for the Bishop of Lafayette.  The Red Women have banners, stickers, slogans, and madness.  And the ability to make a young priest dream of better wine.

๐Ÿ’œ
๐Ÿ’ง

The Bishop of Lafayette is The Rector's temporal and spiritual leader.  In 1963, when The Bishop was a child of eleven, his Father and Mother drove him from Basile Louisiana to Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas, to see President John F. Kennedy get his brains blown out over the long shiny black trunk of his Lincoln Continental limousine.  Of course, the boy never forgot it.

He saved his pennant and lapel pin from that day, and  over the years he added to his JFK collection until it grew so large that LIFE Magazine once did a two page photo spread about it.  

Years later, one of the government's Assassination Full Disclosure hearings traveled to New Orleans and set up tent in the Old U. S. Mint, in the French Quarter.  That was 1995.  The boy, now grown and a rising Prince of the Catholic Church, was asked to put his collection on display and say a few words.  He did this gladly.

Yes indeed, Baltazar does have something The Rector very much wants.  Something to give The Bishop at his Birthday party.  

The something is a little porcelain rocking chair suggestive of one where the President was often photographed rocking, flexing back muscles injured in World War The Second. 

JFK Memento 

๐Ÿ’€โ›พ๐Ÿ’€ The Rector turns to Bottlebrush and tells her to bring the visitors to his second floor study.  "And coffee, please."  These last words he spoke from an ascending electric folding chair attached to a steel rail bolted to the wall next to the stair treads.  Slowly, electrically, The Rector rose.  The Housekeeper buzzed open the gate.  The visitors entered.
~  *  ~      ~  *  ~      ~  *  ~

๐Ÿ—ฃ ๐Ÿ˜ท
~    ~    ~

Leonard Earl Johnson, www.LEJ.WORLD โœ
 

http://www.LEJ.org
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
Hosted by GOOGLE BLOGGER,
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
ยฉ 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 

Friday, July 01, 2022

โš“Making Groceries at Rouses / July 2022

 

โฎŸ

๐Ÿ’ง


Making Groceries

at Rouses Market,

Aprรจs nous, le dรฉluge
(After us the flood)

~ Fiction ~
Roman ร  clef, cher! 
by 
Leonard Earl Johnson 
 www.LEJ.world โœ
ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 


๐Ÿ’€๐Ÿ’€
๐Ÿ’€
โ‡“

Silvia and Dillard detrained in Lafayette at the Rosa Parks Transportation Centrรฉ after returning from New Orleans and a failed effort to revive the War in Vietnam.


    Photo credit: Eric Douglas
The two Red Warriors walked up Jefferson Street to Carpe Diem Gelato and Wine Bar.  

There they rendezvoused with L. A. Norma, who has promised to help them make groceries.  

Making groceries is New Orleans speak for stocking the kitchen.

The two Red Women are stocking a new kitchen in Lafayette across Rue Saint John from the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist.  Their rooms are airy, clean, and with a fine view of the ancient Live Oak Tree known throughout Louisiana as The Cathedral Oak.
  
Natures mystic carrousel.
The Cathedral Oak is thought to be over five hundred years old with a trunk that looks to be screwing up from the bowels of The Earth, and limbs flinging love, order, and discipline in a deadhead course straight up

The Cathedral Oak

Rue Principal (Main Street) from the Cathedral to Lafayette Parish Prison, to the Parish Court House, to the bank formerly known as the Chase Manhattan.  All are Institutions in friendly alliance.  Friendly as money and faith will allow.

L. A. Norma calls it "The three Fs of Faith, Force, and Finance." A socioeconomic system nourishing as Cajun gumbo.

Cajun gumbo is a fresh seafood banquet.  Lapped up with cornbread often as French bread.  And cemented to the Cajun heart with a big scoop of cold potato salad plopped at tableside into the bubbling broth (a curious practice seen as nearly Satanic in New Orleans dining halls).  

"But we are not in New Orleans," Norma says, "and we love the creamy cooling mix." 

๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›

Cajun Dome, 
 University   of   Louisiana   at   Lafayette
Near the University of Louisiana's vast sports complex with its crown jewel, The Cajun Dome, the two Red Women each take a slice of pizza from the hot counter at Rouses Market.  From the cold counter a bit of green salad.  They find seats at tables beside large windows overlooking an ample parking lot off freeway-like streets with many lanes and complex traffic configurations.  Lafayette is a wonderfully stimulating place for automobiles, and trucks, and football. 

L. A. Norma adds, "And making money at any cost!"

On the table beside their food trays they fan out black, white, and red stickers alongside a hand lettered sign reading: "Free.Each sticker is a three inch black square holding a white circle inside of which is printed in blood red: Turn Back Voter Turn Out!

Two dark skinned women toting black shopping baskets look at the stickers, then at the Red Women, and then walk away.  

A redheaded pizza baker picks up a sticker and slips it into his white cook's jacket then returns to his ovens.

Outside, in the parking lot, a young man with jewels glued to his fisherman's white boots is seen waving his arms.  A square white van marked US POSTAL SERVICE stops and gives him a lift to the front door.  The postman knows doing so is a violation of postal rules but he reckons since they deliver page-after-pages of Rouses weekly sales ads to every postal address in Louisiana for next to no charge, that this little lagniappe is just a little bit more.

 ๐Ÿ‘’
๐Ÿ•  ๐Ÿ•

Sylvia spots his boots and recognizes him as the young fisherman-poet from their bus ride to New Orleans.  His name is Baltazar Boudreaux.  He thanks the Postman for the lift and walks into Rouses and over to the Red Women's table.  "I see you got back here good," he says, picking up a sticker.  

They tell him of their new apartment near The Cathedral Oak, and their plans to join the Cathedral congregation. 

L. A. Norma explains she has brought them grocery shopping and will give them all a ride back, if he needs a lift.

 In fact, he says, he does. He is on his way to see the Cathedral's Rector. To show him an artifact commemorating the murder of John F. Kennedy fifty-nine years ago this November, in Dallas. He shows them a little porcelain rocking chair with the monogram, JFK, in gold glitter. It sits empty. A what-not-shelf keepsake from 1963. Baltazar wants to sell it. The Rector is interested, he is in need of a gift for the Bishop's birthday. www.LEJ.WORLDโœ

~  *  ~      ~  *  ~      ~  *  ~

๐Ÿ’”

๐Ÿ—ฃ๐Ÿ˜ท

~    ~    ~

    
 

Photograph ยฉ Leonard Earl Johnson 

http://www.LEJ.org
If you wish to read any month's column go to www.LEJ.WORLD
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
Hosted by GOOGLE BLOGGER, 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.
ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

โœBottom Road to Baton Rouge / June 2022



โš“ โš“

โš“


Andrew Jackson, Jackson Square, New Orleans
Photo credit: Eric Douglas 

Bottom Road to Baton Rouge

Fiction ~
Roman ร  clef, cher! 
BY  Leonard Earl Johnson 
 www.LEJ.world โœ

ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 

๐Ÿ‘’๐Ÿ‘’
๐Ÿ’€
โ‡“
 Sylvia, the shorter of the two Red Women tipped her 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 Rรชve Coffee Roasters while Sylvia was entrusted to cross the street and make the purchase.  

Dillard accepted the tickets and dropped them in her red purse.  Both women's purses, hats, and shoes are matching shades of red. The sash across each woman's breast reads, "Turn Back Voter Turnout."

Their departure is in a half hour from under the clock tower at the Rosa Parks Transportation Centrรฉ.  

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 in Asia, but removal of Constitutional rights to privacy in all things but guns.  

"Ending forever choice in childbearing, the horrifying abortion issue!" L. A. Norma says, "Replacing it with politicians in black robes and stone council.

 "In other words, the American Taliban!"

๐Ÿšฅ ๐Ÿšฆ ๐Ÿšฅ


Clock Tower,
Rosa Parks

Transportation Centrรฉ    
Lafayette Louisiana

 The Rosa Parks Transportation Centrรฉ 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 the 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 through the bus windowIt struck 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 round his face and 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. 

The two bought new tickets straight into 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 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. 

๐Ÿ’œ ๐Ÿ’š๐Ÿ’›

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
 ๐Ÿ ‡๐Ÿ ‡ ๐Ÿ —

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.  

๐Ÿ‘’ 

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 English war.

The two Red Women, dejected, walked up Rue Chartres with their red rubber shoes squishing on the hot pavement.  At The Wrinkle Room they pushed open the door, and got very drunkwww.LEJ.WORLD โœ

โš“  โš“ โš“

~  *  ~      ~  *  ~      ~  *  ~



~    ~    ~

      

Leonard Earl Johnson, www.LEJ.world โœ
 
Photograph ยฉ Leonard Earl Johnson 

 http://www.LEJ.org
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
Hosted by GOOGLE BLOGGER,
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
ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved