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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 books 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.

Friday, November 01, 2019

JFK / November 2019


πŸ’”  LEJ's  Louisiana,

Yours Truly in a Swamp

a monthly e-column by Leonard Earl Johnson, 
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana

E-mail: Subscribe@LEJ.org
Archives: www.LEJ.org   
~
November 2019

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1963 JFK memento                    Photo credit LEJ.org

J. F. K.,

assassinated

22 November 1963

by Leonard Earl Johnson
                                       
❀❀❀
❀❀

❀
When it happened I was living in Springfield, Illinois.  Twenty years old, and working for the Illinois Secretary of State!  A glamorous job for a boy from the Illinois Village of Ullin, population 800, where Abraham Lincoln ~ the first Republican President ~ was worshiped.

I had been exiled to labor among Republican cronies of my Father at the State Capitol as punishment for failing grades at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.


I had spent too much time liberating the downtrodden ~ in coffee shop and barroom bloviations ~ to attend my own classes.  

My Father saw it befitting my civil liberation work that I head North to Springfield, "Where the tax man's bagman takes all that Gott damn tax money!"  My Father clearly saw the World through Republican eyes.  

"So, it was time to put the Son on the state payroll?" L. A. Norma said.

Yes, it was.  For it is true, all over the World, citizens live better in the shadow of the crooked staff  (church and state's).  That is where the taxman delivers his harvest. 


Anyone seeking work ~ from king to janitor ~ in any capital anywhere in history is after that tax money.  "In one form or the other," L. A. Norma said through a fog of Camel Cigarette smoke.



Illinois Capitol, Springfield 
courtesy Illinois Secretary of State
~   ~   ~

In the square around Illinois' Victorian Capitol stands a statue of Lincoln.  I went there on 22 November 1963, when I heard the news.  The inscription on its base is from Lincoln's farewell address, departing Springfield for Washington.  It reads:

 "I now leave, not knowing when, or whether ever, I may return..."

~    ~    ~



Cabildo, Jackson Square, New Orleans     /     photo credit: Mark Tullos

That was fifty-six years ago this month.  I did then, but don't any longer, believe the party line on Kennedy's murder, but I haven't more than a clue what happened.  I have looked at it from a hundred different angles, and it did not happen as told by the Warren Commission. 

~  ~  ~


This I do know first hand
In New Orleans, where many participants in this drama originated ~ decades after the assassination ~ at the Old U. S. Mint, the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 sent a traveling circus of disclosure-hearings.  Prompted, said the good government legislators, by Oliver Stone's movie, JFK, the year before. 

At the Old U. S. Mint Hearings, one day, I sat next to Harry Connick, Sr., Orleans Parish District Attorney (and Father of the musician).  Connick stood, took the witness chair and testified at this latest JFK "full disclosure hearing".  He testified as to the wicked work of his predecessor, Jim Garrison, NOLa D. A., at the time of the murder.  

Later, Garrison authored ON THE TRAIL OF THE ASSASSINS, inspiration for Stone's movie.  In the film, by the way, Jim Garrison plays his arch villain in the real drama, Earl Warren.  There will always be irony in New Orleans.

Connick testified that Garrison burned the District Attorney's JFK investigation files ~ and he had not ought to ~ because they belonged to the holy people of New Orleans, if not the whole wide holy World.  


The World Wide Web had not yet come to pass, L. A. Norma pointed out, "Or Connick would have planted a righteous flag on its e-turf, too!"

It turned out Garrison did not burn the files.  

New Orleans WDSU-tv reporter, Richard Angelico captured Connick on film later in Connick's office, rolling his eyes for more heavenly guidance and retelling his same well dressed disinformation about evil Jim Garrison.

Like Julia Street 
chef Emeril Lagasse, "
BAM!," Angelico pulled an affidavit from his coat pocket and read a retired Connick office worker's testimony that Harry Connick had ordered him to do the burning of the files. 

Praise the Lord, the worker, Gary Raymond, did not follow those orders, and kept the files in his car's trunk all the following years.  

Just think, for the next twenty-some years, stopped at an intersection in Big Swamp City, you might have been sitting next to an old car carrying those files.  Ultimately Raymond was convicted of violation of grand jury secrecy laws and sentenced to six months.  Becoming the only conviction in the Kennedy assassination probe.

Angelico turned the files over to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.  They are said to contain nothing of significance, though they had led to the only charges in the murder of the President.  "There will always be a Washington, D. C., too!" Norma says, from within her bubble of Camel smoke.  

 Connick did an heroic backstroke before the tv-reporter's lens ~ sending the bar where I was watching into blustery blasts of laughter.  He ended with the finely honed belly-flop of: "So what if I did? We needed the space," as we barflies hooted and slapped the bar!

So much for guardian of the sanctified City's property, mon ami, Harry!?  

There will all ways be a New Orleans.  Even if we go underwater and don't come out again.


~   ~   ~   ~   ~   ~
⇩ 


Lagniappe du jour

~   ~   ~  

Richard Angelico
Richard Angelico,
New Orleans WDSU-tv reporter 
~ Dave Walker, NOLa.com

~   ~   ~

"New Twist in β€˜JFK’ Case: Investigator Kept Grand Jury Records" / Associated Press, by ALAN SAYRE February 14, 1996


~   ~   ~

President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992  ~ Wikipedia
~    ~    ~

 Your comments or corrections are welcome 

Copyright2019, Leonard Earl Johnson

All Rights Reserved

~ * ~      * ~      * ~


LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org
~ Hosted on GOOGLE Blogger ~
and periodically at   
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans,
publication of the
The monthly column is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
Archives: www.LEJ.org

πŸ’œ  πŸ’š  πŸ’›

Sailor Man Scribe LEJ.org  /  The Bahamas

LEJ.org with blue silk shirt and Cappuccino by RΓͺve, Baristas to the Stars
Photo credit:  Mark Konikoff


* * * * * * * * * * * *
Go here For 
and such falderal ...

Β© 2019, Leonard Earl Johnson, all rights reserved.


~   ~   ~

~   ~   ~

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Remembering Cokie Roberts / October 2019


πŸ’”LEJ's Louisiana, 
Yours Truly in a Swamp

a monthly e-column by Leonard Earl Johnson, 
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana

E-mail: Subscribe@LEJ.org
Archives: www.LEJ.org   
~
October 2019

Remembering Cokie Roberts

An American Aristocrat


27 December 1943  /  17 September 2019
courtesy of NPR

πŸ’₯


πŸ’œ  πŸ’š  πŸ’›

"What A Time It Was!" ~ L. A. Norma


BY  Leonard Earl Johnson
Β© 2019, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

LEJ.org  πŸ’

Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory served as principal celebrant and homilist at the service for Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne Boggs aka, Cokie Roberts.

Roberts was an American aristocrat born in New Orleans and raised in Washington, D. C.  ~  a descendant of both pre-revolutionary Virginia and antebellum Louisiana.


 ~ Wikipedia
image courtesy Louisiana State University
 ~   ~   ~
 β™ͺ   β™«    β™¬
She is a descendant of Louisiana's first American Governor, W. C. C. Claiborne, 1804 to 1817.  He was born in pre-revolutionary Virginia, and moved to Louisiana at the time of President Jefferson's Purchase from France of the 'Orleans Territory,' in 1803. 
 
Here he begat folks who begat folks who begat 
Marie Corinne Morrison Claiborne aka, Lindy Boggs.  She begat Mary Martha Corinne Morrison Claiborne`nee Boggs aka, Cokie Robertsa founding voice of National Public Radio ~ NPR, from its beginning until her death recently at 75, from complications following recurring-cancer treatment. 


Congress Members Hale and Lindy Boggs home, 
nestled between the bars and barkers
of Bourbon Street, New Orleans

Courtesy Library of Congress
Her commentary steadied America's nerves, as increasingly stormy news-cycles roiled out over NPR's radio waves.  And later in her career at ABC-tv. 

The Seas will settle, she made us feel.  Her voice, strong and warm, soothed us with its subtext: Look at all my Family has been through and we are still here!

Her Father, Thomas Hale Boggs, and after his death in 1972, her Mother, Lindy Boggs, were popular United States Congress Members from the bawdy French Quarter of New Orleans.  


He was raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, considered by New Orleanians as their own beach-escape.  She was born upriver from  New Orleans, on the Brunswick Plantation near New Roads, Pointe Coupee Parish (the area of Ernest Gains' novel, A LESSON BEFORE DYING). They met at Newcomb/Tulane University, New Orleans.

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, a few blocks from the home where 
Congress Members Hale and Lindy Boggs lived in a house she inherited from her aunt, 
Frosty Morrison Blackshear. 

When her Husband, Thomas Hale Boggs, disappeared in a lost airplane over Alaska, Lindy won his Congressional seat in a special 1973 election.  Essentially she took over the Family business of being the Boggs of Bourbon Street.

She easily won every re-election until resigning in 1990, to nurse her firstborn Daughter, Barbara Boggs Sigmund, dying with terminal cancer.  At the time, Barbara was Mayor of Princeton, New Jersey.  Following Barbara's death Lindy moved back to the house on Bourbon Street.  During that period President Bill Clinton appointed her Ambassador to the Vatican and she lived in Rome and New Orleans.

In 1972, when Thomas Hale Boggs left for Alaska, a young political operative from Arkansas drove him to the airport.  It was Bill Clinton.

Cokie's funeral mass took place at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, site of President John F. Kennedy's funeral in 1963.  Every Fall, this Cathedral hosts the 'Red Mass,' marking the beginning of a new Supreme Court term; and it has twice been anointed as a 'Basilica Cathedral' ~ Catholic-speak meaning two Popes have preached here. 
πŸ’”
"A funeral site to die for," 
L. A. Norma says, blowing Camel Cigarette smoke out the dormer window.

President Barack Obama released a statement calling Roberts a "trailblazing figure," adding that she was "a role model to young women at a time when the profession was still dominated by men; a constant over forty years of a shifting media landscape and changing world."  

"Such text," Norma snorted, smoke drifting from her mouth over her upper lip into her nostrils. "Must be professional scribes.  Or Constitutional lawyers!"  She guffawed and smoke went everywhere πŸ’¨.


Norma crushed her cigarette in a gleaming amber ashtray.  The kind of large ashtray seen in hotel lobbies, once.  And found today sporting a modern bed-mould dentil around the Park Island home of former New


Ray Nagin's Ashtray House, Park Island, NOLa
Architect: Albert Ledner, student of Frank Lloyd Wright
Orleans mayor and Federal Prisoner (until 2024) No. 3275-034, Ray Nagin.  He issued no obit for Cokie.

President Donald Trump let one fly featuring himself:

"I never met her," the Trumpster twitted, "She never treated me nicely.  But I would like to wish her family well.  She was a professional, and I respect professionals." 

President George W. Bush memorialized Roberts: "A talented, tough, and fair reporter.  We respected her drive and appreciated her humor," the nation's 43rd President said.  "She became a friend."

Speaking at the service, United States Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi said, "Her life and leadership took our nation closer to its fundamental founding ideal of equality.  It was in her DNA.

Cokie's husband of 53 years, journalist Steven Roberts, told mourners, "Over the years, Cokie encouraged us, inspired us, taught us, and touched us, cajoled and consoled us."  The couple co-wrote a popular syndicated column.


Donna Brazile, New Orleanian, Washingtonian, Democratic political black female power broker did not speak but was heard simply by her presence.  She is strikingly handsome and was


Donna Brazile greeting Pierre Thomas 
at Cokie Roberts Funeral, 19 September 2019    
dressed in mourner's black with a Church Lady Hat of the style favored by Louisiana church ladies.  A scarf around her neck ~ plaid-ish African American browns, golds ~ it flattered the fringed brown and gold skirt
 draping the lectern.  A nice touch.  Wonder if it was accidental? 


It also made us recall, Steven and Cokie Roberts were in a mixed marriage.  He is a New Jersey Reform Jew, she a Louisiana Roman Catholic.

Were there cultural/theological conflicts between a New Jersey Jew and a Louisiana Catholic?  We assume there were, but none aired in public.  In 2011, they co-wrote and published OUR HAGGADAH; UNITING TRADITIONS FOR INTERFAITH FAMILIES.



πŸ’œ  πŸ’š  πŸ’›
We saw Cokie last at the Louisiana Book Festival, in Baton Rouge, three years ago, and talked then about her late Mother ~ every New Orleanian's friend, Lindy Boggs. I bought an older book (1998) of Cokie's for my Sister, WE ARE OUR MOTHER'S DAUGHTERS.

Cokie and her Mother bore the name Claiborne in their string of Early American and Louisiana names.

 I was born the same year as Cokie, and it is heartening, if not true, to hear how young that is to be passing on to the great editor in the sky. We will miss you, mon amie, for however many years we have left, and then maybe get you 
Claiborne Mansion                                           Faubourg Marigny


to help us edit that book on Governor Claiborne's kin in that Faubourg Marginy mansion on Rue Dauphine. 

It is an antebellum Claiborne Mansion, circa 1859, across from Washington Square Park, in gentry neighborly Faubourg Marigny.  It was up for sale a few years ago, for 3.8 million U. S. $.  

The Claiborne who first lived there would be Cokie's great, great, great, something.
    ~  LEJ.org πŸ’ 


~   ~   ~
~ Your Comments and Corrections are Welcome ~
~   ~   ~
Lagnaippe du jour
↓
Donna Brazil greeting Pierre Thomas
Cokie Roberts Funeral
NPR's remembrance
19 September 2019

~   ~   ~
Nancy Pelosi
funeral lectern 
(note skirt)
ABC-tv's remembrance

~   ~   ~
Claiborne Mansion
Faubourg Marigny
Architectural Digest, 30 April 2014

 ~   ~   ~
Ray Nagin's 
Ashtray home
25 photographs 
~ NOLa.com
Ray Nagin house, Park Island, NOLa
Architect: Albert Ledner, student of Frank Lloyd Wright

~   ~   ~

Lindy Boggs' inherited-home
600 block of Bourbon Street.
From her aunt,
(preservationist / realtor)

.
~   ~   ~
Lindy Boggs was the last resident of
 Bourbon Street.

πŸ’œ  πŸ’¦ πŸ’›

~ With floor to ceiling doors flung open to the street traffic,
 a hundred years or two earlier. ~

~   ~   ~
"What their seed begat!"
~ L. A. Norma
~   ~   ~

Poster from 1968 movie
β™ͺ β™« β™¬
The Begat - 
FINIAN'S RAINBOW 
2009 revival on Broadway
~ You Tube
The show was nominated for 2010 Tony Awards for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Leading Actress in a Musical (Kate Baldwin) and Best Featured Actor in a Musical (Christopher Fitzgerald)
A fully staged Broadway revival opened at the St. James Theatre 29 October 2009
Wikipedia β‡¨

~ * ~      * ~      * ~

LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org
~ Hosted on GOOGLE Blogger ~
and periodically at   
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans,
publication of the
The monthly column is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
Archives: www.LEJ.org

πŸ’œ  πŸ’š  πŸ’›

Sailor Man Scribe LEJ.org  /  The Bahamas

LEJ.org with blue silk shirt and Cappuccino by RΓͺve, Baristas to the Stars
Photo credit:  Mark Konikoff


* * * * * * * * * * * *
Go here For 
and such falderal ...

Β© 2019, Leonard Earl Johnson, all rights reserved.


~   ~   ~



~   ~   ~