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Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

L. E. J. covered Hurricanes Katrina and Rita (2005), and the 2010 British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico for Consumer Affairs.com. He is a contributor to Gambit Weekly, New Orleans Magazine, SCAT, Baton Rouge Advocate, Advocate Magazine, The Times-Picayune, and Country Roads Magazine, 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.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Violence in New Orleans, April, 2007




photocredits: Terri Kaupp





LEJ





















Yours Truly in a Swamp
By
Leonard Earl Johnson

Reprinted from
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans
April, 2007

* * *

Here goes: Violence -- freelance and institutionalized -- has always been a part of the modern New Orleans mystique. From Federal agents violating rights of Storyville prostitutes (to facilitate a wholesome image of The City as a fitting embarkation port for the largely pointless World War One). Down to pre-Katrina drug-trafficking cops, and rich Texans in fancy caf├ęs beating old men to the ground. To today's armed Circle-K shopper and the suicide lover who butchered, cooked and ate his girlfriend before jumping off a hotel roof.


Violence? Yes, before The Storm and now. Always. Numbers? Always been a lot. Always! But I have not now, nor then, seen any. Think of when you have a tornado and the radio reports scare you and your friends while you otherwise hardly notice.

* * *


You want to see violence? Look at clips of the suffering around the Louisiana Superdome and Morial Convention Center waiting for the delusional demagogue, George W. Bush, to lead them.


And if you want to see big numbers, look at the dead in Iraq (it is way over a half million).

My point is this-is-America, land of the violent. Violence is our religion, we teach it in sports, in school. We attend Churches, Temples, and Mosques that offer dispensation from their very own Commandments forbidding it. We pay to watch it on television and in the movies. We elect leaders who promise to commit it in our name. We love violence and think it the best solution to most problems. Hell, any problem, if Liberals would just let us! Got a problem, attack it!

New Orleans has had its share of problems, is it any wonder we find violence a solution?

But don't feel holier than us. Are you not also in America? Is there not a lot of violence in your town, too? Not to mention that it is on your credit card and your children's and your children's children's that Goofus W., and his heart-shunted V. P. are financing their war machinery without funds, plan, purpose or end. A political ham bone, except with the New Deal now dead around their feet, they have ham and wee the people have the bone, and the debt.

* * *

We hear about New Orleans violence, as much because it is colorful, as editors and advertisers know we love it. Love hearing about it, thinking about it, even seeing some -- on TV, which is the only place I've ever seen any.

My only line of defense when in New Orleans is to not walk into a line of fire. It is the same for your town, for your storms, and Bush's Iraq.

We should flee storms, avoid gunfire, and rail and vote against politicians who would tighten our bond with violence and lead us ever further into more violence. This is the only thing that will save us, New Orleans, America.

What else can we do? Stop being in New Orleans? Stop being in America? No thanks. Then the war lords, domestic and foreign, will have won. Beat us down to their rule. No thank you.


Pete Seeger, the great American troubadour, used to tell about a young Quaker who spoke out against war. People told him, "Son, you will never change the World." To which he replied, "Nor it me."

* * *

Want an ice-box magnet of my fat face, for your memory board or to ward off future storm vermin?

"Next time it'll keep them bugs out of your refrigerator, sugar!" ~ L. A. Norma

Send a self - addressed and stamped envelope, along with a five dollar bill. Send to:

Leonard Earl Johnson
302 Jefferson, Box 202
Lafayette, LA 70501

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FEMA Advisory
May 9, 2007
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Andrea, first named storm of 2007 forms in the Atlantic!

Although hurricane season begins June 1 the subtropical storm Andrea has already formed in the Atlantic three weeks early.
Forecasters are not viewing this storm as a significant threat to the southeast United States, however, FEMA is advising residents living in hurricane prone areas to prepare now for the upcoming hurricane season. (Read More)