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Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, United States

Leonard Earl Johnson 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.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wellhead Fires, Canal Street Dinners & Tidewater

Yours Truly in a Swamp

by
Leonard Earl Johnson

Reprinted from
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans

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Wellhead Fires, Canal Street Dinners & Tidewater

The rich and powerful, bless their hearts, have long been fed up with the poor and powerless. From ENRON and Halliburton, to the Bush Crime Family, they have come to a single mind to not take it -- slugging and plundering from the little people -- any longer.

Tidewater, an offshore energy service company working in the oil and natural gas business, moved to Houston following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Last week they announced the return of their corporate office to New Orleans, with its "eighty five high paying jobs." Because, according to CEO Dean Taylor, recent elections returned the state to more business friendly politicians. We assume this means the election of a Bush buddy, Bobby Jindal, as the Republican Governor to replace the maligned Cajun Democrat, Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. Let us pray that he, she and we all find more comfort in the coming years than in the past few. For sure, her Excellency, our retiring Honorable Governor will.

* * *

A jolly Ho Ho Whore, for our consummate seasonal consumerism, and a solid hope your Turkey was tender and your money-maker well rewarded this Thanksgiving. I feasted in Laughingyet with the family that rescued me from Katrina and FEMA.

We heard the Mayor of New Orleans gave out chicken legs, last week, under a Sheriff's Department tent on Canal Street. We heard this from L. A. Norma, over the telephone, from New Orleans. L. A. Norma said she left the line saying it was too long and too like the Great Depression to be worth the wait.

Houston photographer, Frank Parsley, and I were in Town that day, but skipped the Mayor's tent dinner and picked up a whole Muffalata, from Central Grocery, on rue Decatur. We ate it sitting in the massive I-10 traffic jam. Of course you've heard, an oil/gas rig blew up not a hundred yards from The Great Swamp Road, sending its traffic to either the old Top Road or the new Bottom one. They now say it will remain closed and perhaps blazing until December 10, or longer.* Lofty dreams and drilling machines lay broken on the ground.

In time, Parsley and I got back to the Land of Boudin hours late and totally without le Mayor Nagin's blessing. Nor Tidewater's, I expect.


Tidewater's return of its headquarters to New Orleans, with its "eighty five high paying jobs," is a welcome step in a big direction. Thank you, Mr. Taylor, but please remember Bush and FEMA when you are implying blame for what happened to us. Good government ought to include governing good, too. After all, a good governmental climate ought be good for both corporations and citizens.

Now, let us work together to undo Blanco's silly law outlawing cigars in bars and then raise our glass and smoke in celebration of business joy ever after!
*( I-10 reopened.)
* * *
Yours truly in a Swamp,
www.LEJ.org
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