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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 Consumer Affairs.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.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

You Will Remember This / October 2013



Yours Truly in a Swamp

October 2013



Leonard Earl Johnson

of New Orleans and Lafayette


* *


You Will Remember This
by Leonard Earl Johnson


We have a friend whose offices were exactly where the second plane hit the New York World Trade Center, September 11, 2001. He was arguing with a police officer about going back to gather papers just before it struck. He later moved to Upstate New York to write horrific stories about body parts falling through the sky, "Heads Were Bouncing in the Street!


"When the fallout came down, we took refuge a block away inside a stalled bus," he told us. "Being hit on the head by someone else's falling from a hundred floors above could kill you both!"  He laughed a little snort of a sound when saying this. 


He asked over the years that we read his Nine-Eleven Stories. Some we did. Mostly after Katrina. Some we could not read. The heads bouncing down the street was one of those. 


Over the years we sometimes 
met at Windows on the World, the restaurant atop the former North Tower. In early 2002 L. A. Norma and I took a train from New Orleans to New York to have lunch with him once more. 



Windows on the World, atop the World Trade Centre, circa 1976
mood music by Frank Sinatra,The Song Is Ended
* * *



During the years that we have been friends, he edited various magazines, including Colonial Homes and The Shipping News -- neither ever published me. 

"When the towers fell," he says, "I imagined waiters instinctively putting out their arms to stop silverware and plates starting their slide down the bar." 


We saw it on tv-screens. The top floors tilted, then slipped into the smoke and dust. Chairs and tables would have skittered across the room.


This day,
in 2002, was too soon to be in New York City. The air still stung our nose and singed our memory. We took a cab down to ground zero, but neither Norma nor I wanted to look down in the hole where the Towers had stood. Our friend would not even come down to the neighborhood with us. 

We met later, and lunched at the Oyster House in Grand Central Terminal. Afterwards, he walked us to our trains. Norma was headed to Los Angeles, I to Illinois, he to Upstate New York.


* * *

9/11 Memorial, uci, Lafayette, Louisiana, 2013
Photo credit: Dave Therrien
This year in Lafayette, Louisiana on 9/11, an artist described by police as homeless ("What do you call an artist without a girlfriend?" Norma asked. "Homeless!") placed paper cutouts of two planes hitting upended I-beams of the Pauci monument to the fallen Towers.

Made from actual beams brought here from New York, the monument expresses our grief and solidarity. The paper attachments expressed doubt!? They were found and removed when the nearby Lafayette Fire Department arrived for their annual Nine-Eleven commemorative ceremony.

We hardly know how to react. 

The paper planes looked good design wise. Color, space, concept fit the I-beam monument to a T. The beams were spirited to Lafayette very soon after terrorist-crews of mostly Saudi Arabians flew real airliners full of people into them. 

Baby Bush, Dick Cheney, Colin Powell -- all cowboys drunk on power -- and Condoleezza Rice -- drunk on shopping and political window dressing -- spun a cloak of fool's cloth and wrapped the U. S. A. in it. With doctored evidence and bald faced lies they pumped us up, and we raged off to war with Iraquis who had nothing to do with it. 

(15 of the 19 terrorists were citizens of Saudi Arabia. The Others were from EgyptLebanon, and the U.A.E.

"Well, that is pretty much what happened," our New York friend said on the phone.


When you look closely, we told him, you see the plane's tail bears something like corporate logo-lettering saying, "N. W. O. - New World Order," a new economic system advocated by both Presidents Bush that would through the magic of accounting and war give them and their Saudi business partners more oil, money and power. Wee-the-people would get higher prices at the pump and eventually the war's tax bill -- being patriotic citizens we went along. 


"The Bushes joggling Adam Smith's invisible handL. A. Norma said, blowing Camel Cigarette smoke out the dormer window. 

"Off camera from the photograph," I said into the telephone, "the artist had placed a pasteboard cutout of Baby Bush holding a cell phone and a wad of green dollars." 

Police arrested 35-year old Salvador Perez on two counts of criminal trespassing and criminal damage to a historic building or landmark, according to Corporal Paul MoutonAnd for climbing it to do so. Bond was $11,000.

[Update: 
 Nathan PikeRadio KPEL-FOX-news reported on 21 November 2013 that a grand jury declined to indict Perez.  In the story he identified the writing on the paper planes, "NWO-New World Order," as an organization believing the Presidents Bush had "some kind of role in the attacks." 

Ironically New World Order was used by Papa Bush repeatedly introducing America to his own new world economic plan.

FYI: Belief in Bush culpability is also known as the "9/11 Truth Movement." Adherents are sometimes referred to as "Truthers."]

The I-beams are holy relics of our suffering, of course, and we expect the damage done by the paper planes is more to our singed memory, tender still.
As for our editor/writer friend who was there that day? He has stopped sending manuscripts. He says he is, "Done with it."

On the phone, when I got to the part about the Baby Bush cut out, he said, "Perez may be judging W. too harshly, maybe not. 


"God knows it is hard to find anything good to say about what he did before or after."

Copyright, 2013, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved  


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FYI
New Yahoo's mail system is too cumbersome to continue using for our mailings, 
and we are not able to pay for a new mail system. 

You will not receive a monthly notice for YOURS TRULY IN A SWAMP, 
until / unless I figure out how to set up a new freemail system. 
(Don't hold your breath.  I am a storyteller, not a computer-pinball gamer).

If you wish to read each story you must go on your own accord to www.LEJ.org 
(They are posted newly on the first of each month) 
Hope you do, I love talking with you,
Leonard Earl Johnson,
Columnist to the elderly and early weary, 
www.LEJ.org