Winter / February 2014
|Yours Truly in a Swamp|
|L. E. J. aboard Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Sea|
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Pink Rabbit for New Orleans Poydras Street
Artists: Trisha Kyner and David Friedeim
We returned from the Bahamas in time to catch Kermit Ruffins sitting on a barstool on opening day at the Mother-In-Law Lounge, famed nightclub under the Claiborne overpass built by self-proclaimed, "Emperor of the World," the late Ernie K-Doe, a man who lived a life of fictional scope.
|Emperor K-Doe Krewe de Vieux, 2001|
Among other things, he made "Mother-In-Law" a Billboard hit and a traditional number in the American songbook. And he and his personal savior, Antoinette, rode as Emperor/King/Queen of Krewe de Vieux, 2001.
"He was as New Orleans as they come," L. A. Norma said. "From money to living under the bridge to Emperor of the World, he lived more outrageously than a Canadian army of Justin Biebers.
"A New Orleans hero!
"Thank you, Kermit Ruffins, for saving the Mother-In-Law Lounge. Burn, baby, burn!"
A couple approached Ruffins with telephone cameras. Smiling, Ruffins repeated such photo-ops all day and night.
"Then they teachin' you right, sugars," Norma said, buying beer for all.
|New Orleans, Winter 2014 |
Photo credit: Leo Watermeier
|Sidney Poitier Bridge, seen from the Poop Deck|
Bahamas, Winter 2014
Home from the Sea
When our train pulled out of New Orleans we were in the observation car opening a cellophane-wrapped muffaletta from Central Grocery. We were gliding on rails oblivious to the melting ice as we made the great Back Town loop up to the mythic Huey P. Long Bridge.
"Strongest bridge on the Mississippi," L. A. Norma said. "Built by Long, who had the audacity to tax big oil.
"He built a lot'a big things with the money. Then he was assassinated, in 1935, inside the new skyscraper State House he had built in Baton Rouge."
From the bridge bearing Long's name we saw a children's pre-school closed for years, reopened with FEMA money and today flying colorful flags. The children waved at us. We waved back.
Next day coastal Louisiana froze down hard. It lasted two and a half days.
During which, citizens fell from ladders and set fire to their homes.
"In the stores, before, it was like a Hurricane was coming," L. A. Norma told our cab driver. "And it is colder than Bobby Jindal's heart!"
Copyright, 2014, Leonard Earl Johnson, all rights reserved