How You Like It So Far? / January 2015 Bonne Annee! Happy New Year!
Yours Truly in a Swamp,
of Lafayette and New Orleans
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by Leonard Earl Johnson
do I have to catch, before I'm Home and Free?"
L. A. Norma said, as she passed her singing phone with its music-toons, and Amtrak e-ticket apps before the eyes of the gatekeeper at New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal, the beginning and end of the line for Amtrak's
|New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal,|
Katrina-era Orleans Parish Prison, and
art gallery housing a spectacular civic mural
"In America you're lucky if there are two trains a day," one young blond face said. Trains in Europe run far more often and far "more better." We all laughed. Then I told them there were but three trains a week going West.
"Well, three in each direction," I said. "Six a week!"
I shrugged at America's slow descent into third-world loading platforms. They laughed, but later in the week joined us at the U. P. Terminal with their Amtrak e-lectronic tickets glowing in the boarding agent's face. The agent lifted my old fashioned paper ticket. The Swedes were "Comin'cross the Basin" to hear the Pine Leaf Boys, and staying at the youth hostel above the Blue Moon Saloon.
|Pine Leaf Boys, Blue Moon Saloon|
Recommended for anyone who wants to stay up till the last musician howls ~ 2am in Lafayette, Louisiana ~ and greet the new day hanging over from the last.
We had a jolly gig Christmas Eve meeting the Sunset Limited ~ Westbound, besuited in red and tossing beads as Papa Noel.
At the train station we saw again a waiter we had ridden over with earlier in the week. He works at Peche, award winning Chef Donald Link's New Orleans success after failure at his back-home in Lafayette effort at a Cajun-located Cochon Restaurant ~ his Big Swamp City popular urban Cajun-style cafe.
"Who in Acadiana wanted to pay fifty bucks for half a boudin cut at angle standing on end?" L. A. Norma asks. "When you can get a whole one at most markets for a couple dollars!?"
Not many did.
The Peche waiter was meeting his girlfriend. We gave him a strand of red-and-white beads to give her. He told us he had liked both French Press and Pamplona. Later, Jerry Young, impresario of Pamplona Tapas Bar, told us two of his waitstaff had recently moved to NOLa and gone to work at Peche. As Norma says, "Ain't it a small Swamp?"
Pullman Car Saint Louis, photo courtesy of Amtrak,
"I can not madam, I am Papa Noel!" I fetched her a conductor. Another Samaritan took her bags.
Papa Noel ~ LEJ, besuited and besotted
Photo credit: Dave Therrien
The Samarian got an I.Q. T-Shirt.
A few books went to others.
When I got to the bottom of me red bag I found (one gold, one green) stripper's jocks (Papa Noel plays NOLa, too). I gave the gold one to a grinning man bound for Los Angeles. The Train-Assistant (stewards of the rails) took the other. Then looked like she thought better of it, "This thing been worn?!"
After the train pulled out, Pamplona Tapas Bar was our next stop for wine and cellphone-selfies with dining celebrants. And dinner on the house, for us, and for today's aforementioned hangover. Does it ever get better?
For a fitting Christmas stowaway story about the 1980 last Cuban Boat Lift read Yours Truly in a Swamp at December 2014
HO, Ho, ho! my head!
Leonard Earl Johnson, columnist to the elderly and early weary wishes you Bonne Annee! Happy New Year!
Copyright, 2015, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved
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Hope you do, I love talking with you,
Leonard Earl Johnson,
Columnist to the elderly and early weary.
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