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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.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Another Turn Round the Dancefloor / July 2016

LEJ's Louisiana
Yours Truly in a Swamp
Monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org
 on paper at
~ Les Amis de Marigny ~ 
publication of New Orleans 
 by
Leonard Earl Johnson,
of Lafayette and New Orleans
© 2016, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved
Archives: www.LEJ.org

July  2016


* *

If You Please, 

Maestro, Another 


Turn Round the Dancefloor

by Leonard Earl Johnson

~ Robert Herrick (1591 - 1674)

August I turn Seventy-three and become inescapably one with the Spirit of the old men in my boyhood village of Ullin, Illinois, as seen on holidays riding their bicycles festooned with feathers, flags and streamers. 
LEJ and Feather Bike / Frank Parsley

On July 4th last year, L. A. Norma gave me a large American flag. Using Mardi Gras beads we lashed Old Glory to the handlebars of my bicycle, Feather Bike. It fluttered briefly, then fell. Failure notwithstanding this event marked the moment I was ushered in to full-blown geezerdom.

Feather Bike                 /             Melanie Plesh
"One thing is sure,"
 Norma said, "You missed your chance to die young and get a long obit." 

A long obit is nice, but a long life gives the special reward of knowing how your dreams turn out while you are still dreaming them.

Chuck Johnson, my dream of a Son, recently went to Ullin, and photographed things like Porky's, my Father's long abandoned nightclub on the highway out of Town; the population sign (800); and the flashing yellow cautionary light in front of the Illinois Central Depot. I read at that light's dedication before Chuck was born, fifty-some years ago. This is where first I saw those old men on their colorful bicycles. My Brothers, Sister and I pitied them their lack of gas-guzzling with-it-ness. Now here I am one with them. 
Ullin, Illinois Depot Wikipedia  /   Paul Echols 

"
If Life ain't a big trip," Norma asked, one day climbing aboard AmTrak's City of New Orleans bound for Chicago ~ while secretly tipping a silver flask to her lips between puffs of surreptitiously exhaled Camel Cigarette smoke, "what is?"  

Norma's cigarette smoke was like a movie Indian's smoke signals. Gallantly communicating over barren miles though pursued by the cavalry ~ or AmTrak personnel. She piped out puffs of words and letters from her hidden location. Loudspeakers placed along the platform informed us that smoking would result in being taken from the train and left somewhere along the tracks. 


"This means cigarettes, pipes, cigars, Marijuana or crack cocaine..." the voice droned. 

"Not the same train as my Father's," I said.  

"Of course not," Norma snorted, her cigarette smoke floated over the train and off on its own journey. "Your Old Man's train would've been covered with canvas and pulled by oxen."

* * *

Also celebrated in August, Katrina Day
Katrina Day August 29, 2005
the day in 2005 that changed everything. 

In conversation a younger writer who rented Squalor Heightsmy Faubourg Marigny garret (where I watched ships smoking round Algiers Point, a sight from which much yarn was spun) asked, "Leave New Orleans?"

"Well, I didn't leave all together. And besides 
I had been a Merchant Sailor ~ that was the thing that first brought me to New Orleans ~ and that meant being away a lot."

Pamplona      /       Andrew Payne
*
Norma and I stepped off the train in Lafayette, and climbed aboard a pedicab arranged by cellphone to carry us up Boulevard Jefferson to Pamplona Tapas Bar, in time for happy-hours of white sangria and hot-buttered snails!

Papa never had it any better, oui?
____________





Your comments and corrections are welcome: Comments
* *
Copyright, 2016, 
Leonard Earl Johnson
All Rights Reserved

Lagniappe du Jour:
Star Spangled Banner in French


Smith always used this introduction: "While the storm clouds gather far across the sea / 
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free / 
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair, / 
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer." 
(First written as 
"... grateful that we're far from there" 
rather than 
"... for a land so fair".)[4] 
Written in 1918 by Irving Berlin, 
he changed this line for the published sheet music,
 March 1939, reflecting the USA's pivot from
domestic issues to World-warrior.

* *
French National Anthem

Bastille Day, July 14, 1789, marked the storming of Prison Bastille, and the beginning point 
 of the French Revolution,
which was inspired by the American Revolution,
which was financed by the French government and

America's Independance was opposed by the English in three wars,
 if you count America's Civil War.  

Supported by the French and opposed by the English.

Yet many Americans hold a curious allegiance to the English and
an even curiouser suspicion of France and its Age of Enlightenment,
  birthmaiden to their Independance from England.

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