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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 ConsumerAffairs.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 anthologies: 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.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

December 2011 / A New Christmas

Yours Truly in a Swamp
Leonard Earl Johnson

December 2011

* * *
A New Christmas
by Leonard Earl Johnson

www. LEJ. org

The train toLafayette left New Orleans on-time and was sold-out! Lafayette is the first smoke-stop out of New Orleans, and L. A. Norma was ready for it.

We arrived in time for the Downtown Boudin Cook-off in Parc San Souci on Vermilion Street, two blocks from the train station. Norma kept us on the platform smoking with the other outcast smokers waiting beside the idling train.

"They don't let you smoke around food in Louisiana," she told a man-and-wife pair of chimneys from Los Angeles.

"They don't let you smoke around anything in L. A.," the woman said. "You can freely smoke in your car only. For Christ's sake. Your car!"

"That's a pure-air cure," Norma snorted through a smoke ring, "safely smoking while spewing car fumes." The train's whistle blew and the Los Angeles couple scrambled aboard and looked down at us from the observation car. The Conductor waved and we trudged off to Parc San Souci, which is French for "Park Without Concerns."

* * *
"How many times have you heard politicians and other preachers speak of our Judeo / Christian traditions?" Norma asked.
Tradition, the thing that passes our values from one generation to the next, and the next, and so on. We Christmas-celebrating Christians follow Gospel teachings about a Jewish Rabbi we have come to call Christ The King. He was born in the little town of Bethlehem two-thousand-eleven years ago this December twenty-fifth, according to tradition.
"Tra-di-tion!" The very thing Tevye sang and danced about in Fiddler on the Roof – the English script of which was taken from a story in Yiddish by Russian-American immigrant Sholem Aleichem. It is about events leading towards immigration and change. A story as American as apple strudel, and later told larger than life on Broadway and in the 1971 film by the same name.

Tevye’s lament was for Jewish traditions threatened by something new. Immigration. Change. For Christians, Jewish traditions became just that.
The Word. Those New Christian traditions were brought by the Romans to the Germanic tribes of Northern Europe. There was added Saint Nicholas, a. k. a., Santa Claus. The Germans had Santa Claus long before they had the Romans or The New Word of Christ. For the full skinny on this hefty subject see A NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITION in December's Country Roads Magazine.

In Memoriam: Raise it high for Coco Robicheaux who died in New Orleans, 25 November 2011, on his day off, at the Apple Barrel on Frenchmen Street, in Faubourg Marigny. He was 64. You now march for him, too.
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