LEJ's Blog

My Photo
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 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.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Another Story from Before The Virus / May 2020

LEJ's Louisiana

Yours Truly in a Swamp

Monthly e-column @
by Leonard Earl Johnson,
of Lafayette and New Orleans
Archives: www.LEJ.org

*   *   *

May 2020

Another Story from Before 
The Virus
By Leonard Earl Johnson
~ LEJ.org ✍️
© 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

*   *   *
~*~    ~*~    ~*~

Courtesy of Amtrak

mtrak's Sunset Limited 
left New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal exactly on time. New Orleans is a "terminal town." Meaning not only an accepting place for drinking yourself to death ~ and giving you a parade when you do ~ but also America's third coast rail head.  The place where tracks and trains begin 
~ or end ~ 

Here our trains arrive as off-schedule as any deteriorated third-world rail system.  But here they routinely depart on time 

for all directions. 

"But South,
L. A. Norma said outside the station, smiling through a cloud of Camel Cigarette smoke.
We rolled under the Claiborne Street and I-10 overpasses, and snaked through chain-link protected shadowy lots filled with railroad bric-a-brac, and general population discards. 

Outside the fenced area are homeless camps. Under one highway overpass, a bright blue tent had a silver Motobecane bicycle chained outside to its open flap. 

Inside the tent we glimpsed two bearded men passing a joint. 

"Some new Jack Kerouac on the road,L. A. Norma said, pointing out the observation car's windows 
with her coffee cup

She is telling this to a young lady from England, who is on her way to Beaumont, Texas and from there a bus to Galveston Island. The woman worked for a huge investment firm with offices in London. She travels constantly, she said, often visiting Louisiana. 

"From Brexit to Trump-it, l
ooking for investment,Norma asked? 

 Holy Roman Empire
Emperor Carolus V.
1519 - 1556
"Making America a great colony again!" 

Norma subscribes to an idea that Do
nald Trump, "With his vestigial Hapsburg jaw," is the spearhead of a very old world order passing itself off as new. 

She thinks Trump is re-enthroning the most conservative of political ideas: the Holy Roman Empire.  

And will leave his New World followers bedazzled, dazed and broken amid polluted fields littered with their fallen torches and pitchforks.

The English woman said no, "Merely a tourist who likes New Orleans.  I love this place!

"Last April I was here, at the famed Roddie Romero concert in the Historic New Orleans Collection's elegant courtyard, on Royal Street.  It was a night of musical history."

Norma agreed ~ we, too, had been there. Romero and The Hub City All-Stars moved musical standards higher that night in one of those concerts where audience and musicians feed each other ~ the firing of that elusive spark you attend live performances in hopes of seeing. 

*   *   *

Along the railroad tracks, at a particularly green spot on the West Bank just past the Huey P. Long Bridge, lays a discarded yacht. You can not make out the name. She was beached fifteen years
ago by Hurricane Katrina. Mast snapped and lost. Her keel sprung for sure. But there she sits sailing on a sea of weeds and someones forgotten dreams. 

The years passed quickly since Katrina and soon it will be Winter again.  Then the green grasses will die down around her.  Then the ghostly yacht will heave back to full view.

Further down the line, next to the Mississippi River levee, we pass a small farmhouse surrounded by a large flock of grey and white geese. 

Foie gras

"Some French Quarter tourist will eat one of those birds' liver tonight," Norma tells the young woman from England.

*   *   *
~*~    ~*~    ~*~
On the train out of Town, a middle-aged man in the club car wearing a light blue Haspel seersucker suit with a black t-shirt, handed me his card stating he was "A Cannabis dealer from Colorado."

He was on his way back from Atlanta, he told us. "From visiting Stonehenge-like stones erected anonymously, in 1979-80, with ~ still today ~ mysterious funding from who knows who."

The monument, called the Georgia Guidestones are in Elberton County, 90 miles from Atlanta.

"Inscriptions on the stones in several languages, current and lost, indicate the World's population needs cutting back to
500 million."

This was the first I'd heard of this,
but I had been in New Orleans, at the movies with L. A. Norma.

Amtrak Passing Fields and Farms                                         photo credit © Michael Tomb
click image for higher resolution

© 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved
Your comments and corrections are welcome: Comments🖉🙋

Lagniappe du Jour

*   *   *
~*~    ~*~    ~*~

*   *   *
~*~    ~*~    ~*~
Georgia Guidestones

*   *   *
~*~    ~*~    ~*~
Donald Trump, the man with the golden jaw 
Hapsburg / Holy Roman iconography 

*   *   *
~*~    ~*~    ~*~

Four-minute Video
Sunset on Amtrak's ole #1 Sunset Limited
 New Orleans to Los Angeles
Your comments and corrections are welcome 🖉🙋

Copyright, 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~  ~   ~   ~
Go here For 

*  *  *
If you wish to read any month's column go to www.LEJ.org anytime. 

They are posted on the first of each month and polished for the next few years.
~   ~   ~

~  ~  ~
 LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp

is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org,

and historically at

Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans,

publication of the

It is written by Leonard Earl Johnson of Lafayette and 

New Orleans, Louisiana
Archives: www.LEJ.org

* * * * * * * * * * * 
© 2020 Leonard Earl Johnson, 

All Rights Reserved 

* *