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.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

✍ Old Age Meets Old October Winds / October 2020







Jeannie Kindall

"A Republican Fight Song" ~ L. A. Norma 

~ * ~
πŸ ‡

~ October 2020 ~

LEJ's Louisiana
Yours Truly in a Swamp
Monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.org

by Leonard Earl Johnson,
of Lafayette and New Orleans

*   *   *
Β© 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

Old Age Meets Old October Winds ~ scary story ~

by Leonard Earl Johnson




We awakened with a start, and an image in our foggy head of a hand thrusting up from the warm grave of nightdreams.  

We think about death more than we did before Katrina ~ and her following winds.  

Some are new winds, and some are old windbags; and now our very age blows in unsettling knowledge about how our dreams turn out. 

Looking through six-over-six windowpanes I see a small metal smokestack of some forgotten use.  Short and stout it wobbles about in the morning breeze, waving at us it seems ~ like a barnacled rusty old hand.




A blackened tin hat chimney ~ rusted in half years ago and folded over on one side into an extended thumb.  It is folded down the other side like fingers making a fist.  

2020 is pushing up yet another worrisome day.  

We rubbed the night from our eyes.

The Donald Voodoo Doll

~ * ~

L. A. Norma switched on her smart phone's radio.  

"Smartphones do anything,

 but make good phone calls." 

She switched channels to all-music, 

"To avoid bad news overload. 

"Did you know radio offers this antidote to its news service?" she asked.  

~ Hayden's Kaiserquintett filled the room ~ 

"Sooths but doesn't abuse." 

Abusive News Syndrome is a new disease recently discovered by Norma. 

"A condition soon to be treated with expensive sugar pills under development today by an international drug giant in India, Delaware and Puerto Rico." 

She says this, lighting a Camal Cigarette, and pointing me at the Donald Trump voodoo doll we bought recently in New Orleans. 

"From a Broad Street peddler, at a gas station under the scenic I-10 overhead. 

"Till then," she said, fingering an antique hatpin sticking through the doll's orange neck, "we have this!" 
πŸ ‡

~ * ~

COVID-19 deaths have risen above 200,000 ~ a number once chided by The Donald as exaggerated predictions too false to demand a response.  

"A response greater than crushing a Family or grabbing a trophy woman by her genitals," Norma said to our pedicab driver, through a cloud of smoke.

We pulled up in front of Saint Louis Cathedral.  

The gates to Jackson Square, behind us, were locked to keep someone from pulling Andrew off his high horse. 

Andrew Jackson saved New Orleans from the British, but was a nasty slave owner and Native American administrator. 

Bad people do good things 

My Grand Mother (Großmutter) was born in BΓΆnnigheimGau Swabish German town, dating back to 793 ~ in the Black Forest and Bavarian Mountains ~ "Fourteen point nine kilometers outside of Stuttgart."


Her homeland (Vaterland) was annexed by Bavaria in 1803 (the same year as the Louisiana Purchase).  During the Nazi period, the area was separated from the rest of Bavaria to become the Gau Swabia. It was re-incorporated into Bavaria after World War Two. 

My Grandmother was neither a kind nor tender woman.  She was hardened by what happened to her world and once told me, "If you see change in your Life as I have, you are in for quite a große fahrt (big ride)."  

Große fahrt's English translation makes one of the first jokes learned by English speakers in Germany.  There are many variations stemming from große ('gross' in English) and fahrt (pronounced 'fart').  Need I elaborate?  I thought not.

"Leading to your tremulously underachieving Life," 
L. A. Norma says, shoving the coffeepot across the counter.  She is angry with me.  

We bought a green bag of Union Brand Coffee with Chicory, at the French Quarter Rouses, to bring back to Laughingyette, where chicory sits

 on the store shelf till it grows too old to drink.
 I left the coffee on a bench overlooking the Mississippi River where we had gone to eat a Muffuletta and watch the ships. 

True, I agreed. 
 Now, an old man, I am sequestered in my rooms tapping out poetic wisdom for a World approaching changes vast as any my Grandmother saw. 

"And, she might say, 'The same damn change!'" L. A. Norma said. 

My Grandmother was young when she fled to America, safe but bitter for her loss of "The Old Country."  What would she think of losing the New One?


 Copyright, 2020, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

*  *  *
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
the next few years.

~   ~   ~

 πŸ”»  ⏬  πŸ”»
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

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