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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.

Monday, March 01, 2021



~  Final Draft  ~
Lawrence Ferlingetti, San Francisco 
City Lights Publisher and Book Store Owner
1919 ~ 2021

... the last survivor of that generation ...



LEJ's Louisiana, 

Yours Truly in a Swamp 

🍷 πŸΎ

Leonard Earl Johnson
Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana

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from the series
Part Two

The Day After Mardi Gras

March 2021

Β© 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

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"Yes, Virginia, there was no Mardi Gras this  year!" L. A. Norma said to the empty banquette along Bourbon Street.  

"Bacchus spent this Carnival alone and sober in some brightly lit corner of temperance."


"Mayor Latoya Cantrell, square-shouldered and masked, done clasped closed the gate,our pedicab driver replied.


The Way We Were

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March 2021

The Day After Mardi Gras

Ash Wednesday 

and the Forty Days of Lent 

BY  Leonard Earl Johnson 

Β© 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson, 

All Rights Reserved

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On Ash Wednesday all over Louisiana, Carnival lifted its joyous mantle and left Lent's ashen smudge in its place. 

At Saint Louis Cathedral, business suits stood
 cheek-by-jowl with crimson capes and smeared-lipstick ladies awaiting priests dressed in the Vestments of Sorrow, smearing The Sign of The Cross on celebrant foreheads, with thumbs dipped in the ashes of last year's Palm Sunday Palms. 

Zamboni-like street sweepers washed
 The City.  

 we harbored doubts, 
but none whatsoever about this ceremony. 

Our candle burns at both ends.
 COVID or not, to ashes we are returning. 

Banana Tree
Photo credit: Deb Kohler 

Lent is the longest holiday in all the Christian calendar.  It celebrates for forty days everything the King Cake's Baby Jesus grew up opposing.  Yet it is the longest holiday of The Faith.  

Should you need a reason to be suspicious of evangelical powers in politics consider that fact
"In such order we find sad Truths"
~ L. A. Norma.


Clearing the Liturgical Air
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the last day of Carnival's ever-changing season of joy.  Next day comes Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent's never-changing season of suffering.

"The Gregorian Calendar
," L. A. Norma explains to a bewildered tourist sharing our pedicab, 
"what with Easter changing with the moon, is none too accurate!  

"For instance, 
take leap year!" 


Easter Sunday marks Lent's end, 
and is also a ceremony to welcome Spring.
  It was borrowed by the marauding legions of Rome, from religions they happened upon that had come along long before Christianity took its show on the road.  

It may be the oldest human celebration, and it is calculated (or miscalculated) in today's Canon Law with instruments crafted from faith in suffering and suspicion of pleasure.

Suffering is not to be monkeyed with in these theological calculations. Carnival's pleasures, however, are reducible by God (or His agents with their inaccurate stopwatches).

Lenten fasting repairs Winter's damage and Carnival's excess, and prepares us for Spring's rebirth. 

Like the bean sprout and the jazz man say, 
"Blow the roof off the sucker!"

𝅘𝅥𝅮 🎜 🎝 π…‘

It has been a cold Lent in Louisiana this year, with sunny icy mornings, and a warm place in the kitchen to read Internet newspapers and sip coffee. 

The live oaks outside our dormer windows are a soft young green. Live oaks do not lose their leaves till Spring's new buds arrive (as followers of JFK conspiracies know). Then they change from old dark green to young soft green almost overnight. 

Today soft-green peeks through the snow, and old alligators lie on the banks in whatever sun we can find, 
dreaming of Easter baskets and Spring.
  LEJ.orgEmoji πŸš΄πŸŠ

(A lesser version of this story first appeared in 2004)

Copyright, 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson
all rights reserved

For more L. E. J.'s Yours Truly in a Swamp go to 
w w w . L E J . o r g

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Β© 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.

Lagniappe du Jour

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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.

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 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

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Coming Next Month

April 2021

click image for high resolution
www.LEJ.org βœ

Β© 2021 Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.
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