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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.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

✍ The Rector and The Rocking Chair / December 2021





December 2021

The Rector and The Rocking Chair
~ Fiction ~
Roman à clef, cher! 
by Leonard Earl Johnson 
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
© 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 


Dillard leaned on the front gate bell.  Silvia stood a couple feet behind her talking with Baltazar, the fisherman poet.  They are talking about the colored jewels he has pasted to the tops of his white rubber boots.  In Louisiana such boots ~ sans the jewels ~ are a shrimper's uniform and I.D.  The rubber keeps out the water.  No one knows why they are white.

"Some people say boots are white so as to not scuff the deck," Baltazar tells Silvia.  "Those people have never been on a shrimp boat."

On the other side of the gate resting on manicured paths dotted with magnolias and palmettos sits The Rectory of the Cathedral

of Saint John The Evangelist.  

Up a few stairs is a broad gallery lined with windows glittering in the sun.  The Rector and his Housekeeper, Hildegard Bottlebrush, watch unseen through double hung cut-glass windows set deeply in heavy mahogany doors.  

The Rector sees it is the two Red Women whom he does not wish to see; and Baltazar Boudreaux, who he does.  Baltazar has a JFK memento he wants to sell.  The Red Women have banners, stickers, slogans, and madness.


The Diocesan Bishop of Lafayette (and The Rector's temporal and spiritual boss) was a child of eleven in 1963, when his Father and Mother drove him from Basil, Louisiana to Dallas, to see President John F. Kennedy's brains blown out over the long shiny black trunk of the President's Lincoln Continental.  Of course, the boy never forgot it.

He saved his pennant and lapel pin from that day.  Over the years he added to the collection until it grew so large that LIFE Magazine once did a two page photo spread about it.  

Years later one of the government's JFK, "full disclosure," hearings traveled to New Orleans and set up tent in the Old U. S. Mint, in the French Quarter.  That was 1995.  The boy, now grown and a rising Prince of the Catholic Church, was asked to put his collection on display and say a few words.  He did this gladly.

Yes, Baltazar has something The Rector very much wants.  Something to give The Bishop at his January First Birthday party.  The something is a little porcelain rocking chair suggestive of one where the

JFK Memento 

President was often photographed rocking, flexing back muscles to ease his World War Two wounds.  

The Rector tells Bottlebrush to bring them to his second floor study. "And coffee, please."  These last words were spoken seated upon an ascending electric stairway ~ a folding chair attached to a steel rail bolted to the wall next to the stair treads.  Slowly electrically The Rector rose.  The Housekeeper buzzed open the gate.  The visitors entered. 
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🗣 😷

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Leonard Earl Johnson, LEJ.org 

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~   ~   ~

 LEJ's Louisiana, Yours Truly in a Swamp
is a monthly e-column @ www.LEJ.world
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
© 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved