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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.

Tuesday, March 01, 2022

⚓The Day After Mardi Gras / March 2022



The Day After Mardi Gras

March 2022

by Leonard Earl Johnson 
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana



"With Coronavirus down and shootings off, we have to run over tourists and fall off floats just to fuel QAnon theory!"  
L. A. Norma to tourist

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LEJ's Louisiana

a monthly e-column at www.LEJ.world

Yours Truly in a Swamp

by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana

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March 2022

The Day After Mardi Gras

Ash Wednesday 

and the Forty Days of Lent 

by  Leonard Earl Johnson 

© 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, 

All Rights Reserved
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On Ash Wednesday, 
the day after Mardi Gras, all over Louisiana Carnival lifted its joyous mantle leaving Lent's ashen smudge in its place. 

At Cathedrals from New Orleans to Lafayette,
 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 the celebrant's forehead with thumbs dipped in the ashes of last year's Palm Sunday Palms. 


Zamboni-like street sweepers wash
 the cities, and Cajun chickens raise their necks up to see if it is safe to resume Life.  


 we harbor our doubts, but suffer none whatsoever about this ceremony.  It is Lent, and 
To ashes we are returning. 

Banana Tree / photo credit: Deb Kohler 

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


Should you need a reason to be suspicious of evangelical religion's temporal powers consider that. 

 Carnival's pleasurable time shrinks by measure of the inaccurate Pope Gregorian Calendar so as to accommodate lengthening Lent.
Lent ~ by those same inaccurate calculations is codified into Canon Law so as to never lose one penitent day of suffering.

"In such order we find sad truth,"

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, Ash Wednesday is 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, in the secular world you have
leap year!" 


Easter Sunday marks Lent's end, and also welcomes Spring.
  It was 'borrowed' by the marauding legions of Rome.  Borrowed from religions they happened upon that had been beating their own drums long before Christianity went on the road.  

Spring/Easter may be the oldest human celebration calculated (or miscalculated) into Canon Law, with those aforementioned instruments created out of 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 agent's with their inaccurate stopwatches).

Lenten fasting knits Carnival's raveled sleeve and prepares us for Spring's rebirth.  Like the bean sprout and the jazz man say:

"Blow the roof off the sucker"



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

Photo credit:  Eric Douglas
The live oaks outside our dormer windows are a soft young green. Live oaks don't dump their leaves till Spring's new buds arrive (as followers of JFK conspiracies will readily tell you). Then they change from old dark green to young soft green almost overnight. 

Today soft-green rules coastal Louisiana, and we old alligators lie on the banks in whatever sun we can find, 
dreaming of Easter baskets and Spring.

Your comments and corrections
are welcome

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

Copyright, 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson
all rights reserved

For more L. E. J.'s Yours Truly in a Swamp go to 

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© 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.
Lagniappe du Jour

If you wish to read any month's column go to www.LEJ.world anytime. 
They are posted on the first of each month and polished for the next few years.

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© 2022 Leonard Earl Johnson, 
All Rights Reserved.
~  *  ~      ~  *  ~      ~  *  ~

© Leonard Earl Johnson 

If you wish to read any month's column go to www.LEJ.world 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.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
© 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved