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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.

Friday, July 01, 2022

โš“Making Groceries at Rouses / July 2022




Making Groceries

at Rouses Market,

Aprรจs nous, le dรฉluge
(After us the flood)

~ Fiction ~
Roman ร  clef, cher! 
Leonard Earl Johnson 
 www.LEJ.world โœ
ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 


Silvia and Dillard detrained in Lafayette at the Rosa Parks Transportation Centrรฉ after returning from New Orleans and a failed effort to revive the War in Vietnam.

    Photo credit: Eric Douglas
The two Red Warriors walked up Jefferson Street to Carpe Diem Gelato and Wine Bar.  

There they rendezvoused with L. A. Norma, who has promised to help them make groceries.  

Making groceries is New Orleans speak for stocking the kitchen.

The two Red Women are stocking a new kitchen in Lafayette across Rue Saint John from the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist.  Their rooms are airy, clean, and with a fine view of the ancient Live Oak Tree known throughout Louisiana as The Cathedral Oak.
Natures mystic carrousel.
The Cathedral Oak is thought to be over five hundred years old with a trunk that looks to be screwing up from the bowels of The Earth, and limbs flinging love, order, and discipline in a deadhead course straight up

The Cathedral Oak

Rue Principal (Main Street) from the Cathedral to Lafayette Parish Prison, to the Parish Court House, to the bank formerly known as the Chase Manhattan.  All are Institutions in friendly alliance.  Friendly as money and faith will allow.

L. A. Norma calls it "The three Fs of Faith, Force, and Finance." A socioeconomic system nourishing as Cajun gumbo.

Cajun gumbo is a fresh seafood banquet.  Lapped up with cornbread often as French bread.  And cemented to the Cajun heart with a big scoop of cold potato salad plopped at tableside into the bubbling broth (a curious practice seen as nearly Satanic in New Orleans dining halls).  

"But we are not in New Orleans," Norma says, "and we love the creamy cooling mix." 


Cajun Dome, 
 University   of   Louisiana   at   Lafayette
Near the University of Louisiana's vast sports complex with its crown jewel, The Cajun Dome, the two Red Women each take a slice of pizza from the hot counter at Rouses Market.  From the cold counter a bit of green salad.  They find seats at tables beside large windows overlooking an ample parking lot off freeway-like streets with many lanes and complex traffic configurations.  Lafayette is a wonderfully stimulating place for automobiles, and trucks, and football. 

L. A. Norma adds, "And making money at any cost!"

On the table beside their food trays they fan out black, white, and red stickers alongside a hand lettered sign reading: "Free.Each sticker is a three inch black square holding a white circle inside of which is printed in blood red: Turn Back Voter Turn Out!

Two dark skinned women toting black shopping baskets look at the stickers, then at the Red Women, and then walk away.  

A redheaded pizza baker picks up a sticker and slips it into his white cook's jacket then returns to his ovens.

Outside, in the parking lot, a young man with jewels glued to his fisherman's white boots is seen waving his arms.  A square white van marked US POSTAL SERVICE stops and gives him a lift to the front door.  The postman knows doing so is a violation of postal rules but he reckons since they deliver page-after-pages of Rouses weekly sales ads to every postal address in Louisiana for next to no charge, that this little lagniappe is just a little bit more.

๐Ÿ•  ๐Ÿ•

Sylvia spots his boots and recognizes him as the young fisherman-poet from their bus ride to New Orleans.  His name is Baltazar Boudreaux.  He thanks the Postman for the lift and walks into Rouses and over to the Red Women's table.  "I see you got back here good," he says, picking up a sticker.  

They tell him of their new apartment near The Cathedral Oak, and their plans to join the Cathedral congregation. 

L. A. Norma explains she has brought them grocery shopping and will give them all a ride back, if he needs a lift.

 In fact, he says, he does. He is on his way to see the Cathedral's Rector. To show him an artifact commemorating the murder of John F. Kennedy fifty-nine years ago this November, in Dallas. He shows them a little porcelain rocking chair with the monogram, JFK, in gold glitter. It sits empty. A what-not-shelf keepsake from 1963. Baltazar wants to sell it. The Rector is interested, he is in need of a gift for the Bishop's birthday. www.LEJ.WORLDโœ

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Photograph ยฉ Leonard Earl Johnson 

If you wish to read any month's column go to www.LEJ.WORLD
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.WORLD
Hosted by GOOGLE BLOGGER, and historically at
Les Amis de Marigny, New Orleans
publication of the

It is written by Leonard Earl Johnson
of Lafayette and New Orleans, 
ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved