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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, August 01, 2022

โœThe Rector and JFK's Rocking Chair, plus / August 2022




 The Rector and 

JFK's Rocking Chair, plus

~ Fiction ~
Roman ร  clef, cher! 
by Leonard Earl Johnson 
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana
 www.LEJ.world โœ
ยฉ 2022, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 


Dillard leans on the gate bell.
Silvia stands a couple feet behind her talking with Baltazar, the fisherman-poet they met on the bus to New Orleans.  They are talking about the colored jewels he has pasted to the tops of his white rubber boots.  In Louisiana such white boots ~ sans the jewels ~ are a shrimper's uniform and I. D.  

"The rubber keeps out the water," he tells her.  "No one knows why they are white."  They both laugh.

"Some people say boots are white so as to not scuff the deck," she says.

Baltazar replies"Those people have never been on a shrimp boat."

On the manicured lawn beyond the gate rests a path calmly guarded by magnolias and palmettos.  At the path's end sits the Rectory of the Cathedral of Saint John The Evangelist.  It is The Rector's home, office, and reception hall.

Cathedral of Saint John The Evangelist,
courtesy Dioceses of Lafayette
 Up a few stairs, windows line a broad gallery and sparkle in the morning sun.

 The Rector and his housekeeper, Hildegard Bottlebrush, watch unseen from behind double hung cut-glass windows set deeply in heavy mahogany doors.  

The Rector sees it is the two Red Women whom he does not care to see, and Baltazar Boudreaux, who he does.  

Baltazar has a JFK memento he wants to sell that would be a perfect Birthday gift for the Bishop of Lafayette.  The Red Women have banners, stickers, slogans, and madness.  And the ability to make a young priest dream of better wine.


The Bishop of Lafayette is The Rector's temporal and spiritual leader.  In 1963, when The Bishop was a child of eleven, his Father and Mother drove him from Basile Louisiana to Dealey Plaza, Dallas Texas, to see President John F. Kennedy get his brains blown out over the long shiny black trunk of his Lincoln Continental limousine.  Of course, the boy never forgot it.

He saved his pennant and lapel pin from that day, and  over the years he added to his JFK 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 Assassination 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 indeed, Baltazar does have something The Rector very much wants.  Something to give The Bishop at his Birthday party.  

The something is a little porcelain rocking chair suggestive of one where the President was often photographed rocking, flexing back muscles injured in World War The Second. 

JFK Memento 

๐Ÿ’€โ›พ๐Ÿ’€ The Rector turns to Bottlebrush and tells her to bring the visitors to his second floor study.  "And coffee, please."  These last words he spoke from an ascending electric 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.
~  *  ~      ~  *  ~      ~  *  ~

๐Ÿ—ฃ ๐Ÿ˜ท
~    ~    ~

Leonard Earl Johnson, www.LEJ.WORLD โœ

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
ยฉ 2021, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved