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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.

Sunday, January 01, 2023

⚓ The Bishop Turned 74 / January 2023

  © 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson / All Rights Reserved



The Bishop Turned 74

~ Fiction ~
Roman à clef, cher!
 Leonard Earl Johnson 
of Lafayette and New Orleans, Louisiana


LEJ's Louisiana

© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 


The Bishop of Lafayette does not seem too old for his job ~ given that slim Democrat, Joe Biden is President of the United States at age 80; and The Donald, his obese Republican nemesis and endless pretender to the same throne is 78.

Still, retirement is required of Catholic Bishops at 75, and The Bishop has just turned 74.  

Hildegarde Bottlebrush added, "Cardinals are disallowed their vote for Pope after reaching 80."  

She pushed her wine glass toward an approaching server, who turned out to be Sylvia, one of the Cathedral's newest congregants.  Recently decamped along with her activist buddy, Dillard, from the passing campaign train of Red Women Warriors  for The Donald.
The Rectory's formal dining hall glittered with The Bishop's birthday dinner, and the word, "retirement" was often spoken.   

💫😷 💫 

The Rector, host of the evening took to the podium. "In our day of seas rising and skies fall..."  His views were not much heard by The Bishop nor his gathered Cloth and lay guests. 

The Rector presented The Bishop with his gift.  The Bishop held it up for all to see.  It was a small porcelain rocking chair inscribed with the initials: JFK, in gold leaf. 

Everyone knew the story of The Bishop's boyhood presence in Dealey Plaza that November day in 1963 Just before Thanksgiving when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  And everyone knew of The Bishop's treasured collection of JFK assasination memorabilia.                                                                       

Everyone also knew that everyone present this night wanted to be in that number behind the curtain knowing before all others the choice for new bishop; even possibly helping to make it.  

None actually wanted the title of Bishop.  Except one big bearded Maurice duQuesnay, a University of Louisiana language Professor with a specialty in Hebrew and a dog named Saluki.
"Behind-the-curtain power.  The real power in any organization on Earth," Hildegard Bottlebrush remarked to Baltazar.  Adding wistfully, "Perhaps even beyond."  

They were dressed in what might be called casual formal.  Hildegarde wore a red sequined evening gown that glittered back at all the candles on all the tables.  Baltazar wore a fine tuxedo, with waistcoat and antique studs made of gold and mother of pearl.  His cuff links were actual little chain-links of gold attached to gold framed mother of pearl buttons.  No tie and, of course, white fisherman boots adorned with colored jewels.


Outgoing bishops, neighboring bishops, the apostolic nuncio, various members of the Roman Curia, and The Pope (Bishop of Rome) all play a role in the selection of new bishops. As do certain lay members of the flock, unofficially. 

One of the concurring bishops, besides The Pope, must be an archbishop acting as chairman of the selection committee. 

In this case, The Archbishop of New Orleans will fill the bill poetically.  On the marble plaque of the Basilica of Saint Louis Cathedral is inscribed a long list of past rectors of this oldest cathedral in America.  One of whom was Maurice duQuesnay1770 to 1776.  He is an antecedent to today's Maurice duQuesnay, the layman who would be usurper of the Bishopric, and currently the bicycle riding longest serving faculty member at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, U La La.

 Maurice duQuesnay, the latter, is no longer Catholic, but he would like to be bishop anyway.  Figuring since he was born Catholic and attended 

The Man who would be Bishop

Jesuit, Catholic Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin he  qualifies, though he later came to follow the ideas of pre-Jesus Judaism.  Even becoming a crest on the wave reestablishing Temple Shalom, on Rue Lee, in downtown Lafayette. 

"Rabbi" duQuesnay, as he has come to be known, elevated to Catholic Bishop du Quesnay!?  An idea on its surface ludicrous

But not to Maurice duQuesnay, who points to "the oneness" of today's ecumenical movement, his own Catholic lineage and, "No requirement of church membership existed for any of the founders of The Faith, including Jesus, Himself."

 💀💀 💀 💀💀

Dillard, a new member of the Cathedral Ladies Sodality Service, approached duQuesnay's table and sat a slice of devil's-food cake before him.  Alongside she laid a sticker reading: "Turn Back Voter Turnout," and her phone number.




Coming Next Month: LEJ's Louisiana

Mardi Gras Glossary, Dates, and History



The "Bishop" and his Maidens
Photo credit   Hanson Trahan

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© 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.

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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

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Leonard Earl Johnson at Sea
© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved