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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.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

✍ Amtrickling Along / June 2023

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trickling Along
June 2023
Leonard Earl Johnson
Fiction ~
Roman à clef, cher! 

Sunset Limited bound for
Lafayette, Louisiana

© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved

Number One, the Sunset Limited 
is the first train in America to carry a name.  Its origins trace back to 1894, running daily (originally as the Sunset Express) between New Orleans and San Francisco. Making it the New World's first coast-to-coast rail line ~ if you consider the Louisiana Gulf Coast a coast, and Louisiana a part of this world.

The coast is real but the route has shrunk.  Today it runs New Orleans to Los Angeles three times a week.  Departing (usually) at 9am, Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.  

Westbound out of New Orleans it is Amtrak #1. Eastbound out of Los Angeles it is Amtrak #2.

New Orleans is the Sunset's east railheadthe end of the line.  Meaning the road ends ~ or begins ~ in NOLa.  It originates ~ or terminates ~ on the other end in L. A.  

This great Iron Horse has had few on-time arrivals at either railhead or anywhere in between in the past fifty-some years.  The 1970 Federal law creating Amtrak mandates right-of-way to passenger trains.  In exchange for a fee paid to private railroads the government assumed all common rail carrier obligations ~ including mail service ~ and the railroads promised to give Amtrak 
priority access to their tracks.

Alas, this particular trainset runs flat smack across the bloated righteous heart of bloody red Republican Texas ~ where the hat worn by a public service railroad does not hold much water.

Amtrak is routinely halted for the passage of oil and freight while human cargo is left on the sidetrack drinking surprisingly good coffee.  

"But no longer, '...smoking big cigars'", L. A. Norma says. "Like Johnny Cash used to sing about. 
"Not even little cigarettes," she adds, knocking a Camel ash into a long necked receptacle at the terminal house door.

Sunset Limited, Westbound

Yet, miraculously it almost always departs New Orleans on time.  Providing arrival the day before was on the same day as actually scheduled. 


Dillard and Sylvia boarded for Lafayette, Louisiana.  Where they had decamped months ago after being forced off a special Trump Rouge Train stopped overnight in the Cajun Hub City.

Cathedral Oak  /  Lafayette Louisiana
They stayed in Lafayette, took a large airy apartment overlooking the Saint John the Evangelist Cathedral Oak Tree, and
joined the Cathedral congregation.

Dillard tells all who stop and listen of their assimilation into the local culture. "We even put potato salad in our gumbo," a Cajun culinary practice viewed as Satanic in New Orleans.


They also begun making their groceries at Rouses Market. "To show solidarity with Donald Rouse, Sr., for his presence at the January 6, D. C. Insurrection."

According to The Times-Picayune / NOLa.com, Rouses Market's ex- Human Rights Director, Steve Galtier posted photos on his Facebook page of him and Rouse, Sr. wearing facemasks and baseball caps at the park where Trump supporters gathered beating their drums for insurection near the White House.  He posted more images of the surrounding crowd accompanied by the inaccurate caption: 
Millions in DC today with us.

"We are not parlor pink," Dillard points out. "We are deadhead deadeye reds."


The Red Warrior Women are so called for their red hair, hats, clothing, and politics.

Dillard and Sylvia fell from favor on the campaign train for their insistence on buttons, ribbons and banners encouraging Americans to rekindle their lost war for the Confederacy at home, and overseas in Vietnam.  

The Pack Leader of the Iron Horse Red Women is known as, The Red Mistress.  She says, "It is really not Party policy to advocate wars, or to deport Vietnamese fisher folk, but that is a good strategy for making America great again.  Keep them fighting again and again.  And again!"


"Till the streets run red with blood,
said a D. C. demonstrator wearing a tinfoil hat and a cape of Orlon acrylic fiber, with spots like a leopard.

To this end these Rouge Republicans have abandoned Abe Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt ~ Republicans who liberated masses and dug the Panama Canal.

Replacing them with the rote dogma that their own government is their own enemy, a wedge tactic of occupying generals older than the demonized Civil War governor of New Orleans, U. S. Major General Benjamin 'Spoons' Butler.

Tattered Louisiana Banana Tree in Bloom

If you can conceive of the Kremlin and 
Vladimir Putin wanting a weakened self-doubting America then it should be conceivable the Republican Party turned red by aligning itself with the remnants of the old Soviet Union.  "The original 'Reds' in my long lexicon," L. A. Norma says.

Norma goes on, "Red Republicans operate like a Fifth Column.  Out of free-floating fear and anger, out of exact and specific greed, or in a soulless mind fog! 

"A Fifth Column operating inside American lines.  Their Party motto would more honestly be:

Think your government can work? 
Elect us and we'll prove it can't!"

🚩  🚩  🚩

The Party ~ consciously or not ~ works to arm every man, woman, and child.  To mold streetfighters willing to attack America from its Capital to school yards, to movie theatres, to Temples, Mosques, and Churches, to street cafés, to you and yours!

"They play chicken with the National Debt triggering a raise in the debt's massive interest load," 
L. A. Norma snorts.

"And the interest you pay on your bank cards and mortgages, too! 

"Red Republicans don't mind spending money, 
as long as it doesn't do any good."
www.LEJ.world http://www.LEJ.org
 © 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 

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Leonard Earl Johnson, www.LEJ.world 
Photograph © Leonard Earl Johnson

Leonard Earl Johnson
Photo credit: Marie Öhman, Stockholm

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
© 2023, Leonard Earl Johnson, All Rights Reserved 


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