Today is the Feast of the Epiphany, as observed by the Roman Catholic Church in the United States, as today is the Sunday after New Year’s Day. On this date in 1815 the Battle of New Orleans was fought as the final land battle of the War of 1812 (taking place after the technical end of the war, but the news had not gotten to Louisiana by the time of the battle).
The Epiphany is when the Magi (also known as the Three Wise Men) visited the Baby Jesus and brought him gold, incense, and myrrh, thus recognizing him as King, God, and Man. Prior to the reform of 1955, when Pope Pius XII abolished all but three liturgical octaves (later they were whittled down to two Octaves), the Roman Catholic Church celebrated Epiphany as an eight-day feast beginning on January 6th and ending on January 13th, known as the Octave of Epiphany. In the 1970 revision of the Roman Catholic calendar of saints, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6th for countries where the feast is a Holy Day of Obligation. In other countries (such as in the United States) it is celebrated on the Sunday after January 1st. Christmastide ends with the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which is the Sunday after Epiphany unless Epiphany was celebrated on January 7th or 8th, in which case it is the Monday after Epiphany (as is the case this year). In the Battle of New Orleans American forces of less than 5,000 men commanded by General Andrew Jackson defeated an invading British Army, Royal Marines and a large Royal Navy fleet totalling some 11,000 men, commanded by Admiral Alexander Cochrane and General Edward Pakenham, intent on seizing New Orleans and the vast territory America had acquired with the Louisiana Purchase. Among those on the American side were French pirate Jean Lafitte, who with his men participated in the battle in exchange for a full pardon. The battle was remarkable for both its brevity and lopsided lethality. In the space of twenty-five minutes, the British lost 700 killed (including General Pakenham), 1,400 wounded and 500 prisoners, a total loss of twenty-six hundred men; American losses were only seven killed and six wounded. This was the final land battle of the War of 1812; the Treaty of Ghent had been signed on December 24th, 1814, but due to the inherent slowness of trans-Atlantic communication by sailing ships (almost two months), the news of the battle had reached Washington before the news of the treaty signing. The battle is often regarded as the greatest American land victory of the war, and boosted Andrew Jackson’s career; he was elected the Seventh President of the United States in 1828. The night before the Battle of New Orleans, nuns at the Ursuline Convent and relatives of the men fighting with Andrew Jackson’s forces spent the night in prayer before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. Americans believed that a vastly powerful British fleet and army had sailed for New Orleans (Jackson himself thought 25,000 troops were coming), and most expected the worst. Miraculously, the badly outmanned and under equipped Americans defeated the British. In keeping with a vow made that day, a Mass is celebrated every January 8th in thanksgiving at the convent. The miraculous statue is presently in the National Shrine of Our Lady of Prompt Succor, at the Ursuline’s latest home in New Orleans; the 1997 mosaic by Sergio Papucci of the battle and the nuns praying to Our Lady of Prompt Succor is located in the Old Ursuline Convent Herb Garden, the site of the Almonester Chapel in the old Ursuline Convent where the nuns prayed before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor.
Michelle came by last night to do laundry, as the water main had burst at the place she shares with Katie in Lawtell. Last night our LSU Tigers lost their College Basketball game with the Mississippi State Bulldogs by the score of 78 to 95; our LSU Tigers (9-5, 1-2) will next play an Away College Basketball game with the Texas A&M Aggies (8-6, 0-3) on Wednesday night. And our New Orleans Pelicans lost their NBA game with the Boston Celtics by the score of 108 to 116.
Upon waking up for work I did my Book Devotional Reading; it was 27° when we left for work. I did my Internet Devotional Reading on our way to work. Once we clocked in, Richard was on a Blackjack table. I was on Three Card Blackjack, closed the table, and was sent to another Blackjack table, where I stayed for the rest of the day. Early on that table, when it went dead, they lidded my game to use my table to change Blackjack cards. And the temperature warmed up quicker and ultimately warmer than yesterday.
On our way home I sent a text to Julie proposing that we meet for our next trip to New Orleans this week (Tuesday through Thursday). Once home I read the Sunday papers. At 1:30 pm Richard and I took down all of the Christmas decorations (except for the creche and my Nativity Counted Cross-Stitch) and put everything up, and I put my Mardi Gras wreath on the inside of the front door. I then came to the computer to work on Advance Daily Update Drafts. Julie answered my text that she would check with her husband Gus, and our LSU Lady Tigers won their College Basketball game with the Arkansas Lady Razorbacks by the score of 53 to 52; our LSU Lady Tigers (13-3, 2-1) will next play a Home College Basketball game with the Missouri Lady Tigers (11-6, 1-2) on Thursday, January 12th. Richard gathered up the trash and wheeled the trash bin out to the curb. And I will finish this Daily Update and go to bed.
Tomorrow is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, which normally is the Sunday after Epiphany; however, it is on the Monday following Epiphany if Epiphany was on January 7th or 8th. The Feast is the last day of the liturgical Christmas season; Tuesday begins Ordinary Time, which will last until Ash Wednesday and the Season of Lent. Tomorrow (being the Monday after the traditional date of Epiphany) is Plough Monday. We will head to the casino to begin the two-week pay period, and on my breaks I will start reading Finders Keepers by Stephen King. I will also be fasting after 3:00 am, because after work (at 11:00 am) I will go to the Clinic and have blood drawn ahead of my appointment on Monday, January 16th with the Nurse Practitioner. And tomorrow evening our New Orleans Pelicans (14-24, 1-6) will play an Away NBA game with the New York Knicks (17-28, 1-3), and I will record the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update. Tomorrow evening is also is the College Football Playoff National Championship between #1 Alabama and #2 Clemson. (Go Tigers!)
Our Parting Quote this Sunday afternoon comes to us from Antonio Frasconi, Argentinian-born Uruguayan – American woodcut artist. Born in 1919 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, his parents were of Italian descent, and he was brought up in Montevideo, Uruguay. Frasconi’s mother managed a restaurant whilst his father was frequently unemployed, raised Frasconi and his two sisters, and still found time to be a seamstress. She early recognized her son’s talent and felt that if he had been born with a gift, then he should become a famous artist instead of doing menial work. By the age of twelve, he was learning a trade at a printers after abandoning a course at Círculo de Bellas Artes, and as a teenager he admired Gustave Doré and Goya, whilst indulging in creating caricatures of political figures. During World War II an exhibition of impressionism and post-impression was organized by the French in Latin America. Artists such as Van Gogh and Cézanne captured his imagination. However it was the woodcuts of Paul Gauguin that he was attracted to most. Frasconi he also became intrigued by American writers and musicians. He would hear Jazz on the radio and read American authors like Walt Whitman. He moved to the United States in 1945 at the end of World War II, and worked as a gardener and as a guard at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. It was at that museum that he had his first dedicated show. Within n twelve months he had a similar show at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and became a Guggenheim Fellow in 1952. In 1958 he co-wrote and illustrated La Maison Que Jacques A Batie (The House that Jack Built), in English and French, which was a runner-up for the 1959 Caldecott Medal, which honors the illustrator of the best American picture book for children. In 1962 Frasconi won a Horn Book Fanfare award for La Nieve y el Sol (The Snow and the Sun), in Spanish and English. In 1982 Frasconi was the Distinguished Teaching Professor of Visual Arts at the State University of New York at Purchase. Between 1981 and 1986 he created a series of woodcuts under the name “Los desaparecidos” (“The Disappeared”). This series refers directly to the people who were tortured and killed during the Civic-military dictatorship of Uruguay.This collection of woodcuts is now at the MNAV (Museum Nationale Visual Arts) in Montevideo, Uruguay; a film that accompanies the artwork had introductory notes by Mario Benedetti, video and animation by Eduardo Darino. and music by Pablo Frasconi (died 2013): “A sort of anger builds in you, so you try to spill it back in your work.”