Much like royalty ascending a throne, Earl J. Higgins had
the markings of a Y'at Catholic from the beginning. He began his physical and
spiritual life in bastions of New Orleans#9; Catholic culture, having been born
October 1941 in Hotel Dieu Hospital and christened in St. Stephen's Catholic
Church. Graduating from Jesuit High School cinched the deal. He is an
authentic Y'at, an affectionate term for a local New Orleanian.
Armed with a BA in English and a juris doctorate from Tulane University, Higgins compiled an
impressive resume of government service. He retired from the United States Navy
in 1989 with the rank of commander, U.S. Naval Reserve, and from the United
States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, in 2002 as the assistant director of
staff attorneys. When questioned about his seemingly dry government service,
Higgins points out that there is much humor and creativity among bureaucrats and
military people. No doubt Higgins led the charge, instigating his share of humor
over the years.
As for his creative leanings, reading has always been a passion. His interests are eclectic, from
the twenty Aubrey-Maturin novels of Patrick O'Brian to the spiritual writings of
Thomas Merton. If he had to choose one author as his favorite, Higgins would
choose Nikos Kazantzakis. The classics have interested him since childhood, and
he has read and reread Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Virgil, Martial,
St. Augustine, and others from time to time. Shakespeare fascinates him. Higgins
listens to classical music but is very fond of jazz and rhythm and blues. He
plays blues and boogie-woogie on the piano.
“I'm a Y'at, so to say that I'm a Mardi Gras enthusiast is sort of redundant,” says Higgins, who is a proud
member of the Krewe du Vieux, a satirical Mardi Gras organization known for its
parades lampooning the famous and infamous. Carrying on local traditions in
post-Katrina New Orleans is important to Higgins, who humorously displays his
affection for his hometown in The Joy of Y'at Catholicism.
Higgins is a ranger at the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve and writes a column of humor,
satire, and whimsy for the Delta Sierran, a bimonthly publication
of the Sierra Club. Higgins is a member of St. Thomas More Parish of Tulane
University. He and his wife, Janet, are the parents of three grown children and
reside in River Ridge, Louisiana.