Thursday, February 15, 2007
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Monday, February 5, 2007
In researching Deep Water, we made extensive use of archival sources. These included Notarial Archives, municipal archives and the State Archives in Louisiana; National Archives facilities in Washington, D.C., New York and Fort Worth; the Louisiana Historical Society Archives; the Williams Research Center library; and Pinkerton National Detective Agency archives held by the United States Library of Congress, Court documents, land transfer records and business correspondence were also used.
Louisiana historians, including Joseph Maselli of the American-Italian Renaissance Foundation, Doug Casey and Fernando Cuquet, contributed their knowledge and resources to the work, along with descendants of the Macheca clan who have spent many years researching their family history. A number of unpublished articles, master’s theses and doctoral dissertations were also accessed. Hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles were carefully considered, as were published materials on Louisiana history, New York history, the War Between the States, and the history of organized crime in Sicily and the United States.
A partial list of sources (excluding government documents, and books and articles used in a minor way) follows:
- Asbury, Herbert, The French Quarter: An Informal History of New Orleans... (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing Co., Inc., 1938).
- Bragg, Jefferson Davis, Louisiana in the Confederacy. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997).
- Cassar, Paul, Early Relations Between Malta and U.S.A. (Valletta, Malta: Midsea Books Ltd., 1976).
- Castellanos, Henry C., New Orleans As It Was. (Gretna: Pelican Publishing Company, 1990).
- Chandler, David, Brothers in Blood: The Rise of the Criminal Brotherhoods. (New York: Dutton, 1975).
- Fentress, James, Rebels and Mafiosi: Death in a Sicilian Landscape (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2000).
- Gambino, Richard. Vendetta (Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1977).
- Garvey, Joan B. and Widmer, Mary Lou, Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans. (New Orleans: Garmer Press, 1982).
- Gentile, Joseph, The Innocent Lynched (San Jose: Writer's Showcase, 2000).
- Horan, James D., The Pinkertons: The Detective Dynasty that Made History. (New York: Bonanza Books, 1967).
- Huber, Leonard V., Landmarks of New Orleans. (New Orleans: Orleans Parish Landmarks Commission, 1964).
- Huber, Leonard V., New Orleans: A Pictorial History - from earliest times to the present day. (Crown Publishers, Inc., 1971).
- Kendall, John Smith, History of New Orleans. (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1922).
- Landry, Stuart Omer Jr., The Battle of Liberty Place. (Gretna, La.: Pelican Publishing Company, 1999).
- Nelli, Humbert S., The Business of Crime: Italians and Syndicate Crime in the United States. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1976).
- Pitkin, Thomas Monroe and Cordasco, Francesco, The Black Hand: A Chapter in Ethnic Crime. (Totowa, NJ: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1977).
- Repetto, Thomas, American Mafia: A History of its Rise to Power (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2004).
- Rimanelli, Marco and Postman, Sheryl Lynn, The 1891 New Orleans Lynching and U.S.-Italian Relations (New York: Peter Lang, 1992).
- Rousey, Dennis C., Policing the Southern City: New Orleans, 1805-1889 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1996).
- Walker, General William, The War in Nicaragua (Tucson: The University of Arizona Press, 1985).
- Wilson, Charles M., Empire in Green and Gold (New York: Greenwood Press, 1968).
Articles - General
- Buel, Clarence Clough, "The Degradation of a State; Or, The Charitable Career of the Louisiana Lottery," Century Magazine, February, 1892.
- Casey, Doug, “The Sicilian Feud” (unpublished).
- Cuquet, Fernando J., "The Boston Club Massacre" (unpublished).
- Duke, Thomas S., “The Murder of Police Chief Hennessy,” Celebrated Criminal Cases of America, p. 444-446 (San Francisco: James M. Barry Co., 1910).
- Park, George, “Lynching: Now it Can Be Told,” letter, Truth Magazine, Nov. 9, 1936.
- Smalley, Eugene V., "The New Orleans Exposition," The Century Magazine, Vol. XXX, No. 1, May, 1885. p. 3-14.
Articles - Louisiana Historical Quarterly Archives
- Coxe, John E., "The New Orleans Mafia Incident," Vol. 20, No. 4, 1937.
- Dabney, Thomas Ewing, “The Butler Regime in Louisiana,” Vol. 27, No. 2, 1944.
- Greer, James Kimmins, “Louisiana Politics, 1845-1861,” Vol. 12, No. 4 and Vol. 13, No. 1, 1929-1930.
- Hennessey, Melinda Meek, "Race and Violence in Reconstruction New Orleans: The 1868 Riot," Vol. 20 , 1979.
- Karlin, J. Alexander, "New Orleans Lynchings of 1891 and the American Press," Vol. 24, No. 1, 1941.
- Kendall, John S., “Blood on the Banquette,” Vol. 22, No. 3, 1939.
- Kendall, John S., "Who Killa De Chief," Vol. 22, No. 2, 1939.
- Kurtz, Michael L., "Organized Crime in Louisiana History: Myth and Reality," Fall 1983.
- Lestage, H. Oscar, "The White League in Louisiana and its Participation in Reconstruction Riots," Vol. 18, No. 3, 1935.
- Prichard, Walter, ed., "The Origin and Activities of the White League in New Orleans: Reminiscences of a Participant in the Movement," Vol. 23, No. 2, 1940.
- Renshaw, Henry, “A Sketch of the Life and Career of Pierre Soulé,” Vol. 2, No. 3, 1900.
- Zacharie, James S., "New Orleans - Its Old Streets and Places," Vol. 2, No. 3, 1900.
Articles - Newspapers
Newspaper coverage from the New Orleans Daily Picayune (1869-1895), the New Orleans Times-Democrat (1869-1891), the New York Times (1862-1894) and the Atlanta Constitution (1868-1914). Additional articles were drawn from the following Louisiana newspapers: the Item, the States, the Bee, the Crescent and the Bulletin from New Orleans; and the Lafayette Advertiser.
- Adams, Margaret, “Mafia Riots in New Orleans,” thesis, Tulane University, 1924.
- Baiamonte, John, “The Myth of the Mafia in Louisiana,” Southeastern Louisiana University oral history tape, Italian Century Week, Oct. 22, 1982.
- Botein, Barbara, "The Hennessy Case: An Episode in American Nativism, 1890," Doctoral dissertation, New York University, 1975.
- Carroll, Ralph Edward Jr., "The Mafia in New Orleans, 1900-1907," Master's thesis, Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, La., June 1956.
- Hennessey, Melinda Meek, "To Live and Die in Dixie: Reconstruction Race Riots in the South." Doctoral dissertation, Kent State University, 1978.
Joseph P. Macheca served as a street warrior for the intensely corrupt New Orleans Democratic machine, as a pioneer of the Crescent City’s fruit trade, as a Confederate privateer in the Gulf and, according to legend, as the “godfather” of the first Mafia organization to germinate in American soil.
Macheca lives on in New Orleans legend as the criminal overlord whose 1891 lynching death atoned for the assassination of city Police Chief David C. Hennessy. However, Macheca’s death was less a spontaneous lynching than a cold-blooded murder. The gang leader's old political and underworld allies sacrificed him so their own roles in local intrigues might not be discovered and so they could assume control of his assets.
Deep Water is the historical biography of Joseph P. Macheca. It establishes the factual details of Macheca’s epic life story and sets them against the vivid backdrop of Gilded Age New Orleans.
Man of action
More complex than the one-dimensional villain of legend, Macheca was an attention-starved and publicity-seeking man of action.
As a young man, he enlisted in the Confederate army only to watch as his native New Orleans fell quickly to a federal invasion. As his military unit disbanded, he moved to Galveston, Texas, and continued to aid the South by running supplies through the Union's blockade of Gulf ports. After the war, he opposed Reconstruction efforts and served in a leadership capacity during an armed insurrection against Republican rule in Louisiana.
Macheca was among the first American businessmen to engage in the produce trade with Central and South America. The Macheca fruit trade brought goods into the American West, Midwest and Northeast. Macheca's efforts generated a vast fortune and won him the position of Consul of Bolivia. The direct beneficiaries of his commercial trailblazing, the Standard Fruit and United Fruit companies, live on today as Dole and Chiquita.
There was also a dark side to Macheca. He led a large gang in bloody rages against African Americans in New Orleans. He served as a patron of the city's Sicilian underworld, involving himself in gang feuds and in a broad Mafia conspiracy. He eagerly did the bidding of unscrupulous political leaders, who used embezzlement, extortion and murder to advance their personal agendas.
A branch of the Sicilian Mafia existed in New Orleans before the Civil War, when the underworld organization followed the lead of Palermo immigrant Raffaele Agnello and specialized in protection and lottery gaming. Agnello initially had trouble with the city's large contingent of Sicilian immigrants from Messina - eastern Sicily had no Mafia tradition. Separate Messina criminal gangs, who dabbled in counterfeiting and protection rackets, battled Agnello's Mafia for years.
Agnello was assassinated in 1869 just as final victory seemed to be in his grasp. Shrapnel from the blunderbuss blast that killed him crashed through the glass at the front of Macheca's fruit store.
The traditional Palermo-based Mafia was eventually replaced in New Orleans with the Stuppagghieri, a radical Mafia branch born in Monreale, Sicily. Macheca embraced the new underworld order and worked secretly with its leaders, the Matranga clan.
Old-line Mafiosi attempted again to take control of the city around 1880. A decade-long struggle between the Matranga and Provenzano clans featured grisly murders and the assassination of Police Chief David Hennessy, believed to be a Provenzano ally.
Though 1891 lynchings at Orleans Parish Prison, which claimed the lives of eleven men including J.P., were said to have been directed at the Stuppagghieri, the Matranga organization emerged from the experience stronger than ever.
The New Orleans of Macheca's time was very much a frontier town, prone to lawlessness and violence. Its rich colors, magnificent buildings and delightful tastes and sounds masked numerous dangers.
During his lifetime, Macheca witnessed the dramatic rise of the port of New Orleans, experienced the first Rex parades of Mardi Gras, attended annual fancy dress balls and socialized with the influential and wealthy men of the community. However, he also lived through the horrors of the Yellow Fever epidemics, the eruption of decaying corpses in city cemeteries and the devastation of war.
Macheca failed to keep up with his times. As New Orleans civilized and became genteel, he stood out as a throwback, a street thug in a business suit. His profitable business ventures failed, and Macheca was financially ruined. His black-and-white, friends-and-enemies view of the world became inadequate.
Old political and underworld allies, whose duplicitous natures allowed them to outwardly embrace progress and civility while inwardly retaining their greed and brutality, left him behind. Eventually, they conspired to eliminate him.
From Macheca's earliest days, death constantly lurked nearby, claiming his relatives, friends and foes. It finally came for him early in 1891. Trapped and helpless in a prison hallway, he tried in vain to open a locked cell door. A shot fired at close range entered the rear of Macheca's skull and ripped through his brain.
Historically, that shot has been blamed on a spontaneous uprising within the New Orleans community - a lynch mob. But Deep Water proves that the lynch mob was used to cover Macheca's premeditated murder and that Macheca's lone assassin was in league with his former friends.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
|1814-15||Joseph Mercieca (later Macheca) is born to farming family on the Maltese island of Gozo. Peter Carvanna’s birth in Sicily coincides with Ferdinand’s return to the throne of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.|
|1840s||Joseph Macheca and Peter Carvanna settle in New Orleans, Louisiana. Macheca is a pioneer of the fruit trade. Carvanna is an outlaw.|
|1843||Peter Carvanna Jr. (later Joseph Peter Macheca) is born to Peter and Marietta Carvanna in New Orleans. Peter and Marietta live as husband and wife.|
|c. 1847||Peter Carvanna, convicted of a serious crime, receives a sentence of life in prison. Under Napoleonic Code, his relationship with Marietta dissolves.|
|c. 1848||Joseph Macheca, 33, and Marietta, 23, marry. Though not legally adopted, Peter Jr.'s name is changed to Joseph Peter (“J.P.”) Macheca.|
|1851||Son John, half-brother to J.P., is born to Joseph (37) and Marietta (27) on July 24.|
|1852||Son Michael, half-brother to J.P., is born to Joseph (38) and Marietta (28) on Dec. 24.|
|1854||Daughter Rosa Maria, J.P.’s half-sister, is born to Joseph (40) and Marietta (30), in early March. Rosa Maria is baptized in St. Louis Cathedral, May 28. Joseph and Celestine Saliba, immigrants from Malta and Joseph Macheca’s close friends, are the godparents.|
|1855||Rosa Maria Macheca dies and is buried in St. Louis Cemetery II.|
|1856||Whig Party collapses. Bands of armed men seize a number of New Orleans polling places and permit only Know-Nothings to vote. Attempted murder of court clerk Norbert Trepagnier, local Know-Nothing leader, prompts violent reprisals in New Orleans’ Sicilian colony.|
|1857||David C. Hennessy is born to Margaret and David Hennessy Sr., 275 Girod St., New Orleans.|
|1859||Joseph Macheca Sr., 44, establishes wholesale fruit business. He also sells fruit from a Front Street shop. J.P., 16, participates in the business. Joseph Sr. purchases an Old Levee Street business site on May 24.|
|1860||New Orleans unveils a 14-foot statue of Henry Clay at the intersection of Canal and St. Charles/Royal Streets on April 12. Statue stands upon a seven-tier granite base. John Macheca, 10, travels to Malta for several years of schooling. Joseph, Marietta and Michael take the trans-Atlantic trip with him, leaving J.P. to handle the family business. In November, Republican Abraham Lincoln is elected U.S. President with less than forty percent of the nation’s popular vote.|
|1861||Louisiana state legislature formally adopts the Ordinance of Secession on Jan. 26, separating the state from the federal Union. State seizes federal Mint and Customhouse buildings in New Orleans as well as nearby forts. Joseph, Marietta and Michael Macheca return to New Orleans. Louisiana joins Confederate States of America on Feb. 4. New Orleans experiences food and fuel shortages and unemployment as a result of a federal blockade of Gulf ports. J.P. Macheca enlists in the 22nd Louisiana Infantry of the Confederate Army on Sept. 10. Federal forces grabbed Ship Island near mouth of Mississippi in December.|
|1862||Joseph Macheca Sr. dictates his will to notary Abel Dreyfous on March 31. Admiral Farragut's federal fleet bombards Forts St. Philip and Jackson at mouth of Mississippi on April 18 and later sails up the Mississippi to New Orleans. U.S. General Benjamin Butler, with 15,000 federal troops, takes command in New Orleans on May 2. New Orleanian William Mumford is executed for desecrating the American flag. J.P.’s enlistment period expires. He is allowed to return home. Peter Carvanna, allowed out of prison, visits Marietta. He is killed within days of the visit. J.P. Macheca, 19, and Bridget O'Dowd, 16, marry and leave New Orleans for Galveston, Texas. Macheca earns money by working with Confederate blockade runners.|
|1863||Son John J. Macheca is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca.|
|1865||John Macheca, 13, returns to New Orleans from Malta. J.P. returns from Texas. Civil War major hostilities end as Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrenders on April 9. Lincoln is mortally wounded on the evening of April 14. He dies the following morning. Joseph Macheca Sr., 50, purchases Toulouse Street property from John Avegno for $8,400 on Nov. 11.|
|1866||Louisiana Constitutional Convention at the Mechanics Institute turns into a bloody race riot. Thirty eight people die as police do little to halt the violence. State’s Reconstruction authorities dismiss the local New Orleans government and take control of the police.|
|1867||Joseph Macheca Sr., 52, purchases Dauphine Street property from H. Rosselin on March 18. Son William W. Macheca is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca. Republican authorities in Louisiana hire Republicans and African-Americans for police jobs, dismissing white Democrats. Arthur Guerin kills Special Officer David Hennessy Sr. in a barroom gunfight. The officer's son, David C. Hennessy is welcomed into the police force as a messenger.|
|1868||Reconstruction government creates the Louisiana State Lottery. Due to a corrupting influence that appears to reach into every aspect of Louisiana life, it becomes known as “the Octopus.” J.P. buys the schooner Cecelia. Military occupation of Louisiana ends, but Republican-dominated state legislature forms Metropolitan Police, answering only to state officials. Crescent City Democratic Club and similar conservative organizations join in an anti-Republican White League network. J.P., 25, supports Presidential candidate Horatio Seymour of New York against Republican Ulysses Grant. J.P. assembles a large gang, comprised mostly of Sicilians and named the Innocenti (Innocents), leads them in violent attacks against New Orleans African-Americans starting Oct. 24. Prominent Democrats, fearful that the attacks will result in Republican reprisals, force J.P. to disband the Innocents in November. Innocenti member Litero Barba is murdered on his way home from an Oct. 28 party at the Orleans Ballroom. Sicilian immigrants from Palermo take up arms against those from Messina.|
|1869||Sicilian gang warfare forces Messina faction leaders to hide briefly in Galveston, Texas. The leaders return in March and are attacked at New Orleans Poydras Market. J.P. secretly contests the leadership of Palermo Mafia leader Raffaele Agnello in the Sicilian community. During a walk toward the Macheca shop on April 1, Agnello is shot and killed. Monreale-based Stuppagghieri Mafia becomes the dominant force in New Orleans’ Sicilian underworld. Son Joseph Peter Macheca Jr. is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca.|
|1870||J.P. is full partner, with Joseph Sr. and Paul Biggio, in the Macheca business. Son Michael is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca in January. J.P. reestablishes the Innocents as a “protection” force for Sicilian businesses. Paul Biggio dies on April 24. Michael Macheca, six months old, dies on July 24.|
|1871||Daughter Mary "Mamie" is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca. Deputy Criminal Sheriff James D. Houston shoots and kills Arthur Guerin outside a courthouse.|
|1872||After the murder of Joseph Agnello in July, the underworld war between the Palermo and Messina factions quickly ends. By the end of the year, two men – Republican William Pitt Kellogg and Democrat John McEnery – claim to have been elected governor. Rival state legislatures are also formed.|
|1873||Former Confederate General James Longstreet supports Republicans and wins appointment to lead the Kellogg government’s Louisiana state militia. McEnery government quietly forms its own militia under the leadership of Confederate Colonels John B. Angell and James D. Hill. Daughter Rosa is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca.|
|1874||Mardi Gras’ Rex parade becomes an annual event with its second edition in February. Son Joseph Robert Macheca is born to John and Maggie Macheca on June 11. In July, the Crescent City Democratic Club renames itself the Crescent City White League. Steamer Mississippi arrives at the Port of New Orleans Sept 12. with a shipment of weapons for the White League. Metropolitan Police board the ship and seize the weapons. Joseph P. Macheca, 31, captain McEnery Guards, leads an armed force of 300 Italians in the White League's revolt against the Republican state government on Sept. 14 (Battle of Liberty Place).|
|1875||Son Arthur is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca.|
|1877||J.P. designs the speedy clipper-schooner Joseph P. Macheca and has it built in Bath, Maine. During a vacation trip with her husband, Marietta Macheca, 53, dies in Malta on Jan. 8 and is buried there. The business of Joseph P. Macheca, commission merchant, appears to separate from the traditional family business.|
|1878||Joseph Macheca, 64, dies Aug. 8 aboard French ship Canada on return trip from Malta. J.P. and his brothers unite briefly in Joseph P. Macheca & Bro. business at 129 Old Levee Street, headquarters of the earlier Jos. Macheca & Co. Sicilian fugitive Giuseppe Esposito visits New York City.|
|1879||Giuseppe Esposito arrives in New Orleans in spring. J.P. supports him as leader of the city's Sicilian underworld. John and Michael Macheca move to end J.P.’s involvement in the family business and to limit his inheritance of the estate left by Joseph Sr. and Marietta. Macheca Brothers business (John and Michael) acquires its first steamship, the Wanderer, built in Philadelphia. J.P. aids Bolivia in its brief war against Chile. Son Edward Michael is born to J.P. and Bridget Macheca.|
|1880||J.P. aids Bolivians fleeing to the United States after the unsuccessful war against Chile.|
|1881||J.P. Macheca & Co. serves as agent for fruit plantations in British Honduras, Bay Islands and Jamaica. New Orleans Mayor Shakespeare vetoes plan to reorganize municipal police force. Over his objection, the Common Council creates the Chief of Aides position and fills it with Thomas Devereaux. Daily States interviews J.P. Macheca at his offices (8 Toulouse Street) on June 12 about fruit market. Detectives David and Mike Hennessy apprehend Sicilian bandit Esposito on July 5. Esposito is taken to New York City for deportation hearings. Violence between rival Provenzano and Matranga Mafias erupts. Shootout between Devereaux and the Hennessys results in serious injury to Mike Hennessy and fatal injury to Devereaux. Hennessy cousins are charged with Devereaux's murder.|
|1882||James D. Houston, leader of the Ring Democrats, manages the reelection campaign of Gov. Samuel D. McEnery. On April 27, the Hennessy cousins are found not guilty of murdering Thomas Devereaux. Upon release from custody, Mike Hennessy and his wife move to Houston. David Hennessy remains in New Orleans, works with private police agency. James D. Houston is involved in a shootout with rival Democrats at a primary election polling place.|
|1883||Steamship Stillwater is built for Macheca Bros. John and Michael give J.P. a payment of $1,200 to end his involvement in family business. Bridget O'Dowd Macheca (36) dies July 14 of tuberculosis at a South Prieur Street sanatorium. The business of Joseph P. Macheca & Co., fruit sellers, fails at the end of July, leaving $100,000 in liabilities. J.P. and his children leave their Toulouse Street home and settle in a shotgun duplex at No. 279 Bourbon Street. J.P. goes to work in his brothers’ firm.|
|1884||Steamship Clearwater is built for Macheca Bros as the firm also acquires the Kate Carroll. Macheca Brothers fleet wins a British commission to haul mail to the colony of Belize (New Orleans-Belize Royal Mail). After delays and financial problems, Cotton and World's Exposition at New Orleans opens in December. David C. Hennessy leads private police force of 300 men for Exposition security.|
|1885||James D. Houston is seriously wounded (hand) in a gunfight against staffers at the offices of the New Orleans Mascot newspaper. Democratic party is deeply divided into Ring and Reform factions. Macheca Line and Leonard Mueller's shipping line are investigated May 23 for their role in transporting unwilling young men from New Orleans to plantations and railroad building projects in Honduras and Guatemala.|
|1886||Matranga and Locascio stevedore firm underbids Provenzano firm, wins contracts from produce shipping companies and becomes the main agent for Sicilian longshoremen. Mike Hennessy is shot five times and killed while returning home from a Houston theater.|
|1887||Reform Democrats campaign against Ring and lottery corruption. The Young Men’s Democratic Association, led by attorney William Parkerson, is the key Reform group within the City of New Orleans. James D. Houston manages campaigns of Gov. Samuel D. McEnery and Mayor J. Valsin Guillotte. Parkerson advises reform candidates Francis T. Nicholls and Joseph A. Shakespeare.|
|1888||In a gunfight between Democratic factions early Jan. 1, Patrick Mealey of the reform group is shot and killed by a Ring thug. James D. Houston is blamed and loses much support around the state. At Jan. 10 Democratic convention in Baton Rouge, James D. Houston pledges to support reform candidates. Joseph Shakespeare wins election as mayor of New Orleans, appoints David C. Hennessy his new police chief.|
|1889||Provenzano-Matranga feud heats up. Vincent Ultonino is found dead, his throat cut, in a roadside marsh on Jan. 5. Joey Mattaino found dead in his home, his head burned in the fireplace, on Feb. 24. Pietro Vitrano is discovered beaten to death in March. New Orleans municipal police department is reorganized. The chief of aides (detectives) position is eliminated. Hennessy is approved as the superintendent of a unified force. J.P. and his brothers part ways in the spring. They will not speak again. Hennessy and J.P. broker a peace conference between the Provenzano and Matranga underworld factions at the Red Lights Club. Mamie, daughter of J.P. and Bridget Macheca, marries Cheri Eugene Sarrazin on Sept. 28. Former state treasurer E.A. Burke is indicted for fraud and embezzlement. The influential Ring politician and newspaper editor is in England attempting to finance a Central American gold mining operation.|
|1890||Early in the morning of May 6, a wagon carrying Matranga stevedores is ambushed at the corner of Claiborne and Esplanade Streets. Three men, including Antonio Matranga, are seriously wounded. Provenzano gang leaders are arrested. Ring attempts to extend lottery contract through a constitutional amendment. The Provenzano gang leadership is sentenced to life in prison for the ambush of the Matranga wagon. As the result of Chief Hennessy’s investigation into the Mafia in New Orleans and in Sicily and of a grand jury probe into police alibis for the Provenzanos, a judge orders a new trial for the Provenzano gang leadership. Hennessy intends to testify in the next trial. Hennessy receives a number of death threats through the summer. Police Chief David Hennessy is ambushed and mortally wounded outside his home. Hennessy dies at Charity Hospital, 9:06 a.m., Oct. 16. Hennessy attack is believed to have resulted from his threat to expose and eliminate the local Mafia. Many local Sicilians and Italians, including J.P., are arrested as suspects in the assassination.|
|1891||J.P. Macheca and eight other defendants are brought to trial Feb. 27 for the murder of Police Chief David Hennessy. Defendant Polizzi experiences an apparent emotional breakdown in court March 2 and allegedly names J.P. Macheca and Charles Matranga the heads of the New Orleans Mafia. Jury decides March 13 that none of the defendants are guilty. Gunmen under the direction of anti-Ring Democratic reformer William S. Parkerson and under the guise of a spontaneously formed lynch mob break into Parish Prison and murder J.P. Macheca and ten other prisoners on March 14.|
Friday, February 2, 2007
Deep Water is the historical biography of Joseph P. Macheca, Confederate veteran, political warrior, commercial pioneer and legendary leader of the New Orleans underworld. It establishes the factual details of Macheca's epic life story and sets them against the vivid backdrop of Gilded Age New Orleans.