Friday, April 20, 2012

140 years ago: End of Joseph Agnello

140 years ago today: New Orleans Mafia leader Joseph Agnello is shot to death during a gunfight at the Picayune Tier. Successor to the leadership of his brother Raffaele's underworld organization, Joseph Agnello was wounded in several attacks in 1870-72. He met his end after gunmen cornered him on the dock on April 20, 1872. Agnello tried to escape by jumping aboard the moored schooner Mischief but he was struck in the midsection by a large-caliber horse-pistol slug fired by Joseph Maressa (reportedly also known as Vincent Orsica). The slug passed through his body and ripped a gaping hole in his back.

Friday, April 6, 2012

122 years ago: Underworld feud flares up

122 years ago today (April 6), a New Orleans underworld feud between the Matranga and Provenzano factions flared up. A wagon carrying Matranga-aligned stevedores from work to their homes was ambushed at the intersection of Claiborne and the Esplanade. Two men - one was the older brother of local Mafia chieftain Charlie Matranga - were seriously injured in the nighttime attack. New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessy, who had recently brokered a ceasefire agreement between the two groups, became personally involved in the investigation of the incident.