One of the first things I did when Craig and Casey were kind enough to offer me a bit of space on NCS, was to put down some New Orleans stories, one being a piece titled where New Orleans Buries it’s Dead Mobsters. It was right around Halloween as well, a couple years back. Been meaning to get a second part up for some time now but guess Halloween is the right time.
The last time I focused on Metairie Cemetery, the biggest in New Orleans with some beautiful architecture in the tombs, beautiful grounds and some famous names. Internationally, nationally and locally known names. This time around we’ll be taking a look at Greenwood Cemetery which only lies a few hundred feet away but feels like it’s a world away across the big, wide and busy I10 highway with it’s roar of constant traffic. Anyone trying to cross that to get to the other cemetery would end up in one of them. Greenwood Cemetery isn’t as nice as Metairie Cemetery by a long shot. Metairie is full of big oaks with a creek and fairly well kept grounds. Greenwood is treeless to the best of my recollection as I write this and what little bit of lawn there is around the place is either largely overgrown or fighting for space with gravel and sand. Many of the tombs are in bad shape which is sad in both that it gives you a sense that the people have been forgotten by family but also that we’ve lost a piece of history. The newer section of the cemetery is in better shape but as a whole the place feels run down. Metairie Cemetery has always been a tourist draw. Dozens of postcards and professional photos over the last century show you the beauty of the place. The few postcards and photos from Greenwood focus on the monuments (which are impressive) seen from the street but that’s about it. There’s even one Greenwood postcard from the early 1900’s which stole the old local name for Metairie Cemetery, Howard’s Cemetery. What Greenwood does have is an abundance of historical names resting within it’s fenced perimeter that we’ll take a look at.
As before, this isn’t meant to give a detailed history of anyone but just simply to introduce the figure and give a quick outline of why they are significant to our Mafia history. With many of these guys I have very little information on them but I hope you enjoy!
The Carollo Tomb
This tomb contains the remains of two New Orleans (NOLA) Godfathers.
Silvestro “Sam” or “Silver Dollar Sam” Carollo and his son Anthony Carollo. Often the name will be seen in print as Carolla. Sam was in charge of things prior to Carlos Marcello. He was deported in April of 1947 and shortly after that Marcello took control, winning out over Anthony Carollo for the top spot. Sam made it back into Louisiana in 1950 and was caught near Slidell Louisiana and then re-deported. He made it back into NOLA shortly before his death in June 1970.
Upon Marcello’s death in 1993 Anthony finally got the chance to take control that he’d been waiting for for almost half a century. Anthony was one of those arrested in the famous La Stella meeting in Queens New York in September 1966 and owned a popular restaurant in NOLA, the Venezia. (Still there and food is good).
There wasn’t much left of the old NOLA Family by the time Anthony got his hands on things and he, along with the whole top echelon figures of the family, were busted in the mid nineties and served several years in prison in the last major case against the Mafia in Louisiana, Operation Hardcrust. Things were pretty quiet in NOLA after that and Anthony died in 2007.
Cousin to the more famous David, he was involved in the capture of Guiseppe Esposito in the French Quarter‘s Jackson Square in July 1881 which also would lead to the shootout between Thomas Devereaux and the Hennessey boys. (See A Shootout on Gravier St. in the Crescent Corner). Michael was seriously injured and most likely would have died if not for his cousin David who shot Devereaux just seconds before he could deliver the coup de grace to Michael. After he recovered Michael moved to Houston where he was killed in September 1886 much like his cousin David would be several years later, close to midnight on a street on his way home. The most likely suspect was arrested and tried but acquitted in the end.
Devereau wasn’t a well liked person in NOLA or on the police force in which he was a supervisor of the Hennessey cousins. Animosity went back between him and Michael Hennessey from years before when he arrested Michael on theft charges but Michael was able to get out of the charges. The capture of Giuseppe Esposito brought things to a boiling point as Devereau had ordered the Hennessey boys not to get involved in the situation, which they promptly ignored. Though there were witnesses for both sides of the issue for the Devereaux shooting he had been heard by several witnesses making public threats to kill the Hennessey boys. They were eventually found not guilty of Devereaux’s murder and it was declared self defense. The Devereaux grave is in very bad shape and most likely will be gone in a few years.
Devereaux lays at rest only a few hundred feet from the guy he hated and the man he he was trying to kill when he was killed, Michael Hennessey.
I wonder if you can hear ghostly six shooters when the moon is full?
Uncle to the more well known Genovese Capo “Fat” Domonick Alongi who was an attendee at the September 1966 La Stella meeting in Queens New York. Alongi grew up in New Orleans and was cousin to NOLA Family member Frank Gagliano.
James and Vincent Caruso
James was one of the victims of the March 14 1891 lynching at the Orleans Parish Prison after the Not Guilty verdict in the murder trial of David Hennessey. Brother Vincent was involved in the incident the previous May in 1890 when a wagon load of Matranga stevedores were ambushed around midnight at the intersection of Claiborne and Esplanade Avenues.
James had also been in the wagon but was dropped off prior to the ambush. Vincent was driving the wagon. This is one of the incidents between the Matranga and Provenzano factions that helped lead up to the assassination of Hennessey and the prison lynching.
Brother to Carlos. Most assume that all the Marcello boys were Made guys in the NOLA Family but in reality it’s thought that only Joseph and Vincent were inducted into the Family with Carlos. The others certainly were involved in things and of course had some pull with the Boss but weren’t full fledged members.
O’Malley was the investigator for Lionel Adams who defended some of the Italian defendants in the Hennessey murder case. O’Malley was not well liked by many in New Orleans even prior to the case. Seems he had his own criminal and shady history.
But O’Malley was so disliked that when the crowd was getting whipped up to march on the Parish Prison on March 14 1891 to lynch the defendants in the Hennessey case that there were calls to take care of O’Malley as well. Being a smart individual he hightailed it out of there and survived the day. But O’Malley was not an easily scared man and by accounts somewhat of a tough guy. He returned to NOLA and had many confrontations with NOLA figures.
Not a Made guy but a well known strip club owner on Bourbon Street (seen behind him in photo) who had connections, a guy with a temper. Married to a well known stripper of the time, Linda Brigette.
A figure in the JFK assassination conspiracy. He was one of several characters that Kevin Bacon’s character was made up of in Oliver Stone’s JFK movie. He also had a bit part in the flick.
The owner of The Paddock Lounge on Bourbon Street, a first class Jazz venue. I’m not quite sure how deep his connections were but he’s included in a picture at a dinner table with Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky.
Provino and Lisa Mosca
Not famous as Mafia figures but more for their restaurant, Mosca’s, which was the favorite hangout of the Little Man in NOLA, Carlos Marcello. After his parents Provino and Lisa passed on John Mosca took over. The place is still there and the food is good.
Fireman’s Memorial Statue
Greenwood Cemetery was originally founded as a place to lay the city’s firemen to rest. Seen from the street this memorial statue was erected to celebrate the various volunteer companies in the city. Joseph Macheca was one of the eleven Italians killed in the March 1891 lynching in New Orleans and was also a volunteer member of Hook and Ladder Pelican #4.
A Capo throughout a good portion of the Marcello era, “Fat Frank” or “Muffaletta Frank” Gagliano became Underboss to Anthony Carollo when he took over in 1993. Gagliano was also an attendee of the famous La Stella meeting in Queens New York in September 1966. Gagliano was also a figure in the last major Mafia operation conducted by the Feds in NOLA, Operation Hardcrust.
Gagliano had a restaurant in the French Quarter called Frank’s Deli (still there, good Muffaletta’s) which had the phones tapped. Gagliano also ended up doing a few years with his boss Anthony as well as his son Joe Gagliano in the Hardcrust case.
Bruno was a Made guy in the NOLA Family who was clipped in September 1935. His body was found in the backseat of his car in a secluded spot in City Park. He was most likely clipped by Sam Carollo and Sam Alanzo because they suspected that he may talk to authorities about a drug deal they were all involved in. He’s resting in this unmarked grave.
In a case of apparent mistaken identity Bourg was murdered in a hospital room. Bourg was a 64 year old bank teller with out any connections to organized crime who had suffered a heart attack. Nothing was ever proven but Jefferson Parish Sheriff Frank Clancy was also in the same hospital two doors away. Clancy may have been talking to authorities about Carlos Marcello’s activities in New Orleans and the theory is that the killer mistook Bourg for Clancy (they were about the same age). On Saturday April 16 someone entered Bourg’s room and split his head open with a cleaver.
He died the following Thursday of his wounds. Though the target was missed it had the desired effect on Clancy and he stopped talking.
Soldier in the NOLA Family that was involved in mainly gambling operations and though he made millions per year in that field he enjoyed chipping safes and would go out on jobs at times.
He was caught cracking a large safe at a local dairy and spent a few years in prison for that.
One time Underboss of the NOLA Family, stepped aside to let Joe Marcello take the spot. Involved in gambling. Was present at the Black Diamond Nightclub in May 1947 when Carlos Marcello took control of the NOLA Family. Appeared before the McClellan Committee with Carlos and Vincent Marcello in 1959.
Esther Albano and Jerome Pipitone
Jerome Pipitone was a soldier in the NOLA Family active from the 1940’s to the 1970’s. Esther Albano is a bit more of an involved story. The two were related but not sure how. What’s a little weird with Esther is that her maiden name was Albano and her second husbands name was Albano.
Her first husbands name was Pipitone. Both her husbands were murdered and, supposedly, she killed the murderer of both of them. For more on this see The Life of Vito DiGiorgio in the Crescent Corner. It’s a good story.
The best info I have is that Gasper wasn’t actually a Made guy but he was certainly connected. His dad Calogero was part of the Family and Gasper ran Bourbon Street. For the best part of four decades nothing happened on Bourbon without the approval of the man who would come to be known as The Little Mayor of Bourbon Street.
Gasper was also brother to Pete Gulotta who was better known under his professional name Pete Herman in the world of boxing.
Carmello was a grocery store owner that was extorted, like many, by the Black Hand. What makes this particular store owner relevant is who tried to extort him with threats and at least one bomb (that failed to destroy his grocery). See The Life of Vito DiGiorgio in the Crescent Corner on Joseph Monfre. Carmello is interred in the Elks Society Tomb.
A Soldier that was active from the 40’s until the 60’s. Rizutto was one of the guys that was present at the Black Diamond Nightclub in May 1947 when Carlos Marcello was made Boss of the NOLA Family.
Salvador and Victor Gallo
I’m not sure of the relationship between these guys. Brothers I believe but just haven’t found info to confirm that yet. Salvador was into gambling and had a reputation as a payoff man.
Vic was also into a gambling and owned the Chesterfield Club in Jefferson.
Vic also had a record for sexual deviancy.
Known as Grifazi. A Made guy known for gambling but he was also a club owner and into breeding/owning race horses. Grifazi was also present at the Black Diamond Nightclub when Carlos was made Boss of the Family in May 1947. Have been trying to connect him to Carmello Graffignini but so far there is no connection found.
The Conforto Family
Joseph Sr. (Papa Joe), Angelo and Jerome Conforto are all with in this tomb. Joseph Jr. is buried elsewhere. All the Conforto boys were boxers at one time, Jerome apparently going the furthest in that line. Honestly, there’s a lot of conflicting info on these guys.
Some has the Conforto’s as allies with Marcello in good standing, other info has them at odds, and some as both parties stand offish to each other. The Conforto’s did, however, own a few clubs on Bourbon Street and were involved in all that goes along with that (B Drinking, prostitution, padding tourist bills etc). Angelo and Jerome aren’t listed on the tomb.
Sometimes seen as Onofio and/or Pecaro/Pecara. Known as a narcotics guy but also had a conviction for robbery. Wife Francis ran prostitution out of Marcello’s Town and Country Motel. Nofio appears quite a bit in FBI files though I don’t think he was actually an informant as his name is mentioned quite a bit. Ran the Tropical Tourist Court and Trailer Park where at least one employee disappeared for sticky fingers in the till. Apparently Nofio didn’t like too many people and he was not well liked as well judging by some of the information in the FBI files.
This isn’t by any means all that lay in rest in Greenwood but it’s the cream of the crop, the major players in the Mafia happenings of NOLA in the recent and distant past. There’s quite a few minor players that I’ve left out.
As always if you want more info please feel free to contact me through NCS or my FB page Crescent City Mafia, Murder and Mysteries.
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"I'm always learning something new," he says. "Often when I think I have the whole story down on a subject, some new bit of info will pop up and lead off into another interesting direction."
Among the tales of pirates, voodoo priestesses, and vampires, New Orleans holds a long Mafia history. Most people will automatically think of Carlos Marcello, as the father of the New Orleans Mafia. Most people will also assume that the first Mafia family was in New York City. Even many locals don't know that New Orleans has Mafia roots predating the Civil War, giving their wonderful city the distinction of being home to the first Mafia family in the United States.
So let's explore the lesser known stories, facts, and even some OC fiction in a little space of the NCS Ron calls, the Crescent Corner.
Latest posts by Ronald Rawson (see all)
- A Few Days in New Orleans - March 14, 2019
- Where New Orleans Buries it’s Dead Mobsters: Greenwood Cemetery - October 31, 2018
- Carlos Marcello’s “Spectacular Debut as a Criminal” - January 23, 2018