When barbarians ruled the Big Easy

Dec 21, 2018 255

BY: David J. Krajicek

It was nearly midnight on Oct. 15, 1890, as David Hennessy, the young New Orleans police chief, walked home in a drizzle after a late meeting of the police board. Hennessy was without his usual armed escort as he approached the Basin St. house he shared with his widowed mother. The chief had use for bodyguards. In New Orleans, he was the face of public hysteria about Italian immigrants, especially dusky Sicilians.

As a 23-year-old greenhorn cop in 1881, Hennessy had a hand in the arrest of Giuseppe Esposito, a Palermo terror and early Mafioso who fled to the U.S. to evade murder charges. Hennessy hastened his return home, where he was jailed for life. Hennessy leveled his gaze on the city’s swelling Italian immigrant population after New Orleans Mayor Joe Shakespeare appointed him chief in 1888, at age 30. 

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SOURCE: https://www.nydailynews.com

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