NEW ORLEANS – THE FACTS

Captain Hennessy

Contrary to popular belief, the Mafia made its first officially documented appearance in the United States in 1890 in New Orleans and not New York. On October 5, 1890, New Orleans police chief Captain Hennessy was killed in an ambush by some men, In that city in the south of the United States there was a feud between the criminal families of the Provenzano and that of the Matragna. Following the murder, 19 Italian residents were arrested there. The suspects were imprisoned in the parish prison. At the end of the trial in March, some of them were acquitted. This determined the inhabitants’ violent reaction so much so that the next day a huge crowd formed outside the prison. The troublemakers forced the prison doors and 11 of the arrested were lynched to death. Notable is the ruling of the Grand Jury of New Orleans, which in 1891, called to rule on those criminal facts, ruled: “The extent of our investigation has identified the existence of the secret organization called mafia.”

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