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  1. #1

    LA - Axeman of New Orleans (1918-19) *UNSOLVED*

    The Axeman of New Orleans was a serial killer active in New Orleans, Louisiana (and surrounding communities, including Gretna, Louisiana), from May 1918 to October 1919. Press reports during the height of public panic about the killings mentioned similar murders as early as 1911, but recent researchers have called these reports into question.

    Axeman of New Orleans - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Last edited by bessie; 05-20-2015 at 03:40 AM.

  2. #2
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    This an interesting case with a lot of questionable assertions including the nebulous 1911-12 attacks. There are some reports that say that Ms Laumann died and others that leave that out. I am also suspicious as to whether the Pepitone slaying was actually an Axeman attack irregardless as to whether the Mumfre story is valid. Some reports claim he was killed by two men and with a pipe rather than an ax.

    There was actually a conviction in this case but it was reversed when a woman finally admitted that she'd given false testimony. Her belated attack of conscience kept an innocent man, named Frank Jordano, from being hanged.
    Last edited by STANDREID; 11-09-2011 at 08:39 PM.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  3. #3
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    I wonder if New Orleans has big plans for the impending centenary.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  4. #4
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    “The Boogie Man” from Tales From The French Quarter by Kalila Smith

    (as posted on the National Museum of Crime and Punishment website)

    On March 14, 1919, the editor of the New Orleans Times-Picayune received a letter from the killer. It read:

    Hell, March 13, 1919

    Esteemed Mortal:

    They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.

    When I see fit, I shall come and claim other victims. I alone know who they shall be. I shall leave no clue except my bloody axe, besmeared with blood and brains of he whom I have sent below to keep me company.

    If you wish you may tell the police to be careful not to rile me. Of course, I am a reasonable spirit. I take no offense at the way they have conducted their investigations in the past. In fact, they have been so utterly stupid as to not only amuse me, but His Satanic Majesty, Francis Josef, etc. But tell them to beware. Let them not try to discover what I am; for it were better that they were never born than to incur the wrath of the Axeman. I don‘t think there is any need of such a warning, for I feel sure the police will always dodge me, as they have in the past. They are wise and know how to keep away from all harm.

    Undoubtedly, you Orleanians think of me as a most horrible murderer, which I am, but I could be much worse if I wanted to. If I wished, I could pay a visit to your city every night. At will I could slay thousands of your best citizens, for I am in close relationship with the Angel of Death.

    Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people.

    Here it is:

    I am very fond of jazz music, and I swear by all the devils in the nether regions that every person shall be spared in whose home a jazz band is in full swing at the time I have just mentioned. If everyone has a jazz band going, well, then, so much the better for you people. One thing is certain and that is that some of your people who do not jazz it on Tuesday night (if there be any) will get the axe.

    Well, as I am cold and crave the warmth of my native Tartarus, and it is about time I leave your earthly home, I will cease my discourse. Hoping that thou wilt publish this, that it may go well with thee, I have been, am and will be the worst spirit that ever existed either in fact or realm of fancy.

    The Axeman

    The city followed the instructions of this maniacal killer filling homes, restaurants and the streets of the French Quarter with music. One local songwriter, Joseph Davilla, created a song called “The Mysterious Axeman’s Jazz,” which became very popular. No murders occurred that night.
    __________________________________
    Muddy water in the street
    ; Muddy water 'round my feet... as sung by the inimitable Bessie Smith, "Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)"

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  5. #5
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    For quite awhile I've searched for a good recording of the Davilla tune. Finally, I found this recently uploaded YouTube video.

    The Mysterious Axeman's Jazz, Sight-Read by Tom Brier - YouTube
    Last edited by bessie; 05-20-2015 at 03:40 AM.
    __________________________________
    Muddy water in the street
    ; Muddy water 'round my feet... as sung by the inimitable Bessie Smith, "Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)"

    WEBSLEUTHS ON FACEBOOK



  6. #6
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    Thanks Bessie - I wonder how many serial killers get their own theme song.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  7. #7
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    Ha! No others that I recall, which is fine with me. The Axeman's song is fitting, though, considering his Biblical-like covenant with the citizens of New Orleans is integral to the story. Not to mention that down here, sooner or later we put everything to music.
    __________________________________
    Muddy water in the street
    ; Muddy water 'round my feet... as sung by the inimitable Bessie Smith, "Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)"

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by bessie View Post
    Ha! No others that I recall, which is fine with me. The Axeman's song is fitting, though, considering his Biblical-like covenant with the citizens of New Orleans is integral to the story. Not to mention that down here, sooner or later we put everything to music.
    Love the Scott Joplin style! Too bad it is about such a gruesome event.

  9. #9
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    Oh, gosh, yes! That amazing syncopation.

    One thing I wanted to mention because it might not be obvious to everyone, is the significance of the date in the letter.
    Now, to be exact, at 12:15 (earthly time) on next Tuesday night, I am going to pass over New Orleans. In my infinite mercy, I am going to make a little proposition to you people.
    The "next Tuesday" after midnight (Wednesday) would have been March 19, St. Joseph's Day, an important feast day highly celebrated in New Orleans among the Italian American community. The Axeman's victims were mostly Italian, some grocers, some spouses (and at least one mistress and one infant). Additionally, the primary suspect was a man of Italian descent with ties to the Sicilian Mafia in New Orleans, Joseph Manfre (aka Mumfre, Mumphrey, Monfre).

    Writer Mike Dash (The First Family: Terror, Extortion, Revenge, Murder, and the Birth of the Italian Mafia)quotes another writer/historian, Richard Warner, in this article,

    Fresh light on the Axeman of New Orleans
    March 12, 2009 - 14:59 — Mike
    Known as “Doc” Mumphrey because he was a pharmacist by profession, Manfre led a double life. Manfre is believed by students of New Orleans folklore and authorities on serial killers to have been the “Axe Man of New Orleans,” responsible for a string of killings of grocery store owners and their families from 1910 and then 1915 to 1919. To many New Orleans citizens, it appeared to be more than a coincidence that there was a gap in the grisly murders while Manfre was doing time in prison. As Joseph Manfre, he was believed to have been connected to the 1907 Lamana kidnapping [a noted Mafia crime]. He was arrested for dynamiting the grocery store of Charles Graffagninno in 1908, and was considered an intermediary between Di Giorgio and his extortion victim Joseph Serio. He was given a twenty-year sentence and sent to prison two years later. While awaiting sentencing, the first in the series of grocer killings began. After his release in 1915, he and Angelo Albano were picked up for questioning by New Orleans police. Peter Pepitone, also recently released from prison, told police that two men had tried to break into his home two weeks before Vincenzo Moreci’s murder. Monfre was “detained as a dangerous and suspicious character” until further investigation.
    On a personal note, my paternal grandmother who was a teenager when the murders took place, told me stories about the Axeman murders when I was a child. Her father was a pharmacist, and a friend of one of the victims. (I don't recall which one.) At any rate, fwiw, my grandmother, a schoolteacher who loved a good whodunit, talked about the killings as "Mafia murders", and not so much a mystery at all.
    Last edited by bessie; 09-22-2013 at 03:26 AM.
    __________________________________
    Muddy water in the street
    ; Muddy water 'round my feet... as sung by the inimitable Bessie Smith, "Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)"

    WEBSLEUTHS ON FACEBOOK



  10. #10
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    From the wikipedia link in the first post
    __________________________________
    Muddy water in the street
    ; Muddy water 'round my feet... as sung by the inimitable Bessie Smith, "Muddy Water (A Mississippi Moan)"

    WEBSLEUTHS ON FACEBOOK




  11. #11
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  12. #12
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    Mafia hits masquerading as serial killings masqueadding as the work of an evil spirit who loves jazz.....
    Only in New Orleans.
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  13. #13
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    These sound too elaborate and mystical to be Mafia murders in my view. I would expect them to just walk into these guy's stores and blow them away in a fusillade of gunfire.

    Also, the Mafia almost never murders women and, to my knowledge, never children, especially intentionally.
    This my opinion and to the best of my knowledge, that is, if I'm not joking.


    Stan Reid

  14. #14
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    Very interesting one.
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