Lousiana  Flag
Lousiana Flag

While it is true that it was Harry Anslinger (America’s first drug czar) and his “Federal Bureau of Narcotics” that orchestrated (guided and directed) what we now know as the Reefer Madness Campaign.   To the surprise of many people, Anslinger DID NOT originally create it.   In fact it had already been going on for some time, before Anslinger even got into power.

Mexican Weed
Mexican Weed
[Syndicated Article - Sept 4, 1924]

To our knowledge the first usage’s of the word, “Maria-gona” or “Mariaguna” in the English language start to make their way onto print in the mid-1860’s.   However, these are to be found ONLY in obscure botanical textbooks and articles, with titles such as, “The native plant life of Mexico” etc.   It wouldn’t be until the 1890’s that the first (American) newspaper articles about a strange Mexican plant, called “Maria-huana” started to come out that the word even made its way into the English language.

Iaho Daily Statesman
“It Brings Ravishing Dreams of bliss” (mariguana)
Idaho Daily Statesman - Boise, Idaho - Dec. 15, 1897

ALL of these early articles (at least all of the ones that we have been able to locate), universally read something like:
“Mexican Loco Weed smoker . . . runs amuck killing three Mexican police officers.”. . . Or “Mexican Maria-huana addicts, now a major source of concern for Mexican officials.” Etc. [1]
However, it wasn’t until the early 1920’s that (what we would recognize as) pure Reefer Madness actually began to crawl out of the woodwork.   The headlines taken from the Times-Picayune newspaper during this time period provides a good example.
  •   Aug 26, 1923 - Some mari- juana reached the city from Texas after being smuggled across the Mexican border.
  •   Oct 10, 1923 p6, crusade to stamp out mh.
  •   Oct 17, 1923 p 1, shooting lately been perpetrated by mh. addicts.
  •   Oct 26, 1923 "Marihuana crazed man slaps woman"
  •   Nov 5, 1923 - mh. and driving
  •   Jan 17, 1924 p4 – “Marihuana Haul Made by Police”
  •   Mar 10, 1924 p1 – “American Craze for Marihuana Builds Industry”
  •   June 26, 1924 p6. "Marihuana blamed for wife murder" Beaumont Tx.
  •   July 2, 1924 p3. "Marajuana Outlawed"
  •   Jan 4, 1926 p8. Editorial "Mexico Takes Action"
  •   Sep 12, 1926 p1 – Reports Declare use of Narcotics in State Halved”
  •   Oct 17, 1926 p1 – Healy Launches Attack on vice and Marihuana”
And note that Maria-huana in Louisiana was outlawed in 1924 – well before the start of the Federal Reefer Madness Hysteria Campaign in the 1930’s.   And it should also be noted that the Tripple-K was at it's height of power back during this period as well.

However; from an historical viewpoint, if one had to set a starting point and date for the campaign itself; ---- That year would be 1926, AND its starting point would have been in the city of New Orleans.   That is because that was the year in which the Morning Tribune began publishing a series of articles that . . . . well let’s allow the headlines to speak for themselves:
MORNING TRIBUNE – (New Orleans):
Oct. 18, 1926- "Marijuana Industry is Thriving in City, Children Are Addicts"
Oct. 19, 1926- " Smugglers Bring City's Supply of Marijuana, Tribune Survey Shows"
Oct. 20, 1926- " School Children Found in Grip of Marijuana Habit by Investigators"
Oct. 21, 1926- “ Workmen of City Lured by Muggles"
Oct. 22, 1926- “ Marijuana Found Easy to Purchase"
Oct. 23, 1926- " Marijuana Purchased with Ease"
Oct. 27, 1926- " Marijuana Dealers Vie for Trade"
The rest, as that old expression goes --- IS HISTORY.


Name: - Matt Seminary - Location: - Baton Rouge La. - Date: - Oct 15, 1926

EXECUTION (State of Louisiana) BLOTTER
AGE 31
DATE Apr 20, 1928

What the Narc’s were claiming
NEW ORLEANS --The general public knew nothing of marijuana until a New Orleans prizefighter entered a streetcar in 1910 (sic) and shot his sweetheart and the man at her side.   When his trial was called, he pleaded that he didn't know what he was doing as he was under the influence of marijuana.   The jury hanged him, and the case initiated an investigation that roared across America and revealed some startling facts.   -- True Story (Magazine) Dec. 1948

In fact, the first I ever heard of it was in connection with a sensational murder trial in New Orleans in 1925.   A prize fighter jumped on a streetcar and shot and killed his sweetheart and the man she was with.   His defense was that he was insane at the time from marihuana smoking.   He was hanged.   But the case stirred up a great deal of excitement.   Women's organizations took up the issue and the newspapers, especially the New Orleans Item, waged a campaign against the marihuana menace.   -- Narcotic Agent: by Maurice Helbrant (book) 1941

Still another, becoming enraged at his wife, killed her in the street before many witnesses.   -- American Journal of the Medical Sciences - 1938 p351

I could stand here for hours quoting individual examples of tragic results of the use of marijuana cigarettes.   I myself was present in an exclusive country club in Louisiana when a young man, after using marijuana cigarettes and while in resultant fit of jealousy, shot his small girl companion.   ---New York Herald Tribune Forum 1938

One of the most notorious New Orleans examples of the effect of marijuana was the slaying in October 1926, of pretty Lillian Hoyle and Ralph Sturdy by the drug-crazed Matt Seminary, known in the prize ring as Joe Nelson, "the iron man.” More than two years before the killing, Seminary and Lillian Hoyle were sweethearts, and a child was born of their love.   When the child was 17 months old, Lillian deserted the ex-pug for Sturdy, a tree surgeon and fledging short-story writer.   Seminary, often described as the "ape man" because of his long arms, bowed knees, high sloping forehead and out-thrust lower jaw, went to pieces.   He paced the streets in a daze, talking to himself.   His jealousy grew into an exaggerated and maniacal rage, fed by marijuana.   One night as he boarded a street car he saw Lillian and Ralph sitting together, and shot both to death.   --- St. Louis Star Times - Jan 28, 1935

Bee (Danville VA)
[S]- Feb 9, 1928 p2 - “Death Warrant for Boxer Signed”
“Baton Rouge. Feb. 9 – (AP)—March 9 is execution day for three alleged slayers in Louisiana, with the signing by Gov. O.H. Simpson of a death warrant for Matt Seminary, 39, alias Joe (Battling) Nelson:   The pugilist was convicted of the murder of Ralph Sturdy, in New Orleans October 15, 1926.   Sturdy was slain aboard a street car in company with Dolor[. . . ] Bevins, of Seminary, who was also killed.”
[S]- March 10, 1928 p6 “Man Hanged After Trying to End Life”

While today the very concept that Medical Cannabis would cause someone to go out and kill someone is somewhat laughable.   Still, as we can see from the following newspaper article, back in the 1920’s and 30’s, such a thing was very believable.   After all, would our narcotics police lie to us?

New Orleans Tribune – Oct. 18, 1926
“Seminary Said to Be User of Marijuana”
That Matthew Seminary who is accused of strolling into a street car early Friday morning and shooting down his former sweet-heart Lillian Hardin, 19, and her new love Ralph Sturdy, was under the influence of marijuana is the option of Detective William Bell.

Bell declares that he met Seminary on the street a few hours before the tragedy.   He seemed wobbly Bell questioned him and he said he had been smoking marijuana.

“I told him to go home,” Bell says.

Seminary was almost a constant user of marijuana, his friends say.

[Key-finder - Case #72]

Name: - Machesto Pazini - Location: - La Fitte La. -Date: - May 23, 1936

What the Narc’s were claiming
As evidence of how large the traffic may be came to light last year near La Fitte, La. Neighbors of an Italian family had become amazed by wild stories told by the children of the family.   They, it seemed, had suddenly become millionaires.   They talked of owning inconceivable amounts of money, of automobiles they did not possess, of living in a palatial home.   At last their absurd lies were reported to the police, who discovered that their parents were allowing them to smoke something that came from the tops of tall plants which their father grew on his farm.   There was a raid, in which more than 500,000 marijuana plants were destroyed.   This discovery led next day to another raid on a farm at Bourg, La.   Here a crop of some 2,000 plants was found to be growing between rows of vegetables.   The eight persons arrested confessed that their main source of income from this crop was in sales to boys and girls of high-school age.   -- American Magazine “Marijuana, Assassin of Youth” By H.J Anslinger - July 1937

LOUISIANA La Fitte.--May 23, 1936, one Machesto Pazini was arrested for possession of a large quantity of cannabis cigarettes and for owning 3,000 cannabis plants.   Pazini had been permitting his children to smoke these cigarettes, and their consequent delusions of grandeur led to the discovery of the cannabis cache.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1936)

Key-finder - Case #85]



Name: - Miguel Henriquez - Location: - New Orleans La. -Date: - Nov 19, 1935

What the Narc’s were claiming
Louisiana - 1935- New Orleans, La. - M Violently attacked officers with knife and revolver while being arrested for possession of marihuana.   Arrested   -- Article by James C. Munch; "UN Bulletin on Narcotics"-1966 Issue 2

1935 - M. Henriquez, - New Orleans, La. - m - Violently attacked officers with knife and revolver while being arrested for possession marihuana.   - Arrested   -- 6th conference report - INEOA 1965

Violently attacked officers with knife and revolver while under influence of marijuana.   ---- The Truth about Marijuana - STEPPING STONE to DESTRUCTION June 1967

A seizure of 115 marihuana cigarettes was made in New Orleans, La., at which time the owner, foiled by officers in an attempt to shoot himself, grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed himself three times above the heart.   He escaped, and was later found, and had in his possession an ice pick, with which he attempted to destroy himself when placed under arrest.   He made a second escape.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1936)

“ . . another stabs himself with an icepick when police approach.   --Cosmopolitan (Magazine) May 1938

LOUISIANA -New Orleans On August 20, 1935, Miguel Henriquez was arrested at New Orleans for possession of 115 miarihuana(sic) cigarettes.   He was sentenced to from 5 to 10 years’ imprisonment.     --- ILLICIT TRAFFIC IN MARIHUANA - aka Gore File

LOUISIANA -New Orleans On August 20, 1935, Miguel Henriques, Mexican, owner and operator of a grocery store, was placed under arrest by local police.   One hundred and fifteen marihuana cigarettes were found in a large pasteboard box behind one of the counters.   After Henriquest arrest, he grabbed a revolver from counter and attempted to shoot himself.   A detective grabbed around the waist and Henriques fired five ineffectual shots at his own stomach and then tripped on a stair leading into another room.   Another detective entered the room to assist in disarming Henriques.   --- Henriques got away, grabbed a' large butcher knife from a nearby counter, and stabbed himself three times above the heart.   He was sentenced to from 5 to 10 years imprisonment.   --- ILLICIT TRAFFIC IN MARIHUANA - aka Gore File

NEWSPAPER ACCOUNTS: New Orleans – Times Picayune
[ ]- Nov. 19, 1935 pg 5 -
Miguel Henriques Is Sentenced on Marihuana charge
Found guilty by a jury of having had 115 marihuana cigarettes in his possession, Miguel Henriques, 51 years old, 1500 North Villere street, was sentenced Monday as a second offender by Judge A. D. Henriques in criminal district court to serve five to 10 years in penitentiary.

Henriques attempted to kill himself when Detectives albert Gerlinger and Rudolph slicho entered his Villere street store and arrested him on the narcotic charge in August.   The prisoner fired four shots and after he was disarmed grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed himself then the man ran to the rear of the house and escaped.

A few weeks later Henriques was found by police and a St. bernard parish deputy sheriff in a fishing camp near Yeloskey.   The police say he again tried to end his life with a knife.   During a struggle with the officers part of a gallery at the fishing camp broke and one of the falling planks struck Henriques in the head.

Detectives said Henriques told them he would rather be dead than be returned to the penitentiary.

When he was called for sentence Monday his criminal record was introduced by Assistant District Attorney George Gulotta.   It showed that on January 27, 1931, Henriques was sentenced by Judge Henriques to serve from three to six years for bribery.   The prisoner was arrested at that time by Captain of detectives Henry Asset and was alleged to have offered the detective captain $125 to release him.
THE FACTS AS WE SEE THEM: Remembering that we have already proven that many of Harry Anslinger’s Gore File cases were out and out fakes.   We must therefore say that this case (at least on the surface) just sounds very weird and also very unbelievable.   However as the museum has not (as of yet) been able to do any actual research on this one case, we are thus unable to disprove any of the above stated facts.
[Key-finder - Case #TBD]

Name: - Peter Albano - Location: - New Orleans La. - Date: - Aug 1938

What the Narc’s were claiming
Louisiana - 1938---NEW ORLEANS, LA.   Investigations conducted in New Orleans during the months of April to July 1938, resulted in a series of purchases of marihuana cigarettes from 13 members of the Albano gang and the securing of evidence against another member of the gang.   On August 18, 1938, the grand jury returned indictments against 14 of these individuals, 12 of whom either were convicted or pleaded guilty, and received sentences ranging from 17 months to 3 years.   Two of the defendants have not been apprehended.   -- After having made purchases of marihuana cigarettes from all four members of a ring of marihuana traffickers during the period from May 10 to July 7, 1938, narcotic officers arrested Russel Saia, Anthony Cangimilla, and Ralph LaCoste.   Saia and Canogimilla were tried, convicted, and each sentenced to 30 months in the penitentiary.   LaCoste pleaded guilty and received a sentence of 17 months.   Roy Saia, the fourth member of the ring, is under indictment but has not yet been apprehended.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1938)

[s]- July 21, 1938 p12 – “Narcotic Agents Arrest fifteen in Dope Seizures” - Peter Albano
[S]- Aug 23, 1938p24 – “Marihuana Suspect Signs Bond of $3,000”

[S]- March 29, 1938 p15 - Dope Ring Broken by Five Arrests, Says Head of Federal Bureau Here
[note: Carlos Marcello, future New Orleans crime family head]
[S]- May 22, 1938 Section 2, p5 - Muggle Madness’ Viewed by Prosecutor as Cause of Major Crimes and Insanity
[top of page] note: left margin of page was physically cut prior to microfilming; cannot access those letters.
[S]- May 22, 1938 Section 2, p5 - ‘Muggle Madness’ Viewed by Prosecutor as Cause of Major Crimes and Insanity’
[S]- July 22, 1938 p28 - U.S. Agents Take 2 More in Raids Under Dope Law – Tony Cangimilla, Ex-Boxing Champion, Among Those Seized

[Key-finder - Case #]

Name: - Ralph Savois - Location: - Bourg, Louisiana - Date: - April 24, 1936

What the Narc’s were claiming
Louisiana - Bourg and Houma.   -On April 24, 1936, 2,500 marihuana plants growing on an area of about 3 acres, 12 pounds in bulk marihuana, and 67 marihuana cigarettes were seized and confiscated on a farm near Bourg, La., and five persons were arrested on charges of violation of the marihuana law.   Ralph Savoise, Mrs. Ralph Savoise, Felix Blanchard, "Cookie" Lanaud, and David North were growing and selling marihuana cigarettes to oil-field workers and to school children.   Complaints were made by parents of some of the children to Federal narcotic and local officers.   Extensive investigations were made until all participants in this illicit traffic at Houma and Bourg were arrested.   A prosecution was instituted in the parish district court.   Conviction, which is expected, would carry a mandatory penalty of from 20 months to 5 years each.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1936)

Bourg, Louisiana   April 24, 1936, two thousand Marihuana plants were seized on a farm near here and eight persons were arrested for implication in this offense.   The crop had been grown between rows of vegetables and high school pupils had been supplied with Marihuana from this yield.   --- Review of the Illicit Traffic In The United States and the Philippine Islands In 1936

[ ]- April 25, 1936 p - “Eight Seized, Houma Farm Raided in Federal Drive on Marihuana”

[Key-finder - Case #tbd]

Name: - William L. Rousseau - Location: - Louisiana - Date: - August 22, 1936
Times Picaynune
[Times Picayune - Aug. 08, 1936 p3]

What the Narc’s were claiming
August 22, 1936 - LOUISIANA - William L. Rousseau was arrested by local officers under the provisions of the Louisiana State narcotic act on August 22, 1936, for growing and possessing marihuana.   Reports had been received that marihuana cigarettes were being sold at Rousseau's home.   While officers waited outside in automobiles, they observed several addicts approach Rousseau's door to purchase marihuana cigarettes.   Police found in the kitchen two 1-pound coffee cans full of marihuana cigarettes and two packages of the narcotic in drying form.   In the yard among four branching trees and growing vegetables were 100 growing marihuana plants about 12 feet tall.   The police destroyed the plants.   William L. Rousseau, father of William A. Rousseau, said that the marihuana had been planted by his son for the purpose of obtaining seed to feed a pet redbird belonging to the younger Rousseau.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1936)

[S]-- Aug. 26, 1936 p3 - "100 Marihuana Plants, 12 Feet Tall, Just Bird Feed, Police Told"

[Key-finder - Case #tbd]

Name: - Felix Caserta, Dominic Richards - Location: - Plaquemines Parish La. - Date: - Sep. 19, 1936
Times Picaynune
[Times Picayune - Sept. 19, 1936 p3]

What the Narc’s were claiming
LOUISIANA Sep. 19, 1936 English Turn, Plaquemines Parish.   --- Officers of the Louisiana State police seized and destroyed large quantities of harvested and dried marihuana on two adjoining farms at English Turn, Plaquemines Parish, on September 19, 1936.   At the first farm they raided they found about 5,000 stalks lying in a field and stored in a barn, and also 300 pounds of dried marihuana ready for smoking.   Later, while continuing their investigations of the farm, the officers discovered 800 pounds of marihuana stalks which had been harvested from an adjacent tract of land about 7 acres in area.   Felix Caserta, about 30 years old, was the owner and occupant of the second farm, which consisted of about 40 acres.   Caserta resided on the farm with his wife and children.   He admitted that he knew that the plants were marihuana and that he had cut them down the day previous to the officers raid on his place.   He was arrested on charges of violation of the State uniform narcotic law.   Later Luke Cutrera, farmer, and Dominic Richarda, who lived on and operated adjacent farms, were arrested for possession of illicit marihuana.   Cutrera was reported to have been hired by marihuana peddlers to drive quantities of the narcotic into New Orleans.   Stalks, seeds, and dried marihuana were found in a truck on Cutrera's farm.   Officers destroyed all of the plants in the area in which the marihuana crop had been harvested.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1936)

[S]-- Sept. 19, 1936 p1 - "Marihuana Raids at English Turn Result In Arrest of Two Farmers"

[Key-finder - Case #tbd]

Name: - Anthony Fazzio - Location: - New Orleans, La. - Date: - Sept. 27, 1935

What the Narc’s were claiming
Sept. 27, 1935, police at New Orleans, La., raided a cannabis cigarette "factory" in that city and arrested Anthony Fazzio, Alice Fazzio, and Henry Denapolis.   Only a small quantity of loose cannabis was discovered, but one person, subsequently ascertained to be one Mary Rodriguez, escaped with a package, which one of the defendants stated contained 4,000 marihuana cigarettes.   On November 24, 1935, the same police raided the premises occupied by Robert Williams and William Cayce, Jr., and seized 10 tin bread boxes containing 10,000 cannabis cigarettes.   The defendants were held for prosecution.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1935)

Times Picaynune
[Times Picayune - Oct 28, 1935 p20]
[S]-- Sept 28, 1935 pg 11 -- “Marihuana Cache Raided By Police”
[S]-- Oct 16 1935 pg 20 -- “Raiders Seize Enough Marihuana in Attic to Make 10,000 Cigarettes”
[S]-- Nov 24, 1935 p2 - "Huge Marihuana Cache Uncovered by Raiding Police"

[Key-finder - Case #tbd]

Name: - Ampton Stanno + others - Location: - New Orleans, La. - Date: - Feb. 1936

What the Narc’s were claiming
New Orleans.-During Feb. 1936 Federal narcotic agent and local police officers raided the premises of Ampton Stanno an found their entrance to a rear downstairs door obstructed by strongly reinforced door, in the center of which was a small slot through which purchasers of marihuana cigarettes would insert the money and in turn receive cigarettes.   When the officers gained admission through the barred door they found 400 marihuana cigarette contained in a tin box lying on a table, and near to the cigarette box small case containing a sum of money and marihuana ready for cigarette wrapping.   Ampton Stanno and Jane Williams, who were found in this house, were placed under arrest.   Robert Williams, alias Jimmie Smith, was sought as another member of this illicit marihuana ring but could not be found.   A warrant was issued for his arrest.   In a house to the rear of Stanno's, the police officers found a large pasteboard box enclosing one bundle which contained about 3 pounds of marihuana, 25 pounds of marihuana seed and dried marihuana leaves.   -- The Traffic in Opium and Other Dangers Drugs (1936)

[S]- Feb 12, 1936 p1 - "15-Year-Old Bride and Her Uncle Held; Home Yields Marihuana"

[Key-finder - Case #tbd]


JOURNAL - Vol 84 July, 1931

Vol. 2 --1931 p252



Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are displayed.   If you would like to obtain more information, feel free to contact the museum.   All our material is available (at cost) on CD-Rom format.