Whoever shot President John F. Kennedy, New Orleans played a role in the plot.
Lee Harvey Oswald, who is largely believed to be the lone gunman who shot and killed Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, was born in New Orleans in 1939 and lived here until 1944. He returned in 1954, completing 8th and 9th grades before quitting school. After a stint in the Marines and defecting to Russia, Oswald returned to the U.S. and then New Orleans in the spring of 1963. He established a New Orleans office of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and passed out leaflets “Hands Off Cuba,” in front of the International Trade Mart on Canal Street.
Oswald moved to Dallas later that year and began working at the Texas School Book Depository.
New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison later claimed it was during those six months in New Orleans that a plot to kill Kennedy was hatched. Garrison said working with New Orleans’ businessman Clay Shaw, Oswald and others conspired to assassinate the president. Oswald, Garrison claimed, appeared to be pro-Castro, but was actually anti-Communist.
Garrison’s office charged Shaw with conspiracy to commit murder, but after a well-publicized trial, failed to win a conviction against him. Through the release of CIA documents, some of Garrison’s theories were later found to carry some weight. His recount of the evidence gained him fame in Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, “JFK”, which was based on Garrison’s books.
Some also believe that a plot to kill Kennedy originated with Louisiana crime boss Carlos Marcello, who before the assassination of President Kennedy was being targeted by the president’s brother and Attorney General Robert Kennedy for mafia criminal activity.