of Republican government in Louisiana
On this date in 1874...
Joseph P. Macheca, a produce importer and steamship line owner allied with Louisiana conservative Democratic interests, on the evening of September 9, 1874, called to order an organizational meeting of the white supremacist Cosmopolitan Democratic Club of the City of New Orleans.
A press report by the Daily Picayune indicated that the meeting, held at Royal and Orleans Streets, drew a large number of "foreign citizens," including immigrants from Italy, Austria and Spanish-speaking countries. (The Royal and Orleans location is behind the landmark St. Louis Cathedral and about one city square from the Orleans Ballroom, where Macheca's violently racist Innocenti organization regularly met six years earlier.)
The new group supported a resolution that was starkly racist:
Whereas it behooves all good citizens to take part in the approaching campaign, in order to redeem the State of Louisiana, and relieve her from the present usurpation - Be it resolved, That we, as white citizens, do form ourselves into a Democratic club, to be known as the "Cosmopolitan Democratic Club" of the city of New Orleans.
|Daily Picayune, Sept. 10, 1874.|
When the Cosmopolitan Democratic Club elected officers, Macheca was selected as grand marshal. Today that position would be the ceremonial leader of parades, but it had a more military function in 1874. All present at the meeting must have recalled Macheca's leadership of the Innocenti's bloody marches through African-American neighborhoods during the 1868 election season.
The military purpose of the Cosmopolitan Democratic Club became evident less than a week later, as "Captain Macheca" and his men participated in a large-scale insurrection against Republican state government. The revolt was organized by the Crescent City White League, a network of paramilitary groups (like the Cosmopolitan Democratic Club) that was led by former Confederate officers.
Macheca's force played a pivotal role in routing state militia and New Orleans Metropolitan Police in the September 14, 1874, conflict recalled as the Battle of Liberty Place. The victory was short-lived, as federal troops were quickly moved into New Orleans to restore Republican control.
Read more about these subjects:
Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon