Carlos Marcello: Big Daddy In
The Big Easy (excerpt)
By the late 1940’s, Carlos had established his headquarters in a bar and restaurant that came to be known as Willswood Tavern. It sat on Highway 90, about fifteen miles west of New Orleans on the West Bank in Jefferson Parish. He would hold court here, meeting up with the men who ran his empire, dispensing justice to the unruly. He owned 6400 acres of swampland that spread away from the inn with lots of unique and handy bayous to hide bodies. After business, he would entertain his people on a lavish scale. A man with a gargantuan appetite, he imported a chef from Chicago, an ex-convict who had apparently been the personal cook of Al Capone. His name was Provino Mosca and his Italian cooking became legend in the area. Carlos built a small house near the tavern for the chef and his wife and son, and when it was time to move his head office elsewhere, Carlos left the tavern for his chef to continue operating under the management of his mother Louise, who by now had become widowed. Today Mosca’s son John runs the business know as Mosca’s, at 4137 Highway 90, Waggaman, producing food equally as delicious as his father did before him. Their two crab salads, garlic shrimp and chicken [a la grande] is food to die for, which not doubt may well have been the case fifty years ago for some of the visitors to this tavern on the green.
His illegal capital funded motels, restaurants, banks, beer and liquor stores, taxi and bus firms, shrimping fleets, gas stations, the list was endless. He claimed however, that he was simply a salesman for the Pelican Tomato Company and earned $1500 a month. On paper he was, and the fact that he also indirectly owned the company, whose biggest customer was the U.S. Navy, was incidental.
Carlos Marcello, owner of a tomato company and considered the Godfather of New Orleans crime was convicted on federal charges in the 1980s although the convictions were later thrown after he served over 6 years. He retired to old Metairie and died in the 1990s, with property throughout the French Quarter and regional area still under the family control.