New Orleans, Louisiana in 1918 was a happening city. Jazz clubs were all around, night life was active and the cities neighborhoods were filled with newly landed immigrants from Italy and Poland. Racism and violence were an everyday occurrence.
It was during this time that the city experienced 17 months of terror by a serial killer who’s details are still of the great murder stories unsolved. The case is known today worldwide as the Axeman murders of New Orleans. As the name would imply, the murder suspect wielded an axe and used it for both breaking and entering and attacking his victims.
Just like the Zodiac and Son of Sam of our time had done, the Axeman sent letters to area newspapers predicting future murders, taunting police and claiming to be some sort of demonic spirit.
All in all 12 victims are attributed to the Axeman’s serial killing spree ranging from a grocer and his wife hacked up while sleeping on May 22, 1918, an 8 month pregnant woman who survived the attack and gave birth a few weeks later, an Italian immigrant couple and their 2 year old daughter living in a New Orlean suburb, and a supposed final victim, killed on October 27, 1919.
Then the killings mysteriously ended.
At first it was thought that these murders were tied to three unsolved murders from seven years earlier. That didn’t pan out. Early in the investigations, it was also thought that these murders were mob related but that theory was debunked as well.
Today the case is all but abandoned…a murder unsolved in New Orleans.
Ed Gallagher is a researcher, speaker and the author of Murder Unsolved [http://www.murderunsolved.com], a blog that deals with famous and not so famous Unsolved Murders.
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