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U.S. Marshals Service

Eastern District of Louisiana

History 

USMS E/LA PatchThe United States Marshals Service, Eastern District of Louisiana, is one of the oldest and most unique districts in the United States. The Territory of Orleans, established by Congress on October 1, 1804, was the only territory granted a District Court equal in authority and jurisdiction to that of the District Courts in the states. On April 30, 1812 the territory became Louisiana when it was admitted as the nation’s 18th state. Shortly, thereafter, President James Madison appointed the first United States Marshal, Peter L. B. Duplessis.

Marshal Duplessis played a pivotal role in governmental affairs as there were always competing political factions within New Orleans - not to mention the presence of French Pirate Jean Lafitte and his band of sailing men. Lafitte, known as the “Gentleman Pirate,” was conducting a smuggling and piracy operation in New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico in the early 19th century. Frustrated by Lafitte, the United States Attorney charged Marshal Duplessis with locating and arresting Lafitte and his band of pirates in an effort to bring them to trial. Duplessis received the official writ on April 19, 1813, which read: “You are hereby commanded ...that you take the body of Jean Lafitte so that he appear before the District Court of the United States for the Louisiana District — to be holden at the City of New Orleans ... to answer to the complaint of the United States and that he do file his defense or answer with the Clerk of said Court.”

While the United States Attorney was interested in disrupting Lafitte’s smuggling operation, southern coastal waters were reportedly brimming with English warships. To better monitor enemy forces, Marshal Duplessis traveled to Pensacola, Florida where he witnessed the British naval contingent performing maneuvers off the coast and preparing for battle. The Marshal proved invaluable to United States General Andrew Jackson when he used his Creole connections to smuggle a letter to Jackson dated October 17, 1814 detailing the intelligence he collected while in Pensacola. The letter stated that the British fleet planned to invade and seize New Orleans and the vast territory of the United States acquired with the Louisiana Purchase. Once back in New Orleans, the Marshal continued to aid the general throughout the war.

General Jackson, occupied by the impending Battle of New Orleans and an insufficient military force, accepted an offer from Lafitte for his services to fight the British in exchange for a pardon for him and his band of pirates. The pardon was granted. The actions of Lafitte during the Battle resulted in his becoming a war hero in the defense of New Orleans in 1815. The Battle was a decisive battle for the United States against the British and her allies and is regarded as the greatest American land victory of the war.

U.S. Marshals escort Ruby Bridges to schoolAnother defining moment in the history of the U.S. Marshals in New Orleans occurred almost 150 years later when a federal court ordered the desegregation of schools in the South. U.S. Marshals escorted four young black girls, Leona Tate, Gaile Etienne, Tessie Prevost and Ruby Bridges, to school on November 14, 1960, in the midst of racial tension and violence. These girls were the first black children to enter all-white schools in the history of the American South. The girls attended school with U.S. Marshals by their side for over a year.

In 2005 the U.S. Marshals in New Orleans responded to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina, one of the most catastrophic natural disasters in United States history. The U.S. Marshals established a task force made up of deputies and administrative personnel from all over the United States. Beginning after the storm, the task force conducted search and rescue missions, assisted local authorities with restoring order and patrolling the streets of New Orleans, provided protection of airports, fuel trucks, FEMA workers and the NASA Stennis Space Center, and provided armed escorts to supply convoys delivering food and water to residents.
 
In addition, the U.S. Marshals established a judicial operations team that assisted local and state governments as they prepared to reestablish operations in their courthouses which were devastated by the hurricane. The team protected the City of New Orleans, parish and state courts while operations were held at the federal courthouse for over nine months.

As a result of large numbers of migrant workers descending on New Orleans after the hurricane, fugitive apprehension efforts increased. The success of the task force led to the formal establishment of a U.S. Marshals Task Force comprised of local, state and federal law enforcement officers that continues to today. This extremely successful and well decorated task force continues to apprehend an average of over 800 violent fugitives each year. Task Force partners include the New Orleans Police Department, Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office, St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office, Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, Kenner Police Department, Slidell Police Department, Louisiana State Police, Louisiana Probation and Parole, and the United States Border Patrol.

From 1845 until 1971, the District of Louisiana was reorganized numerous times under single and multiple districts. In 1971, the Eastern District was finally reorganized to the structure that remains today, thirteen parishes in the southeastern geography of the state. Two-thirds of the state’s citizens reside in this area and the state’s largest city, New Orleans, is located here.

The dedication and exceptional work ethic of District employees resulted in the District receiving the USMS Director’s Distinguished District Award in 2006 and 2010, the Distinguished Group Award in 2008 and 2009, the 2011 Metropolitan Crime Commission Excellence in Law Enforcement Award, the 2012 Sheriff Harry Lee Crimestoppers Criminal Justice Award, the Lexis Nexis “One Step Closer” Award presented by the International Homicide Investigator’s Association and numerous other awards and recognition for its fugitive apprehension efforts. In 2013, the District received the Secretary of Defense Freedom Award for support of the Guard and Reserve. The Eastern District of Louisiana was the first federal law enforcement agency to receive this recognition.

The United States Marshals in the Eastern District of Louisiana continue to perform a critical service to the safety of the judiciary and community, carrying on the traditions established by U.S. Marshal Peter Duplessis and those who followed.

 

MARSHAL                                                  DATE

TERRITORY OF ORLEANS

Francis J.L. D'Orgenay

December 12, 1804

 

June 12, 1805

 

December 23, 1805

John M. Fortier

June 28, 1809

Martin Duralde Jr.

December 14, 1810

Peter L.B. Duplissis,

April 30, 1811

 

November 27, 1811

DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

 

Peter L.B. Duplissis

June 1, 1812

Michael Reynolds

January 17, 1815

John Nicholson

January 27, 1819

EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

 

John Nicholson

January 12, 1827

 

February 15, 1831

John H. Holland

February 23, 1835

Mandeville Marigny

February 28, 1839

Algernon S. Robertson

September 22, 1841

 

February 2, 1842

DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

 

Algernon S. Robertson

February 13, 1845

William F. Wagner

May 10, 1845

 

February 24, 1846

EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

 

William S. Scott

March 22, 1849

Mandeville Marigny

April 6, 1853

Joseph M. Kennedy

November 30, 1853

 

March 14, 1854

 

March 30, 1858

Robert A. Hunter

October 29, 1860

James Graham

May 20, 1863

 

January 20, 1864

Luthbert Bullitt

July 6, 1864

 

February 14, 1865

DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

 

F.J. Herron

April 19, 1867

Stephen B. Packard

April 16, 1869

John R.G. Pitkin

February 13, 1877

Jack Wharton

December 3, 1877

 

EASTERN DISTRICT OF LOUISIANA

 

Jack Wharton

January 11, 1882

John R.G. Pitkin

April 14, 1882

Rueben B. Pleasants

July 17, 1885

 

May 28, 1886

George Moorman

September 3, 1888

John B. Donally

April 17, 1889

 

January 20, 1890

J.V. Guillote

January 17, 1894

Charles Fontelieu

July 19, 1898

 

December 20, 1898

Victor Loisel

March 15, 1904

 

May 19, 1908

 

June 14, 1912

Frank M. Miller

April 24, 1914

Victor Loisel

April 18, 1921

 

December 15, 1925

Tom W. Dutton

April 15, 1930

Sidney A. Freudenstein

August 15, 1934

Philip Albares

August 28, 1935

 

June 22, 1936

H. Chess Richardson

September 2, 1936

 

February 6, 1937

 

May 17, 1941

 

September 28, 1945

Paul A. Gaudet

October 1, 1949

Louis F. Knop Jr.

November 9, 1949

 

February 2, 1950

Victor L. Petitbon

March 6, 1954

 

August 5, 1958

Victor L. Wogan

September 5, 1961

 

October 2, 1965

Ollie Canion

October 1969

Rufus W. Campbell

December 1977

James V. Serio, Jr.

March 1978

Charles V. Serio,

November 1997

Theophile A. Duroncelet

March 2002

Michael D. Credo

September 18, 2007

Genny L. May

March 11, 2010

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