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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.

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
Peter L.B. Duplissis June 1, 1812
Michael Reynolds January 17, 1815
John Nicholson January 27, 1819
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
Algernon S. Robertson February 13, 1845
William F. Wagner May 10, 1845
  February 24, 1846
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
F.J. Herron April 19, 1867
Stephen B. Packard April 16, 1869
John R.G. Pitkin February 13, 1877
Jack Wharton December 3, 1877
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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