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Shifting the focus away from the assassination of John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas, to 48 hours prior in Eunice, Louisiana, this book explores the prediction made by Melba Marcades, aka Rose Cherami, that the president would be assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963 in Dallas. Discounting clairvoyance, the book investigates the possibility that Rose had inside information about the assassination. However, Rose Cherami was not a credible witness: she was a prostitute, a one-time performer in Jack Ruby's Carousel Club, an admitted drug trafficker, a drug addict, and a car thief. But the author’s research reveals glaring omissions in her FBI files, questionable admissions regarding her criminal history, and the dubious details of her untimely demise. This book sheds new light on a relatively unknown footnote of the JFK conspiracy theory.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.30(d)|
About the Author
Todd C. Elliott is a former AM talk radio host and a freelance writer and journalist whose work has been featured in the Abbeville Meridian, American Press, the Crowley Post-Signal, the Daily Advertiser, the Eunice News, the Jambalaya News, Lagniappe Magazine, and the Public News. He lives in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
Read an Excerpt
A Rose By Many Other Names
Rose Cherami and the JFK Assassination
By Todd C. Elliot
Trine Day LLCCopyright © 2013 Todd C. Elliott
All rights reserved.
A Rose By Many Other Names
While the credits roll at the beginning of Oliver Stone's 1991 film JFK, there is a glimpse of Rose Cherami.
In between the edited, historic film footage, Rose Cherami is immortalized in the first dramatized sequence of the film, as the stunt double for actress Sally Kirkland is thrown from a moving vehicle. In the dust, a screaming and crying woman is on the side of a rural highway cursing at the car speeding away ahead of her.
The film then cuts to the woman, hysterical in a hospital bed, telling law enforcement and medical staff that "they're going to Dallas ... Friday ... they're going to kill Kennedy." The characters in the film, much as in life, paid her no mind.
This was Rose Cherami. She predicted the future. She did it in a small Louisiana town named Eunice.
Eunice, Louisiana is the birthplace of JFK "conspiracy theory."
Eunice as the birthplace of JFK assassination theory has more credence than the widely accepted "magic bullet theory," simply because the first public revelation of a plot to kill the 35th President of the United States resounded from the lips of one Melba Marcades, also known as Rose Cherami, in that small town.
Ruling out conspiracy, then certainly the woman was clairvoyant. Ruling out clairvoyance, one must talk of foreknowledge, and then again back to conspiracy. A tip from Rose, two days before the assassination, would forever link the city of Eunice to the JFK assassination plot.
Some people of Eunice, mainly members of law enforcement and medical officials, were the first to hear talk of a conspiracy involving shooters in Dallas, two days before John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in what is still, legally and officially, an unsolved crime for the Dallas Police Department.
Eunice is home to folks of the Cajun Prairie. They are a friendly people who know that Eunice is a small town, and they seemingly strive to keep it that way, content with its charm, size and the rate of growth. It is a unique Louisiana town of the best Cajun people, food and music in the world.
During World War II, "Camp Eunice" was established by the United States Army as a prisoner of war camp, holding German and Italian POWs who were made to work in the rice fields south of town.
Today most of the Eunice residents know the area of POW Camp Eunice as the Tri-Parish Fairgrounds. An abandoned Louisiana Army National Guard Armory rests near the corner of the former POW camp grounds, which are now buried like a secret under weathered tennis courts and baseball fields contained within a surrounding neighborhood.
A day in Eunice in 2013 was much as it would have been in 1963. Even an element of vice remained in the culture as it was in 1963.
Those who remember 1963 can recall slot machines in the local grocery stores – where if a shopper chanced to have some spare change they might then press their luck and have a little gamble on the "one-armed bandits." Those in the know back then could guess at the source of the slot machines and the vice: New Orleans and some of the organized crime therein.
A vibrant nightlife – with places like the Purple Peacock, the Oleander and the Silver Slipper along the highway – made a neon offering of live music, wild women and an escape from the small town doldrums. Back-room card games were the norm, invisibly framed by one-way mirrors in case of a raid or someone forgetting to pay off the local sheriff.
Such was life along U.S. Highway 190, or the "Acadiana Trail," in 1963.
If Orleans Parish District Attorney, Jim Garrison, was "On The Trail of the Assassins," as his book title suggested, it's quite possible that the Acadiana Trail was the very trail that lead to the murder of JFK in Dallas.
Today, the video poker machines are relegated to their own domains in the form of truckstop casinos or the small, off-chance casinos open day and night in modern Eunice. Today, however, when the house wins, the government for the state of Louisiana also wins.
At the end of any day, wherever a resident or visitor might decide to lay their head for the night in Eunice, the chugging, horn blast of a train or the ringing of a church bell is always within earshot. The streets of Eunice near the quaint town square are windswept with rice hulls in the late Summer under the watchful gaze of a towering, rusted rice mill that has seen better days.
The old, aluminum building that is the rice mill stands as the tallest structure in the city. At nearly four stories high, like some "cajun skyscraper," it seemingly oversees all business and living transacted in Eunice: relegated to a height not to exceed two stories.
Before Interstate 10 – connecting Houston with New Orleans to the south – siphoned off the traffic and much of the commerce to Eunice, U.S. Highway 190 was the 1963 equivalent. With the advent of I-10, Eunice remained much as it did then, with only sparse and sporadic growth over the decades.
It was here where a momentous fragment of American history was born. And as with all birthing processes, there is an element of pain before delivery. Even a legend must cling to something before it breathes to life and manifests out of the ether.
However, a legend would insinuate a myth.
But it is not by any mythos, but by way of history, that Eunice has been linked to the crime of the 20th century: the murder of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas.
It's not a stretch of the imagination to say that many Americans believe that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK – a conclusion reinforced when a determination was reached by the House Select Committee on Assassinations of the 95th Congress in March 1979. The HSCA's anticlimactic conclusion stated that the President "was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy."
The first evidence of a conspiracy, along with a conspiracy theory itself, appeared in Eunice in the form of "Rose Cherami."
Cherami, however, was not a citizen of Eunice.
Rose Cherami was merely the link between Eunice, Louisiana and a possible conspiracy to kill JFK. All JFK "conspiracy theorists" can tie their conspiratorial lineage back to Cherami, as she was the first in line.
She was born Melba Christine Marcades in Houston, Texas in 1923.
Ruling out the possibility of clairvoyance and magic bullets, Rose's "prediction" was an indication of foreknowledge. Cherami, as she is known to JFK assassination researchers, stated on Nov. 20, 1963, in Eunice, that the President would be murdered in Dallas on Friday, two days hence. After the assassination, she was also quite possibly the first person to link Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby.
But few listened to the known prostitute, drug addict and drug trafficker. Those who listen today, and America as a nation, should be haunted by the specter of Rose Cherami.
Who was Rose?
Cherami, according to FBI files and Louisiana State Police records, was known to have over 35 aliases. According to the FBI and various law enforcement reports from dozens of municipalities, these are the various known and recorded aliases of Melba Christine Marcades or Rose Cherami:
Mrs. Albert Rodman
Patsy Sue Allen
Melba Christina Nichols
Rosa Lee Stewart
Zada Marie Johnson
Penny Sue Marcades
Zada Lynn Gano
Rose Elaine Evans
Zada Irene Scars
Zada Marie Green
Rose Elaine Edwards
Roselle Rene Cherami
Rose L. Cherami
Rosalie Jeanne Crawford
The Legend Arose
On November 20, 1963, she was Rose Cherami.
Rose Cherami found herself in Eunice, more than likely arriving in town under cover of night, possibly in the late evening of November 19, 1963, or in the early morning hours of November 20, from Florida.
She knew that there was a place called the Silver Slipper, just west of Eunice on Highway 190, on the way to Basile, Louisiana. Rose – who was traveling with two unknown men – made a stop before she planned to leave town, bound for Texas
The Silver Slipper was a bit of a "cathouse" and Rose would find whatever or whomever she might be looking for there. Or indeed, those in need would find her and what she might deliver in the way goods and services.
She liked to tell anyone who would listen that she was coming from Florida on this day, and that she was bound for Dallas where she once worked as an exotic dancer at a place called the Carousel Club.
Rose was not "on the run" so much as she was on a run that day of November 20, 1963.
Rose kept company with men that most people spent their lives trying to avoid. By some accounts, she was a "fireball," a woman that no one wanted to handle lest they get burned. Rose found herself on the road, though many times it was a difficult and disparaging road, and it showed in her face.
It's possible that she remembered through her own haze, somewhere from the last half of the 1950s, her own smiling, youthful and cherubic face that adorned a signed photograph to her husband. "Love, your wife" read her own handwriting, when she was a young, wide- eyed telephone operator a lifetime, a son and a husband ago.
Rose knew that she was surviving, as well as she could, as a prostitute and dancer in the grips of a heroin addiction.
After her son was born, she nurtured her own addiction, which drove her away from her husband and family. Her addiction ultimately landed her son, Michael, in the care of her parents and other family members in another state, another life away from Rose.
When she did visit her son and parents, she tried to be the good housewife, ironing everything in sight during her brief encounters with her family before the highway began to call out her name.
In 1963, however, her face had become less domesticated, swollen and puffy from booze, cigarette-smoky rooms, dope and late night living on the road. The highway, it seemed, was now screaming her name.
On November 20, 1963 Rose found herself on a highway that pulsed like the life blood of this small town of Eunice.
Slicked with autumn rain that day, U.S. Highway 190 wound like an immense king snake through the Louisiana rice fields and over-grown backwoods. Like a magic bullet into the heart of Texas, the "Acadiana Trail" would dart westward, then zig-zag across the Lone Star State, from New Orleans and into the realm of history, much like the soon-to-be lore and stories it carried on its asphalt back.
Legend has it that somewhere on this Highway 190 outside of Eunice, a speeding lone vehicle carried two men and, temporarily, one woman named Rose. A man in the backseat physically ejected a flailing, screaming payload from an open, moving car door.
Perhaps for dramatic effect, Oliver Stone used the depiction of the legend: Rose being thrown from the moving car. Whatever happened may be something else. And whatever happened, Rose hit the ground rolling.
Some locals say that Rose and her road companions were leaving a place called Kilroy's, a "cathouse" just outside of the city limits of Eunice. It was on the east side of U.S. Highway 190, where unsavory characters mingled in the comfort of the secrecy such a place afforded.
Others said that it was the Silver Slipper on the west side of town, along a similar stretch of Highway 190, where the same element gathered just outside the city limits of Eunice.
If the Silver Slipper was "a bit of a cathouse," then Kilroy's was a full-fledged whore house.
The right person with the right vice could certainly find whatever they needed readily available at Kilroy's or the Silver Slipper. These were rest stops for weary travelers from New Orleans, bound for Houston or Dallas, who might want to revisit a little of the Big Easy and gamble on some pelvic roulette.
In the haze, something happened at one of the roadside lounges along Highway 190.
According to John H. Davis in Mafia Kingfish, a book about New Orleans organized crime figure Carlos Marcello and the JFK assassination (p. 193-94): "They had stopped at a roadside bar and restaurant near Eunice. She had gotten a little high, and her companions had abandoned her. The owner of the restaurant then threw her out of his place. While she was trying to hitch a ride, she was grazed by a car and injured slightly. Shortly after that, Lt. Francis Fruge picked her up from the roadside."
While some accounts differ as to whether the incident occurred on the east side or west side of town, the evidence of what Rose said shortly thereafter remained the same.
Did an altercation at the bar resulting in the abandonment of Rose set her in motion to let someone, anyone know of a devious plot? Was she then, at that point, a woman scorned? Did this motivate her to tell someone about the plot to kill JFK on Friday in Dallas? According to the HSCA report, its owner stated that Rose had been "slapped around" by one of her companions at the Silver Slipper.
Only Rose and the two "Italian looking men" knew what really happened. Perhaps somebody said something they shouldn't have. Perhaps somebody heard something they shouldn't have. Perhaps a phone call by Rose to her family was made, thus making her companions nervous. Perhaps one of the men made a call and was ordered to ditch Rose, that the mission might not be compromised by her presence or participation in the run.
It is plausible that the assassination run was disguised as a drug run, a prime example of Mafia multi-tasking. There may have been an audible call to shift from the narcotics focus, to have the mechanics, the hired guns, be mindful of only one thing that week: getting the President of the United States.
Rose would have to be left behind for whatever reason.
Perhaps Rose was acting belligerent in public. It would not have been the first time, as her arrest record would reflect. Maybe Rose got high, possibly in the ladies' restroom on some strong heroin, and began nodding off at the bar.
Rose and the two unknown men were certainly not removed from Kilroy's or the Silver Slipper because of her status as a "lady of the night," perhaps betokened by her sobriquet Cherami: "dear friend" in French.
As a prostitute, Rose would have been welcomed at Kilroy's by the owner Hatley Manuel – who was known in town, like a dirty secret in Eunice, as a pimp and a card game "hoss."
In a 2010 interview conducted at his home in Mamou, Louisiana, Hatley (or Hadley depending on who's asking) claimed that he did oversee and manage Kilroy's. After being shown her infamous mugshot picture (see page 72), he also claimed that he did not know Rose, nor had he ever seen her.
Incredibly, he also claimed during the 2010 interview that he had "no idea" who Lee Harvey Oswald was, nor had he ever heard the name of the President's accused assassin.
However, Manuel stated that he did want to get paid for the interview and what he knew. Whatever he knew, Manuel took to the grave with him in 2011.
On November 22, 1963, however, Rose Cherami knew of Eunice's houses of ill-repute, and certainly what had happened on November 20.
But that wasn't all she knew. Abandoned by these shady and serious men, Rose might have been the only person ready to tell what she knew to strangers or anyone that might listen. And if she had doubted the truth of her road companions' murderous intentions, the resounding evidence of that truth came like a jolt as she hit the pavement and the side of the highway.
Something must have struck Rose on that afternoon in Eunice. Whether it was a moving vehicle, a momentary sense of reason, anger, or the value of life regardless of her own. Perhaps all of these things hit her at once.
In a cloud of opiates, Rose Cherami staggered to her feet from the side of the road. She was possibly bloodied from the scrapes, and bruised, and she might have been oblivious to the pick-up truck that struck her.
More than likely, Rose was the source of her own legend, as she later told of how she was "thrown out of a moving vehicle." This way, Rose – who harbored the mind of a junkie and criminal capable of playing the system – would appear as a victim to medical staff and law enforcement. After all, getting hit by a vehicle on the side of the road because she was high on dope was a story that was incriminating and garnered less sympathy.
As far as her hell-bent road companions were concerned, Rose Cherami was now someone else's problem on Highway 190. And if Rose was telling the truth, the vehicle that she had been riding in that day reached Dallas later that evening.CHAPTER 3
It was a Wednesday in Eunice at the local hospital, but it would not be a typical Wednesday. Unbeknownst to the staff at the Moosa Hospital, the week was shaping up to be one of the worst in American history.
Louis Pavur, a now retired radiologic technologist, recalled in a 2012 interview with the Eunice News that he was working at the now defunct Moosa Hospital on November 20, 1963, offering his assistance to the late Dr. J.T. Thompson and a nurse Broussard.
Excerpted from A Rose By Many Other Names by Todd C. Elliot. Copyright © 2013 Todd C. Elliott. Excerpted by permission of Trine Day LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsA Rose By Many Other Names,
A Rose By Many Other Names,
The Legend Arose,
Meanwhile Back at the Eunice Jail,
Going to Jackson,
Good Doctor, Bad Doctor,
Little Big Mamou,
Her Life and Her Life of Crime,
The Long D.O.A. of Rose Cherami,
Son of Rose Cherami,
First Person, Last Words,