Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
“How does something immoral, when done privately, become moral when it is done collectively? Furthermore, does legality establish morality? Slavery was legal; apartheid is legal; Stalinist, Nazi, and Maoist purges were legal. Clearly, the fact of legality does not justify these crimes. Legality, alone, cannot be the talisman of moral people.”
—Walter E. Williams
“If only half you motherfuckers in the State’s Attorneys Office didn’t want to be judges, didn’t want to be partners in some downtown law firm, if half of you had the fucking balls to follow through, you know what would happen? A guy like that would be indicted, tried, and convicted. And the rest of them would back up enough so we could push a clean case or two through your courthouse. But no, everybody stays friends. Everybody gets paid, and everybody’s got a fucking future.”
—James McNulty, The Wire
“Make crime pay. Become a lawyer.”
In the so-called hallowed halls of Lady Justice, the wealthy and powerful can walk with impunity. Characters with influence over the legal system are able to control and direct the courts and justice bureaus. Those who enter this influence sphere can even affect the law schools, and law firms attached to the Court system. Contacts and allies can include: lawyers, judges, bailiffs, clerks, and district attorneys.
|Merit Dots||Level of Influence|
|•||Legal secretary, paralegal|
|••||Assistant district attorney|
|•••||District attorney (small counties, e.g. Caddo Parish), federal prosecutor, senior assistant district attorney|
|••••||Chief federal prosecutor, district attorney (mid-sized counties, e.g. Orleans Parish)|
|•••••||Chief federal prosecutor (important districts, e.g. Southern District of New York), district attorney (prominent counties, e.g. New York City), state attorney general|
|••••• •||U.S. associate attorney general, U.S. deputy attorney general, U.S. solicitor general|
|••••• ••||U.S. attorney general|
• Henry Garrison
District attorney of New Orleans and former federal prosecutor. Henry and his father Robert (also a federal prosecutor) devoted their careers to taking down organized crime and specifically the Italian Mafia. Henry felt they were closer than ever to that goal by the turn of the millennium, but 9/11 resulted in domestic terrorism becoming the new priority of the day for law enforcement and allowed the Mob to make a comeback. Henry has been trying to reverse that ever since and was responsible for busting Silver Penny Sal, the current consigliere, but still has a long way to go. Henry was very close to his son Stephen, who he groomed to enter public service like his relatives before him, and was devastated by the young man’s 2012 death in a car crash. Henry divorced his wife Andrea years ago and has little in his life besides work and his surviving daughter Danielle. His peers find him a largely humorless and all-business man. He had a reputation in his younger days for being a conspiracy nut (specifically, the theory that Kennedy’s assassination was a government conspiracy involving help from the New Orleans Mafia), but has since tried to live it down.
Story Ten: Celia Flores met Henry several times as “Mr. Garrison” when she dated his son Stephen. The two of them got along relatively well.
• Anthony Wisner
Assistant district attorney for the City of New Orleans, Wisner is an old hat. Nearing the thirty-year mark in his history of public service, he’s seen everything there is to see, from the most mundane to the most reprehensible. Though he began with the best intentions, experience has left him jaded and cynical to the nature of the system: he is in other words representative of most public servants. A mammoth of a man with a walrus’s mustache, he dresses in cheap suits and lets his dwindling head of hair run wild. Cynicism not withstanding, Wisner understands the system better than most: lunches with his peers in the public defender’s office, dinners with district court judges, and tee times with Superior Court judges. Without men like him the entire system would slow to a crawl, and slow to a crawl it may as he is increasingly drawn away from his work by his wife, who in recent years developed early onset dementia.
Story Six: Wisner served as the ADA during Mercurial “Mouse” Fernandez’s plea deal. He corrected the musician that he was not to be addressed as “Your Honor” but otherwise found it a routine affair.
• Hector Berganza
Public defender who served as Mercurial Fernandez’s legal counsel for all of five minutes.
• Howard Sloan
A hard-drinking defense attorney of Irish descent with flaming red hair and pale skin, Howard lives for his work, his booze, and his adorable pit bull named Molly that is often in his office with him. Once a true believer in the legal system, a decade in the Big Easy has chewed him up and spat him out. These days he mostly ties to do the best he can for his clients, most of whom are guilty, but is overwhelmed by his workload. Often works into the wee hours of the night at his desk before passing out with a glass of Jamesons in hand. Near-destitute because of his student loans and frequent pro bono representation of indigent clients, he lives in the upstairs bedroom in his office and wears a cheap, tattered, and stained rotation of suits that have seen better days. Unless he has court that morning, which is more often than not in truth, he doesn’t shave. Despite his poverty, addiction, and discontent, Howard remains well-connected throughout the city, especially to petty criminals and the underprivileged just unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Though he rarely gets paid, he does receive a regular supply of random gift baskets (often with ethnic foods) and other odd favors such as having his door unlocked when he locks his keys inside. Doesn’t own a car and often catches rides with his clients or on the streetcar.
Story Seven: Caroline Malveaux-Devillers mind-controlled Howard into signing a letter that designated her as his legal representative in order to secure an off-hours jail visit with Emmett Delacroix.
• Robert Beckwith
Young but already haggardly overworked public defender assigned to Emmett Delacroix, Mercurial Fernandez, and Amelie Savard at various points. He was none of the three’s first choice in legal counsel and did not secure good plea bargains for any of them—although Emmett’s verbal disrespect towards his judge made that a nigh-impossible task in his case.
|Merit Dots||Level of Influence|
|••||Municipal court judge, other minor court judge|
|•••||Non-article III federal judge (magistrate judge, bankruptcy court judge, tax court judge, etc.), state district court associate judge, municipal court chief judge|
|••••||Federal district court associate judge, state appellate court associate justice, state district court chief justice|
|•••••||Federal appellate or state supreme court associate justice, federal district court chief justice, state appellate court chief justice|
|••••• •||Supreme Court associate justice, federal appellate chief justice, state supreme court chief justice|
|••••• ••||Supreme Court chief justice|
• Thomas Malveaux
Thomas is the chief justice for the Supreme Court of Louisiana, having sat on that distinguished body for more than two decades. He is also one of the eldest and most respected members of the Malveaux family, among whom he serves as an unofficial historian and chronicler of their many scions’ accomplishments, connections, and resources. He’s often a point of contact between the New Orleans Malveauxes and their more distant cousins along the Gulf Coast. He retains a sharp mind despite his growing age and physical frailty, as well as a flirtatious sense of humor. He was quite the lady’s man in his youth, and though he has three legitimate children by his wife Mary, he’s rumored to have fathered a number of illegitimate offspring with assorted mistresses.
• Carson Malveaux
63-year-old cousin to the Malveaux brothers, Carson is far enough removed to be merely wealthy. A Citadel graduate, he “fought” in Vietnam near the end of the war and left the army as a major (prompting many subsequent jokes that he’s a “major” pain in the ass). Stern, disciplined, and uncompromising, he’s developed a reputation as a killer judge as the chief justice of the Orleans Parish District Court with little sympathy in his sentencing and a great deal of influence over other judges on the bench. In meticulous shape, as he continues to run four miles every morning. Frequent adviser to the Malveaux brothers, as he grew up with them in Baton Rouge and they were childhood friends despite their diverging paths. Despised their father, especially after his military service. Known to carry a Colt .45 on him to this day.
Stories Two through Ten: Caroline Malveaux-Devillers long considered Carson the uncle she wished her other two uncles had been and went to him for guidance and advice on numerous occasions. Carson tried to reach out several times during his “niece’s” apparent spiral into dissolution following her Embrace, and in the end, he was the only relative she apologized to.
Carson served as the second of Mercurial Fernandez’s judges following his stalking of Cécilia Devillers. He also served as Amelie Savard’s judge following the events at the LaLaurie House.
• Payton T. Underwood
Associate judge for the Criminal District Court of Orleans Parish. Payton was born the youngest daughter to a family with four other girls, prompting her exasperated father (who’d long wanted a son to follow in his footsteps as a judge) to declare that “she’d have to do.” Almost seventy years later, Payton has a reputation as a severe judge who dislikes waste and has little tolerance for disrespect. She is known to impose “creative” sentences on clients for whom a $200 fee or several more days in jail would be a slap on the wrist. She gets along well with the police, who appreciate her “tough on crime” attitude. Her last election was the final one for which she was eligible to run (due to her age), and she looks forward to spending her remaining years playing with her grandchildren, gardening in her old family home in the Lower Garden District, and maybe doing some part-time private practice on the side.
• Richard Boner
An associate judge for the Criminal District Court of Orleans Parish, Judge Boner is a man of dry wit. Thoroughly bored after almost a decade on the bench (after two decades as a defense attorney), he mostly amuses himself in court these days by frustrating assistant DAs and public defenders both with obscure references, dark humor, and bad puns. Has been known to snack from under the bench. Well-liked by the sheriffs’ deputies that serve as bailiffs: his courtroom is always interesting and they always get a laugh. Occasionally trolled by Morning Radio talk show hosts from around the country that call him in his office, on air, asking for the “Honorable Dick Boner.” Married for 26 years with three children, including a son who’s been in and out of rehab and dodged half a dozen DUIs only because of his father’s influence.
Story Six: Richard served as Mercurial Fernandez’s first judge following his stalking of Cécilia Devillers and was unsympathetic in handing down a harsh sentence despite his initially humorous attitude. Mouse observed him win the bailiff’s affections by sharing a Haydel’s Hand Pie and a groan-inducing legal joke.
• Danielle “Dani” Garrison
Dani has always been second best. Born six years after her older brother Stephen, he was groomed to carry on the family legacy of public service (his and Dani’s father and grandfather were both federal prosecutors, and their father is now the D.A.), while Dani struggled to find her own place in the world. She did worse than her brother at everything from grades to extracurriculars: he was the golden child who could do no wrong and she grew up in his proverbial shadow. Following Stephen’s death in a car crash, Dani opted to carry on the family legacy in his place and has one year left at Tulane Law. She currently clerks for Judge Boner at the Criminal District Court in Mid-City, but remains despondent over the fact she will never be as good a lawyer as her brother.
• Maria St. George
The oldest of the St. George siblings, Maria is a married court stenographer with one small child, a disabled (wheelchair-bound) husband who now works as an accountant, and a deep hatred for the criminal justice system. Views the system as unjust, having seen enough cases, but careful to keep her head down and just do her job to provide for her family. Petite 5’3" Latina with a small frame, dark eyes, and darker hair that she typically wears braided behind her. Husband was an enlisted Marine who was injured in a helicopter crash in Iraq, and though his injury strained their marriage for a time, they’ve emerged stronger for it. Very close to her mother, who helps watch her daughter Karla (Karlita) during the day when they are both at work. Fiercely Catholic, even though her husband’s faith has lapsed.
Story Six: Maria served as the stenographer during Mercurial “Mouse” Fernandez’s arraignment. She took pity on the shoe-less and obviously out of his depth young man enough to give him money home for a bus ticket
Story Nine: Maria also served as the stenographer during Amelie Savard’s arraignment, but did not personally speak with her.
Stephen Garrison grew up as the proverbial golden child. He was the firstborn son to Henry Garrison, the city’s current D.A., and knew from a young age that he wanted to follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps as a public prosecutor to eradicate the Mafia from the city. As an Eagle Scout and captain of his school’s debate team, which he led to nationals, Henry had very high hopes for his son. Stephen attended college at Tulane, clerked for Judge Carson Malveaux, and had only just earned his J.D. when he died in a car accident. His father never recovered.
Story Ten: Celia Flores was introduced to Stephen at a party by her friend and roommate, Emily Rosure. The two hit off and Celia invited Stepen back up to her room to fool around, but got cold feet. He took her out on a real date instead and the two quickly became an item. He assisted her and her mother with legal help to escape Maxen Flores’ abuse. Celia and Stephen grew steadily closer and saw a future together, but fate had other plans.
Story Twelve: Celia learned of Stephen’s passing in 2012.
|Merit Dots||Level of Influence|
|•||Legal secretary, paralegal, solo practitioner (fresh out of school), junior associate (local firm)|
|••||Solo practitioner, senior associate (local firm), junior associate (regional firm)|
|•••||Partner (local firm), senior associate (regional firm), junior associate (BigLaw)|
|••••||Junior partner (regional firm), senior associate (BigLaw)|
|•••••||Senior partner (regional firm), junior partner (BigLaw)|
|••••• •||Senior partner (BigLaw)|
• Paul Jonas
A partner at the Los Angeles-based law firm of Simmons, Jonas, Kennedy, & Morton, Paul grew up in Baton Rouge and attended law school at Tulane in New Orleans before going to work for the FBI. (His son Justin remains eternally disappointed by the fact he wasn’t a “real” FBI agent: he merely did legal work for the Bureau.) Paul met his wife Lucille after her husband was murdered in a gang shooting and moved out to Los Angeles with her to pursue a better life. Both of them would likely say they’ve obtained that: private practice pays better than the FBI ever did, and they have three well-behaved boys all on track to enter good careers of their own. Paul has no particular desire to ever come back to Louisiana. He has never smoked, gotten drunk, or gotten high in his life, and enjoys golf, stamp collecting, and taking pictures of mailboxes. Most of his associates find him a thoroughly boring man.
• Dustin Reffett
Work-addicted criminal attorney thought ‘un-parternable’ after he checked into a psych ward several years ago after having a nervous breakdown. Aggressively eager to prove his detractors wrong with his partners at Monument Law, and proud to have his name on the door.
• Franz Harz
Attorney with Ware and Lebowski, Franz and his family immigrated from Germany when he was eight, settling in Pittsburgh. Attended Duke Law in 1978 and graduated with honors, but despite a talented legal mind, Franz’ noticeable accent and stutter rendered him utterly incapable as a trial lawyer. Eventually he signed on Ware and Lebowski, a large firm that services an array of corporate clients in need of outside council, drafting contracts, settlements, and the like. He spent time in San Diego, New York, and Chicago before landing in New Orleans, where he handles a great many contractual matters for Malveaux Oil, and has been on a standing retainer for the family as a whole as well for more than ten years. Franz deals primarily with contracts, including non-competes, non-disclosures, and other employment agreements, while also helping negotiate larger contracts for his clients with service providers such as insurance companies. Franz is a short, meticulous, and boring man who prefers to correspond in writing and hates meeting clients. Reform Jewish in his personal life.
Story Three: Caroline Malveaux-Devillers corresponded with Franz Harz to set up an anonymous payment of Lauren Peterson’s hospital bills, caused when she fed on the drunken college student in a frenzy.
• Gerald Bishop
The senior-most partner at Monument Law, Gerald is the public face of the more quiet money that’s backed the remarkably successful young firm. He was a highly reputed attorney in his youth, but fell off the map during Hurricane Katrina amidst talk of personal or financial loss, alcoholism, and a decision to retire from law. He seems to be making a comeback now, even if some clients find him slightly eccentric. He’s known to particularly enjoy a stiff drink.
• Luciano “Lucky” Cardona
Certified public accountant and attorney specializing in corporate law. Alleged ties to New Orleans Mafia. Twin brother of Vincenzo “Vinny” Cardona and son of Marcello Cardona.
Story Three: Vinny offered to bring in his brother Lucky when Louis Fontaine wanted to make a run against the Hussar, who he lied about being a Nicaraguan war criminal. Vinny remarked that, “This sort of thing is my brother’s area. The backroom deals. Slipping under the red tape without snipping it. If you say the… Hussar’s protected,” but Lou demurred on involving him.
• Nerea Ericson
Former Olympic fencer turned commercial litigator.
• Vivian Carney
Vivian Carney made the mistake of going into business with her then husband out of law school. He proved not only to be a terrible attorney, but a worse spouse, cheating on her repeatedly and running their ‘firm’ into the ground with wild spending, especially on cocaine. Their divorce was her first journey into family law, having previously worked in civil litigation, but Vivian found she quite enjoyed it. Forced to take a job as an associate just to eat and pay bills, she lived a spartan existence for a decade following her bankruptcy, working and virtually living out of her office until several years ago. Cynical and sarcastic towards those she dubs as ‘idiots’, she’s disavowed long-term relationships since her divorce in favor of more casual ones, holding that marriage is a poor idea that will almost always end badly. Her foremost specialty is family law and civil litigation, especially asset management and protection, and she’s particularly protective of her clients’ assets before they enter into marriage and other contracts, and is capable of writing airtight contracts. Drives an old 1997 BMW she pried from her ex-husband in the divorce and refused to give up thereafter, despite her awful financial circumstances, mostly out of stubbornness. Doesn’t drink particularly heavily, but does enjoy (cheap) boxed wine after a long day at the office.
Story Eleven: Vivian met Celia Flores served as an attorney for Diana Flores in 2009 during the latter’s lawsuit against her former medical insurance provider. Both women were amply pleased with the results of her work.
• Alexander “Alex” Joreid
Successful real property attorney who made his fortune after Katrina dealing with insurance claims, often on a contingency basis. Well-respected in political circles, with many urging him to seek office within the city, if not the state. Barely keeps his practice open these days, mostly taking on charity cases on a whim. Strong ties to the city’s Hispanic community, though he himself is a Nordic vision. Rumored to be in a relationship with Marcus Marrow, and certainly seems to frequent the Corner Club. Friendly, affable, and modest.
• Bertram “Bert” S. Villars
A dapper grimebag lawyer who put himself through law school as a bug exterminator, then made a good, if notorious, living chasing ambulances in New Orleans. In fact, he became known as Twilight Zone Villars because of his eerie expertise at showing up in emergency wards and intensive care units and convincing half-comatose accident victims to sign settlement agreements and liability waivers that often left them destitute. In more recent years, Esq. Villars has increased his infamy (and bank account) by serving as the attorney for seemingly half of the Big Easy’s pimps and crack kings. Due to exposure to toxic chemicals during his former profession, Bert is near-blind and relies upon his docked doberman guide, Caveat. However, some claim the sly, black-spectacled attorney can see better than he lets on.
• Charles “Chuck” Pavaghi
Chuck is a grandson to Rishu “Rich” Pavaghi who recently passed the bar and works as a nominally independently practicing attorney who specializes in property law. In reality, he does virtually all of his work for his grandfather’s maze of LLCs, which are also nominally independent of one another and lack the in-house legal department he’s part of in all but name. Outside of the job, Chuck is young, handsome, and part of the first generation in his family to be born into wealth. He enjoys few things more than spending it through extravagant dusk to dawn partying in the French Quarter, but has had to curb these proclivities somewhat since graduating from law school. Indeed, he has increasingly turned his eye towards advancing his position among his many, many relatives, and is always on the lookout for opportunities—all for his family’s benefit, naturally. He is currently dating the almost decade-younger Sarah Whitney, who he met in the hospital while she was undergoing physical therapy.
Story Seven: Caroline Malveaux-Devillers met Chuck for dinner at Commander’s Palace with the Devillers and Whitney families. Caroline found Chuck crass and was uninterested in his offer to scratch one another’s backs.
• Herman Lewis
Well-known civil rights attorney and police protester. In 1987 Herman, then 16, was convicted of the rape and murder of a 15-year-old white girl on the testimony of a basketball rival and the girl’s mother (who had seen the two together earlier in the day) during President Reagan’s crackdown on crime across the country. Tried as an adult, he was sentenced to life in prison. In the years that followed he maintained his innocence and pursued continuing education, including his high school diploma and an array of college classes, all the while beaten, raped, and humiliated on a nearly daily basis. When his conviction was finally overturned 13 years later, and only after another man confessed to the murder and several others, he spent the bulk of his meager settlement check so he could attend college, eventually earning a law degree and another three-year legal battle for admission to the bar given his “criminal background.” Eventually successful, he has been a thorn in the side of the New Orleans Police Department ever since, pursuing civil rights cases, allegations of police brutality, and generally making a nuisance of himself while occasionally sucking settlements and judgments out of the city. Herman hates the police with a passion, distrusts the criminal justice system, and is a common fixture on more liberally aligned local talk radio as a guest speaking about the evils of “the system.”
Story Six: Herman raised a great deal of stink following the events related to Mercurial Fernandez’s incarceration, though they ultimately came too late to be of help to the young musician.
Story Eleven: Celia Flores and Roderick Durant met Herman in 2012 after they accidentally dented his car. Both of them found him a thoroughly obnoxious man.
• Alan Alvarado
Law school dropout turned paralegal, Alan has worked primarily in criminal defense for near on ten years. Unofficially on the side provides legal advice to an array of low-income criminals and otherwise impoverished individuals. Twice investigated by the Louisiana Bar for unauthorized practice, nothing has ever come of it, and in fact it actually increased his star among those that have come to him for services. Born poor, he originally started providing his unofficial advice to help people out, but over the last few years has actually grown embittered by his “clients’” habitual poor choices, and now often takes advantage of people for his own benefit. 5’6" with a shit-eating grin and closely-cropped greasy hair. Married with a three-year-old son. Ekes out a middle-class income, but wants more. He is concerned he’ll never be able to take the Bar even if he does go back to law school, given the prior investigations he’s been under.
• Ian Roberts
A paralegal with ten years of experience working in the bitter industry that is family law, Ian steadfastly swears he’ll never marry or have a family. He’s seen the ways in which that goes all too many times. He’s content instead with his long-term girlfriend Chelsea Donaldson and their fairly uncomplicated lives. Nosy but also discrete, Ian greatly enjoys learning secrets and details about people simple for the sake of being ‘in the know.’ In that curiosity, he is greatly satisfied with his job and its ability to pry deeply into people’s lives on a deep and intimate level. He comes from a ‘normal’ middle-class nuclear family himself, including a mother and father who have been married for more than twenty years, and two younger sisters (one of whom he is deeply frustrated with for her recent marriage without a prenuptial agreement). The Roberts family as a whole is old money and includes Louisiana’s governor Bill Jay Roberts, though Ian’s immediate family is only distantly related to the governor and has fallen out of the primary line of succession. They remain comfortably middle class, which each child (including Ian) inheriting a small six figure number worth of stock in the old family company (which his parents used to help pay for his sisters’ college). Ian himself, in turn, is relatively financially stable. His co-workers consider him likable in a self-deprecating, hard-working, humblebragging way.
• Ishita Pavaghi (b. 1977; Ally [Legal] •)
For all the wealth associated with the Pavaghi name, not all of that wealth is shared equally amongst its scions. Though Walter had once been looked down on for failing to be as successful as his younger siblings, the real embarrassment came when their younger sibling, Ishita, failed out of Xavier and ran off with her decades-older professor. Three years later she was back with two babies on her hip and no husband in sight. She quietly returned to life under her father’s rule, re-enrolled in college, and managed to earn a degree while nannies and her mother took care of her babies for her. She now works as a paralegal for Rich’s de facto in-house legal department.
• Lucilia Plantaine
Long-time receptionist at Ware & Lebowski with her fingers in all the firm’s business. Once young and beautiful, with age has come obesity, and now she gets by mostly by virtue of habit and knowledge of everyone at the firm’s dirty laundry. She paints her nails during her lunch break and rarely leaves her desk except to seek out her Diet Coke (to which she will explain she’s on a diet). Formerly married to Joseph Paxton and the mother of two children by him, Zachary and Rowan.
Story Seven: Since his unexplained disappearance" at Caroline Malveaux-Devillers’ hands and the resulting loss of alimony and child support payments, she has lacked the motivation to continue her diet.
• Paloma Osuna
Surly overweight Latina secretary to Bert Villars. She occasionally serves as muscle with clients who get out of hand, and sometimes for more illicit purposes. She also occasionally moonlights as a burglar, a fact of which her employer is aware.
Story Two: Emmett “Em” Delacroix amused himself flirting with Paloma during several of his dealings with Bert Villars. Paloma was less amused. Em told Villars she should smile more.