LANATA & GIACONA
In 1865, Genoan businessman Dominique Lanata purchased the Beauregard-Keyes House as an investment. He never lived here but rented the house to General Beauregard, as well as other tenants. In 1904, the Lanata heirs sold the house to the Giacona family, who had likely served as tenants starting in the late 1890s.
The Giacona family were wine and liquor merchants from Sicily. Corrado Giacona purchased the house in 1904, converting the basement into a wine cellar for the family's growing business with his father Pietro, and mother, Maria Crocefissa. Corrado married Rosena Punzo, and their eight children were all born while the family lived in the house. The family attended St. Mary's Italian Church just across the street, which was then at the center of Italian life in the French Quarter. The Giaconas' success was threatened by threats of violence from a band of local extortionists. Sensationalized reporting referred to these extortionists as the 'Black Hand', an early iteration of what is known today as the mafia. After receiving several letters demanding money, Pietro allowed four of the men who had threatened him over for dinner. The men reportedly drank a generous amount of wine and would not leave, despite being asked to do so, according to neighbor testimony. At two o'clock in the morning, the situation escalated, and Pietro and Corrado shot the four men on the back gallery of the Beauregard-Keyes House. Three of the men were killed on the spot, and the fourth fled the scene and was later found by police and taken to the hospital. Pietro and Corrado were initially charged but the case was dismissed on grounds of self-defense in 1910, with many well-known Italians voicing their support for the Giaconas' actions. The family continued to live in and run their business out of the house until they sold it in 1925 and relocated to Esplanade Avenue.
Photo features Corrado (left) and Pietro (right) Giacona with an unknown gentleman (center). Provided by Corrado Giacona II.I'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.