The ongoing series in which local performers interpret letters and documents about culturally vital individuals from various times and Louisiana communities. Now in its sixth consecutive season. Performances are free and open to the general public. Since COVID-19, programming is podcast, listen to past events HERE

April Fool’s Day, 2022: The Only Person Ever Brought to Trial for Conspiracy to Assassinate President John F. Kennedy. 

New Orleans Businessman Clay Shaw photographed in 1956 during a classic Mardi Gras celebration.

Listen HERE.

Wrapping-up the previous programming season, Doing Business in New Orleans, we present the story of Clay Shaw. On March 1, 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison arrested him on conspiracy charges. Shaw was a beloved, successful, local businessman, and closeted queer man.

On January 29, 1969, Garrison tried Shaw in Orleans Parish Criminal Court on three conspiracy charges. A little over a month later the jury took less than one hour to acquit Shaw.

After, “…jurors expressed their bewilderment as to motive. Respectable socialite Clay Shaw, it strained credulity as to why he would become involved in the murder of the President. Jim Garrison believed that Shaw was acting as Oswald’s shepherd in New Orleans, under instructions from CIA. But he couldn’t prove it, certainly not beyond a reasonable doubt.” —Joan Mellen.

Many theories swirl around these, now infamous, Big Easy characters. Both Shaw and Garrison. This reading strives to represent the man who was Clay Shaw and, to a lesser extend, who was Garrison.

Robert Valley reads as the voice of Shaw, David Zalkind is Jim Garrison. Audio production is by Steve Chyzyk, Sonic Canvas Studio.

PHOTO: 1956. Clay Shaw dressed for Mardi Gras. From an original 35mm slide in a boxed tray labelled, “Carnival, 2/14/56. Sally Del Sue Ray”. Property and copyright of Letters Read.

2021 Season, Doing Business in New Orleans:

Letters Read New Years 2021-22
The image of international trade in the second half of the 20th century.

New Years Eve: Dad, Mid-20th Century Foreign Intrigue & the Almighty American Dollar
Premiering New Year’s at 6:00 pm CDT. Our final production for 2021, Doing Business in New Orleans.  A prelude to the upcoming, 2022 regular programming event about New Orleans’ beloved international businessman Clay Shaw, international trade, CIA, and the JFK assassination conspiracy.

A link to the New Year’s podcast will be posted HERE. You can listen to previous Letters Read recordings and podcasts HERE.

The December 31st podcast is one of our incubator, experimental-style readings. It weaves comparisons between Shaw and another, international-export-fella, Nate Feldman. Who spoke about his trade during a 2007 entrepreneurship panel discussion at Loyola University New Orleans. The other panel members speaking were environmental justice activist Michel Varisco—a Letters Read Executive Advisor—and this project’s Director well before Letters Read began in 2017. A link to that discussion is HERE.

The audio producer for this event is Steve ChyzykSonic Canvas Studio in New Orleans.