What a long, strange trip it was. Through the night after JFK was assassinated, a quirky New Orleans man named David Ferrie drove from the Big Easy, rain beating on his windshield, to a deserted ice skating rink in Houston, arriving at three fifteen in the morning. After nervously making several payphone calls then and the next day from the rink, Ferrie turned around and headed home, where he was immediately arrested for conspiring to murder the president. Why? And why, thirty-nine months later, on the verge of being rearrested for the same crime, did he suddenly and suspiciously die?
A Ferrie Tale paints a picture of the life of this complex man—commercial pilot, amateur Catholic priest, weekend scientist, hypnotist, detective, pianist, practicing psychologist, criminal. Appearing throughout the mosaic of his improbable story are the likes of mobster Carlos Marcello, Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby, a crafty Cuban exile named Sergio Arcacha Smith, cancer researcher Dr. Mary Sherman, DA Jim Garrison. Strippers. Gamblers. Popping in and out is an unlikely trio bound together by their tangled connections to JFK—Frank Sinatra, Chicago kingpin Sam Giancana, and JFK girlfriend Judith Campbell.
The seductive and decadent city of New Orleans, the most unique and operatic city in America, provides the beat to this tale. Over time New Orleans’s citizens have been suffused with an amuse-yourself attitude—sometimes reasonable, sometimes not—that affected events in Ferrie’s life. “In this town,” as Ferrie was wont to say, “the craziest things make perfect sense.”
David Ferrie was a conflicted figure who would’ve been remarkable even had he not been involved in a plot to assassinate President Kennedy. But his long tumble into this plot made him, as Orleans Parish DA Garrison publicly announced, “one of history’s most important individuals.”