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Blake Pontchartrain: Silvestro "Silver Dollar Sam" Carollo 

click to enlarge Silvestro "Silver Dollar Sam" Carollo is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Mid-City.

Photo by Kandace Power Graves

Silvestro "Silver Dollar Sam" Carollo is interred at Greenwood Cemetery in Mid-City.

Hey Blake,

For years, I have read about the infamous Silvestro "Silver Dollar Sam" Carollo and his history with New Orleans. He supposedly returned to the city in the early 1970s and died, but I can't find anything about his final resting place. Was he buried in New Orleans?

— Eddie

Dear Eddie,

  Born in Terrasini, Sicily in 1896, Silvestro Carollo came to the French Quarter with his parents in 1903. By 1922, he reputedly had taken over as leader of the local Mafia. Carollo's criminal record in the city dates to 1923, when he was convicted of a drug charge. By 1934, Carollo reportedly had brokered a deal with U.S. Sen. Huey Long and New York mob leaders Frank Costello and "Dandy Phil" Kastel to bring illegal slot machines to the New Orleans area.

  Over the years, "Silver Dollar Sam" Carollo served prison sentences for bootlegging and narcotics and was accused of shooting two men, one of whom was a federal narcotics agent. He received a full pardon from Louisiana Gov. O.K. Allen on the attempted murder charge. Carollo was deported in 1947. At the time, Congressman James Morrison of Hammond introduced a bill designed to save Carollo by giving him citizenship if he took an oath. The move failed. After Carollo was deported, Carlos Marcello allegedly was anointed leader of the New Orleans underworld.

  Carollo turned up in the New Orleans area again in 1950. He and Salvatore "Kansas City Sam" Guarneiri, who also was a deportee, were discovered in a hideout near Slidell. According to a July 6, 1950 story in The New Orleans Item, Carollo claimed he had returned to see his sick wife. When asked about his Mafia connections, Carollo replied, "All I know is what I have read in the papers." He was deported again the following year.

  In February 1970, Carollo again was discovered in New Orleans — this time at Touro Infirmary. A federal grand jury began investigating his return to the country but the case was continued indefinitely because of Carollo's failing health. He died on June 26, 1970 at the age of 74. The Orleans Parish Coroner's office told The Times-Picayune Carollo died of a heart attack at a residence in New Orleans East. The FBI was notified of his death, the newspaper said. Carollo is interred in Greenwood Cemetery on City Park Avenue.

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