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Hello! My name is Dexter Babin and I have an MA in American History and a ten year background in Public History. Organized crime has been a subject I've always been passionate in writing about. Taking its name from a line in the classic John Huston film noir The Asphalt Jungle, I've started this blog to share some of my thoughts and original research.

My perception of the Mafia in America has been influenced by works like Joseph Albini's American Mafia: Genesis of a Legend, Francis A. J. Ianni's A Family Business: Kinship and Social Control in Organized Crime, and Robert M. Lombardo's Organized Crime in Chicago: Beyond the Mafia. These sociologist viewed the Mafia not as an imported criminal conspiracy, but rather as the product of certain social conditions found within the United States: corrupt political machines, fluid client-patron relationships, and the urban economy. 

Building on the work done by these scholars, the main focus of this blog is to apply their mindset to organized crime in New Orleans, where it has often been misrepresented and inflated with conspiracy theories and inaccurate analysis. I'm currently attempting to get my paper "Mobster Emeritus: The FBI and the Invisible Structure of Organized Crime in New Orleans, 1950-1985” published in an academic journal. You can watch me presenting a portion of this paper at the 2023 Louisiana Historical Association Online Conference.

I will try to update as regularly and often as possible.
Below are some of the other subjects you can expect to be examined.


"After all, crime is only a left-handed form of human endeavor."

-Alonzo D. Emmerich (Louis Calhern), The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

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Traditional Organized Crime

With a New Orleans/Gulf Coast Focus

Compared to its East Coast counterparts, organized crime along the Gulf Coast has largely been absent from historical analysis. When organized crime from the region is mentioned, it is usually as a footnote or not placed into proper context. The main purpose of Left-Handed Endeavors is to bring you a Gulf Coast centric perspective of organized crime. 


Transnational Organized Crime

 Focusing from the Second World War to beyond the War on Terror, Left-Handed Endeavors will explore how geopolitical conflicts shaped the modern global gangland. The careers of transnational criminal groups like the Japanese Yakuza, Italian Camorra, and South American Drug Cartels will be placed in a historical context.


Book Reviews 

Some books deepen our understanding of organized crime, while others regurgitate long accepted myths. Academic works, true crime pulp paperbacks, and self-serving gangster biographies will all be analyzed by Left Handed Endeavors

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Movie Reviews

How have depictions of gangsters shaped our perceptions of organized crime? Spanning from American pre-code classics to the Italian poliziotteschiLeft Handed Endeavors will analyze the cinematic portrayal of criminal enterprise.

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New Orleans: 1994

When commentators and politicians discuss the murder rate in New Orleans, it is often compared to 1994. Topping out at 424 murders, what made this year so violent for the Crescent City? Corrupt cops, local gangs, and shifting drug trends are the focus of this spotlight series. 


Edward Partin: Bayou Teamster

He's been linked to both Jimmy Hoffa's alleged "bomb plot" to assassinate Robert Kennedy and the staging of his own attempted murder at a Baton Rouge hotel in March 1963. Navigating through conspiracy theories and the historical record, this series will explore the career of longtime Teamsters Local No. 5 business agent Edward Partin.

New Orleans Machine Politics and Organized Crime

Building on the work done by scholars Louis Vyhnanek and Michael Kurtz, this spotlight series will focus on the relationship between machine politicians and the control of vice in New Orleans. Specific focus will be paid to the Regular Democrat Organization (RDO) of the early twentieth century, the successive state-wide Long political machine, and the series of "reform" candidates elected after the fall of the Longites.

Organized Terror: The Order

When the White Supremacist terror group The Order declared war against the United States in the 1980s, it carried out a series of public assassinations, robberies, and counterfeit operations. This series will explore how the FBI used the RICO Act to dismantle the organization.  

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The War on Drugs and Organized Crime

How has the War on Drugs influenced our perception of organized crime?  This series of articles will demonstrate how our modern understanding of the Mafia began with the career of Federal Bureau of Narcotics Director Harry J. Anslinger and evolved when President Nixon officially declared a war on drugs in 1971.

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LAM Archive

A collection of previously written articles concerning organized crime in New Orleans. Note: Some of the perspectives in these articles are no longer held by the author.

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