Did Leander D'Avy see Oswald with the Three Tramps?
Updated: Nov 14, 2022
Leander D'Avy is a witness that James DiEugenio believes helps establish that Clay Shaw was Clay Bertrand. Here is an excerpt from his book, Destiny Betrayed: (page 387)
As DiEugenio says, D'Avy's interview (of November 29, 1967) was "utterly fascinating." We will get to that interview in a minute.
Leander D'Avy was the doorman at the Court of Two Sisters, a bar/restaurant in New Orleans. He first contacted Jim Garrison's office on August 14, 1967. Gene Davis was a gay bar owner whom Dean Andrews once said was Clay Bertrand (Davis denied it).
D'Avy believes he saw Lee Harvey Oswald at the Court of Two Sisters. It's interesting that while he saw Clay Shaw several times at the Court, he does not associate Shaw with Clay Bertrand.
The next Garrison memo on Leander D'Avy is dated November 29, 1967:
Garrison's notation on the bottom is intended for Lou Ivon and it reads: "Lou: Further information needed: 1. Photo of Louis Karno. 2. B/I Check (+ photo) of Mike Newman. 3. Last name of Gracie and Jose. (Let me know results of these checks + add them to the indicated files)."
D'Avy has now embellished his story and brings in Dean Andrews. And, he now has Gene Davis telling him [in regards to Oswald] that "the kid has been behind the Iron Curtain."
D'Avy was again interviewed on December 2, 1967. Here is the memo:
Now D'Avy is certain that it was Lee Harvey Oswald at the Court of Two Sisters. Other people are now appearing at the Court - Sergio Arcacha Smith was there; Al Beauboeuf was there; David Ferrie looks familiar; Lawrence Howard was behind the bar at La Casa de Los Marinas; Novel looked familiar, Thornley looked familiar; Loren Hall looks familiar; and Guy Banister was in the Court talking to Gene Davis.
Needless to say, Jim Garrison did not use Leander D'Avy as a witness in the Clay Shaw trial.
The FBI interviewed D'avy at military intelligence at Ft. Polk, Louisiana. Here is their report:
The FBI transcribed the tape that D'Avy gave them. Here is the transcription:
He claims in the tape that his lie detector test came out "negative." But, given D'Avy's mental state, I cannot tell if he means he passed or failed the test.
The FBI then searched their files for information on D'Avy. And, they found an interesting tidbit:
Leander D'Avy was interviewed by Belford Lawson and Jack Moriarty of the HSCA on June 23, 1977 in Washington. It appears that D'Avy just showed up:
I have the full 33-page transcript, but I'll be only be posting excerpts here.
D'Avy recounts his meeting of Oswald in 1962 - of course, we know this is impossible because Oswald is living in Dallas. He had earlier told Garrison 1963. But, he then starts to tell the story of going into the Court two weeks before the assassination:
And, lo and behold, he now sees Lee Harvey Oswald with David Ferrie!
As D'Avy says above, there were five people in the little apartment - Lee Harvey Oswald, David Ferrie, and three others. Well, who were they? They were the 3 tramps! And, one of the tramps now had whiskers!
Might Gene Davis know the names of the three people?
And, when asked for some details on Oswald, D'Avy had another bombshell - he had been slapped by Jack Ruby!
The HSCA interviewers then tried to firm up exactly when D'Avy saw the men in the apartment. A fairly important question since Oswald was only in New Orleans for five months in 1963.
Well, perhaps it was 1963, no?
Just like that! 1963!
Oh, and D'Avy said Oswald went to another bar that night as well:
And, why did D'Avy wait so long to come forward with his story?
Of course, he called Garrison in 1967, not 1968. It seems like he's off a year in everything.
And the tramps?
D'Avy then claims that he took a lie detector test for Jim Garrison:
D'Avy describes being questioned by Jim Garrison:
Towards the end of the interview, they asked a very interesting question:
Interestingly enough, when searching for information on Leander D'Avy, I found this from the Opelousa Daily World of July 3, 1945:
On July 8, 1977 Belford Lawson wrote a report about Leander D'Avy to Robert Tanenbaum, Deputy Chief Counsel.
Here is their evaluation of D'Avy's credibility and their recommendations:
Despite the fact that D'Avy's stories were ridiculous - and they could clearly see that - they still recommended further investigation.
D'Avy now says it was only the first and second tramp that he saw. And, Fred Crisman enters the scene. The report says D'Avy "identifies the photo of Fred Lee Crisman as a man that came around almost every week during 1963 and Gene Davis used to introduce him as "my daddy" in a joking manner. Crisman said he was from Baton Rouge." Of course, Crisman lived in the pacific northwest. Oh, and D'Avy says he also saw Thomas Beckham at the restaurant.
On May 18, 1978, the HSCA interviewed Gene Davis, and he actually said he wasn't working at the Court in 1963.
As I said at the beginning of this blog post, James DiEugenio found D'Avy's November 29th, 1967 statement to Garrison, "utterly fascinating." Joan Mellen also uses D'Avy as a witness to tie Shaw to Oswald. She believes that Betty Parrott (actually Parent), an FBI informant, corroborates D'avy's statements. She writes in her book, And Justice For All, that "that "FBI informant Betty Parrott knew Davis had been fired as night manager at the Court of Two Sisters for bringing Oswald upstairs." (page 123).
Here is the report from Betty Parrott - note the last paragraph on the first page and the continuation on the second page:
The timing of this memo is interesting. D'Avy had already talked to Garrison's office three times. Rather than being corroborating proof, this is perhaps evidence that there was an 'echo chamber' or a 'feedback loop' within the people in and around the D.A.'s office. We know that New Orleans was a cauldron of innuendo, rumors, and gossip, and Betty Parrott was one of the many people who were both speaking to Garrison and the FBI.
The rumors even reached Shaw's lawyers. Here is a memo from Edward Wegmann from July 1967:
This was right before D'Avy called Garrison, and the rumor here is that there was a relationship between Davis and Oswald. Might that have been D'Avy on the phone?