04/01/22 LETTERS READ: The Only Man Brought to Trial for Conspiracy to Assassinate President John F. Kennedy


Wrapping-up the previous, 2021 programming season, Doing Business in New Orleans, Letters Read presents the story of Clay Shaw. In 1967, New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison arrested Shaw for conspiracy to kill the 35th United States President. At the time, Shaw was a beloved, successful, local businessman, and closeted queer in the big easy.

In 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 him.

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, Crescent City 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 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.

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