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|New Orleans|  Sam Carolla

Birth: 1896 - Sicily

Death: 1972












Carolla (orig. Sylvestro Carolla, known as "Silver Dollar Sam") was born in Sicily in 1896 and came to the United States as an eight-year-old boy. In his youth, he became affiliated with the Mafia organization run by Charles Matranga. He succeeded Matranga as boss of the organization upon Matranga's retirement in 1925 (or 1922, depending on your source).

Carolla is believed to have participated in bootlegging and narcotics trafficking enterprises as well as the fishing, shrimping and dock work rackets New Orleans is known for. He was convicted of bootlegging in 1921 and did a year and a day in Atlanta federal prison. He served two years in prison beginning in 1931 on a narcotics charge. For the 1933 attempted killing of a narcotics agent, he received another eight to 15-year sentence. That was ended after one year by a governor's pardon. Just two years after the pardon, Carolla was once again a resident of Atlanta prison, having been sentenced to five years for another narcotics crime.

Louisiana and New York racketeers entered into lucrative agreements relating to casino and slot machine gambling during Carolla's reign. The federal government sought to deport Carolla in the early 1940s and succeeded in sending him back to Sicily in spring of 1947. Carolla's immediate successor in the New Orleans mob is uncertain. The government believed Carlos Marcello was in control of the family from about 1950 on, but some sources believe another boss worked behind the scenes until Marcello took the helm in the early 1960s. Carolla reportedly did not remain in Sicily. He was observed in Acapulco, Mexico, in 1949. He might have been attempting to run the New Orleans rackets from that location. Some believe he was stationed there by Charlie Luciano as part of the worldwide drug trade.

Carolla was also allegedly seen back in New Orleans as early as July 4, 1950. (According to some sources, a rivalry developed between Carolla's son and Marcello's younger brother over who would succeed Marcello as New Orleans boss. Carolla was reportedly called upon to mediate the dispute.) Press accounts indicate that Carolla was briefly hospitalized in New Orleans after a heart attack in February of 1970. After the hospital, he is believed to have stayed with family in Louisiana. What became of him after that is unknown. Some sources believe he continued in the rackets until his death in the early 1970s.


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