Rendezvous At Dealey Plaza - Part III – Sorjourn in New Orleans
April – September 24, 1963
The Story Thus Far
In Rendezvous With Death At Dealey Plaza Part I I followed JFK’s October 5, 1962 morning meeting with his National Security Council in the Rose Garden at the White House when young daughter Caroline Kennedy interrupted to recite the President’s favorite Poem, “Rendezvous With Death,” a provocative prequel to the encroaching Cuban Missile Crisis, which took the world to the brink of nuclear destruction.
The story was brought to my attention by James Douglas, who recounts it in his book “JFK and the Unthinkable – Why He Died and Why It Matters” and presents the dichotomy of the way the assassination is viewed, either as the divorced from reality act of a lone nut madman, or a well planned out and executed covert operation by those who took over the reign of power with the murder of Kennedy.
It can’t be both, and must be one or the other, and it is with the following of the poem and the actions and activities of the President and his alleged assassin over the period before they came together, especially the forces that moved them, that we come to understand what really happened and how it happened, not only why.
The records reflect that it was on that day, October 5, 1962, when Caroline read her poem, that Lee Harvey Oswald cashed a check from the Leslie Welding Company, in Dallas, Texas, where Oswald had been working since the previous June, shortly after he returned to the United States from the Soviet Union with his Russian wife and baby. Oswald got the job through Mrs. Virginia Hale, of the Texas Employment Commission, where he also met Mrs. Hall, who permitted Marina and the baby to live at her home and saw to their general welfare, including providing food, money and dental care. Mrs. Hall also became the Godmother for the baby, who without the knowledge of Oswald, was baptized in her church, the Old Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia.
While Mrs. Hale’s twin sons would break into the apartment of JFK mistress Judyth Cambell Extner, under the eyes of an FBI stakeout team, and one of them would become involved with and accused of murdering the daughter of Texas governor John Connnally, Mrs. Hall took over responsibility for the returning defector after George Bouhe and Paul Raoridsky had “kept the files on newcomers,” to the White Russian Orthodox Church.
From Mrs. Hall, as Bill Simpich details in his article (Oswald’s Handlers), the Oswalds were passed on to George DeMohrenschildt and then handed off to the Paines, Ruth and Michael, who took them in under their wing and were responsible for if not knowledgeable of the movements of the Oswalds, from apartment to apartment, home to WMCA, to New Orleans and back again, carrying the rifle said to have been used to kill the President.
As detailed in Rendezvous II, after quitting his job at Leslie Welding, where he was in line for a promotion, Oswald got a new job through the Texas Employment Commission, this time with Jaggers/Chiles/Stoval, a graphic arts firm who did work for the Army Map Service and the Bloom Advertising Agency, who helped plan the motorcade. In fact, the technicians at J/C/S placed the arrows and captions on U2 photos of Russia and Cuba, during the Cuban Missile Crisis. And Oswald was working on the Bloom account at J/C/S when he was supposed to be mail ordering and picking up the weapons from the Post Office. Bloom also played a major role, as we shall see, in the planning of the Dallas trip, the selection of the Trade Mart and the route of the motorcade, that would be instrumental in the rendezvous at Dealey Plaza.
At a party arranged by George DeMohrenschildt for the Oswalds to meet the Paines, Marina meets Ruth Paine, while Oswald has a long conversation with Volkmar Schmidt, a Magnolia Oil Co. geologist from Germany who talks to Oswald about the Valkyrie plot to kill Hitler and asks Oswald if such fascists should be assassinatd before they become too powerful, giving Gen. Edwin Walker as an example. Shortly thereafter Oswald orders the rifle, having already ordered a pistol the previous January, both of which, inexplicity arrive at the Dallas PO box on the same day. Oswald had taken out the PO box for the purpose of getting his back checks from Leslie Welding, and then used the box to subscribe to Communist publications, the State Department, Russian Embassy and the United States Navy, for whom he offered to reenlist.
Oswald then poses for some photos of himself holding the two weapons said to have been used to kill the President and officer Tippitt, and the two Communist publications – the Worker and the Militant, and is implicated in the failed attempt to shoot Gen. Walker. Oswald is said to have cased, staked out and taken photos of the area around Walker’s house, and kept a blue notebook of events that involved the Walker Shooting, a notebook he burned and flushed down the toilet.
By the end of April, weeks after the Walker shooting, Oswald was never considered an official suspect in that case, even though his FBI case officer (Hosty) was involved in the investigation.
Nevertheless, DeMohrenschildt did suspect Oswald and joked to him about it, and Oswald suddenly decides to relocate to New Orleans, his original hometown.
Asking Mrs. Paine to drive them to the bus station with all their belongings, Mrs. Paine convinces Oswald to allow Marina to stay with her at her house in Irving while he goes on to New Orleans and gets an apartment and job, and then she will drive them there when he’s ready. Oswald agrees, and takes the bus alone to New Orleans, leaving his wife, daughter and rifle behind.
RENDEZVOUS III – New Orleans – April – September 24, 1963
Arriving back in New Orleans for the first time since he disembarked to Europe by merchant ship, Oswald returned to his home, checked in with his cousins, the Murrats, and visited the graves of his family. He also obtained an apartment and got a job at the coffee company, even though he was also getting unemployment insurance checks from his jobs at Jaggers/Chiles/Stoval and Leslie Welding.
Ruth Paine drives Marina and the baby and ostensibly the rifle in their belongings to the Magazine Street apartment, asks the local Quakers to look in on them, while she returned to Irving, Texas.
Oswald opened a PO box and included the name A.J. Hidell as someone who could also receive mail there, and settled in for the summer, sometimes agitating Cuban causes with the local DRE and getting arrested with some of them while handing out FPCC leaflets. Compiling his newspaper clips and other documentation, Oswald made arrangements to visit the Cuban and Russian embassies in Mexico City.
In August of 1963, while he was supposed to be in New Orleans, anti-Castro Cuban activist Antonio Veciana sees Oswald with his case officer “Maurice Bishop” in the lobby of the Southland Building in Dallas, Texas. “Bishop is suspected of being David Atlee Phillips, the CIA officer responsible for the overseeing the FPCC in the hemisphere and the Cuban embassy in Mexico City.
At the same time Ruth Paine and her children took the family’s Chevrolet station wagon on a summer road trip that included stops at her husband’s family island off the coast of Massachusetts, his mother and stepfather in Pennsylvania and her brother and father in Ohio.
In a letter to Marina Oswald in New Orleans Ruth Paine wrote from Massachusetts, she suggested that she pick up Marina on the way home to Texas, and the pregnant Marina have the baby while living at her home in Irving. If Marina agreed to this scenario, she was to write back to Ruth Paine in care of Arthur Young, in suburban Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. That was the next stop on her trip home. Apparently Marina told her husband and he must have agreed because Ruth Paine stopped in New Orleans, after having visited Michael’s mother and her father and brother in Ohio.
Picking up Marina, the baby, and their belongings, including the rifle said to have been used to kill the President, Ruth Paine drove to Irving, Texas, while Oswald went to Mexico City.
Oswald was last seen leaving the Magazine Street New Orleans apartment, jumping on a bus with two suitcases. The date: September 24, 1963, the day the White House officially announced that the President would visit Dallas, a key turning point on the road to the Rendezvous at Dealey Plaza.