Feminism on Trial
A Vicious & Deadly Odyssey: Part 2
Murder in New Orleans
After the horrific beating she took in Florida, Ginny bore her suffering in silence. For the next few days after it Jack was sweet and attentive to her but Ginny knew she wasn't out of the woods yet. Jack was drinking more than ever now and, when he was down, the alcohol made him mean.
A week after their arrival in Florida, Jack announced it was time to move on. He claimed to have some old Marine buddies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who could possibly offer them work, so off they went.
On their arrival in Baton Rouge, Jack ordered Ginny to go to work. Their money was running low. After trying a succession of restaurants, they found one that hired her as a waitress. During the two weeks she worked there Ginny turned all of her nightly tips over to Jack, along with her Friday paychecks. After the second Friday, though, he again announced it was time to hit the road: this time to New Orleans.
Checking into a cheap two-room suite at the John Mitchell Hotel a few blocks from Canal Street, Wasyl got a job as a soda jerk in a drive-in restaurant. Ginny and Jack found work at the Ponderosa Bar, her as a bartender and him as a bouncer. The two of them each received about ten dollars a night for their work, much of which went to booze to support Jack's growing alcohol addiction.
And the beatings continued, as well, often preceding and during sex. Afterward, as in Florida, he would turn sweet and apologetic and Ginny, as always, would forgive him and blame herself. She kept telling herself that their situation would get better and she even made a list of things that bothered Jack so that she could know what to avoid. She even tried to make their room look a little more homey in her off-hours during the day.
One night Jack came home late and, as he stood over Ginny, shaking her awake, she feared for the worst. "Oh, God, I thought. He's going to hit me again," was how she described it. Instead, "He looked scared. He looked like a little boy who had done something wrong and had been caught and was about to be punished." Then he explained that he had been in a card game and cheated one of the players who "was connected," a shorthand term for someone who is in the Mafia. He expected trouble and they needed to leave town immediately.
Obediently, Ginny hastily dressed and packed and, after only three weeks in New Orleans, they were on the road again, only this time it was not by choice. They were on the lam. The truth that later came out was that a man had been murdered. Whether by Jack or Ginny or both, the gory details would emerge in a courtroom eighteen years later and laid out for a jury to decide. And the story that emerged was radically different from the one Ginny told in court and in her book.