Murder on the Rue Dauphine
Back in The Big Easy
On Aug. 31, 1998, Chidester got a job as a dishwasher at La Peniche, a restaurant in the Faubourg Marigny, a centuries-old residential and light commercial district just across Esplanade Avenue from the French Quarter.
As a dishwasher, Chidester failed to impress his new boss or his co-workers.
"He was a creepy little guy," a fellow employee told The Times-Picayune.
Chidester quit a week later.
"He was not doing well," the fellow employee said. "He couldn't take the high pressure when we were busy. He threw things across the room, like plastic food containers."
Another employee said that Chidester "spent more time sitting at the counter reading the newspaper than anything else. It was impossible to get him to do any work."
While he was back in New Orleans, Chidester started a relationship with a French Quarter tarot card reader named Evelyn Kushnir. During pillow talk at her place or at his uptown apartment on Jena Street, Chidester tried to impress his new lover by telling her that he'd murdered a Catholic priest the previous spring. As a token of his feelings toward Kushnir, Chidester gave her a giftthe knife he'd used to murder the priest.
Kushnir called the New Orleans Police Department's 8th District, the one responsible for investigating crimes in the French Quarter.
Detectives showed her a photograph of Chidester, which she identified as being that of her boyfriend, but she said she knew him as "Robert Allen." He was an aspiring writer, she said, who carried around a laptop computer and sometimes used the nickname "Joker."