Lagniappe Story Leads To Book Deal

Todd C. Elliott Thursday, September 5, 2013 0
Lagniappe Story Leads To Book Deal

It’s good to see that “freedom of the press” is still alive in Southwest Louisiana. Without the freedom to publish my story “A Rose By Many Other Names” in a November, 2010, issue of Lagniappe, I would never have been able to secure a book deal and worldwide distribution of my first book “A Rose By Many Other Names: Rose Cherami and The JFK Assassination” in 2013.

However, it was my November 22, 2012, feature story in The Eunice News that caught a publisher’s eye. The Eunice paper’s website,, garnered over 22,000 hits, or views, in less than a month’s time. At the time of this writing, the view count was nearly 30,000 hits in less than a year.

Clearly, there was some interest, with global appeal, in the enigmatic tale of Rose Cherami.

It should be noted that between the 2010 Lagniappe story and the 2012 Eunice News story, I did a stint at Lake Charles’ very own American Press — which did not feel that the tale of Rose Cherami warranted a feature story for it’s readers. Passing on my thoughts of doing an American Press version of the story, one of the four editors at the newspaper squashed my idea and told me flatly: “There is no conspiracy.”

Not wanting to live in a world without conspiracy, I hiked my career over to the small town of Eunice — which I have now deemed “the birthplace of the JFK Assassination conspiracy” or “the birthplace of the JFK conspiracy theorist: Rose Cherami.”

BOOK DEALIn less than a year, I had secured the book deal.

I still commute to Eunice every day during the work week.

And I never forget my first time. Rose Cherami led me to Eunice in the Summer of 2010. I just thought her story would be an interesting one for Lagniappe readers. It was one that I wanted to read. And if I learned something about this mysterious JFK footnote in history, then maybe the readers would learn something too, I reasoned.

During my 2010 research, I frantically looked for a book on Rose Cherami. I found none.

As I referenced her work in my 2010 Lagniappe article, published author and professor Joan Mellen stated in an email to me that summer that I would never have enough information for a book on Rose Cherami. In a sense, Mellen seemed to tell me not to even waste my time and that I should focus on other aspects of events that transpired in Louisiana concerning the JFK assassination conspiracy.

In October, Mellen and I will be featured side-by-side, as colleagues and published authors of TrineDay publishing at an event to be held in New Orleans at The Garden District Book Shop.

I hope to get a signed copy of her amazing book, “Farewell To Justice,” in which she mentions Rose Cherami and her foreknowledge of the JFK assassination plot.

Before my book was completed and released, I was still learning more about Rose Cherami than I had ever thought to know. Certainly, I know more now than I did in the 2010 Lagniappe article. And the great thing is that I am still learning about Rose Cherami.

Researching Cherami’s life and death still provides more questions than  answers.

Instead of being a “buff” when it came to the JFK assassination and conspiracy, I wanted to do my part in help bringing the truth to light. I wanted to bring readers one step closer to the truth.

I am not the first person to believe Rose Cherami and what she said on Nov. 20, 1963. And, hopefully, I won’t be the last. But maybe the rest of the world is now ready to listen to Rose Cherami as we near the 50th anniversary of the greatest unsolved crime of the 20th century: the murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

While the credits roll at the beginning of Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK, there is a glimpse of Rose Cherami.

In between the edited, historic film footage, Rose Cherami is immortalized in the first dramatized sequence of the film, as the stunt double for actress Sally Kirkland is thrown from a moving vehicle. In the dust, a screaming and crying woman is on the side of a rural highway cursing at the car speeding away ahead of her.

The film then cuts to the woman, hysterical in a hospital bed, telling law enforcement and medical staff that “They’re going to Dallas Friday‚ they’re going to kill Kennedy.” The characters in the film, much as in life, paid her no mind.

This was Rose Cherami. She predicted the future. She did it in a small Louisiana town named Eunice.

Eunice, Louisiana is the birthplace of JFK “conspiracy theory,” a statement that’s given no more credence than the widely accepted “magic bullet theory,” simply because the first public revelation of a plot to kill the 35th President of the United States resounded from the lips of one Melba Marcades, also known as Rose Cherami, in that small town.

Ruling out conspiracy, then certainly the woman was clairvoyant.

Ruling out clairvoyance, one must talk of foreknowledge, and then again back to conspiracy. A tip from Rose, two days before the assassination, would forever link the city of Eunice to the JFK assassination plot.

Some people of Eunice, mainly members of law enforcement and medical officials, were the first to hear talk of a conspiracy involving shooters in Dallas, two days before John Fitzgerald Kennedy was assassinated in what is still, legally and officially, an unsolved crime for the Dallas Police Department.

If Orleans Parish District Attorney  Jim Garrison was “On The Trail of the Assassins,” as his book title suggested, it’s quite possible that the Acadiana Trail was the very trail that lead to the murder of JFK in Dallas.

Today, the video poker machines are relegated to their own domains in the form of truckstop casinos or the small, off-chance casinos open day and night in modern Eunice. Today, however, when the house wins, the government for the State of Louisiana also wins.

At the end of any day, wherever a resident or visitor might decide to lay their head for the night in Eunice, the chugging, horn blast of a train or the ringing of a church bell is always within earshot. The streets of Eunice near the quaint town square are windswept with rice hulls in the late summer under the watchful gaze of a towering, rusted rice mill that has seen better days.

The old, aluminum building that is the rice mill stands as the tallest structure in the city. At nearly four stories high, like some “Cajun skyscraper,” it seemingly oversees all business and living transacted in Eunice: relegated to a height not to exceed two stories.

Before Interstate 10, connecting Houston with New Orleans to the south, siphoned off the traffic and much of the commerce to Eunice, U.S. Hwy. 190 was the 1963 equivalent. With the advent of I-10, Eunice remained much as it did then, with only sparse and sporadic growth over the decades.

It was here where a momentous fragment of American history was born. And as with all birthing processes, there is an element of pain before delivery. Even a legend must cling to something before it breathes to life and manifests out of the ether.

However, a legend would insinuate a myth.

But it is not by any mythos, but by way of history, that Eunice has been linked to the crime of the 20th century: the murder of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas.

It’s not a stretch of the imagination to say that many Americans believe that there was a conspiracy to kill JFK — a conclusion reinforced when a determination was reached by the House Select Committee on Assassinations of the 95th Congress in March 1979. The HSCA’s anticlimactic conclusion stated that the President “was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.”

The first evidence of a conspiracy, along with a conspiracy theory itself, appeared in Eunice in the form of Rose Cherami. Cherami, however, was not a citizen of Eunice. She was merely the link between Eunice, La., and a possible conspiracy to kill JFK. All JFK “conspiracy theorists” can tie their conspiratorial lineage back to Cherami, as she was the first in line.