On August 9, 1963, only three months before he was accused of assassinating President John F. Kennedy, New Orleans native Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested after an altercation due to handing out leaflets at the corner of Canal Street and St. Charles Avenue. In 1960, Oswald established the Fair Play For Cuba Committee chapter in New Orleans, and was the sole member. The FPCC was an organization that supported the Cuban Revolution against attacks by the United States government. Printed on Oswald’s FPCC leaflets were the words “Hands Off Cuba!” If interested parties wished for more information on the FPCC, Oswald stamped these leaflets with the address of the Newman Building, located at 544 Camp Street.
Authorities would later discover Oswald had never rented an office in the Newman Building. Actually, the building became tied to the assassination conspiracy because of the parties that did rent offices there. From October 1961 to February 1962 the Cuban Revolutionary Council, a CIA-backed group of Cuban exiles working to overthrow Fidel Castro, rented an office out of the building. Carlos Bringuier, a Cuban exile arrested alongside Oswald in the August 1963 altercation, was a former member of the council. Additionally, the Newman Building was home to the office of private investigator Guy Banister.
On the day of President Kennedy’s assassination, Guy Banister had been drinking with one of his investigators, Jack Martin, at a bar near the Newman Building. Upon returning to his office, Banister and Martin got into an argument over documents Banister believed Martin had stolen. As the argument escalated, Banister began to assault Martin with his pistol. According to Martin’s testimony, during the assault he yelled to Banister, “What are you going to do? Kill me like you all killed Kennedy?”
Orleans Parish District Attorney Jim Garrison would later accuse Banister and his close associate David Ferrie, along with New Orleans businessman Clay Shaw, of conspiring in the assassination of President Kennedy. Guy Banister died in 1964, two years before District Attorney Garrison’s public accusation of his involvement. In 1962, the Newman Building was torn down and replaced by the Hale Boggs Federal Building.