The man who murdered New Orleans gangland figure Kent (Frenchy) Brouillette was sentenced to four years in Louisiana state prison this week. Big Easy guitarist Bill Bonham fatally stabbed the big-living mobster in 2015 in a fight at a New Orleans flophouse over Brouillette’s selling off Bonham’s instruments to maintenance his drug habit.

The 53-year old Bonham pleaded guilty back in the summer to second-degree homicide charges stemming from the December 3, 2015 fatality. Around the city’s famous French Quarter, Bonham was known as a journeyman musician tied to the area’s jazz and rock scene.

Brouillette, 79 at the time of his death, had a seesaw career in the Louisiana underworld, going from a juiced-in power player at the height of the Marcello crime family’s reign in the mid-to-late 20th Century to a destitute junkie in his latter days. His ascent in the mob was connected to his close relationship with legendary Bayou crime boss Carlos (The Kingfish) Marcello, one of the most respected and far-reaching mafia dons in America.

Bill Bonham

Rising through the New Orleans mafia as a pimp, political fixer and drug pusher, Brouillette crafted a reputation for flashy behavior and extravagant tastes. He acted as Marcello’s go-between with corrupt policemen, judges and politicians, including Louisiana Governor and U.S. Congressman Edwin Edwards. Because he wasn’t Italian, Brouillette was never formally inducted into the mob.

Marcello died of natural causes in 1993. With Marcello’s passing, Brouillette fell into a downward spiral of boozing and drug addiction and lost any standing in the underworld as the Marcello crime family faded from relevance.

In 2014, Brouillette published a book titled Mr. New Orleans – The Life of a Big Easy Underworld Legend with author Matthew Randazzo and briefly re-attained some local celebrity. Failing in a bid to leverage his return to the spotlight for a mob-themed tourist-attraction business, Brouillette descended back into the depths of severe substance abuse.

Leave a Reply