New Class Schedule!

posted Jul 1, 2017, 1:28 PM by James Wilson   [ updated Jul 1, 2017, 1:29 PM ]

Starting Monday, July 3rd:  Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:30pm and Sundays at 6:00pm.  The new Sunday class will start July 9th.

Another adjustment to the schedule

posted Nov 10, 2016, 8:55 AM by James Wilson   [ updated Nov 10, 2016, 8:55 AM ]

Classes are now on Mondays at 7:30pm and Wednesdays at 8:00pm.  

New Class Days and Times

posted Sep 27, 2016, 10:52 AM by James Wilson   [ updated Sep 27, 2016, 10:52 AM ]

For the last couple of years, classes have been on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30pm.  Starting on October 3, 2016 classes will move to Mondays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm

Youtube Channel

posted May 6, 2016, 2:40 PM by James Wilson   [ updated May 6, 2016, 2:44 PM ]

If you are interested in checking out youtube page, here's the link: Crescent City Eskrima Youtube Channel. Please keep in mind the techniques and drills are done slowly and with little resistance as a way for students to see what's going on and as a way to review the techniques learned.  

Classes resuming

posted Apr 11, 2014, 6:52 PM by James Wilson   [ updated Apr 11, 2014, 6:52 PM ]

Classes will begin again starting April 15th at 8:30pm.  Classes will be Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:30pm.  Check the "Location and Schedule" page for details.

Radio Interview

posted Jan 29, 2012, 10:08 PM by James Wilson   [ updated Jan 29, 2012, 10:10 PM ]

Last Friday (January 27, 2012), I was interviewed by Don Dubuc about Self Defense on WWL AM 870.  If you care to listen here's the link to the page:

NY Times article about Llulla

posted Nov 30, 2010, 8:36 PM by James Wilson   [ updated Nov 30, 2010, 8:42 PM ]

Here's a link to an article in the NY Times (actually from the New-Orleans Times) from June 16, 1869 about someone who attempted to ambush Llulla.  Good thing Llulla's gun misfired or his would be assassins would have surely ended up dead!

In search of Llulla

posted Jul 20, 2010, 8:35 PM by James Wilson   [ updated Jul 20, 2010, 8:46 PM ]

Anyone who knows me knows my obsession with martial arts. I am constantly scouring the internet for new information. Filipino Martial Arts, but any bladed art I find fascinating. I find the evolution of martial arts most interesting. Understanding where and how a martial art developed helps me understand why specific strategies are used, and how those strategies were adapted to suit environment and weapons (of vice versa). And of course I love the city I live in, New Orleans. New Orleans is …. New Orleans. It is a unique and amazing city (although at times hard to live in). It gets under your skin and you want to be part of it – for good or bad. I don’t think it will ever let me go, one way or another. But I digress….

New Orleans has a long and storied history of dueling, all but forgotten in these brutish times we live in. We even have the famous “Dueling Oak” in City Park, which the sign above is from. I don’t really think people understand how popular dueling was! Here’s a little history about New Orleans Dueling from the New Orleans City Guide, Written and compiled by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration for the City of New Orleans

(pages 85-86)

Fencing was once the sport de rigueur in New Orleans in the days when Creole blood ran hot and “men of honor” had to be well versed in the art, not only to hold their rank in the popular sport, but to preserve their lives and honor. Duels were fought either at St. Anthony’s Garden behind St. Louis Cathedral, or under the ‘Dueling Oaks’ in what is nowCity Park. Perhaps the most famous duelist and fencing master of the city was Jose ‘Pepe’ Llulla, whose numerous successful encounters won him a formidable reputation. When New Orleans became the headquarters of Cuban filibustering expeditions in the 1850’s and 1860’s, Pepe, a loyal Spanish subject, offered to meet any or all insurrectionists brave enough to engage him. Legend claims that Pepe maintained a cemetery for the benefit of the countless persons he is reputed to have slain.

Fencing is still a popular sport in the city. The Fencer’s Federation of Louisiana, located at the Salle d’Armes de la Nouvelle Orleans, 528 Royal Street, fosters numerous small organizations, among which are Les Chevaliers de la Nouvelle Orleans, Le Bataillon d’Orleans, and the fencing clubs of Louisiana State University, the New Orleans Athletic Club and the Young Men’s Christian Association. Several traditional exhibition tournaments are staged annually, among them being the Mardi Gras Duello, held at 2:30pm Mardi Gras Day in the garden behind St. Louis Cathedral, and the Dueling Oaks Encounter, held under the Dueling Oak on the formal opening day of City Park, Usually the firs or second Sunday in May. Much of the recent activity of the fencers has been directed toward the development and establishment of a dueling technique with that most American of all weapons, thebowie knife. Much progress has been made, and an encounter proves to be a most thrilling spectacle, with comparatively small danger to the combatants.

Now that is amazing! Can you imagine training at the Salle d’armes de la Nouvelle Orleans? Or going to City Park and attending the “Dueling Oaks Encounter”? What a sight that must have been!What’s also amazing is that line “…an encounter proves to be a most thrilling spectacle, with comparatively small danger to the combatants.”

I found this quote after going to the New Orleans Public Library to look for the final resting place of Senor Don Jose “Pepe” Llulla. There are dozens of anecdotes about Llulla. Lafcadio Hearn wrote a piece about Llulla and about dueling in his book Inventing New Orleans. I found more anecdotes online, and in other books. They all have a common theme: Senor Don Jose Llulla was the last and probably greatest Fencing Master of New Orleans. Stories that “he would run his opponent precisely through the coat-button as he had promised”[1] are reminiscent of Babe Ruth pointing at which fence he would hit the homerun over (albeit a little more gruesome). Llulla’s mastery did not end with the blade – apparently he was a master marksman as well – shooting an egg off his son’s head or a coin out of a friends hand at 30 paces. Legend has it he bought theLouisa St Cemetery (true) to bury his victims and offer widows a discount (false –at least I can’t find anything). “All Llulla himself would say was that if he looked hard enough he might just possibly find a few of his victims in his graveyard”, reads one quote.[2]

He purchased the Louisa Street Cemetery, and later 2 more adjacent blocks and made them into cemeteries as well. The Louisa StreetCemetery is also known as the St. Vincent de Paul Cemetery. Legend has it he was buried in his own Cemetery, and I wanted to find out if that was true.

After some online searching, I found a few records of the St. Vincent de Paul Cemeteries.Unfortunately, they are very incomplete, and there is no mention of Llulla in any of them. Further searching online got me a receipt that Llulla had signed. I actually thought he was the buyer and not the seller, and originally mistook this tomb as Llulla’s. My student and friend, Gabe, and I even went to the cemetery and found the tomb the receipt lists. We were disheartened to find no plate on the tomb wall where we thought Llulla was buried.

I went back online, and re-read the text next to the receipt, and realized Llulla was the SELLER, not the BUYER. Of course this would make sense since he owned the Cemetery. Since my online search was futile, I decided to visit the Louisiana Division of the New Orleans Public Library.

With the help of the staff, I located Llulla’s obituary in the Daily Picayune[3]. He died on March 6, 1888 at the age of 73. “About a week ago he came on a visit to New Orleans from his island home of Grand Terre, and on Sunday was taken ill. He gradually grew worse and finally peacefully passed away.” So apparently those who live by the sword don’t necessarily die by it. His obituary is long and gives a great but brief account of his extraordinary life. He was not only a Master at Arms, but also a very successful businessman as well.Unfortunately his obituary only lists where his funeral would be “4 o’clock this evening from No. 42 Independence Street, Third district” not where he was to be laid to rest.

With a little more research I found that the WPA had cataloged some of the Cemeteries, and St.Vincent de Paul was among them.Fortunately the names are listed alphabetically (more or less), and I was able to find a card for Senor Lllulla’s burial site. It read:

Llulla, Joseph

Native of Mahon Spain

Died March 6, 1888

Aged 73

St. Vincent de Paul #1

Alley 2 Left Tomb

Finally, I had found it. Gabe and I went back to the cemetery and with little effort, found Senor Lllulla’s tomb. Remember in New Orleans we are old school and all our cemeteries are above ground. It is a plate on the Suarez family tomb (his daughter married Vincent Suarez, and she was his only surviving child). His name is listed below his son, who died some 20 years before he did.Gabe did some grave rubbings with rice paper and graphite and we took a few pictures.

Rest in Peace, Senor Don Jose “Pepe” Llulla. You are not forgotten.

[1] The Duel A History, Robert Baldick, p. 127

[2] Ibid

[3] March 7, 1888 p. 4

Llulla Obituary

posted Jul 20, 2010, 8:30 PM by James Wilson   [ updated Jul 20, 2010, 8:34 PM ]

I'm moving a few things from my inactive blog onto this site.  First up:

I present here the remarkable obituary of Senor Don Jose "Pepe" LLulla from the Daily Picayune, Wednesday, March 7, 1888 (p.4). I did my best transcribing it - the microfiche copies are not the best. (Thanks to Pete Kautz for the picture of Senor Don Llulla)

“Pepe” Llulla, Dead.

Senor Don Jose Llulla or Pepe Llulla, as he was affectionately styled by his fiends, yesterday morning at 11’oclock passed to the world beyond, after an eventful and stormy life.

About a week ago he came on a visit to New Orleans from his island home on Grande Terre, and on Sunday was taken ill. He gradually grew worse and finally peacefully passed away.

It would be a difficult task here to give anything more than a brief outline of the career of this really extraordinary character, who won his way to fortune and fame by rare energy and intrepidity. While comparatively few were intimate with him, for he was a reserved man, there is scarcely a citizen who did not know him by name. This had become legendary even in his lifetime.

A native or Port Mahone, Minorca, where he was born in 1815, his imagination was greatly impressed during early boyhood by the recitals of sailors who used to visit his father’s home. His passion for the sea was gratified when his parents allowed him to ship as a cabin boy. He soon after became a common seaman, and finally entered the service of some merchant whose vessels plied between New Orleans andHavana.

He soon after abandoned seafaring and settled in the Crescent City, with a Spaniard, who conducted a sailors’ boardinghouse. Here Pepe soon became a consummate master in the use of the knife, and after visiting the fencing schools of New Orleans became astonishingly proficient with the foil and saber.

In those days there were a large number of maitres d’armes in the city, where the passions of society we regulated if not restrained by the duel, and Llulla became the protégé of L’Alouette, an Alsatian, who appointed him as his assistant. The young Spaniard became a master of all kinds of blades and with the firearm his skill was no less remarkable. When L’Alouette died Llulla succeeded him as teacher in the fencing hall. This was a paying business in those days, but the profession did not suit Llulla’s energetic character. He preferred to do business on his own account. Few men have attempted as many different things as he has with equal success.

After embarking on various enterprises he purchased the LouisaCemetery. By this time he had accumulated a capital of several hundred thousand dollars. In later days he bought two adjoining squares and also converted them into cemeteries. Three cities of the dead are today filled with the monuments and tombs erected by persons who purchased lots therein. Another undertaking worthy of mention was the purchase of the Island of Grande Terre which he made shortly after the war. Here, on this wild windswept place, Llulla met with great success in raising cattle. About four years ago, however, a storm swept over the island and the owner lost 100 head of cattle and about 500 sheep. He improved the place afterwards and no longer feared the elements.

During half a century Llulla was the confidant and trainer of New Orleans duelists, and figured as second in more that a hundred encounters. His formidable reputation as an expert did not save him from the necessity of having some twenty or more affairs of his own.Since the war Llulla had no personal difficulties except those assumed in the cause of Spanish patriotism. These affairs made him famous and form the most interesting incidents of his singular career. In 1853 he took up the cause of Spain in his own person and challenged all Cuban revolutionaries. These challenges were accepted by a number, who, upon knowing the character of Llulla, failed to come to term (note: last word unreadable- “term” is my best guess).

The Cuban emissaries and others fared no better in 1869. An Austrian officer, Meyer, who has served under Maximillian in Mexico and subsequently entered the Cuban revolutionary service, met Llulla on the field of honor with pistols, the conditions being at thirty paces, to advance and fire at will. His fate probably deterred others from following his example.

“Pepe” Llulla’s courage, daring and patriotism met with congratulations and salutations from the home country and from the colonies. Among the many missives which reached the valiant Spaniard was one fromMadrid, sealed with the royal seal and inclosing the gold cross of the Order of Charles III and a document conferring knighthood upon the gallant son who had fought so well for Spain. A reward which Llulla appreciated more than all was a portrait of himself, in a wreath of laurel, worked in the silk of woman’s hair, the jet black hair of Spanish ladies who had cut off their tresses to wreath his portrait with.

In his last days “Pepe” Llulla led the modest and retired life, though he had not lost any of his courage and valor. He preferred the quiet and solitude of Grande Terre to the noisy and lively streets of the CrescentCity. He recently purchased a large tract of land in Cheniere Caminada(sp?) and contemplated the formation of a vast orange grove.

The deceased leaves a daughter and son in law, Mr. Vincent Suarez, the latter being the sexton of the cemeteries on Louisia street. He also leaves an aged brother.

The funeral will take place at 4 o’clock this evening from No. 42 Independence Street, Third district.

No Class until August.

posted Jul 20, 2010, 8:26 PM by James Wilson   [ updated Jul 20, 2010, 8:28 PM ]

I'm very busy with work until the end of the month - so I'm cancelling all classes until the first week in August.  Classes will resume on August 3, 2010

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