New Orleans Guilds - Phase 1
|New Orleans Guilds|
Portrayed by None
|Known Aliases:||The Thieves' Guild; The Assassins' Guild; The Courtiers; The Vice Guild; The Forgers' Guild|
|Affiliations:||Independent; some connections with X-Force|
The Guilds of New Orleans represent a group of powerful shadowy families that own the crime of the city and much of the power outside of it. Old, experienced and very deadly, the Guilds are a constant question between asset and danger.
The criminal guilds of New Orleans are some of the oldest criminal associations in North American. Their roots trace back to the earliest days of New Orleans , although officially the guilds came into place in 1750. The guilds themselves were born out of early families who settled in the city; some of them fleeing France to avoid prison there. As the new city grew, so did the families, warring with each other. Eventually, to avoid a full scale conflict, the heads of the five largest families sat down and drew up a contract, referred to as 'The Arrangement'. The agreement defined each family's specific area of crime that each family had control over. They agreed not only to not infringe on each other's area of expertise, but also to not allow any interlopers to raise to prominence in the city.
The Arrangement held unchanged until 1868, when the freed black populations of Louisiana were infused with immigrants from the Caribbean. While the islands always held a strong influence on the city and the population, the first wave of new immigrants brought the practice of voodoo with them. The guilds, predominantly of French descent and Catholic, initially attempted to stomp out the practice, starting a war. Over the next ten years, a bitter struggle between the guilds and the Carribs, led by their houngan priests was waged. Eventually a meeting between the two sides was brokered, and a modification to the Arrangement was drafted. The guilds would not only cease trying to stomp out the voodoo religion, but would leave the community out of their criminal activities. In return, the Carrib population and the voodoo allies would agree not to interfere in Guild business.
Since then, the leading houngan (or mambo) has had an official seat at the meetings of the Guilds, serving often as an impartial mediator. Because of the power of the numbers that listen to the houngans, it's rare that their authority is challenged when they have declared something as negative to the Carrib community. To further cement the pact, each generation a child from each of the Guild's inner families spends time tutored by one of the houngan in the city. For the last fifty years, Mattie Deveroux has been the leader of the community.
Recently, the Guilds were thrown into turmoil by the widescale assassinations of all of the senior leaders of each guild. The official blame has been placed on the Thieves Guild, but the action has riven the old order. Belladonna Boudreaux-LeBeau assumed the head of the Assassins Guild and in the interest of stability, altered the Arrangement. With the support of the Courtiers and the Forgers, she has subsumed the Guild Heads to a new council, which she leads. The Thieves Guild suffered the loss of a full third of their members during the upheavel, and many more fled. The current 'official' Thieves Guild in New Orleans maintains less than ten percent of it's former strength and exists only at the sufference of the Assassins.
While officially all five Guilds stand united, the recent events have led many to leave New Orleans, either breaking ties with their Guilds, or setting up Guilds 'in exile'. The largest group are the Thieves, who have received the help of Remy LeBeau to secretly tie together all the scattered groups, for a time when they can move against Belladonna. Many have been secretly investigating all the facets of the assassination and last nights in the city, trying to find evidence to bring the new Council down, and restore the old order.
While the guilds have always been engaged in a low level shadow war between each other, the peace mostly has held. During incidents where two of the guilds have gone to open warfare, the others would step in to mediate and in some cases enforce a settlement. In fact, the guilds themselves are a sort of society on their own, with intermarriages, feuds and personal loyalties. Their age and lineage carries connections with some of the United States oldest families and associations, like the Hellfire Club.
All of the Guilds are arranged in a similar fashion, although the titles vary. Each Guild has a Head, who speaks with the voice of the Guild itself. They are refered to as either 'pere' or 'mere' before their last name by all Guild members; a sign of respect dating back to the earliest days of the city. Each is advised by a council of senior members, who dictate policy. The heir to the Guild is the exclusive choice of the Head, save for their death without naming one, in which case the council raises a new Head. They can only be removed by a three quarters vote of the Guild, or by a unaminous vote of the other Guild Heads. Such actions are extremely rare, and only used in the event of vast betrayel or endangerment.
Under the council are a series of groups, broken down by the specialty of the Guild. For example, the Thieves Guild seperates itself between intrusion specialists, street footpads, smugglers, cracksmen, etc. Each group or department is headed by a senior member, who reports to the council, and is supported by more junior managers. The councils also keep a body of mid-level prospects who can handle Guild business and administration as a whole.
While the Guilds are arranged on familial lines, less than 30% of each Guild is comprised of full blood members of the various families. Subfamilies have been absorbed into the structure, as well as strangers that show talent and promise. However, the full blooded descendents of the founders still possess a powerful political advantage, and while they may represent less than thirty percent of the guild body, the councils are always dominanted by them. There have been less than five non-full blooded members that have risen to the position of the Head of thw Guild in the more than 300 years of history.
Intermarriage is extremely rare between the lower orders of the Guilds, but fairly commonplace admidst the higher society and full blooded family lines. However, no one is permitted to straddle Guild loyalties. Once married, the couple is folded into one Guild or the other without exception.
The Thieves' Guild: The product of the D’Armade family. They own control of the theft and smuggling in New Orleans . The best safe-crackers and contraband runners work contacts up and across the length of the United States . The Thieves Guild is one of the widest spread of the guilds, with contacts and associations all over the world. While one of the strongest Guilds, they also have the least power in New Orleans itself. The docks are their exclusive domain, and their training grounds for the newest members are the Mardi Gras crowds.
The Assassins' Guild: Founded by the Boudreaux family. There are two levels to the the Assassins: hired killers, thugs, and muscle in the city, and highly trained and specialists outside of it. They were the most dangerous of the guilds, but also the least influential outside of the city. Their lock on the muscle in New Orleans gives their voice more emphasis, and over the last fifteen years, they have been successful in getting their assassins work in the Asia and Europe .
The Courtiers: Guild is the work of the Baptiste Family. The oldest and most respectable of the guilds, the courtiers work the halls of power. They had moved from farms to trade unions, slavery to politics. The Guild owns most of the bent politicians in the city and the state, and focus their power on the ‘cleaner’ crimes; embezzlement, fraud, and protection. Considered the most powerful Guild, they have strong connections in Washington and Baton Rouge . Most important are their hooks in the natural gas expansion in the Gulf of Mexico , which gives them considerable leverage. They have always served as the defecto chair of the Guild Council.
The Vice Guild: Originally called the Whores Guild, now referred to as the Vice Guild, this guild is the most dissimilar to the others. The Marceaux family were originally low born, and crawled to control in the city. It was the first family to intermarry with the Carribs, maintaining very close ties. Even in a jaded city like New Orleans , they excel in providing all manner of pleasure. Drugs, prostitution and gambling all fall under their rule, growing increasingly more powerful as the years go.
The Forgers' Guild: Called the Artists Guild by members, this guild is the work of the Garvious family. The Gravious had originally been conmen, forgers and counterfeiters. They had been only barely able to maintain Guild status until the computer age shot them up to the heights of power. Now they boost hackers, social engineers, and identity thieves along with their traditional areas.
Notable Guild Members
Arlen D'Armade - Arlen is one of the highest surviving members of the Thieves Guild. When they were accused, the entire countil and department heads were executed by the Assassins. One of the closest things to an ally of Remy Lebeau's, Arlen has fled New Orleans and is rebuilding his shattered Guild to fight back against the Assassins. He served as the defacto new Head of the Thieves, but refuses to claim the title officially, for unknown reasons.
Daniel Boudreaux - Daniel is the son of Lucian and the official heir to the Assassins Guild. A brutally effective killer, Daniel's cunning was no match for his sister's, and is believed dead by the rest of the Guilds, killed during the assassination of his father. He's been sighted in several cities, but most are dismissed at wild rumours spread by enemies of the Assassins.
Zoe Ishihara - Zoe is a member of the Garvious clan, an orphan adopted as a baby. Her hacking abilities are amoungst the best in the world, and her loyalty was unquestioned. That was the surprise when she fled with several other Forgers after the takeover by the Assassins. Zoe works closely with Arlen, providing his technical support to try and rally his Guild.
Ciel Baptiste - Ciel is the new Head of the Courtiers, refered to as Mere Baptiste. Her support proved critical in Belladonna's takeover, and no one has been able to determine why yet. She and Belladonna have been close for many years, but the prideful woman wouldn't willingly break break the Arrangement or assume a lesser position for her Guild without some major payment.
Lucian Marceaux - Lucian is part of the Whore's Guild, an extremely attractive and chrismatic mulatto man. While his Guild agreed to support Belladonna's new council, he slipped away with the other deserters. In truth, no one is exactly sure what his role is, and his caution had prevented anyone from wheedling it from him.
Javier Boudreaux - One of the late Pere Boudreaux's oldest friends and cousins, Javier has served as the chief of staff of the Assassin's Guild for twenty-three years. The old man was pensioned off by Belladonna, and only barely escaped death at the hands of a hired killer not long after. He too has disappeared, and commands the respect of many of the members of all five Guilds.