Marijuana flourished in the 1970s and 1980s. The problem for drug dealers was how to get the marijuana into the U.S. from Cuba and elsewhere. Federal and state authorities were making it difficult for the illicit busines to flourish.

Necessity is the mother of invention. The dope dealers came up with a workable plan. Not foolproof. However one by which enough marijuana was able to get into the U.S.

Bales of marijuana were thrown overboard from boats or dropped from airplanes into South Florida waters. The bales dropped at specified spots so those recovering them knew where to be at a particular time. Occasionally bales were missed and washed up on Keys shores.

This past week, bales of marijuana showed up on Sugarloaf and Big Pine Key. The bale on Surgarloaf weighed 9 pounds, on Big Pine Key 8 pounds.

Back in the 1970s, the bales that washed up became known as square groupers. Still so named. The recent two bales are square groupers just as those of 50 years ago.

The bale name square grouper became the name of a U.S. 1 restaurant on Cudjoe Key 10 years ago. The Square Grouper. One of the finest restaurants in the Florida Keys. An exceptional eatery.

The Ku Klux Klan and Key West walked hand in hand in the 1920s.

The Ku Klux Klan was a seed that grew rapidly following the Civil War. The Klan was founded in 1865 by a group of Confederate veterans. It rapidly grew from a secret social fraternity to a paramilitary force. Its initial purpose to reverse the federal government’s progressive Reconstruction era activities in the South. Especially those that elevated local African-American populations.

The Klan from day one was a white supremacist organization. It brought excessive violence down on blacks.

Congress was concerned. On this day in 1871, it passed the Third Forces Act. The Act soon became popularly known as the Ku Klux Klan Act.

The Act authorized President Grant to declare martial law, impose heavy penalties against terrorist organizations,and use military forces to suppress the Ku Klux Klan.

Key West has a reputation today of being One Happy Family. It was not so in the 1920s. At the time, many prominent Key West citizens were members of the Klan. Openly and proudly.

The Key West organization was also known as the Klan of the Keys.

The Klan became exceptionally violent when Key West resident Charles H. Ketchum was Grand Dragon  of the Klan for the State of Florida. During the 1920s, more lynchings occurred in Florida per capita than any other state.

Besides Ketchum, Key West men of power all belonged to the Klan: The Monroe County Sheriff, Key West Police Chief, tax collector, Key West Fire Department Chief and the head of the criminal courts.

Porter Place is public housing in Key West. Has been so for 81 years since its opening. The project is located at the corner of White and Eaton Streets.

The complex was named for J. Y. Porter, a prominent resident and leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

When first constructed, Porter Place was a “whites only” operation.

One week ago on tuesday evening, a group seeking to change the name from Porter to another appeared before the housing agency. The reason being Porter had been a Klan leader. The meeting was boisterous. Some board members of the housing agency took personally the racist charges levied against the  Porter name.

The matter re name change has presently calmed down for awhile. Expected to return, however. The solution to drop the matter from further consideration tuesday was the claim there were 2 J. Y. Porters. One the father, the other the son. The father claimed to be a local Klan leader. The son J. Y. Porter Jr., number one in the Key West chapter. He was the  Exalted Cyclops of the Key West Chapter of the Ku Klux Klan.

Two Porters with the same name. One apparently a minor leader The other THE leader.

To calm the storm that was brewing in the room, a way out was found. The reason the “lack of conclusive evidence” as to which Porter the public housing apartments were named after.

The winds of war have risen over the issue. Expect it to rise in the near future once again when proof of which Porter the project was named after is established.

What difference will it make? Both were leaders in some fashion of the local Ku Klux Klan.

Do you know what a tougas is? I did not till this morning. A tougas is the abbreviation for tortuga, the Spanish word for turtle.

The College of the Florida Keys has a new mascot for its sporting events. One with flappers. The Tugas.

Fits the location and many of the courses taught at the local college. Key West a water community. The turtle a resident of local waters. The name fits!

To be frank, I am waiting to see how the federal government finally handles January 6. Over 400 already charged. My concern whether the charges are minor in nature or something significant. From my perspective, what the terrorists did was significant.

Two leaders of Proud Boys arrested and charged were before federal Judge Kelly this past week. The charge: They “planned and coordinated the attack to stop Congress from certifying Biden’s electoral victory.”

Judge Kelly denied bail as to both. He said the two “were dangerous” and “facilitated political violence.”

Good for Judge Kelly. The system must handle the January 6 perpetrators tough. Theirs involved most serious crimes.

I am encouraged it appears something of significance will be done to all of the 400 plus. Judge Kelly reminds me of Judge Sirica who presided over the cases of the Watergate buglers. He was tough tough!

A great American died. Walter Mondale. He was 93. I always viewed him a political star. Better than most politicians.

He was Vice President under Jimmy Carter, a U.S. Senator, Ambassador to China and the Democratic candidate for President in 1984 against Ronald Reagan.

Mondale took a beating. Lost 49 states. I felt sorry for him. Reagan was formidable and would have been formidable against any opponent.

Mondale was responsible for a “first.” One that has received little attention over the years. He chose as his Vice Presidential running mate a woman. Geraldine Ferraro.

May he rest in peace.

Tuesday again! Comes around fast every week. Tonight my blog talk radio show at 9. Tuesday talk with Key West Lou. Join me. You will enjoy! www.blogtalkradio.com/key-west-lou.

Enjoy your day!















  1. Boy, they hated Geraldine Ferraro back then, didn’t they?

    I remember my mother saying, they’d be ragging on Nancy Reagan too, if she was on the democratic ticket!

    Republicans have never liked women. Unless of course they’re underage.

    • Why is America so slow to make progress? The highlights– Slavery, Suffrage, Reservations, Jim Crow, Internment Camps? I would think the “greatest” country in the world would do so much better and be so much better.

      • I don’t know how we can honestly call ourselves the “greatest country in the world” any more. To do so only underscores the arrogant bragging that phrase suggests and shortcomings you list. We now face the reality of proving we’re not or fixing things so that we can again.

        Let’s stop denying everything and start actually fixing things.

  2. I used to find more positive things than negative about living in the US. But now it’s easier to list the negatives. We have to fix this.

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