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Focusing on the prosecution of homicide cases, this essay analyzes the operation of the criminal justice system in New Orleans from 1920 through 1945. Despite the far-ranging legal and institutional developments of the era, few homicide suspects were convicted—only 17.8 percent. Race-based patterns of prosecution and conviction, however, diverged during this period. For white suspects, conviction rates dropped by one-third, while for African American suspects they tripled, rising from half the white rate to double the white homicide conviction rate, as the New Orleans criminal justice system emerged as a key tool to fend off challenges to Jim Crow.