Overview of Leon Brier
Leon "Smokey" Brier was born on February 23, 1913, on Orleans Avenue near Bayou St. John. He went on to serve in WWII, cooking meals for those in Okinawa and France. Leon then began working as a laundry presser and also worked hauling bananas on the river.
Leon was married for 52 years until his wife died in 1987, but he was never alone. He had tons of family and friends who would come visit him regularly. Leon was still cooking for himself, ironing his clothes, and dancing on his front porch at the age of 99. His family said, "He was that contagious that everyone automatically fell in love with him. He was a character". His daughter stated that his recipe for longevity included a full breakfast -- two eggs, bacon, ham or a pork chop, grits, toast, coffee -- and lots of Milwaukee's Best beer.
August Lewis would come by almost every morning to check on his friend Leon, but this morning would be different. It was about 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, February 23, 2012, when August walked up the steps to Leon's home at 1704 Gentilly Blvd. in New Orleans. He found the door unlocked, and once inside, he found his friend, Leon, sitting in his recliner, unresponsive. Once the paramedics arrived, they pronounced Leon dead at the scene. He had just turned 99 years old six days earlier.
Even though Leon was 99 years old, his family still requested an autopsy. Once completed, the coroner notified the family that Leon had been strangled and suffocated to death.
Where the case stands today: Authorities initially released a statement advising they were looking for a 33-year-old woman they wanted to speak with who may have information regarding Leon's death. However, one week later, another statement was released, and she was no longer considered a person of interest in the case. Investigators are still looking for possible suspects and motives, and no arrests have been made. This case is still open.