Philip Bonura – aka “Phil Bonura,” “Phillip Bonora,” “Filippo Bonura” (TN) – was born on the Fourth of July in 1908 in Kenner, Louisiana.
He was one of five sons born to Andrea and Maria (nee’ Lala) Bonura. His four brothers were Nicholas, Joseph, Samuel, and Louis. With the exception of Sam, the others all later became mafiosi.
Phil stood about 5 to 6 feet tall and weighed in at a slim 132 pounds. He sported a thick crop of jet-black hair, had dark brown eyes, and a sallow complexion.
A tattoo with the initials “P.B.” adorned his right forearm.
Phil Bonura married a local girl named Annie Vangrada. They resided at 222 Nursery Avenue in Metairie, Louisiana.
FBI #317438, New Orleans-PD #7643
Bonura was known to be proficient as an auto mechanic and was the owner-operator of Bonura’s Auto Service & Gasoline Station located at 1618 Veteran’s Memorial Highway in Metairie.
Phil’s brother Joe owned and operated the Tulane Restaurant & Bar at 3601 Tulane Avenue in New Orleans.
This restaurant was a known underworld hangout frequented by fellow mafiosi and also served as the base of operations for the Bonura family.
The Bonura brothers also frequented the nearby Rumpus Bar and the Saint Charles Bar, both in New Orleans.
Phil started his police rap sheet in 1925 and had been picked up for grand larceny, Federal bank robbery and holdup, armed robbery, possession of a gun, and several Federal Narcotics Law Violations.
Like their older brother, Joe and Nick Bonura also had arrests and convictions for narcotics.
Joe had additional arrests since 1925 for auto theft, robbery, Dyer Act, and OPA violations. Nick had several gambling arrests sporting his rap sheet.
The Bonura brothers were all considered notorious hoodlums and known members of the New Orleans Family headed by Carlos Marcello and were listed as documented “soldiers” or associates of that borgata.
Among their known criminal associates were such important mafiosi as Carlos Marcello himself as well as Anthony S. Carolla, Anthony (Tony) Panci, Frank Regusa, Onofrio (Nufio Pecora) Pecoraro, Joseph (Joe Pecora) Pecoraro, Salvatore (Sam) Domino, and Anthony Ranzino.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics considered the three Bonura brothers “major narcotics traffickers in the states of Louisiana and Texas.”
Authorities also noted that the three Bonuras were close associates of most top Mafia leaders in New Orleans, LA.
Aside from prolific drug trafficking, the Bonuras were also known to deal in stolen goods and black market gas and food ration stamps.
Their youngest brother Nick was designated to run the family’s gambling business through his operation of a lucrative illegal horse-race “handbook” the Bonuras were known to conduct.