|Formerly known as||La Orquestra Albany 1971-1992|
|Colors||Brown and gold|
|Primary ethnicities||Latino (Puerto Rican)|
|Symbols||Insane diamond with "A" in the middle and three dots around it 1992-present, Initials with "A" overlapping bottom part of an "O," pitchfork 1978-1992|
|Affiliation||Folks since 1978|
|Founding neighborhood||Logan Square, Belden and Albany|
|Main neighborhood||Logan Square|
Photo from a 1980s Chicago Police manual, back when they threw up the pitchfork.
OA sweater, this one was listed on Ebay for a lot of money
The Story of Insane La Orquestra Albany starts out about 1969 or 1970 when a bunch of kids that went to Darwin Elementary School at 3116 W Belden Ave (Belden and Albany) joined the Latin Kings street gang then started their own Salsa band “La Orquestra Albanies.” Orquestra is Spanish for Orchestra and we all know what Orchestra means, and if you do not you need to pick up a dictionary. The name “La Orquestra Albanies” basically says “The Orchestra of Albany Street.” In 1971 these Junior High aged kids decided that they loved La Orquestra Albanies more than they loved the Latin King nation so they left the gang and turned La Orquestra Albanies into their own gang that was led and created by “Sugar Bear.” Orquestra Albany had no beef with Latin Kings after this creation, they wanted to keep the relationship smooth and, in turn, they would back up Latin Kings if needed. Being in Logan Square and being near Palmer Square Park made the OAs the target of the Gaylords street gang which was an all white organization that was trying to keep Puerto Ricans out of the neighborhood. After school the OA kids would hang out on the corner of Albany and Belden that they called “Darwin City.”
By 1974, the OAs had grown into high school age and began recruiting younger kids from Darwin Elementary that they began calling “Future Orquestra Albanies.” These kids were placed on the corner of Fullerton and Kedzie. These Future OAs were put at a busy intersection to gang bang against rival gangs and prove their worth over there. The Future OAs were being pressured by the Latin Kings to join up with them and this pressure continued on into a block party that the OAs were throwing. Latin Kings were invited to the party but were expected to be respectful. The Latin Kings that arrived at the party were from nearby Armitage and Kedzie which was a pretty big Latin King faction. The Kings that arrived were cocky and showed no respect to OAs, not only that they were wearing their war sweaters. Sugar Bear asked them to please remove the war sweaters because it was disrespectful. The Latin Kings laughed it off and would not comply and tried to just keep partying and that is when the OAs got violent and started swinging on the Kings. The OAs were getting the better of one or more Latin Kings, so one of the Kings pulled out a gun and shot an OA dead then they took off.
Right after the murder Sugar Bear, Anibal “Half Pint” Morales took over as the new leader of the OAs. Half Pint’s first order of business was all out war with the Latin Kings, he wanted to see blood spilled. After this happened and the OAs were going up against two very large gangs alone, the Latin Kings and Gaylords, it converted a force to be reckoned with on the streets after fighting many of battles. The OAs then got more recognition and more Future OAs began to pop up which brought them a new section at Spaulding and Shubert “Sesame Street.” These Future OAs were proving themselves to be more ferocious than the senior OAs as they viciously battled Palmer Street Gaylords, Lawndale Gaylords, the Simon City Royals from Drake and Wolfram and Christiana and Wellington and the Taylor Jousters from Sawyer and Altgeld. In the mean time in the mid 1970s, the senior OAs opened turf at Kedzie and Dickens that were called the “Maniac Senior OAs.” The junior group at this corner became known as the “Maniac Future OAs.”
Before long, the Darwin School yard was flooded with OAs in the hundreds. The OAs fostered independence for each of their sections and OAs loved it. The OAs were very charismatic in the older days and they had no fear of getting into it with their rivals and this brought many starry eyed youths to join. Along the way of going on a conquest for new turf, the OAs came together with some allies like Spanish Cobras and Imperial Gangsters that also had wars going on with Simon City Royals, Latin Kings and Gaylords.
The OAs from Kedzie and Dickens became real close to the Imperial Gangsters from Spaulding and Armitage and began called themselves “OA Gangsters” to show their alliance to the IGs. This group also hung out with the Chicago Players of Kedzie and Palmer and eventually found their relationship closer to the Players than the IGs; therefore, they changed their name again at Kedzie and Dickens to “Maniac Orquestra Albany Players.” The Players and OAs banded together to slug it out the Yates Brothers Organization (YBO), the Ghetto Brothers Organization (GBO) and the Latin kings from Cortland and Whipple.
In 1978, a unity was made on the streets mainly between Spanish Cobras, Latin Disciples, Imperial Gangsters and Latin Eagles called the “United Latino Organization” (ULO). These were the four largest gangs up north that were sick and tired of Latin Kings and the “UFO” (United Five Organization). Rivals such as Gaylords and Taylor Jousters were allied with the UFO while Latin Kings were allied with the UPK (Unknowns Players and Kings). With all these alliances going on, smaller gangs were able to ally with these bigger groups more or less unofficially and that is how the OAs affiliated with ULO. It was also at this time that all the different OA gangs consolidated into one “La Orquestra Albany” especially after the death of Half Pint on June 1st 1978 when he was gunned down by Latin Kings. Right after this happened the OAs got revenge by killing “Queen Lefty” from Armitage and Kedzie who became the first Latin Queen killed due to gang violence in history. By this point in time the OAs had grown “Darwin City” to extend from Logan Blvd to Armitage and Kedzie to California, which meant the OAs were claiming Armitage and Kedzie as part of Darwin City which brought vicious gang wars at that intersection but the OAs would eventually not be able to hold down that intersection as their own.
On November 11, 1978 the Folk Nation alliance was established that OA allies such as Spanish Cobras and Imperial Gangsters joined along with the entire ULO. The OAs then were allowed to join the Folk Nation for protection of their members in the prison system.
In 1978, the OAs went to expand their turf into the suburbs of Waukegan “Brown Town” and Summit (52nd and Harlem), Illinois. The OAs were one of the first gangs to arrive in Summit and Waukegan and they especially ruled Summit for some years before other gangs showed up.
In the 1980s, the OAs would continue to grow in Logan Square and would even open a set in Avondale at Albany and Grace. As Puerto Rican migration increased in the 1980s in Logan Square, it would add more numbers onto the OAs.
In the year 1991, the Spanish Cobras, Imperial Gangsters, Latin Eagles and Latin Disciples were feuding heavily in the streets and by 1992 all out war was declared between these four gangs. These four bigger gangs gave all their allies an ultimatum on who they would stay allies with but the smaller gangs were not allowed to be allies with all three groups (Eagles and IGs were unified) or even two of them. The OAs very easily sided with the Spanish Cobras because they became “cousins” with them.
The Spanish Cobras started up the “Insane Familia” alliance and Orquestra Albany joined this alliance and became known as “Insane La Orquestra Albany.” It was at this point that the OAs began to engage in interalliance wars with fellow Folk Nation gangs that were mainly Spanish Cobra enemies such as Maniac Latin Disciples, Latin Eagles, Satan Disciples and a former close ally the Imperial Gangsters. The OAs would eventually withdraw from their Avondale territory at Albany and Grace and one of their old turfs of Kedzie and Dickens. As I said before Armitage and Kedzie would be withdrawn from as well. The OAs have lost some numbers over the years due to key incarcerations and also gentrification. Most of Logan Square became gentrified with yuppies in the 2000s decade.
Please send in old school pics!
- Who were the leaders and what years did they run things after Half Pint was killed?
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