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Full text of "Creole families of New Orleans"

CREOLE FAMILIES OP 
NEW ORLEANS 



'^h^yi^ 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

NKW YORK • nOSTON • CHICAGO • DALLAS 
ATLANTA • SAN FRANCISCO 

MACMILLAN & CO., Limited 

LONDON • BOMBAY • CALCUTTA 
MELBOURNE 

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Ltd. 

TORONTO 



CREOLE FAMILIES OF 
NETV ORLEANS 



By 

GRACE KING 



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY 
E. WOODWARD 



NEW YORK 

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1921 

All rights reserved 



rOPYRKlHT. 1921. BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 



SET IP ANU KLECTROTYPKD. PI;BLISHI^D MARCH. 1921 



DEDICATION 

TO 

ANNIE RAGAN KING 

MY SISTER, COMPANION, FRIEND 



434930 



( 



PREFACE 

THIS book comes in response to a long-felt wish 
of an humble student of Louisiana history to 
know more about the early actors in it, to go back 
of the printed names in the pages of Gayarr^ and 
IMartin, and peep, if possible, into the personality 
of the men who followed Bienville to found a city 
upon the Mississippi, and who, remaining on the 
spot, continued their good work by founding 
families that have carried on their work and their 
good names. 

It has been a pleasure to follow the traces they 
impressed upon the soil two hundred years ago, and 
to look through the vista of years that opened before 
them when they crossed the seas, trusting their 
names, their fortune, their faith to a new country. 

Their genealogical records bear witness to their 
good blood; their '^maintenances de noblesse'' are 
still in existence, brought with them from France, 
in simple accord with what they considered a 
family necessity, as much so as a house and furniture. 
Traditions are still carrying a pale reflection of 
coloring and wavering outline of them. Little 
stories of them are still to be met hanging on a 
withering memory like shriveled berries on a tree 
that the next blast will rend from their twigs and 
scatter on the ground. 

Some of the little houses they built are still stand- 
ing; vital statistics — their baptisms, marriages 

vn 



OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

and deaths — are still distinct in the old registers of 
St. Louis Cathedral. Bits of old furniture, jewelry, 
glass, old miniatures, portraits, scraps of silk and 
brocade, flimsy fragments of lace can yet be picked 
up scattered among the houses of the old streets 
they trod. 

Much was in existence to ease the work of the 
chronicler, but much, alas! was found lacking. In 
some instances the trail grew too indistinct to be 
followed with confidence. Too late! Too late! The 
chronicler came too late. Family papers, so one 
excuse ran, had been destroyed in the ^^great fire'' 
(of 1788). According to another the old trunk in 
which a careful grandfather had packed his docu- 
ments had gone astray in the panics and flights of 
the family during the Civil War and had never been 
heard of since; or, sadder still, the faithful memory 
which carried the family record, grown aged and 
feeble, had lost its grip on the past, and had dropped 
its jewel out of its human setting, as many a fine 
stone has dropped from its setting, to be swept out 
with the debris. 

The plan traced in advance for the chronicle was a 
modest one; comprised in time between Bienville 
and Claiborne, containing only the names mentioned 
in the historical reports of the period. But as the 
work and the pleasure of it progressed these limits 
had to be disregarded. Families ramified and pro- 
longed their lives in an unforeseen way. The chil- 
dren of the best men under Bienville became the 
French heroes under Ulloa; and their children, push- 
ing on through the Spanish Domination, became the 
strong men of the city under the American flag and 
fought with Jackson in the War of 1812. And still 

vni 



PREFACE 

further their children fared on bravely to wear the 
gray of the Confederate Army, and onward still 
another generation advanced soaring higher and 
higher, and to-day we see them, as in the famous pic- 
ture in the Paris Pantheon marching across the sky 
of glory, these fine old French names of Louisiana 
in the last (and may it be the last!) world war; speed- 
ing back to France in defense of their ancestral 
motherland to fight, suffer and die, and be buried 
there, giving back to French earth its dust ! 

The chronicler held her way through it all, too well 
pleased with the story confided to her to realize the 
end before her — the end of the book, not the end 
of the story. In truth, like the horizon, the end 
seemed to recede before her as she advanced, and so 
the last page of the book caught her unawares, as 
the last day of life does us all. 

And so at the end of her book, the author finds, as 
doubtless she will do at the end of her life, that what 
she has accomplished bears but a pitiful resemblance 
to w^hat she set out to do, and with '^finis'^ bows her 
head in contrition for her many, many sins of 
omission. 

Throughout the volume may be found in footnotes 
the grateful acknowledgment of the help accorded 
her on her way by which she has been able to ac- 
complish the little she has done. But she would 
give more explicit mention of her gratitude to, first 
and foremost: The Louisiana Historical Society, 
for the freedom it gave her of its records ; to Gaspard 
Cusachs, its president; to Heloise Hulse Cruzat, its 
corresponding secretary and ever ready helper in 
historical need ; to Miss Freret, its librarian, whose 
intelligent assistance was never invoked in vain; to 

IX 



OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS \ 

the Howard Memorial Library and its scholarly 
librarian, Mr. William Beer, and to his courteous 
assistants; to Mr. T. P. Thompson, whose rare 
collection of Americana was cordially placed at 
the author's service; to Mr. G. Lugano, the able 
archivist of St. Louis Cathedral; to Trist Wood, 
Esq., for steady and constant assistance in the 
collection of his family data; to Meloncy Soniat, 
Esq., for ever kind response to demands upon his 
time and manuscript store of precious genealogical 
records; to Mr. Elsworth Woodward, for his illus- 
trations, and his cordial collaboration in heart and 
spirit with the aim of the book, which in this respect, 
at least, has been able to fulfill the author's highest 
expectations. 



CONTENTS 

PREFACE 
CHAPTER I 

A LA NOUVELLE ORLEANS 3 

CHAPTER II 
Marigny de Mandeville 9 

CHAPTER III 
Bernard de Marigny 23 

CHAPTER IV 

Bayou St. Jean — The Dreux Family ... 59 

CHAPTER V 
A Romance of The Bayou St. Jean . . .67 

CHAPTER VI 
De Pontalba 72 

CHAPTER VII 
RouER DE Villeray 133 

CHAPTER VIII 
D'Arensbourg 154 

CHAPTER IX 
De la Chaise 159 



CHAPTER X 
Lafr^iniere 


. . 169 


CHAPTER XI 

Labedoyere Huchet de Kernion 


. . 201 



CHAPTER XII 
De Livaudais 212 



CONTENTS 
CHAPTER XIII 

SONIAT DU FOSSAT 221 

CHAPTER XIV 
De la Vergne 236 

CHAPTER XV 
DeBor6 239 

CHAPTER XVI 
Gayarr6 256 

CHAPTER XVII 
Charles Gayarre 269 

CHAPTER XVIII 

BOULIGNY 291 

CHAPTER XIX 
Almona&ter 305 

• CHAPTER XX 
De la Ronde 313 

CHAPTER XXI 
Chalmette 318 

CHAPTER XXII 
Cruzat 323 

CHAPTER XXIII 
Jumonville de Villiers 337 

CHAPTER XXIV 
Lavillebeuvre 343 

CHAPTER XXV 
Grima 350 

CHAPTER XXVI 
Forstall 357 

XII 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER XXVII 
Macarty 368 

CHAPTER XXVIII 
De Buys 383 

CHAPTER XXIX 
Canonge 392 

CHAPTER XXX 
DuBouRG 397 

CHAPTER XXXI 
Charest de Lauzon 406 

CHAPTER XXXII 
Bringier 413 

CHAPTER XXXIII 
Tureaud 419 

CHAPTER XXXIV 

GaRRIGUES de FlAUGEAC DE ROALDES . . . 423 

CHAPTER XXXV 
PiTOT 429 

CHAPTER XXXVI 
Roffignac 435 

CHAPTER XXXVII 
St. Geme 443 

CHAPTER XXXVIII 
Allain 446 

CHAPTER XXXIX 
Beauregard 452 

CHAPTER XL 
Alc^e Fortier 461 

XIII 



LIST OF PLATES 

Frontispiece 

Type of Wealthy Creole House of the French Period, Dumaine 

and Dauphin Streets — Servants, Quarters in the Rear . 138 
Oaks at Versailles, de la Ronde Plantation — the Chalmette 

Battlefield to the Left 314 

Vestibule of Grima House — Newel Posts of Brass, Balustrade 

of Mahogany 356 

Rue Dumaine 408 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS IN TEXT 

Ursulincs and Chartres Streets. Built in the time of Bienville — 

now demolished 11 

Royal below Dumaine Street (used as Court House in 1815) 
where General Jackson was tried for contempt of court 

before Judge Hall 41 

Briquette entre Poieaux (bricked between posts). Type of 

Pioneer house in country outside of New Orleans . . 69 

Villa on Levee Road below New Orleans, facing West (now 

demohshed) 77 

The Napoleon House (with the belvedere) on Chartres Street 

back of the Court House 121 

Lit de Repos. A beautiful specimen of "Robert Adam" . . 241 

Toilette Table. St. Domingo mahogany 267 

Eighteenth Century Piano. Mahogany, inlaid with brass . 275 

Dauphine near Dumaine Street 329 

Empire Work Table of St. Domingo mahogany and brass . 371 
Jefferson Street, back of Pontalba buildings .... 375 

Toulouse Street, near "Old Levee" Street 431 

Porte Cochcre on Chartres Street 439 

Rampart and St. Peter Streets 457 



CHAPTER I 

A LA NOUVELLE ORLEANS 

"Orleans, Gentilly, 

Pontalba, Marigny, 

Bourbon! Bourbon I" 
These are the words that come to me 
(The haunting turn of an old refrain) 
From the Siren City beside the sea, 
Child of the valour of France and Spain. 
She sits there weaving her olden spells. 
The years through her lissom fingers run 
To form but a chaplet whereon she tells, 
The names of her lovers, one by one! 

Gayoso, Galvez, Bouligny, 

Caso-Calvo, Derbigny! 
Don Almonaster's bells intone: 
For Bienville and for Serigny, 
For D' Iberville, for Assigny, 

They make incessant moan. 

"Orleans, Gentilly, 

Pontalba, Marigny, 

Bourbon! Bourbon!" 

— William McLennan. 

THE old Creole families of New Orleans date from 
the foundation of the city, and even before that — 
from the settlement of Mobile, Dauphin Island and 
Biloxi, their good old names figuring in the lists of 
military, naval and civil officers who followed Iber- 
ville to the discovery of the Mississippi and remained 
with Bienville to hold on to the French possession 
of it. 



' : :4- ' OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

It may in fact be said that New Orleans brought 
hei population into the world with her, or rather, ^ 
was furnished in advance with it, as a baby is with 
a layette, or a bride with a trousseau. Like a layette 
or a trousseau, the material from which the popula- | 
tion was made was of the finest and strongest, and ( 
it has worn well. \ 

The men under Bienville who, for twenty years, ' 
had borne the brunt of the hardships of colonial ^ 
settlement in a savage country, were well content i 
to follow him to the last goal in their enterprise, . 
the foundation of a city on the Mississippi — not a 
, fort nor a settlement, but a city — whose image and ^ 
superscription was to be ^'France, her sights and J 
\sounds, dreams and laughter." [: 

They builded better than they knew, as we can 
judge to-day. The ground selected was quickly 
cleared of its forest; the streets were laid out and 
named; homes were built (to continue the feminine 
simile) just as the corbeille is still prepared to con- 
tain the layette and trousseau. 

Each square formed by the intersection of the 
streets was divided into four allotments, and in each 
allotment was erected a house — a low, square, eight 
or four-room cottage built of split cypress logs, raised 
a few feet above the ground, with high ridged roof 
covered with bark, and with solid cypress doors and 
windows; the type of building that has perpetuated 
itself in the city. It was built to last and it did last, 
for a century and a half.* 

The careful Bienville provided also a site for a 

* A specimen was spared until recently, when it was demolished 
in obedience to some civic decree. It was situated on a corner of J 



Cliartrcs Street opposite the site of the old Ursuline Convent. 



A LA NOUVELLE ORLEANS 5 

church, and pre-empted the space in front of it for 
a Place d'Armes. The first church was also of the 
most primitive form of construction — a low, oblong 
building, only large enough to hold its absolute 
necessities, as it were, of divine worship; behind it 
was the graveyard. As it was planned in 1720 it 
is, in a general way, seen to-day. 

The squares were surrounded by deep ditches, 
which, when filled with water, made little islands of 
their enclosures and so, in New Orleans^ common 
speech, a square is still called an ''islet." 

The first census of the city, taken in 1726, gives 
the names and addresses of its first inhabitants. 
To cite a few of them: on Old Levee Street (as it is 
called to-day), the ''Rue du Quay" of 1726, were the 
hospital, the ^^direction'^ or official building, the house 
of M. Pauger, the engineer who laid out the city; of 
M. Trudeau and his six children; and that of "M. 
de Noyan in which Petit de Levilliers and his wife 
resided." 

On Chartres Street was the house occupied by the 
Jesuits, and the "large house where lived de la 
Chaise, his wife and two children"; St. Martin, with 
Jiis wife and three children; Marest de la Tour; and 
Bellair. 

On Cond6 Street (Chartres, below the Cathedral) 
was the * 'small house of Joseph Carriere, where he 
stops when he comes to town"; and the houses 
of de Lassus and M. de Boisbriant, Conomander 
General. 

On Royal Street, the trades people seemed to 
cluster — carpenters, cabinet makers, a wig maker, a 
shoemaker, a wagon maker, a "chandelier" (candle 
maker), armorers. 



6 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 



Jean Pascal, with "fat wife and child^^ lived along- , 
side a large house belonging to M. Chauvin de la '> 
Fr^ni^re, ''where he stays when he comes to town" I 
(his plantation was above the city); then followed \ 
the house where M. Fazende, the Councillor, lived 
''with wife and child, mother-in-law and brother-in- 
law." 

On Bourbon Street, we find the surgeons Michel , 
Brosset and Pouyadon de la Tour; the rest of the i 
street being filled up as was Royal with trades j 
people, each one provided with wife and children , 
and designated by a sobriquet — "la Bouillonerie" 
called "la Douceur"; Joseph Cham called "la Rose." 

Bienville Street was more aristocratic. On it stood j 
the mansion of the Governor and the houses of M. de ' 
Chavannes, Secretary of the Council ; of M. Fleuriau, 
Attorney General; of Dr. Alexandre, Surgeon Major ; 
of the Hospital, etc., etc. ^ 

On St. Philippe Street, lived Chesseau, the "can- 
nonier" of the town. On Barracks Street, St. Pierre, 
Dumaine, Ste. Anne, and Orleans Streets, lived other . 
useful members of the community. 

In 1726, the population numbered 880, of which 
65 were servants and 129 slaves. There were only 
ten horses in it. 

By this time the city had become the capital of 
the province, and the seat of government, with the 
legal institution of a Superior Council, whose first 
Councillors were sent from France. A convent of 
Capuchins had also been established for the service 
of the Cathedral. 

Tall, pointed picket fences surrounaed the houses, 
built as was the custom in France "entre cour et 
jardin,^* In the earliest records, statistical items are 



i 



A LA NOUVELLE ORLEANS 7 

accompanied by pretty accounts of the flower gardens 
of the city, planted with seeds brought from France, 
and cuttings shipped from Havana and Porto Rico. 
The oleanders that bloom in the Place d'Armes to-day, 
doubtless are descendants of original stocks. The 
tall fences were reinforced by inside hedges of orange 
trees, the sour variety being preferred as more hardy; 
the ripened fruit, glittering hke Hghted lanterns 
in their dark foliage, over the sharp-pointed tops of 
the pickets; their blossoms showering down on the 
pathway outside, embalming the air with heavenly 
perfume. At the back of the houses, across the yard, 
were the quarters of the servants, the kitchen and 
household ^'offices.'^ 

There was apparently little ' 'roughing it'^ during 
these early days of the city's life. Indeed, compared 
with life to-day, the little cypress cottages and their 
households are to be envied by the brides of to-day 
as they look back upon the brides of two centm-ies 
ago, who arrived from France, trailing their illus- 
trious heritage of family names behind them. 

They brought with them for their new homes an 
outfit of furniture, linen and glass ; and for themselves 
silks, satins, laces and jewelry. They found awaiting 
them the best of servants, selected with a careful eye 
from a market stocked with samples of the best tribes 
of Africa, and bought without regard to price; and 
pro\dsions from the rich country about them — fish, 
flesh, game, vegetables and fruits ; with wine flowing 
generously and good company; their own language, 
the good manners of the Old World, and a society 
that, although gay, was kept within the bounds of 
the proper and the discreet by the rigid maintenance 
of the etiquette of society in Paris, and the strict 



8 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 1 

enforcement of French laws for preserving the purity , 
of blood and family prestige. j 

Four records of baptism on each side were required 
before marriage between any loving pair could be 
solemnized. Parentsand grandparents had to make ; 
proof of legitimacy by certificates from the church, 
and other and more particular enUghtenment was 
ascertained in private ways. The scrutiny was keen 
and inexorable. 



CHAPTER II 
MARIGNY DE MANDEVILLE 

IN the chronicles of the old Creole families of New 
Orleans, the name of Marigny de Mandeville 
stands first. In truth, the family antedates the city 
itself; and through two centuries of its life contrib- 
uted active workers to its history. 

In the list of officers selected to accompany Iber- 
ville to the discovery of the Mississippi in 1699, 
appears the name of a Josselin de Marigny, ^'Enseigne 
en Second de la Companie d^Arquian/^ Bienville 
was midshipman on the same vessel. It is not yet 
made clear whether JosseHn was connected with the 
founder of the Louisiana family, although the coin- 
cidence of the surname and the date is too striking 
not to suggest the probability of it. The name of 
Josselin occurs but this once in our annals, while 
''M. de Marigny" is mentioned in the chronicles of 
the earhest explorations of Bienville around Mobile 
in 1704. 

The Louisiana family is usually traced to Pierre 
Philippe, Sieur de Marigny de Mandeville, to whom 
were issued letters patent of nobility, signed Louis 
and Ph^lipeau, dated Paris, 1654, and registered '^a 
la Cour des Aydes et Comptes de Rouen, 1656.'^ By 
another letter patent issued at St. Germain en Laye, 
1671, signed Louis and Colbert, the title of Sieur de 
Hautmesnil was conferred upon the son, Jean Vincent 
Philippe, for services rendered, ''en la Nelle, France.'* 

9 



10 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

The first of the name of whom we have any sure 
data in Louisiana is Frangois Philippe de Marigny de 
Mandeville, Chevalier de St. Louis, born at Bayeux, 
Normandy.* He married Madeleine Le Maires, 
daughter of Marguerite Lamothe, native of Paris, 
Paroisse St. Sulpice, and of Pierre Le Maire, probably 
of the same family as the Missionary Geographer, 
Frangois Le Maire, who wrote a ^^M^moire sur la 
Louisiane 1718," and drew a map of the country. 

Frangois Philippe was an officer of Infantry in 
Canada in 1709, and afterwards ^^ Commandant des 
Troupes en Louisiane.'^ In 1714 he received his 
commission as Captain and later was made Chevalier 
de St. Louis. He was placed in command of Fort 
Cond6 near Mobile, where he is recorded as serving 
without pay. On the first map of Mobile, there is 
an allotment marked ''M. de Marigny.'' 

In 1724 the Company of Mandeville is mentioned 
among the military companies stationed at New 
Orleans. Subsequently he was made Major de 
Place, or Military Commandant there. It is pre- 
sumalDle that he was with Bienville when the latter 
had the site of New Orleans laid off by the Royal 
Engineers, and that he witnessed its slow upbuilding 
and its gradual growth of population. 

By 1724 the city's struggle, not for existence but 
for official recognition, was over; and Bienville's 
ambition that it should be the capital of the province 
was realized. It was made the seat of government. 
The Superior Council had been removed thither from 

* From the "Biological and Genealogical Notes concerning the 
Family of Philippe de Mandeville, Ecuyer Sieur de Marigny, 
1709-1880," by J. W. Cruzat. 

Louisiana Historical Publications, Vol. V, 1911. 



MARIGNY DE MANDEVILLE 13 

Biloxi, and it held its regular sittings in the Govern- 
ment Building facing the river. A hospital, the 
barracks and other public buildings for military and 
civil offices had been erected. 

The Chapel of St. Louis, the precursor of the 
present Cathedral, had been built, with the necessary- 
house for its priest. The allotments of ground made 
around the Place d'Armes had been surrounded 
by ditches and raised walks, and were being grad- 
ually filled by the gardens and low, four-roomed 
cypress cottages that constituted the first residences 
of its citizens. 

It was doubtless in such a house that M. de 
Marigny lived, with his wife and two children, on 
Chartres Street, according to the Census of 1726. 
He died here in 1728 and was interred, as a mark of 
distinction, in the Parish Church of St. Louis. The 
Marigny tomb is still to be seen, marked by a large 
white marble stone, which bears the Marigny coat 
of arms and the inscription of three generations of 
them, written in French. It is situated on the left 
aisle of the church, at the foot of the altar of *^Our 
Lady of Lourdes.^^ 

In 1729, his widow married Frangois Ignace Brou- 
tin, ^^Capitaine Ing^nieur du Roi en cette colonic et 
Commandant des Natchez.^' Of this marriage were 
born several children; among them two daughters. 
One married Jean Delfau de Pont alba, and the other 
Louis Xavier de Lino de Chalmette, thus uniting 
three of the most important families of New Orleans. 

By her marriage with Marigny, Madeleine Le 
Maire had one son, Antoine Philippe, Ecuyer, Sieur 
de Marigny de Mandeville, Chevalier de St. Louis. 
He was born in Mobile in 1722, and had for god- 



14 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

parents Chateaugu^, brother of Bienville, and Mar- 
guerite le Sueur, wife of Nicolas Chauvin de Lafr6- 
niere, mother of the celebrated Lafreniere, the 
famous patriot who was executed by O'Reilly in 
1769. 

Antoine Philippe married, in 1748, Frangoise de 
Lisle, presumably the daughter of Guillaume de Lisle, 
Geographer to the King, whose maps of Louisiana, 
1703-1712, ruled for a long period the geographical 
world of France as the best and, in fact, the only 
authoritative source of information on the subject 
of the Mississippi and Louisiana. 

Antoine Phihppe wrote a ''M^moire sur la Louisi- 
ane,^' and became himself an enterprising explorer 
and expert geographer. In the words of Bossu, the 
historian, ''M. de Marigny de Mandeville, an officer 
of distinction, undertook with the consent of the 
Governor to make new discoveries around the Isle 
of Barataria, and it was in connection with this that 
he worked to produce a general map of the Colony. 
This officer made, at his own expense and with the 
indefatigable zeal of a worthy citizen, the explora- 
tion of this unknown country." 

According to his portrait in the Gaspar Cusach 
collection of the Louisiana Historical Society, 
Marigny was a refined, aristocratic, scholarly looking 
officer, wearing a p6ruque and queue. He enjoyed 
with the rest of his fellow citizens the calm and 
equable administration of the Marquis de Vaudreuil, 
who succeeded Bienville as Governor of the colony 
in 1743, when in spite of much civic friction and the 
continual insubordination of the Indians under the 
encroaching British influence over them, Louisiana 
grew in strength and importance. The city began 



MARIGNY DE MANDEVILLE 15 

to take on some show of wealth and social pretension, 
while the population increased measurably. 

But when the courtly Vaudreuil left the colony 
in 1783, he was succeeded by M. de Kerlerec, a bluff 
Captain in the Royal Marines, whose character and 
methods of government were in violent contrast to 
those of the noble Marquis. The city under Kerlerec 
suffered all the discomforts of a violent housecleaning 
at the hands of a vigorous shrewish housekeeper, who 
quarreled and found fault with all subordinates. The 
contention between him and his Commissary, Roche- 
more, broke all the official etiquette that had hitherto 
restrained such quarrels, and the innovation ensued 
of the participation in it of the wives of the principals 
— Madame de Kerlerec and Madame de Rochemore. 
Each one had her feminine partisans, who (as ever 
with such partisans, zealous to indiscretion) warred 
so well that soon the whole social element of New 
Orleans was divided into two hostile camps. 

In default of newspapers the publicity of accusa- 
tions and insinuations was obtained by means of 
pasquinades and lampoons affixed to the corners of 
the streets. The mordant wit of these pleased 
immensely and was enjoyed by each side in turn. 
Unfortunately, no specimen of these was preserved, 
to the great regret of succeeding historians. 

The officers of the garrison, naturally, did not 
remain neutral. Marigny distinguished himself 
among the keenest supporters of Rochemore against 
Kerlerec, who with military promptness arrested him 
and a bunch of his supporting brother officers and 
summarily shipped them to France on a departing 
vessel. 

Rochemore, the Commissary, was sent to France 



16 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

at the same time, as was Jean Baptiste d'Estrehan, 
the Royal Treasurer of the colony, described by 
Kerlerec as being ^'too rich and dangerous. '^ ''But 
if I send away all the mauvaises tetes here,'^ he 
wrote, ''what would remain of the population?" 

On his arrival in France, Marigny petitioned 
Choiseul to know the cause of his ill treatment, 
accusing Kerlerec of abuse of power and other 
violations of duty. To his petition he annexed 
two certificates, one from Bienville and one from 
Vaudreul, containing the highest commendations 
of himself. 

The officers were pardoned on promise of good 
behavior, but the arrival shortly afterwards of 
Kerlerec himself in Paris (recalled to answer the 
charges against him) proved too much for their 
submissive disposition. With vindictive pens they 
wrote and pubfished a pamphlet against their adver- 
sary, who replied so promptly and effectively that the 
officers were now sent to the Bastille and kept there 
for a year and a month. On their release, neverthe- 
less, they returned to the charge, and making good 
their accusations against Kerlerec, the latter was con- 
demned to exile and was ordered not to approach 
Paris nearer than thirty leagues. 

Antoine Philippe returned to New Orleans and 
died there in 1779. He was buried in the St. Louis 
Cathedral, his name being second on the family 
tombstone. 

By his marriage with Frangois de ITsle, Antoine 
de Marigny had two children: Pierre Enguerrand 
dc Marigny, born in New Orleans in 1750, and 
Madeleine Philippe de Marigny. 

The name Enguerrand recalls the celebrated 



MARIGNY DE MANDEVILLE 17 

Enguerrand de Marigny, Superintendent of Finance 
under Philippe le Bel in 1315, who was hanged on 
the gibbet at Montfaugon, after an iniquitous trial. 
The name, however, was dropped by his Louisiana 
namesake, who retained only the less illustrious 
Pierre Philippe of his immediate ancestors. He 
married Jeanne Marie d'Estrehan, daughter of Jean 
Baptiste d'Estrehan, Treasurer of the King, a 
Frenchman of distinguished family, who had filled 
the post of Royal Treasurer until Kerlerec, ostensibly 
from motives of prudence, ordered him back to 
France as being ^'too rich and dangerous." D'Estre- 
han 's wife was Catherine de Gauvry. (A Captain 
de Gauvry came to Louisiana and served under Bien- 
ville in IMobile in 1720.) 

Jeanne Marie d'Estrehan had a sister married to 
Etienne de Bor^ (grandfather of Charles Gayarre 
the historian), and another to Favre d'Aunoy, the 
French Royal Commissioner at New Orleans. Her 
brother married a Miss Maxent, who subsequently 
became the wife of Governor Bernardo de Galvez, 
thus binding by marriage more of the great French 
families together. 

Of Marigny's wife we have no record, but Charles 
Gayarre has contributed to literature a pretty 
description of her sister, his grandmother. And it 
is not of record or tradition that any of the d'Estre- 
han sisters differed from Madame de Bore, a perfect 
type of the grande dame of St. Cyr, where she was 
educated. 

Pierre Philippe de Marigny was too young at the 
time to take part in the revolt against Ulloa; and, 
therefore, had no share in the glory of the French 
patriots, who sacrificed their lives in their devotion 



18 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

to France. As he grew to manhood under the 
Spanish Domination, he accepted it calmly, conform- 
ing successfully to its regime, with which he was 
connected intimately as brother-in-law to Governor 
Galvez. 

He was made Colonel of MiHtia, and put in com- 
mand of the new Spanish town of Galvezton, near 
Baton Rouge. He became a friend and associate of 
Carondelet, whom he knew as a man of character 
and abiUty; but, according to his son Bernard, he 
knew how to oppose him when he thought it neces- 
sary. At the time when the inimical demonstrations 
of the West against Spain threatened the security of 
the city, Carondelet called upon all Louisiana to take 
arms, and he had the militia organized by Philippe 
de Marigny de Mandeville. 

He it was who built up the colossal Marigny for- 
tune, reputed to be seven millions at the time of his 
death. To concessions obtained from France by his 
father, he added large concessions granted to him by 
Spain, and, profiting by opportunities such as always 
are offered during a period of political reconstruction 
to speculators, he invested in real estate, buying large 
plantations above the city on the river front, which, 
added to his large plantations below the city, made 
him not only the greatest landowner of New Orleans, 
but also its richest citizen. 

Marigny purchased also a princely tract of mag- 
nificently wooded land on the opposite shore of Lake 
Pontchartrain from New Orleans which, in honor of 
its growth of trees, he called Fontainebleau. He built 
here the wooden cottage (of the modest New Orleans 
type) which still exists, where with his family and a 
great retinue of servants he was wont to pass the hot 



MARIGNY DE MANDEVILLE 19 

months of summer. His city residence, as described 
by those who remember it, was situated in local 
parlance ''on the levee," facing the river, in the 
territory of the old Marigny plantation, somewhere 
(vaguely located) between the Esplanade and the 
Champs Elys6es, where he lived in princely state 
with his large family, surrounded by a village of 
slaves. 

The house is remembered by those who have seen 
it, as the usual plantation mansion of Louisiana, of 
massive timber, with a gallery supported by brick 
pillars. It was remarkable chiefly for its size, which 
was that of two ordinary large mansions joined 
together. An avenue of trees led from the levee 
to the front portal. In this primitive sort of palace, 
he had the honor of receiving and entertaining, 
in 1798, the Royal Princes of France, the Due 
d' Orleans (later King Louis Philippe) and his 
brothers, the Due de Montpensier and the Comte 
de Beaujolais, the sons of Philippe Egalite. 

The lavish luxury displayed during this entertain- 
ment of Royalty, the splendid banquets and balls 
to which all the aristocracy of New Orleans was 
invited, the utter disregard of money expenditure 
(as it has come down to us in family stories) must 
have astonished the young Princes, so short of 
money themselves, even more than it did the simple- 
minded citizens of that time. 

The banquets offered by the Spanish Governor are 
never mentioned in comparison with those of the 
splendid Philippe de Marigny — not only in New 
Orleans, but in Fontainebleau, where he also enter- 
tained his guests. The golden memory of them is 
still preserved piously in the little town of Mande- 



■ 



20 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 



ville, which naively claims for Fontainebleau thee: 
original honor of the fabulous (it is hoped) story that$ 
at a banquet given to the Princes, the cigar hghtersij 
passed around after dessert were hundred dollari^ 
bills! But the same incident, it must be confessed, 1^ 
is still claimed by New Orleans, where it is recalled | 
with a vividness that has not been suffered tois 
become dull during the two centuries of brilliant li' 
functions that no doubt succeeded it.* 

The dainty Sevres sugar bowl, that was passed! 
with the black coffee on this or a similar occasion, \ 
is still preserved and shown by one of the most* 
charming descendants of the Marigny family. She 
remembers, as if she had seen them herself and not;(^ 
through the eyes of a grandmother, the captivating! 
manners of the young Princes during their threeEJi 
months' visit to the city and their pleasant socia- 
bility with the ladies of Society, whom they visited 1' 
in the great lumbering Marigny carriage of thai 
time, with the nimble black footmen jumping downf^ 
to unfold and fold up the hanging steps when the/ 
august young men descended and ascended. 

But in all that is related about this glorious society v 
event of the past, and of the charming Princes and! 
beautiful Creole ladies, there is, strange to say, no\ 
hint or suspicion of a romantic episode. For once: 
poetry and romance abstained from intermeddling^ 
in the affairs of youth, and Cupid stayed his handl 
which is, let us acknowledge with all sincerity, to} 

* Bernard was once asked about the truth of a similar story. Itf 
was said that a lady, having dropped a coin on the floor at a cardJ 
I)arty, ho had lighted a five-dollar bill as a taper in looking for it.:, 
He replied: "I know I have been a fool about money; but I waas 
never fool enough to burn i' "' V 



f 



MARIGNY DE MANDEVILLE 21 

the honor of Madame de Genlis and her system of 
education. 

When the Princes took their leave, they were 
escorted to the Balize by numerous friends and by 
their host, who added to his other royal generosities 
the loan of a royal sum of money (to which, it is 
said, Enoult de Livaudais, his son-in-law, as gener- 
ously and imprudently contributed). 

Pierre Philippe de Marigny, the magnificent and 
courtly citizen, died in 1800, two years later, at Fon- 
tainebleau. His body was transferred in state to 
the home of his kinswoman, Madame Don Andres 
Almonaster, whence it was interred in the Cathedral, 
according to his funeral notices, tacked, as was the 
custom, on the door of the Cathedral or the corners 
of the streets. One of them has been preserved. 

"Messieurs et Dames: 
"Vous ^tes pri^s d'assiter au convoi et k renterrement de feu 
M. Dn. Pedro de Marigny, Colonel de milice, d6c6d6' cet apr^s 
midi, h une heure, dans sa maison. 

"L'enterrement se fera demain k 7 heures du matin. Son corps 
sera expos6 chez Madame Dn. Andres Almonaster. 
"Nouvelle Orleans, ce 14 Mai 1800. 

"Un de Profundis S. V. P." 

His name is the last one recorded on the family 
tombstone in the Cathedral. 
He left five children: 

(1) Antoine, born in 1773. 

(2) Jean, born in 1781, died without issue. 

(3) Bernard, born 1785; his godparents were 
the high and mighty personages, Xavier 
Delfau de Pontalba, and F^licit^, Comtesse 
de Galvez. 



22 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS \ 

(4) Marie Celeste, baptized February 2, 1786; i 
her godparents were Etienne de Bor6 andl!^ 
Celeste Macarty, wife of Governor Miro.j 
She married Jacques Enoult de Livaudais.N 

(5) Antoine, born in 1787; no issue. || 

i! 



I 



CHAPTER III 
BERNARD DE MARIGNY 

IT was the third child of Philippe Bernard Xavier 
de Marigny de Mandeville, who represented the 
family during the last century; and who is the hero 
par excellence of New Orleans^ social traditions ; who, 
we may say, was to the Marigny family what the 
final bouquet is to a pyrotechnical display. He, more 
than any of his family or men of his time, is responsi- 
ble for what we call to-day the Creole type; originat- 
ing the standard of fine living and generous spending, 
of lordly pleasure and haughty indifference to the 
cost; the standard which he maintained so bril- 
liantly for a half century, until, even to-day, one 
receives, as an accepted fact, that not to be fond of 
good eating and drinking, of card playing and pretty 
ladies; not to be a. fin gourmet, not to be sensitive 
about honor, and to possess courage beyond all 
need of proof is, in sober truth, if such a truth can be 
called sober — not to be a Creole. 

It was a standard that required the greatest for- 
tune Louisiana could produce to maintain it. It 
ravaged the great wealth of Marigny himself, and 
ruined many and many of the old families who tried 
to follow in his aristocratic footprints and who 
arrived at poverty as Bernard did but without the 
prestige that distinguished him to the end. The 
handsome furniture, cut glass, porcelain, jewelry — 
the real lace, and delicate bric-a-brac of all kinds 

23 



24 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS ] 

I 

that have delighted the eye for decades past in the*^ 
antique shops of New Orleans, are indubitably rem- i 
nants of the wreckage of the fortunes that went to i 
pieces in the wake of the Marigny standard of living. 
And as in the course of two centuries the Marigny 
family intermarried only with the best families in the 
place, and, as we shall see, all of the old families , 
bear one or two of the Marigny names as the proudest 
fruit of their genealogical trees — the name has come ) 
to be in the city's estimation as sure a guarantee i 
of social prestige as it is of artistic beauty and gen- ! 
uine value when attached to mere objects of domestic \ 
use. : 

Elegant of manners, polished of tongue, fearless ij 
of opinions, Bernard was the kind of man that shone j» 
in conversation, particularly at the banquet table, 
sowing repartees and witticisms that have sprouted j 
ever since in the memory or imagination of his fellow 
citizens, until they have attained a growth and 
luxuriance of bloom out of all proportion to our 
powers of belief to-day. And it is always repeated 
with apparent conviction that the best and greatest 
number have been lost — as seems always to be the 
fate of good stories. Those who were born too late 
to know him have always regretted the lost oppor- 
tunity of meeting in person a hero who would have 
graced the Court of Louis XIV — or at least the pages | 
of Alexandre Dumas. 

Upon Pierre Philippe's death, his kinsman, de 5 
Lino de Chalmette, assumed the management of his 
vast estates and the guardianship of the fifteen-year- 
old Bernard. The latter charge proved not a light 
one for the staid and prudent godfather. The 
youth, indulged and spoiled, reared, according to 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 25 

local gossip, like some rich nobleman^s son, had from 
childhood known no other authority but that of his 
own will and pleasure. Precociously wild and 
extravagant, with unlimited wealth now at his com- 
mand, more was feared than hoped from his future. 

De Lino had recourse to the time-honored expe- 
dient, ever adopted by troubled guardians, of a 
change of environment. He sent his ward to Pensa- 
cola, and placed him there under the care of the 
great millionaire merchant, Panton, of the historical 
firm of Panton and Leslie, whose commercial trans- 
actions at the time amounted to a virtual monopoly 
of the Indian and European trade of the southern 
portions of America. The young Creole, however, 
was given such a handsome allowance of money 
and liberty by his tutor, and he made such good use 
of it for his own pleasure, that he soon scandalized 
the austere Scotchman and Protestant, Panton, who 
returned him after a short experience to New 
Orleans. 

But Chalmette had still another resource whereby 
he hoped to make a staid business man of his charge. 
He sent him to England, and placed him under the 
care of Mr. Leslie, the resident partner of the firm 
in London. Two anxious letters* on the subject 
by Chalmette have survived in a mass of Panton 
family correspondence. 

He writes frankly to Mr. Forbes, a member of the 
firm, who apparently had intervened in the affair: 

"The friends who have informed you unfavorably about the 
young man, have not misled you. He has been guilty of irregu- 
larities of conduct, errors caused rather by his youth than by 

* Obtained through the courtesy of H^loise Crozet, a descendant 
of Mr. Panton. 



26 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS f j 

corruption of heart. Besides, at the time he was under the guidance ' 
of a most respectable father, but one full of weak indulgence toward 
him which contributed not a little to his ill conduct. I have made | 
him understand your fears about introducing him. He feels them J 
sensibly. But his expressions and his increase in age, his promises ij 
to me, and his good conduct since the death of his father, are strong :, 
reasons for me to hope that he will become one day, an agreeable j 
and intelUgent member of society." i 

i 

Some days later he writes: ■ 

"1 am writing to Mr. LesUe acquainting him with the character j 
of the young man. I am giving him full power to place him in the ' 
college or seminary he selects as the most proper. I also leave to ! 
his will all that pertains to his clothing and small expenses. In fact, ' 
I make over to him all the authority I have as his tutor, approving , 
in advance whatever measures he may adopt in regard to him. I 
tell Mr. Leslie also, that if the 1200 gourdes (dollars) that I have | 
settled as Bernard's pension for the first year, do not suffice, I pray , 
him to supply the deficit, and so to advise me that I may return 
his advances." 

He explains: 

"According to what information I have been able to gather from 
different persons here as to the expenditures necessary to obtain a 
good education, lodging, food and small pleasures for a young man 
in Louisiana or London, I am assured that twelve hundred dollars ■ 
will suffice to procure comfortable ease. He must keep within it 
the first year at least . . . Bernard knows all this and seems 
disposed to fulfil my desires. 

"Db Lino, April 29th, 1808." 

Later he thought of increasing the allowance 
to two thousand dollars, whenever Mr. Leslie assured 
him that the young man was making good use of the 
money, for it would be dangerous for him to pos- 
sess large means in a city which offered so much 
temptation as London. 

Introduced into the best society by Mr. Leslie, 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 27 

who himself was connected with old and aristocratic 
families of Scotland and England, even with the 
Gordons then shining in the luster of their luminary, 
Lord Byron, Bernard de Marigny gained in London 
much in the way of the English polish of manners 
of the time. He gained also the fine fluent use of 
good English that distinguished him through life, 
although his accent remained amusingly bad. (In 
social life and with his family, he spoke only French.) 
Of business methods, however, he learned naught 
that was profitable. In short, he made so many visits 
to Paris, spent money so lavishly on his pleasures, 
and his pleasures increased so alarmingly in moral 
and financial cost, that his alarmed tutor recalled 
him in 1803 to the bosom of his family. 

His portrait at this time represents him with 
the clean-shaven, handsome face of the full-blooded 
young EngHshman of the day, dressed with the fop- 
pery of a dashing young fellow; his eyes, large and 
handsome, bespeaking intellect; his handsome mouth 
and full lips showing the devotion to the good things 
of life which he always professed, to which indeed 
he showed a lifelong fidelity. His figure was sym- 
metry itself; he was about five feet ten inches tall 
and admirably proportioned. 

Gayarr^, his cousin, gives this glimpse of him: 

"One day as our family, seated on the front piazza, was enjoying 
the balmy atmosphere of a bright May morning, there came on a 
visit from New Orleans, M. de Bora's favorite nephew, whose name 
was Bernard de Marigny. He was one of the most briUiant and 
wealthiest young men of the epoch. He drove in a dashing way up 
to the house in an elegant equipage drawn by two fiery horses. 
Full of the buoyancy of youth, he jumped out of his carriage and 
ran up the broad steps of the brick perron that ascended to the 



28 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

piazza. As he reached the top of it, he said, with a sort of famiUarity, 
"Bonjour, mon oncle, bonjour!" 

Marigny was at this time eighteen, and master of 
himself and of his fortune. A most favorable occa- 
sion for the employment of both was at hand. 
Louisiana was to be transferred back to France. 
M. de Laussat was sent to New Orleans, with the 
title of Colonial Prefect, to represent France and 
receive the province from the Spanish Commis- 
sioners. He brought a letter of introduction to 
Bernard Marigny from Delfau de Pontalba, who 
suggested to his young kinsman to tender the use 
of his house to the French Commissioner. This 
advice was at once acted on ; and de Laussat, his wife 
— ''a woman of remarkable beauty and wit,'^ as 
Marigny describes her, two young daughters, his 
staff of four officers and his secretary were all enter- 
tained in this great house on the levee, in which 
Philippe de Marigny had entertained the Royal 
Princes. 

Bernard proved the equal of his father in bounte- 
ous hospitaUty, and surpassed him in the brilliancy 
of the fetes given in honor of his guests. He him- 
self was tendered a seat at Laussat's table as well 
as entree to his salon, and he became one of the 
intimates of the circle. 

He participated in Laussat's anxiety over the delay 
of General Victor's arrival with the army to take 
military possession for France, and was a witness of 
his extreme disappointment when he received the 
order to cede the province with as brief delay as 
possible to the Commissioners of the United States. 
The courier who brought the dispatch was a dashing 
young French officer named Landais who, charged 
to avoid the usual route and conveyance from 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 29 

Washington, rode at full speed through the Indian 
territory to New Orleans. 

Preparations were at once begun for the ceremony 
of the cession and the fetes and entertainments to 
celebrate the event were renewed and prolonged. 
Salcedo, the Spanish Governor, who was old and 
infirm, wished to defer the ceremony until he had 
heard from his government, but Casacalvo, the 
Commissioner sent by Spain to assist him, '^a man 
of no ability,'^ says Marigny, was anxious to return 
to his family and interests in Cuba, and hastened the 
preparations. 

At both ceremonies of cession, Marigny, at Laus- 
sat's request, acted as his aide-de-camp; but ar- 
dently American in sympathy, as soon as Louisiana 
was given over to Claiborne, he volunteered on the 
staff of General Wilkinson. He remained in active 
service until 1808 when, on account of the fatal ill- 
ness of his wife, he sent in his resignation. Her 
death, he says, ^'closing the political career that 
might have been his.'' Nevertheless, with confident 
intrepidity, he afterward entered into poHtics, 
embracing the principles of the Democratic Party, 
of which he remained a faithful partisan through 
life. At the time of his death, it was said that for 
fifty years no Democratic mass meeting was held to 
be complete that was not presided over by Bernard 
Marigny. In 1804 he married Mary Ann Jones, 
daughter of Evan Jones, a wealthy Pennsylvanian, 
for a time American Consul in New Orleans, and of 
Marie Verret, of a fine old Creole family. 

Mary Ann Jones died in Philadelphia, June 4th, 
1808; her body was transferred to New Orleans, 
August 4th, 1808. She was interred in a new 
sepulchre, built by her husband, in a corner of the 



80 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

garden on his plantation, the lot and tomb having 
been previously blessed by the reverend Father 
Antonio de Sedella. 

By this union were born two children: 

Gustave Adolphe, born in 1808, was killed in a 

duel and left no issue. 
Prosper Frangois de Marigny, who died in 
Natchez in 1836. He married his cousin, 
Marie Celeste d'Estrehan. (His widow re- 
married Mr. Alexander Grailhe, a barrister.) 
They left two children : 

Gustave Philippe, who married Elmina 
Bienvenu; and Marie Odile, married 
Alphonse Miltenberger. 
About 1809 or 1810, he remarried Anne Mathilde 
Morales, daughter of Don Ventura Morales, former 
Spanish Intendant and Royal Contador, unenviably 
known to history for his intrigues against the Ameri- 
can Domination, until Governor Claiborne forced his 
retirement from the city and States. 

His courtship of Anna Mathilde Morales is 
thus related by one who heard the original account 
of it: 

Arriving in Pensacola, Marigny went to a ball where his atten- 
tion was soon attracted to the most beautiful woman in it. He 
expressed his admiration and asked her name. His informant 
thought proper to warn him: "You will meet trouble." "That's 
what I like!" answered Marigny lightly, and at once engaged the 
young lady to dance, and made himself agreeable to her the rest of 
the evening, to the exclusion of her other admirers. 

The next morning he received seven challenges, "I cannot fight 
all at once," he answered, "but I will meet one every morning before 
breakfast, until all are satisfied." His first opponent fell with a sword 
thrust through the body. The other six professed themselves 
eatisficd and made their apologies: "We see that you are a man of 
courago and honor." Marigny obtained without further opposition 
the hand of the beautiful young lady. 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 31 

Morales was reputed to have hogsheads filled with 
gold in his house ; the hogsheads, as described, were 
found in his house — but they were not filled with 
gold! 

In 1810 Marigny was elected to the Legislature. In 
1812 he was elected a member of the first Constitu- 
tional Convention of Louisiana and, although the 
youngest of its members, he took no small part in 
framing the Constitution that ruled Louisiana for 
thirty-three years. He always fought frankly and 
squarely on the side of the Louisianians and against 
the increasingly aggressive partisanship of the 
Americans. 

In this first Convention took place the historic 
effort by the Americans to change the name of the 
State to Jefferson. It was a proposition warranted 
to inflame the Creoles to the point of frenzy, and it 
did so. Marigny relates that one of the members, 
Louis de Blanc de St. Denis, declared that ''if such 
a proposition had any chance of success, he would 
arm himself with a barrel of powder and blow up 
the Convention!'' 

In 1811, at what is still considered the most 
important marriage ceremony that ever took place 
in the city, when the Baron de Pontalba (the son of 
Marigny's godfather) was married to Micaela 
Almonaster, daughter of the Spanish Alfarez Real, 
the historic benefactor-of New Orleans, Marigny, act- 
ing as the representative of Marshal Ney, the disting- 
uished friend of the Pontalbas, gave the bride away. 

A few years later de Pontalba proposed a more 
personal connection between his friend and the 
great Marshal. Among the papers found on Ney 
at the time of his arrest, was the following letter 
written by de Pontalba to Marigny: 



32 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

"Paris, 11th July, 1815. 

"You know, my dear Cousin, the attachment that my son and 
I have felt for a long time for M. Mar^chal Ney, Prince de la Moscou. 
Circumstances are sending him to New Orleans. He has chosen that 
part of the world from what I have told him of the liberty that one 
enjoys there and of the kindly and hospitable character of its 
inhabitants. 

"Among them I have distinguished you, my friend, and it is to 
you that I am sending him, being confident that you will render 
him all the services in your power. See about an establishment for 
him according to the desires that he will communicate to you. Be 
assured that I will be much more grateful to you for anything you 
can do for him than if you did it for myself. You will be the first 
person he will see on arriving. I have insisted he shall land at 
your home, because I know he will find there a good welcome and 
full liberty, 

"When you know him you will see that he is the most modest 
and simple of men. If he sees that his presence is causing you any 
embarrassment or expense on his account, he will leave you to go 
to a tavern. Receive him then with the greatest simplicity; act 
as if he were not in your home. He will arrive in the sickly time 
in the city. I wish that you would obtain his consent to pass this 
time in the country. I am very certain that you will make the 
strongest insistence upon this, but I am afraid he will resist, if 
in a few days he sees that his presence is leading you into extra- 
ordinary expenses, as happened when upon my recommendation 
you received M. de Laussat so splendidly. 

"In the meantime, my friend, and after he has become acquainted 
with the place, you will see about procuring for him a house, in the 
country near the city; I need not tell you how to go about this. 
I know you well and am very certain you will know how to meet 
all his desires. St. Avid will second you with all his power. You 
will not have forgotten that it was you who were charged by 
M. le Mar6chal to represent him on the occasion of the marriage 
of my son . . ." 

"PONTALBA." 

Archives Nationales. 

Procedure de M. le Marichal Ney. 

de la premiere Div. Militre 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 33 

In another letter to his nephew St. Avid, Pontalba 
writes : 

"I pray you my dear nephew to join Marigny in rendering to 
Mar^chal Ney, Prince do la Moscou, all the services that you can." 

Five months after these letters were written the 
Marshal was executed. 

At this time, 1814-1815, Marigny was acting as 
Chairman of the Committee of Defense, charged by 
the Legislature to place the entire resources of the 
State at the disposition of General Jackson. He 
was one of the party of distinguished citizens who 
assembled to meet and welcome the General at 
his landing place on the Bayou St. Jean. Marigny 
thought that he should have had the honor of enter- 
taining the great soldier during his stay in New 
Orleans. 

"My name," he writes rather bitteriy, "was not unknown to 
him; he had very recently been the guest of my father-in-law, 
M. Morales (in Pensacola), who made known to me the desire of 
the General to stay with me, and it would have been infinitely 
agreeable to receive him. , . ." 

But a more pushing aspirant usurped what it 
almost seems was the right of a Marigny. Jackson 
arrived at Bayou St. Jean and the Mayor made his 
speech of welcome. It is worth while repeating 
what Marigny writes further about the reception: 

"The rain was pouring down; all present were wet, muddy and 
uncomfortable ; but the Mayor (given to singing madrigals to persons 
in power) assured the General that the sun is never shining more 
briUiantly than when you are among us!" 

At the Battle of New Orleans, Marigny distin- 
guished himself by his courage and activity. It is 
noteworthy that the glorious victory was reaped 



34 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

on the fields of the plantation of his Uncle de Lino de 
Chalmette.* In 1824 he supported General Jackson 
for President not only with his usual fiery eloquence, 
but also, perhaps more effectively, with force of arms. 
He was an ardent dueUst and an expert with sword 
and pistol, and he has been credited with fifteen or 
more encounters. 

His two duels in later years with Mr. Grailhe, the 
distinguished barrister, live with amusing distinct- 
ness in the memory of old friends of Marigny to-day. 
Grailhe married the widow of Marigny's son and 
made too free with her property. Bernard, the ever 
ready champion of the ladies, challenged him, and in 
the duel that followed shot or thrust Grailhe through 
the body, giving him a wound that resulted in a 
bend forward which made him walk, in local par- 
lance, ''doubled up." At his second duel with 
Grailhe, provoked by the same cause, Bernard told 
his seconds nonchalantly: 'This time I shall try to 
straighten him." He shot or thrust him, in truth, 
in exactly the same place as before; and Grailhe 
did lose his bend forward, but gained a bend 
backward that made him even more conspicuous 
than before! 

In 1825, when General Lafayette came to the 
United States and accepted the invitation of the 
people of Louisiana to visit their State, Marigny was 
selected to make the speech of welcome in French, 
and his family was the only private one that was 

*Bernard Marigny 's "Reflexions sur la Campagne du G6n6ral 
Andr6 Jackson en Louisiane," New Orleans, 1848, is the best 
account we have of the preparations made to meet the enemy 
before the battle; and of the ensuing episode. — Library of Louisiana 
Historical Society. 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 35 

visited by the General during the visit. Marigny 
says that he knew Lafayette well in France in 1822- 
1823, and that the General thanked him for having 
suggested that he visit the United States. 

In 1827, when General Jackson paid his memorable 
social visit to New Orleans, accompanied by Mrs. 
Jackson, General Carroll and his wife, and General 
Houston, they all stayed with Bernard Marigny, 
who, as he says ^'was able to give them some pretty 
entertainments.'' 

His second marriage not proving a happy one, 
he passed more and more of his time at his father's 
old summer home of Fontainebleau, on the northern 
shore of Lake Pontchartrain, not for the sake of 
the seclusion and quiet it offered after the excite- 
ment of American politics and financial specula- 
tions, but for the greater Hberty it granted for the 
enjoyment of his favorite pleasures — the table and 
convivial intercourses with friends. Here it is that 
his standards of both enjoyments attained a height 
of perfection that has resulted in his gastronomic 
apotheosis in Louisiana's traditions and romance. 

A more favorable spot for the pleasing of an 
epicure can hardly be imagined; a beautiful lake ever 
rippling under gentle breezes, or scintillating at the 
hour of dinner with the glitter of the setting sun; a 
white beach shaded by magnificent oaks, draped 
with hangings of moss; luxuriant flowers disposed 
like jewels on the green sward; hedges of Cherokee 
roses; vines of wild honeysuckle; the illimitable pine 
forest behind, fragrant and balmy, traversed by slow- 
meandering bayous; the forests teeming with game, 
the bayous and lake with fish. For service he had a 
retinue of accomplished, devoted slaves and a luxu- 



36 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS \ 

nous city was within easy reach to draw upon for J 
wine. What could a crowned head ask for more? i 

He entertained at Fontainebleau with the exquisite j 
generosity all his own, that allows no self-question-' 
ings save such as concern the comfort and pleasure i 
of the guests. A paradise for an epicure and fori 
Bernard de Marigny! It is not surprising that ' 
pleasure-loving friends from New Orleans flocked ; 
to Fontainebleau as pilgrims to a shrine; and withi 
more confident assurance of the results than pious ; 
pilgrims ever enjoy. i 

There they found grassees that fed on magnolia ! 
berries; turkeys fattened on pecans; papabotse 
and snipe kept until they ripened and fell from their i 
hangings; terrapin from his own pens; soft-shellli 
crabs from the beach; oysters fresh from his owm, 
reefs; green trout and perch from the bayous; sheep- | 
heads and croakers from the lake; pompano, red ; 
fish, snappers from the Gulf; vegetables from his owti j 
garden; cress from his own sparkling forest spring; ;i 
fruit from his orchard; eggs, chickens, capons from., 
his own fowl yard. These, with sherry, madeira, i 
champagne, and liqueurs, were the crude elements s' 
of repasts that he combined into m^nus that Brillat •[ 
Savarin would have been glad to have composed. 

It is not surprising that the little town of Mande- 
ville is as redolent of good cooking as some other', 
little towns elsewhere are of religion and piety, for ! 
Fontainebleau had begotten the most beautiful, most 
charming, picturesque little lake shore town without 
doubt in the United States. The weary citizen of 
New Orleans can still find there seclusion, cool 
breezes, green shade of century-old oaks draped 
with moss, a lovely view, and liberty of enjoyment, 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 37 

in the good cooking as not the least of its attrac- 
tions. 

The boon of this unique and precious little town, 
the State, or rather the city, owes to Bernard de 
Marigny. 

He it was who, during the early years of the cen- 
tury, conceived the idea of purchasing land along 
the lake shore and forest adjoining Fontainebleau 
until sufficient had been acquired for his purpose. 
He was inspired to make a town as poets are inspired 
to make a poem. He gave himself over, as a poet 
should, to his muse, and she, as a muse should, con- 
fided herself to him. Nature and art lent themselves 
kindly to the enterprise. Streets were made, trees 
were planted, lots were placed on sale, with an eye 
fixed rather to avoid undesirable additions to the 
community, than to secure financial profits. Public 
buildings were provided for, bridges built, a church 
and a market hall duly erected. Above all, a town 
government was instituted that eliminated, as 
far as mere human supervision could, the corrupting 
influence of American elections. In short, such as 
the little French town is to-day refined, elegant, yet 
simple — it left Bernard de Marigny's hand in 1830. 

His congenial friend John Davis, an Emigre from 
St. Domingo, and known to all as the famous impre- 
sario of what is always called the ^'celebrated Orleans 
Theatre,'' was associated wdth him in the Mande- 
ville enterprise which included the employment of a 
steamboat to make the daily trip from New Orleans 
to Mandeville. Davis is also thanked (at Mande- 
ville) for bringing thither the renowned cook, Louis 
Boudro, from Paris (with the other artists, lyric and 
dramatic, engaged for his theatre). Other cele- 



38 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

brated chefs followed Boudro in the course of years 
and by way of insuring the perpetuity of the town's 
culinary celebrity, they became in time the hotel 
keepers of Mandeville. 

Marigny's continual financial extravagance, how- 
ever, and the depreciation of his city property, 
produced their inevitable results. The clouds that 
later darkened his life began to gather, but it is to 
this period of his life that belongs the most famous ; 
adventure in it — the one that is always remembered 
first in New Orleans when his name is mentioned. 

In 1830, when his own fortunes were ebbing, those 
of his father's old guest and friend, the Duke of 
Orleans, reached their flux with his ascension to the 
throne of France as King Louis Philippe I. He 
promptly showed his recollection of past favors by 
sending to his New Orleans friend ; de Marigny, with 
whom he had kept up a faithful correspondence, the 
conventional French royal token of appreciation — 
a beautiful dinner service of silver, each article bear- 
ing a portrait of the royal family. In a cordial letter 
(which is still in existence) the King invited Bernard 
to pay him a visit. This was not to be declined and 
Marigny, with his young son, called ''Mandeville,'' 
went forthwith to Paris and to the Tuilleries. They 
were received in the palace with open arms according 
to their highest expectations. They were presented 
to the Royal family and given seats at the family 
table. In fact, the Creole hospitality of yore was 
returned with Creole cordiality. Bernard, after six 
months of the King's hospitality and Court life, 
made his reappearance in New Orleans, perhaps with 
the satirical smile that usually accompanies the 
narrative as told by his friends. The King had 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 39 

returned to the son every obligation he owed to 
Philippe de Marigny, save the one debt of honor — 
the princely sum of money that had been loaned to 
him! 

But with paternal friendship, he offered to pro- 
vide for the future of young Mandeville by placing 
him, for military education, in the Academy of St. 
Cyr, which assured him an officer's rank in the 
French Army. The offer was c-ccepted. Mandeville 
was sent to the Academy and in a few years gained 
his rank as lieutenant in a cavalry corps of the 61ite. 
All should have gone well with him but, according 
to the chronicler,* who seems to speak from personal 
knowledge, the young Creole, accustomed to the 
activity and rough exercises of hunting and fishing in 
Louisiana, soon tired of the monotonous military life 
in France during a peace, ruffled only by an acri- 
monious feeling against the American Republic 
which expressed itself in uncomplimentary remarks 
in public places. He became involved in a duel on 
this account, which necessitated his retirement from 
the army and his return to his own country where he 
was received with acclamation as a hero. With the 
exception of his father he was the handsomest man 
in the city; the most gallant ^'beau" in society. A 
perfect cavalier, he had brought with him from 
France the beautiful charger presented to him by the 
King, upon which he was fond of displaying himself. 
His father, who prided himself also on his horseman- 
ship, was wont to look upon his son's equestrian 
feats with a cold eye. One day, after a brilliant 
exhibition by Mandeville, Bernard remarked coldly 
that he could do the same. 

* Castellano's "New Orleans As It Was." 



40 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Mandeville instantly dismounted and, with a low 
bow, handed the reins to his father with a courtly 
''Montez, mon pere.'' No sooner said than done. 

But Bernard had not seated himself in the saddle 
before the horse promptly threw him to the ground. 

Bernard never forgave his son the ''trick/' as he 
considered it. 

Mandeville married Sophronia, daughter of Gover- 
nor Claiborne. He entered the Confederate Army 
as Colonel of the Tenth Louisiana Volunteers and 
served in Virginia. The Confederate Government, 
however, recognizing his high military fitness, 
assigned him South to organize a force of cavalry. 

He survived his father and, through a long life of 
poverty, maintained an unimpeachable reputation 
as a man of courage and honor. 

This adventure or experiment over, Marigny 
fared on through middle age, as he had through 
youth, shrugging his shoulders at ill fortune and not 
troubling his digestion about what might betide 
him or those who came after him. His separation 
from his wife became permanent; his daughters 
married ; his sons, smaller than he, went their smaller 
way. 

Marigny was re-elected to the House or Senate 
successively until 1838. The truth of what he said 
of himself in a political pamphlet, printed in Paris 
as early as 1822, has never been contested, and is 
borne out by the rest of his political career: 

"Ten years of my life have been sacrificed to public affairs; and 
no one doubts that this has cost me considerable expenditures. 
These expenditures I have borne, for I have never solicited or 
obtained a lucrative office. I have contributed my efforts that my 
compatriots should not be entirely dispossessed of their language, 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 43 

their customs, their laws. I possessed an immense fortune, whereas 
now it barely amounts to the value of one of the four inheritances 
that I successively received; and I think I may claim that the use 
I made of them has always been honorable, by my household 
standards as well as by the assistance I have been able to give 
to the needy; to the poor mother of an indigent family, and to 
unfortunate strangers. Have they not always found me willing 
to tender a helping hand?"* 

The allusion to his waning fortune is to be ex- 
plained by other reasons than those mentioned. 
The natural antagonism between the American and 
Louisianian citizens of New Orleans developed into 
the fierce rivalry of business competition between 
the American quarter (the Faubourg St. Mary) and 
the Creole quarter (the Faubourg Marigny) ; between 
the ''uptown" and the ''downtown" ideal of pro- 
gressiveness. It was a purely financial struggle. 
Marigny, as the most prominent among the Creoles 
and the largest landowner in the city, was the natural 
leader of the Creoles; but he and they, with their 
antiquated principles, were as children before the 
keen-witted Americans — trained to perfection in 
the skilled manipulation of municipal patronage for 
private profit. 

In the fight New Orleans was rent into three dis- 
tinct parts or municipalities, each one with its own 
Board of Aldermen, but all imder one Mayor and 
Council. Marigny protested with might and main 
against this rendition of Solomon's judgment. What 
he foresaw, happened; the Faubourg St. Mary be- 
came, as he called it, "the spoiled child of the Mayor 
and Council, the object of their tender affection," 

*This statement is borne out in every particular by Bernard 
Marigny's constituents. He was, according to their belief, the 
most generous and charitable, as well as honorable of men. 



44 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

and grew with amazing rapidity into the beauty and 
prosperity of an enterprising American city, pulsing 
with Western blood and energy; while the Faubourg 
Marigny, motionless and inert, still lay, like a sleepy 
bayou, on its own outskirts. 

The motive power of the development in the 
American quarter was supplied by the genius of two 
men, great in the history of New Orleans : an Ameri- 
can, Samuel Jarvis Peters, and an Englishman, 
James H. Caldwell. They introduced gas and water- 
works, paved the streets and built hotels in the 
American city, and improved its quays along which 
the flatboats from the West, gorged with produce, 
tied up three deep to unload their rich cargoes into 
vast warehouses.* 

We are told by an American narrator that Peters, 
who lived in the vieux carr6 with his auxiliary and 
co-worker, Caldwell, had originally selected the 
Creole Faubourg as the field for their civic improve- 
ments, but it happened that the old Faubourg was 
virtually owned by that proud Creole princehng, 
Bernard de Marigny. Being informed of the plans 
to beautify his domains by the building of a first- 
class hotel, a large theatre and the laying out of 
handsome paved streets as well as warehouses, 
cotton-presses, gas and waterwork plants, etc., 
to make it a commercial and social center. Mon- 
sieur de Marigny finally consented to dispose of 
his vast estates for a fabulous price. The act 
of sale was finally drawn up, but when purchasers 
and vendor met on the appointed day in the notary^s 

* "Autobiography of Samuel Jarvis Peters, by George C. H. 
Kemion." Publications of Louisiana Historical Society. Vol. 
VII, 1913-14. 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 45 

office to sign the deed of transfer, Madame de 
Marigny failed to put in an appearance, and as 
her signature was necessary, on account of cer- 
tain rights she possessed in the property about to 
be sold, the deal could not be consummated without 
her. Trembling with rage at this unexpected and, 
as he believed, premeditated disappointment, Mr. 
Peters, after soundly berating Monsieur de Marigny 
for his breach of agreement, finally exclaimed: ^'I 
shall live, by God, to see the day when rank grass 
shall choke up the gutters of your old Taubourg'!'' 
His prophecy was, unfortunately, ultimately fulfilled. 

Marigny's rapier did not leap from its scabbard, 
as might have been expected ; for in another version of 
the affair that comes down to us, he had upon reflec- 
tion decided, with characteristic arrogance and 
obstinacy, to build up his own Faubourg himself, 
and make a Creole city of it that would outshine 
forever the American one. He would suffer no 
usurpation of American ^ 'genius^' in his own munici- 
pahty, and thus the refusal of his wife to sign the 
deed gave color to Peter's suspicion that it was a 
ruse of Marigny's own invention. A suit filed shortly 
afterwards, however, by his wife for the restitution 
of her paraphernal rights, exonerates him from the 
suspicion of bad faith, and gives as the reason why 
Madame de Marigny did not sign the deed that she 
wished to protect her own rights. 

Marigny made an attempt to fulfil his ambitious 
schemes. The great Marigny property was cut into 
streets to which he himself gave the pretty names 
Poet, Love, Good Children, Port, Moreau, Piety 
(but the original of this was a friend, Piet^), Enghien, 
Craps (from the game of cards to which he was 



46 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS ] 

addicted), Bagatelle, Desire. The pretty names are 
all that survive of his scheme; which his evil for- 
tunes, and not his will, prevented his carrying to a 
success. 

The losing of this golden opportunity brought him 
almost to the verge of unpopularity with his fellow 
Creoles. Although he had served his party well 
and had been sent to the State Legislature in 1817, 
acting there as President of the Senate, he was, 
unfortunately, not elected when he was nominated as 
candidate for the position of Governor of the State. 
''A Creole for Governor!'^ had been his slogan in 
every gubernatorial contest. He claimed that it was 
owing to him that Viller6 was elected to succeed 
Claiborne, and added with caustic wit, when Robert- 
son succeeded Viller^, ''He will be succeeded by Mr. 
Johnson'^ (as he was) ''and Virginia will be exhausted 
before another Louisianian is made Governor in his 
country.'' 

His last public service to Louisiana was in the 
Constitutional Convention of 1845, when, as he says, 
he defended the great Democratic principles of 
universal suffrage and free public education, and 
when also, he made his speech in defense of Pierre 
Soul6, that contains the ever-memorable rebuke to 
Judah P. Benjamin which sounded the death knell 
of American exclusiveness in Louisiana. No politi- 
cian has since then reopened the question that 
Marigny settled forever. 



1 



"Sir," he luldrcssed Mr. Benjamin, "contrary to all parliamentary 
usage you call upon the other distinguished member from New 
Orleans, Mr. 8oul6, and ask him, 'Sir, suppose you had been placed 
at the head of an anny to meet in deadly combat your own country- 
men. Could you, would you have done so?' Sir, I tell you that 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 47 

you have inflicted upon him an unjust provocation; and I give 
you distinctly to understand that I take up the glove in his behalf; 
and Sir, I trust that you will not complain of my not being a native 
of the country, since I descend from those ancient warriors who 
conquered the country, and here represent six generations of 
Louisianians. 

"Fortunately for me, all your fine quotations are lost upon me. 
I never read any of those works which are supposed to make a 
logical man. But, Mr. President, I am one of those who, looking 
at things as they are, feel myself able to meet the emergency of 
the hour, and to accord my political acts to the political needs 
of my country. But, Sir, I ask you by what right do you expect to 
disfranchise in 1845 those who have rights guaranteed them in 
1812? Sir, I tell you, I, Bernard Marigny, tell you that you are, 
after all, nothing but the servant of the people — nothing more, 
nothing less; presume upon your authority, and they will soon 
bring j'ou to a just appreciation of their power over you, and it 
would not at all surprise me, if they were to obstinately persist at 
the very next election in selecting a Governor from the very men 
whom you are now so anxious to exclude. The laws of the country 
recognize no distinction between one class of citizens and another. 
Is there any principle of free government, any principle of repub- 
licanism, to sanction such a pretension? They say that a naturalized 
citizen is not to be entrusted with the power we confer upon our 
Governor. What, Sir, is the power of that Governor, compared 
with the power we are administering now?"* 

W. H. Sparks, who served with Marigny in the 
Legislature, says that his wit and satire were hia 
most dreaded weapons, and ridicule was his forte. 
Mr. Sparks gives the following incident: 

At the end of the heated debate on the question of cutting New 
Orleans into three municipalities, during which Marigny had 
exerted himself to the utmost to protect the city and himself against 
the disaster, as he saw it, Marigny was observed passing around 
among his friends a squib containing the following lines: 
"Sparks and Thomas Green Davidson, 
Rascals by nature and profession." 

• De Bow's Review, 1846. 



48 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

A day or two later Sparks read to a group of his friends his 
quite Dufficient retort. It begins: "Dear Marigny," but concludes 
with: 

"A warmer heart or weaker head, 
On earth, I own, I never met. 



And on your tomb inscribed shall be 

In letters of your favorite brass 

'Here lies, O Lord! we grieve to see 

A man in form, in head an ass!' " 
Marigny heard the reading, arched his brows and, without 
speaking, retired. An hour later he came to Sparks and said: 
"Suppose you write no more poetry? I shall stop. You can call 
me a villain, a knave, a great rascal, every great man has had that 
said about him. Mr. Clay, Mr. Webster, General Jackson, all have 
been called so. You can say that; but I tell you. Sir, I do not like 
to be called an ass!" 

"He was the aggressor," continued Sparks, "and though offended, 
was too chivalrous to quarrel. He had fought nineteen duels and 
I did not want to quarrel either."* 

The last remnants of the great riches that Mar- 
igny inherited were lost by him. In scriptural 
language, his fortune took wings and flew away, as 
fortunes always do; unless, as Marigny says of cer- 
tain rich men of his day who kept their wealth, 
''they were born dead, since they never knew how to 
Hve/' 

When he was nearing seventy years of age, he 
wrote in self-defense against the sneering accusation 
of poverty and printed a pamphlet for private 
circulation :t 

"To my fellow citizens: 

"The calumnies," he says, "of which I have been the object for 

♦ "The Memories of Fifty Years."— W. H. Sparks, 1870. 
t "Bernard Marigny 's h. scs Concitoyens." New Orleans, 1853. 
Pamphlet in T. P. Thompson Collection. 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 49 

some time, the epithet of 'old fogy,' thrown at me by certain 
individuals, force me to give to the public the following facts." 

He enumerates his services to the State in a very 
modest and moderate vein, and then follows his 
private explanation; a story of financial loss and 
failure, only too well known in Louisiana ; a road to 
failure well trodden by sugar planters in the past. 

"Certain persons," he writes, "have often asked the question: 
'How did Mr. Marigny lose the fortune he possessed, of five or six 
hundred thousand dollars?' The answer to the question is as easy 
to make as to understand — it disappeared under the influence of 
events and circumstances which I could not control. In 1839, 
Messrs." (he names five gentlemen) "undertook the estimation of 
the value of my possessions, an estimation I judged necessary at 
the time of my departure for France. The amount of my fortune 
was fixed by these gentlemen at nine hundred and fifteen thousand 
dollars. My debts then amounted to three hundred and twenty 
thousand dollars, two hundred and eighty thousand of which repre- 
sented a debt to the Citizens Bank. I rallied my resources and asked 
for longer terms from my creditors, for I thought I could re-estabUsh 
my fortune. I had a sugar plantation and a brickyard, but to 
develop the sugar plantation I needed to construct buildings, dig 
canals, provide equipments, and put in necessary machinery. To 
meet such great expenses, crops were needed. They failed in conse- 
quence of a crevasse in 1850, followed by another in 1851. That 
is not all: bricks fell to their lowest price" (he owned a large brick- 
yard which he worked with his slaves,) "and the price of sugar* 
was reduced from two and a half to three cents the pound. 

"On this the Citizens Bank announced to me that if I did not 
decide to sell the plantation, they would seize it. I was, therefore, 
forced to sell at a very moderate price. The Citizens Bank, naturally 

*A cause of the financial distress in Louisiana was the tariff 
which had depreciated the value of American sugar in proportion 
as the duty had been reduced on the foreign article. In 1837, 
one hundred and thirty-six sugar plantations were given up; 
numerous bankruptcies followed. Lands could no longer be sold; 
fortunes based on them fell even more suddenly than they had 
risen. — Annals of Louisiana. 



60 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

took possession of all the products cf the sugar house and of the 
brickyard. 

"Calculating upon a fine crop in 1851, which I could have made 
if it had not been for the crevasse, counting also upon an office 
(that of Mortgage and Conveyance), whose commission did not 
expire until February 10th, 1855, I had contracted a debt of eight 
thousand dollars in order to put my stigar house in a condition 
to work profitably. But my hope was disappointed. 

"In 1851 the crops failed. There remains to me, therefore, to-day 
only my office, which, as I have explained, expires in 1855. I have 
still a few slaves, but their value is partly covered by the (para- 
phernal) rights of Madame de Marigny, and the returns from their 
hire pays the taxes and expenses of her house. As for my other 
property, it barely covers what is owing to the Citizens Bank." 

The site of the great Marigny canal on Champs 
Elys^es, which in colonial days had fed a sawmill 
that poured gold into Pierre Philippe's coffers, was 
bought by the Pontchartrain Railroad. Fontaine- 
bleau went from Marigny and all his land in Mande- 
ville, with the exception of one small house, which 
still enjoys local fame as the last residence of the 
whilom Lord of all Mandeville, to which he would 
still come from New Orleans seeking recreation and 
refreshment. 

Estrangement from his wife was followed by 
estrangement from his children and grandchildren; 
the friends of his convivial days decUned with his 
fortunes. He retired to an apartment in one of the 
houses which he could still claim as his own (French- 
man Street, near Royal, still standing), a plain three- 
story brick building kept by a colored housekeeper. 
And here, in sight of the great mansion of Pierre 
Philippe de Marigny, his father, where he was born, 
and where took place the great and stately entertain- 
ments that made the name of Marigny famous in the 
past, in two rooms furnished with remnants of his 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY - 51 

old furniture, the portraits of his ancestors on the 
wall; on the sideboard, the silver service presented 
by Louis Phihppe, afterwards sold to the mint by 
weight, he passed his days like some old sailing 
vessel, its stormy voyages over, safe in the harbor. 
In this seclusion he penned his pamphlet, ^'Bernard 
]\Iarigny a ses Concitoyens," in 1853. It concludes 
wdth the lines: 

"Nearly seventy years old, with no fortune whatever, I ignore 
the destiny that awaits me. However painful it may be, I will 
support it with calm and resignation." 

In a postscript he adds : 

"Believing it to be my duty, before descending into the tomb, 
to make known the results of more than forty years of minute 
research into the history of my country, I announce to my readers 
that I am at present writing a work, already well advanced toward 
completion. Its title will be 'Reflections upon the History of 
Louisiana, \mder France, Spain and the American Government.' " 

The w^ork did not advance beyond a sketch, which 
w^as published in pamphlet form in 1854. It bears 
the following dedication: 

"To the Honorable Members of the General Assembly of Louisiana. 
"Gentlemen: 

"Unforseen vicissitudes having deprived me of a considerable 
fortune, I have been compelled to abandon the pohtical career 
which had been to me pecuHarly attractive. Consigned to an 
office (mortgage and conveyance) where my duties require my 
presence, I have devoted a few hours of my leisure to a work which, 
I trust, will at least show my attachment to my native land of 
Louisiana, as well as my devotion to the United States of America. 
This work is dedicated to the General Assembly of Louisiana. Be 
pleased, gentlemen, to accept it as a humble pledge of my patriotism. 
"I remain with respect, 
"Your obt. servt., 

"Bernard Mariqny." 



52 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

It closes with words that cannot fail to touch the ! 
hearts of a Louisianian, or indeed of any lover of a 
''good sport" of the old-fashioned kind. 

"Having nearly attained the age of seventy, having lost my 
fortune and independence, it is an arduous task which I undertake. 
Reader, I solicit in advance your indulgence in view of the motives 
which renovate my strength and make me almost forget my troubles. 
I venture to hope that Providence will aid me, and that my moral 
energies will not be wanting. I also hope, my beloved countrymen, 
that you will say at some future day: *We have read the work of 
old Bernard Marigny — we have recognized therein his patriotism.' 
To noble hearts the native land is ever dear!" 

This tender commitment of his work to posterity 
stays the hand of a Louisiana critic, which would not 
if it could dissect it coldly, any more than it would 
use the scalpel upon the body of an ancestor. 

A prettier historical legacy than ''old Bernard 
Marigny 's" to his countrymen has rarely been made. 
Well may Alcee Fortier declare that it was received 
with almost fihal respect.* 

Beginning with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, 
1748, he explains, in his shrewd personal way, the 
causes of the American Revolution, and the subse- 
quent political evolution of the United States, its^ 
growth in power and in moral influence. He urges 
the annexation of Cuba, for reasons contained in his 
statistical study of the island. Strange to say, as 
Fortier remarks, although writing only seven years 
before the Civil War, for all his political wisdom, he 
did not foresee the bloody chasm that lay across the 
path of his country. He was confident, he says, 
that the compromise of 1850 had allayed the pas- 
sions of the United States. 

•Louisiana Studies. 1894. 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 53 

In his relation of Louisiana history, he "drank of 
the brook in his way," and he passes the refreshing 
draught on to his readers. The faded documents 
in the archives of the Louisiana Historical Society, 
that historical students study to-day, he knew prac- 
tically in their Uving form. From Bienville to 
Aubry, from Ulloa to the old and infirm Salcedo and 
Casacalvo, *'the man of no ability, '^ he knew every 
man of importance, either from his own personal 
intercourse with them, or as they lived in the memory 
of his father or of his father's father. 

The preliminaries of the cession of Louisiana was 
fresh in the minds of men whom he knew in France 
and New Orleans. He was a familiar of Laussat; 
Lafayette was an old friend, and so were Jackson and 
Henry Clay and Sam Houston. 

Marigny relates among other personal reminis- 
cences, a conversation held with Louis Philippe in 
1837, when the King, addressing him as "mon cher 
Bernard," asked his opinion about the political 
condition of Texas, and whether the new republic 
would be able to withstand the army of Mexico. 
Marigny responded that the King, who had traveled 
all through the United States and knew its power 
and population, was well able to answer his own 
question ; but he gave his reasons for believing in the 
future of Texas as a member of the Union. The 
King listened attentively and observed to him: 
"What you say is very reasonable." The RepubHc 
of Texas was shortly afterwards recognized. 

"Louis Phihppe," comments Marigny, "was a 
wise and enhghtened King. I have seen but few 
men who entertained a greater admiration for our 
institutions and high opinionare of the American 



54 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS ^ 

people. Louis was really a man, under the garb of 
royalty; he was a republican King." 

The Louisiana Assembly passed a vote accepting 
his historical sketch, and ordered one thousand 
copies printed; five hundred in English and five 
hundred in French, for which M. de Marigny was to 
be paid one dollar apiece. 

Marigny lost his office in 1855, and thenceforth 
lived on the crumbs of his former possessions, selling 
here and there small pieces of property that had lain, 
as it were, unnoticed at his feet. Having lost all, 
he had nothing more to lose in the Civil War. In his 
humble home he escaped the rude hand of the Mili- 
tary Governor of the city that fell so heavily upon 
his descendants, and the descendants of his friends 
and the relatives about him. He has left no record 
of himself during these hard years of the war, nor 
of the harder ones of reconstruction that followed 
the war. The breaking up of old ties; the inroad of 
strange men and strange measures; the wrecking of 
old estates and of hopes, old and new, left him appar- 
ently, for once in his life, speechless. 

He passed his evenings in the congenial circle of 
the family of the son of his old friend, Governor Clai- 
borne, where he devoted himself, as he had devoted 
himself through life, to the ladies; amusing them with 
his good stories, his wit and his puns. Occasionally 
he recited for them, in the fine manner learned in 
France from Talma, in his youthful days, always 
choosing some beautiful lady to address as queen. 
Never sad, never complaining, ever the polished, 
courteous, dignified old French nobleman of the old 
r6gime, who for all his gay wit and persiflage was 
never known to speak lightly of religion, or its sacred 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 55 

practices. He dressed as simply as any citizen of 
moderate means, but he always wore broad silver 
buckles on his shoes. 

The handsome residence of the Claibornes faced 
Washington Square, the ground which Marigny 
had presented to the city; its lower boundary was 
the Champs Elys6es, named so fancifully by him in 
the days when his ideas were fanciful and poetical. 

After his evening visit, accompanied always by the 
young son of the Claiborne family (now Judge 
Charles F. Claiborne), he would skirt Washington 
Square and cross the Champs Elysees and wend his 
way a block further on to his home on Frenchman 
Street, talking to his youthful friend of his old days 
and sowing many a good story in the fertile, appre- 
ciative mind. Always lively and interesting, he 
never let fall, how^ever, a word or hint relating to his 
writings or to any serious preoccupation. 

Of a morning or afternoon, he loved to saunter up 
Royal, Chartres, or Bourbon Streets, which held 
the houses so full of gayety and pleasure to him in the 
past, and which must have lain in his memory, like 
some fine opera; with beautiful scenery, gallant 
actions, charming actresses, lovely figurines, fascina- 
ting dancers. 

In old days he always rode in a carriage, now he 
went on foot, sometimes essaying an omnibus. It is 
related that he never found an omnibus driver who 
would accept fare from him. ''No! No! M. de 
Marigny, not from you!'^ 

In passing a house, if he heard a piece of music 
beautifully played on the piano inside (one heard 
such playing then oftener than to-day) he would stop 
and listen. Music held him in bondage in old age as 



56 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

in youth. Then, mounting the little wooden steps, he 
would knock on the door or ring. When the servant 
opened the door: ''Say it is M. de Marigny." He 
would enter without ceremony and sit in a chair, 
making a sign to the pianist to continue, which she 
was glad to do. M. de Marigny! Whom would 
any woman rather play to? 

Men would stop on the streets to look at him; 
''old Bernard Marigny!" a relic of Colonial Days, 
walking the streets, at ninety! Handsome, active, 
erect, with intellect clear and vigorous, manners 
courtly; the hero who, in current parlance, could 
throw away thirty thousand dollars on a bagatelle, 
but who would never consent to bring a lawsuit 
against a fellow citizen. 

So, on the 4th of February, 1868, in his usual 
gayety and friendliness, on his daily promenade, 
greeting those who saluted him with kindly cor- 
diality, his foot tripped on the pavement. He 
stumbled and fell heavily, striking his head. Death 
ensued almost instantly. 

His body was conveyed to his apartment on 
Frenchman Street and there, in the habiliments for 
the grave, Bernard de Marigny was laid underneath 
the portraits of his family and his royal friends. "It 
was impossible,'' writes the reporter who chronicled 
the event for a daily paper, "to gaze unmoved upon 
the aged form, the last of the Creole landed aris- 
tocracy, the representative of the strength, the 
follies and wealth of a passed generation, one who 
knew how to dispose of a great fortune with con- 
temptuous indifference.'' 

In cold, inclement weather, next day, the funeral 
took place. An extended line of carriages headed 



BERNARD DE MARIGNY 57 

the long and imposing procession which, passing 
Washington Square, slowly proceeded up Royal 
Street. It stopped not at the Cathedral, as ex- 
pected, but went out to the old St. Louis Cemetery 
to which the tomb of his first wife had been trans- 
ferred. 

People on the sidewalk looked with solemnity 
upon the hearse that carried him who for seventy- 
five years had represented without a rival the life, 
gayety, wit, polish, refinement and luxuriance of 
society; who, for all his wealth in youth, died poor 
yet left behind him nothing to put a stain upon his 
proud escutcheon! 

He once wrote an epitaph to be placed on his 
tomb and confided it to a friend, but when the time 
came to use it, the friend could not find it. He could 
only remember that it was well written and charac- 
terized by originality, simplicity and wit; not osten- 
tatious nor self-flattering. The epitaph was never 
found, nor the other valuable reUcs and papers left 
by him. 

His will, dated July 8th, 1865, contained the fol- 
lowing requests: 

"I ask that my body shall be placed iu che tomb of my first wife, 
in the old cemetery facing the Carondelet basin; that a tomb with 
two compartments be made there of brick, plastered with cement. 

"My grandson, Gustave de Marigny, is the head of my family, 
being the son of Prosper de Marigny, by my first marriage with 
Maria Jones. My testamentary executor will remit to him my 
family portraits, the engravings representing the Orleans family, 
all ray family papers, the letters of my ancestors, and correspondence, 
particularly with the Duke of Orleans, who became King Louis 
PhiUppe, and the letters of that King." 

By his union with Mathilde Morales, Marigny 
had five children: 



58 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

*(1) Antoine James (known as ^^Mandeville" 
Marigny; born 1811, died 1890. He mar- 
ried Miss Sophronia Claiborne, daughter of 
Charles Cole Claiborne, first American 
Governor of Louisiana. She died in 1890. 
The three children born to them died with- 
out issue. 

(2) Rosa de Marigny; born 1813, married to 
M. de Sentmanat, of Mexican fame. They 
had three daughters; one married Nelvil 
Soul6, son of Pierre Soul^; the other mar- 
ried Allain Eustis (descendants living in 
Europe); and the third married Philippe 
Villere, no issue. Rosa de Marigny re- 
married, in 1832, Enould de Livaudais; no 
issue by this marriage. 

(3) Angela de Marigny; born 1817, married 
Mr. F. Peschier, Swiss consul in New Or- 
leans. They had several children; one of 
the daughters married Leon Joubert de 
Villemarest of New Orleans. 

(4) Armand de Marigny. 

(5) Mathilde de Marigny; born 1820, married 
Albin Michel de Grilleaud, son of the 
French consul of that name in Louisiana. 
Descendants are living in Europe, where they 
still enjoy the highest social preeminence. 

By the death of Prosper de Marigny, great-grand- 
son of Bernard de Marigny and Mary Jones, his 
first wife, in Mandeville, 1910, the name of Marigny 
became extinct in liouisiana, where it had held 
sway for over two hundred years. 

•Biographical and Genealogical Notes concerning the family of 
Philippe dc Mandeville, Eciiyer Sieur de Marigny, 1709-1910. 
J. W. Cruzat. Louisiana Historical Society Publications, Vol. V. 



CHAPTER IV 
BAYOU ST. JEAN— THE DREUX FAMILY 

IT may be remembered that on Iberville^s first 
reconnoissance of the Mississippi River in 1699, 
he stopped at a landing reconmiended by his Indian 
guides and was conducted over a short path to a 
Httle bayou which floated their pirogues to the lake, 
where, in truth, Iberville could see his ships in the 
distance. This incident decided the site of the future 
city on the Mississippi, the guiding star of Iber- 
ville and, later, of Bienville's ambitions. 

Bienville in course of time adopted this shorter 
route from the lakes to the river, in preference to 
the longer and somewhat dangerous journey through 
the mouth of the river. From his name, Jean, the 
useful little bayou received its name of St. Jean, and 
when the city was founded some years later, it was 
by this back door, as it were, that new arrivals 
entered it. 

This was the road that Le Page Du Pratz was ad- 
vised by Bienville to take when he came to locate 
his concession for a farm. His ship anchored at 
Dauphin Island,* and he says that as soon as the 
Te Deum had been sung, in thankfulness for the safe 
voyage, the passengers and their effects were landed. 
In a few days he found means of transportation and 
hastened the departure of his party *Vith as much 
joy as diligence.'* 

* "Sieur de Bienville." Grace King. 

59 



60 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

His boat followed the gently curving line of the 
Gulf Coast, passing Pascagoula, Biloxi, Bay St. 
Louis, leaving Horn Island, Ship Island and Cat 
Island behind them on the left — the usual and always 
beautiful itinerary of the sununer yacht. Going 
through the Rigolets, camping en passant on the 
Isle k Coquilles, he entered Lake Pontchartrain. 
Pointe aux Herbes and Bayou St. Jean dropped 
behind them; Bayou Schoupique, which was guarded 
by a fort, received them. The boats ascended until 
they came to an old village of the Colapisas, *'the 
nation of those who see and hear,'' where they found 
Jean Lavigne, a Canadian, estabUshed. Dupratz 
sought the location he desired; not there, however, 
but on the Bayou St. Jean, a half league from the 
capital. 

The Bayou St. Jean offers the visitor to-day the 
same attractions that induced Le Page Dupratz to 
stop on its banks, with the soft placid aspects of its 
shores; the easy, somnolent serenity of its tranquil 
waters, too tranquil to show a current; the drooping 
willows hanging over it; the sturdy oaks standing 
on the high land behind them. The scenery woos 
the eye and speaks to the heart to-day, as it did 
then; and, as in Dupratz's time, it charms home 
seekers into preferring its beauty to a more profitable 
venture financially in the city. The sky may not be 
bluer overhead there, foliage may not be greener, 
flowers not bloom more spontaneously — but they 
seem so to the denizen of New Orleans, who loves to 
leave the streets and their car lines behind him, and 
wander along its quaint, pleasant paths. 

The concessionaires on Bayou St. Jean throve from 
the very beginning, and became noted as much for 



BAYOU ST. JEAN— THE DREUX FAMILY Gl 

their wealth as for their air of aristocratic supremacy. 
Their houses were the first to show a pleasing devia- 
tion from the absolutely plain structures in the city. 
They were built with two stories, and of brick laid 
between heavy posts, ''briquette entre poteau,^' as it 
was called then. 

By the end of the century, visitors were taken out 
on the Bayou St. Jean Road, to see the handsome 
villas there and their gardens. During the summer 
citizens were wont to go there for fresh air and 
bathing — incredible as it may seem to-day. Tradi- 
tion says that the waters were then clear and limpid, 
showing a firm white sand bottom; the bottom of the 
bayou is now soft mud, the stagnant waters are dark 
and have an evil repute for producing malarial fever. 

In the Census of 1726, Bayou St. Jean is men- 
tioned as an "embarkation to reach Biloxi, Pasca- 
goula and Mobile.'* It numbered of masters 23, 
servants 6, slaves 10, horses 6, cultivated tracts 154. 
The neighboring village, Gentilly, settled at the 
same time, had gone far ahead in its prosperity. 
It numbered of masters 21, servants 50, slaves 40, 
horned cattle 139, horses 11, cultivated tracts 291. 

The authors of this prosperity, the "Sieurs de 
Gentilly, '* as they were called, were the locally 
celebrated brothers Mathurin and Pierre Dreux. 
Their names are seldom met separately. The record 
of the family, still carefully preserved, begins bravely 
with the name of the Comte de Dreux, fifth son of 
Louis VI of France (1108-1113) and quietly 
travels down across the names of Kings of France 
and Dukes of Brittany, through centuries, until 
it comes to the Marquis Dreux-Breze, Grand Master 
of Ceremonies under Louis XVI, to whom was ad- 



62 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

dressed Mirabeau's thundering answer, ''Go and tell 
your master that we are here by the will of the peo- 
ple, and will leave only by force of arms !'' 

The Louisiana branch of the family begins with 
Mathurin Dreux, born in 1698 at Savigny, Province 
of Anjou, France; son of Louis Dreux-Breze and 
Frangoise Harant. He emigrated to Louisiana in 
1718, during the period of inflation by the Company 
of the West. According to family tradition, he was 
one of the men who accompanied Bienville, when he 
actually landed on the site of New Orleans. It is 
said that he directed the clearing away of the forest 
and alignment of the streets; and that he signed the 
Proces Verbal, sent to France by Bienville. 

Like other friends of Bienville, and like Bienville 
himself, he obtained, ''in recognition of his serv- 
ices, '^ according to the accepted formula, a large 
and valuable concession of land, to be located by 
himself. 

He did not, however, follow Bienville's example 
and select a location for plantations, either above or 
below the future city. With a shrewder eye for 
business, he chose a tract richly wooded, lying along 
the Bayou St. Jean, and extending over a ridge that 
rose from the flat land and ran like a fortification 
across the rear of the city. It was the highest land 
in the region, well above the constant danger of over- 
flow from the Mississippi or from the bayou when 
flooded by the waters from the lake ; a tract of land 
that to this day maintains its reputation for beauty, 
salubrity and fertility.* 

* Mctairie Ridge, as it is known to-day, is the truck farmers' 
locality. A portion of it at present is Gentilly Terrace, the most 
beautiful of the suburbs of New Orleans. 



BAYOU ST. JEAN— THE DREUX FAMILY 63 

Here Mathurin Dreux was joined by his brother 
Pierre. The two became partners and engaged in 
the business of cutting timber, making bricks and 
raising cattle — enterprises that at that time offered 
a sure road to wealth. Their own forests furnished 
the timber, their soil the clay for bricks, their clear- 
ings the pasture for the cattle, and their slaves the 
labor needed. 

The place was called Gentilly from home senti- 
ment (Gentilly being a Commune in the Depart- 
ment of the Seine) and in a few years the brothers 
became known as the Sieurs de Gentilly, and are so 
designated in official documents. 

In 1732, according to the Cathedral archives, 
"Mathurin Dreux, inhabitant of Gentilly, an officer 
of militia of this province, son of Louis Dreux, citizen 
of Savigny Anjou, and of demoiselle Frangoise 
Harant, native of Savigny, diocese of Anjou, and 
demoiselle Claudine Frangoise Hugot, daughter of 
the deceased 'garde magazin general of the con- 
cessions of Monseigneur LeBlanc' and of Frangoise 
Martin, widow of Sieur Moriset,'^ received the 
nuptial benediction in the Parish Church. 

In the year following, 1733, Pierre Dreux, desig- 
nated also as an officer of militia, was married to 
demoiselle Anne Corbin Bachemin, daughter of 
Jean Corbin and Anne Marie Judith le Hardy, 
natives of St. Malo, parish of St. Lawrence. Only 
the immediate relatives signed the record. 

The two brothers occupied a joint home — a hand- 
some house with spacious rooms and galleries^, sur- 
rounded by gardens. It was for a century the show 
place of New Orleans, to which all strangers were 
conducted. Laussat, in 1800, writes that he was 



64 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

taken out on "Bayou Road, the fashionable drive 
of the city." 

The further life of the two brothers follows the 
uneventful history of the happy and prosperous. 
Living in a style of stately independence, and main- 
taining an attitude of aristocratic supremacy over 
what was virtually their seigneurie Gentilly, the 
large family did not apparently become involved in 
any of the political complications that troubled the 
serenity of life in New Orleans. Perier, Vaudreuil, 
Kerlerec, followed one after another in the govern- 
ment; the Natchez massacre, which, like an earth- 
quake horror, shook the colony; the Chickasaw war, 
the retirement of Bienville to France — there is no 
trace of these events in the records of the family that 
have been preserved. Neither the heroic, daring 
revolution against the Spaniards nor the fighting of 
1815 counted the name of Dreux in any of their 
gatherings and proceedings. 

The name, in fact, is to be found only in the record 
of the marriages of the six children, and of their 
children into the great families of the province. 
Frangois, the eldest son, married a de Lorme. 
Gentilly, a Bermudez. 

Guy, a Beauregard, the great-aunt of General 
Toutant Beauregard. Guy's second wife was 
F61icit6 Trudeau de Longueuil. 
Frangoise Claudine, the eldest daughter, mar- 
ried the Chevalier Soniat du Fossat. 
Jeanne married Robin de Logny. 
Charlotte married Jean Gabriel de Fazende. 
Their daughter became the wife of Jacques 
Philippe Viller6, first Governor of Louisiana. 
On the death of Mathurin, in 1718, his extensive 



BAYOU ST. JEAN— THE DREUX FAMILY G5 

estate was divided among his children, and in the 
course of two generations the great fortune of the 
Dreux, like that of the Marigny and the Livaudais, 
became subdivided into insignificant fractions among 
their descendants. 

Guy, the youngest son, was maintaining the brick- 
yard in 1796, when de Pontalba, as he mentions in 
his letters to his wife, visited it and bought from 
Guy five thousand bricks, at eleven dollars per 
thousand. De Pontalba mentions the gay parties 
that used to make pleasure excursions to the Dreux 
plantation at Gentilly; and he always pauses, in 
his letters, to pay his compliments to the ''Widow 
Guy Dreux,'' the most beautiful, charming and 
agreeable lady in the city. Before her marriage 
she was r^Ucit6 Trudeau de Longueuil. 

The military spirit, however, of the descendants 
of *' Louis the Fighter" was dormant only, not 
extinct, in the Louisiana branch. It awoke to glory 
and to fame in 1861, in the person of Charles Didier 
Dreux, the son of Guy Dreux and L^ontine Arnoult, 
and grandson of Didier Dreux and Mathilde Enould 
de Livaudais (daughter of Jacques Frangois Enoul 
de Livaudais and Marie Celeste de Marigny). 

Charles Dreux answered the first call of arms made 
by the Confederate Government, three days after 
the surrender of Fort Sumter. He left New Orleans 
for the battlefield as Lieutenant Colonel of the 
Louisiana Guard Battalion. Three months later, 
at Young's Mills, Virginia, he fell at the head of his 
command, with the words on his lips, ''Steady, boys! 
Steady!" 

He was the first Confederate field officer killed 
during the war. His body, brought to New Orleans, 



66 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

was accorded a funeral that has passed into history 
as Louisiana's tribute to her first dead. The children, 
who were taken by their parents to see the funeral 
procession, have grown old and white-headed, but the 
memory of the martial music, the draped flags, and 
solemn files of soldiers in gray uniform, the flag- 
draped coffin, has never grown old or hoary. Many 
a child's heart passed from the innocent security of 
childhood at that hour into the full mature reahza- 
tion of what is meant by war, sorrow, country, 
patriotism and heroism. 

Charles Dreux is described by those who knew him 
as a man of great personal magnetism; brilliant, 
eloquent, dashing. His picture shows him to have 
been, indeed, truly noble if not royal in appearance. 
His widow, on the fall of the city to the Federal 
forces, sought refuge in Havana, where their only 
child died. A brother of Charles Dreux, Pierre f 
Edgar Dreux, who married Celestine Sanchez, was 
also killed in battle during the first years of the Civil 
War. 

The name, transplanted from France over two 
hundred years ago, still maintains its freshness and 
vitality in New Orleans, contributing its quota tO'[ 
census and directory. The proud lineage still runs 
straight, connecting the old families of the past with 
those of the present. The descendants of Mathurin 
Dreux are to be met to-day in society and the busi- 
ness world, under the names of Beauregard, Dugue, 
Verret, de la Vergne, Livaudais, Jumonville, Destr^- 
han, Fazende, Viller6, LeBreton, D616ry, and Soniat i 
du Fossat. 



CHAPTER V 
A ROMANCE OF THE BAYOU ST. JEAN 

OTHER settlers besides those of flesh and blood 
have given their name to the pleasant country- 
side of the Bayou St. Jean. Gayarr6 relates a 
romance, which the historians make a place for in 
their narratives, and which is still repeated by all 
guides. It deals with Charlotte, the beautiful 
daughter of the Duke of Brunswick, a paragon of 
virtue, beauty and talent, who was married to 
Alexis, the son of Peter the Great, after she had 
given her heart to the Chevaher d'Aubant, an 
officer of her father's household. On the day of her 
marriage he received a passport and permission to 
leave the country. 
To continue, in Gayarr6's words: 

"Whither he went no one knew, but in 1718 he arrived in 
Louisiana with the grade of Captain in the colonial troops. Shortly- 
after this, he was stationed at New Orleans, where, beyond what 
was necessary in the discharge of his duties, he shunned the con- 
tact of his brother officers and lived in the utmost solitude. 

"On the banks of the Bayou St. Jean, on the land known in our 
day as the Allard plantation, there was a small village of friendly 
Indians. With the consent of the Indians, d'Aubant formed there 
a rural retreat where he spent most of the time he could spare 
from his military avocations. Plain and rude was the soldier's 
dwelling, but it contained, as ornament, a full length and admirable 
portrait of a female, surpassingly beautiful, in the contemplation 
of which d'Aubant would frequently remain absorbed as in a trance. 
Near the figure represented stood a table on which lay a crown, 
resting, not on a cushion as usual, but on a heart which it crushed 
with its weight, and at which the lady gazed with intense melancholy. 

67 



68 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS tf < 

This painting attracted, of course, a good deal of observation, but ; 
no one dared to allude to it. By intuition, every one felt that it 
was sacred ground, on which enquiry ought not to tread. \ 

"Where was all the while the Princess Charlotte, the gilded . 
victim of Imperial misery? One day, entering his wife's apart- , 
ments, her husband requested her to receive a female scullion of i 
her kitchen on whom he had bestowed his affections. She refused; | 
he, heated by the fumes of his deep potations, worked himself into >! 
a paroxysm of frantic rage, and with wild gestures and terrific I 
shrieks of a maniac, rushed upon her, and -svith repeated blows, ,' 
laid her prostrate on the floor, senseless and cold in apparent | 
death. 

"The Princess recovered from her swoon, and found herself alone I 
with her friend and bosom companion, the Countess of Koenigs- •! 
mark. Long did they discourse together in subdued tones. That ,' 
night the Countess of Koenigsmark entered secretly the Princess' ' 
room, and there was re-enacted that scene where Friar Lawrence ', 
counsels Juliet to feign death. The imperial funeral took place 'j 
according to the plan which had been laid; the whole of Europe i, 
was deceived. , 

"With the two hundred emigrants who had arrived in March, ,'■ 
1721, there had come a woman who, by her beauty and by that i 
nameless thing which marks a superior being or extraordinary ' 
destinies had, on her arrival at New Orleans, attracted public : 
attention. She immediately enquired for the Chevalier d'Aubant, ,: 
to whom she pretended to be recommended. She was informed that -i 
he was at his retreat on the Bayou St. Jean, and that he would*' 
be sent for. But she eagerly opposed it, and begged that a guide ii 
should conduct her to d'Aubant's rural dwelling. 

"It was a vernal evening, and the last rays of the sun were 
lingering in the West. Seated in front of the portrait, which we 
know, d'Aubant, with his eyes rooted to the ground, seemed to be 
plunged in deep revery. Suddenly he looked up — the dead was alive I 
again, and confronting him with eyes so sweet and sad, with eyes 
8o moist with rapturous tears, and with such an expression of con- 
centrated love as can only be borrowed from the abode of bhss 
above! What pen could do justice to the scene? SuflBce it to say 
that on the next day the Chevalier d'Aubant was married to the 
mysterious stranger, who gave no other name to the enquiring 
priest than that of Charlotte. In commemoration of this event, 



:t 



A ROMANCE OF THE BAYOU ST. JEAN 71 

they planted two oaks which, looking like twins and interlocking 
their leafy arms, are to this day to bo seen standing side by side, 
on the bank of the St. Jean, and bathing their feet in the stream, 
a little to the right of the bridge in front of the Allard plantation. 

"Certain it is, that although d'Aubant and his wife kept their 
own secret, and lived in almost monastic retirement, rumors about 
their wonderful history were so rife in the colony, and the attention 
of which they became the objects subjected them to so much un- 
easiness, that d'Aubant contrived to leave the country soon after, 
and went to Paris, where his wife, having met the Marshal of 
Saxe in the garden of the Tuileries, and being recognized by him, 
escaped detection with the greatest difficulty. D'Aubant departed 
for the Island of Bourbon, where he resided for a considerable time. 
In 1754, on his death, his widow returned to Paris with a daughter, 
the only offspring of her union with d'Aubant, and in 1781 she 
died in a state bordering on destitution." 

The painstaking, conscientious historian, Hanno 
Deiler, after quoting Gayarr^'s account, ends by 
saying of it: *'It is a pity to destroy such a pretty 
legend." Nevertheless he does so pitilessly. His 
cold-blooded investigations prove beyond a doubt 
that no such name as d'Aubant is to be met with in 
colonial documents. The marriage records of the 
St. Louis Cathedral between 1720-1730 register no 
such marriage. 

"The legend, therefore," says Deiler, "may be 
pronounced a myth, although Allard 's plantation 
is still pointed out as the dweUing place of the lovers, 
and the two leaf-locked trees by the bridge still 
bear witness to their happiness." 

Picket, in his "History of Alabama," claims the 
couple as residents of Mobile. Tschokke, the Ger- 
man novehst, places them on the Red River. But 
no fact in her history is so firmly believed by the 
romantic people of New Orleans as this lovers' tale, 
and their dwelling place has been assigned to various 
other locaUties favorable to the seclusion of true love. 



CHAPTER VI 
DE PONTALBA 

OF all the good old French names that her mother 
country contributed to New Orleans, not one 
has become so firmly rooted in the soil as that of 
de Pontalba. It has kept up so evenly with the 
growth of the city that it bids fair to become one of 
our most enduring landmarks. 

The family came originally from the old province 
of Quercy, the country of the Cadurci, as indicated 
by the patronymic Delfau, a corruption of Delfaon 
(beech tree) in the Romanic language.* Jean 
Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, the first of the name in 
Louisiana, came to the colony in 1732, at the age of 
nineteen, with the grade of ^'enseigne en second,^ ^ with 
the promise of promotion that would seem to stand 
for a certificate of friends in the best place for an 
officer to possess them — in the court or government 
circle. 

The colony at the time was what would be called 
to-day in a strenuous period of her history. Perier 
was closing, with doubtful honors, his campaign 
against the Natchez to punish them for their 
massacre of the French a few years before. The 

* From "Etats des Services du Sieur de Pontalba, Capitaine 
d'lnfanteric. Archives du Ministere de la Marine." Paris. 

De Pontalba was the name of a fief belonging to this family 
(in the environs of Higcac Depot); first assumed as a family name 
by the Louisiana officer. 

72 



DE PONTALBA 73 

Company of the West had just again ceded their 
charter to the King; P6rier was about to be recalled 
and Bienville was already selected to succeed him 
and take up again his old authority as Governor 
of the colony. Pontalba was at once ordered to 
the Natchez Fort, which was under the command 
of M, de B^nac. For a year he was busily employed 
learning something of Indian warfare for, as he 
wrote, the fierce, irreconcilable Natchez harassed 
the fort continually and kept the French on a con- 
stant pursuit of them. 

After Bienville's arrival the young officer was 
ordered to New Orleans, where he remained three 
months. In token of the terms upon which he stood 
with Bienville, we have the following endorsement 
by the Governor, in his official report of the French 
officers employed in Louisiana: 

"Pontalba has always conducted himself well; is intelligent, good 
looking, sensible, and attached to his profession. 

"(Signed) Bienville." 

During the two years following, Bienville was 
employed first in trying to detach the powerful 
Chickasaws from their alliance with the Natchez, 
and when this failed in preparing an expedition 
against them. Pontalba was stationed in command 
of the post at the Tunicas — the Baton Rouge post. 
^Vhen Bienville's armament was ready to proceed to 
Mobile, he and his garrison were ordered down the 
river to join it. 

The interest in Bienville's graphic account of his 
unfortunate expedition in the Chickasaw country 
culminated, as all who have read it remember, in 
the description of the attack of a picked company of 
one hundred and twenty-nine grenadiers under the 



74 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

command of de Noyan, upon the stronghold of the 
Acquia village. Pontalba figured in the list of officers 
who led the attack and made a gallant effort to 
rally the men under the deadly discharge of the 
hidden savages. Our chronicle contains a short 
extract from de Pontalba' s account of the expedition. 
The whole of it is a valuable addition to our archives, 
for we have only Bienville's report, or rather defense 
of it, and d'Artaguette's bitter arraignment, written 
in indignant grief over the cruel death in it of his 
young brother. 

The year following this campaign, de Pontalba 
was made the conunander of the post of Pointe 
Couple, one of the most flourishing settlements in 
the colony w^here, as Bienville, writing the same 
year, states, a hundred thousand pounds of tobacco 
were produced annually. 

Pontalba remained there twenty months, or until 
his services were needed in Bienville's second expedi- 
tion against the Chickasaws — the one by the way of 
the Mississippi. He was put under the command of 
de Const iliac, who was engaged in establishing a 
d^p6t at the mouth of the St. Francis River. He 
was sent twice into the Illinois country for provi- 
sions for Fort Assumption, and acquitted himself 
with such diligence that he accomplished the dis- 
tance in a space of time so short as to seem incredible 
to his contemporaries. 

When the futile campaign was ended by an un- 
satisfactory treaty with the Chickasaws, Pontalba 
came down to the city with the Governor; and two 
months later he obtained a leave of absence and 
sailed for France. Bienville's next report of the 
officer's serving in Louisiana recommended him for 



DE PONTALBA 75 

promotion with the annotation, however, affixed to 
his name: ''Has served very well; seems to have 
corrected himself his very marked taste for com- 
merce/' 

Pont alba remained in France for a year, and upon 
his return was sent by Bienville to the post of the 
Balize, perhaps to remove him from the temptations 
of again yielding to his mercantile inclinations. He 
remained at the Balize, however, only until Bienville 
departed from the colony and Vaudreuil arrived and 
took possession of it. He at once reappointed de 
Pontalba to his old post at Pointe Coupee. 

According to the marriage certificate in the Cathe- 
dral Archives we read that in New Orleans, on the 
4th of November, 1743, in the Parish Church, 
Messire Jean Joseph Delfau de Pontalba, Lieutenant 
of Infantry and Commandant of the post at Pointe 
Couple, son of Messire Frangois Delfau, Baron de 
Pontalba, Seigneur de Roquefort, Pontalba and other 
places, and of Dame Louise de Lombard (his father 
and mother natives of Montauban) was married to 
Dame INIarguerite Madeleine Broutin, daughter of 
IMessire Frangois Broutin, Captain of Engineers of 
the King in the province, and of Dame Marguerite 
Madeleine Lemaire, native of the province. The 
bride was, as we remember, the widow of Frangois 
Phihppe de IMarigny de Mandeville; her sister mar- 
ried Delino de Chalmette. 

Pontalba remained at his post of Pointe Couple ten 
years, serving the King and colony, doubtless with 
honor and with profit, but also to his own interest, 
according to gossip. Kerlerec relieved him from his 
position on account of the gossip, but stated explicitly 
that he, personally, did not believe it. 



76 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Pontalba's ten years^ administration at the post 
of Point e Coupee was signalized by great prosperity. 
In 1749, he was advanced to the grade of Captain, 
and in 1759 was made ChevaHer of the Order of St. 
Louis. He died in New Orleans in 1760. 

Joseph Xavier Delfau de Pontalba, the son of the 
foregoing and the New Orleans de Pontalba, as 
he may be called, was born in New Orleans in 1754, 
but taken at a very early age (presinnably upon the 
death of his father) to France, where he was educated. 
He entered the French Army at Sevres. Louisiana, 
having become a Spanish possession, his history 
diverges from it. He was twenty-eight years of 
age before he returned to his native city. To copy 
briefly his record in the ^ ^Archives de la Marine,'' 
he was named to the regiment of Montauban; four 
years later was transferred to the regiment of 
Guadeloupe; attained the grade of Lieutenant and 
later of Assistant Adjutant of the regiment; took 
part in the campaign of Ste. Lucie, Granada. He 
gained distinction at the siege of Savannah, his 
conduct being praised in the highest terms in 
written certificates from his commanders, the 
Baron Stredink, the Count d'Estaing, and the 
Marshal de Noaille, on behalf of his son the Count 
de Noaille, in whose division Pontalba served. 

Two years later, he figures as the hero in ''A duel 
in the army in 1797," of which elaborate details were 
collated from official documents by his great-grand- 
son, the late Baron Edouard de Pontalba (Paris, 
1904). It appears that the young lieutenant, sta- 
tioned then with his regiment in Martinique, too 
young, as he acknowledged, to know better, took 
upon himself to resent an affront which concerned 



f 



I 



li 
If 






DE PONTALBA 79 

in truth only his superior officer. In consequence, 
he was assaulted in the street by the enemy he had 
made and received three sword thrusts before he 
could defend himself. Bathed in blood, he was 
carried to the hospital, where he remained eight 
months. As soon as he was able to walk with a 
cane he left the hospital, determined to seek his 
adversary until he found him, which he did shortly 
afterw^ards in the street. He attacked him, but 
again fell w^ounded from a thrust in the side, his 
quick-footed foe making his escape. 

On the advice of his friends and to save himself 
from a civil prosecution, Pontalba sought refuge in 
Martinique and remained there until his wound 
healed, returning to his regiment more determined 
than ever to call his foe to account. But after 
searching for him for six weeks he learned that ^'X'^ 
(so the adversary is designated in the Lieutenant^s 
account) had returned to France. De Pontalba was 
disposed to let the affair rest there, biding his time 
for revenge until chance should bring him face to 
face with his opponent. But a letter from his 
superior officer, written in the name of all the officers 
of the regiment, assured him that his honor required 
him to pursue ^'X'^ to France. 

There was no avoiding the issue or the hint 
conveyed. De Pontalba obtained a leave for a year 
and hastened to France where, after diligent search, 
he found the man he sought and forced him to give 
satisfaction. 

A duel in form took place. This time the ad- 
versary was wounded in the right hand and, refusing 
to continue the fight with his left, promised on his 
honor, in the presence of the four seconds (officers), 



80 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

that he would meet de Pontalba on the same spot in i 
fifteen days. De Pontalba and his seconds awaited 
him punctiliously at the time and place appointed, j 
but the Sieur ^'X'' did not make his appearance, 
for he had left the country. Papers were drawn up 
and signed by the seconds, attesting the facts; and 
these, with certificates of what had taken place in 
Guadeloupe, were submitted to the Count de Genlis, 
Marquis de Sillery, Captain of the Gardes du Due de 
Chartres, who was the supreme French authority] 
at the time in questions of honor. This high officer, 
after careful study of the papers submitted to him 
and due consideration of the delicate affair, pro- 
nounced the decision that de Pontalba had acted as ' 
man of honor in every particular, and was entitled 
to the ^'esteem and friendship of his brother officers." 
De Pontalba was ordered to rejoin his regiment at ' 
Guadeloupe and resume his service. The fine im- 
posed upon him for his infraction there of the public ] 
peace was remanded. 

He retired from the army with the grade of 
Captain in 1782, and returned to Louisiana, casting 
his fortunes in with the Spanish Government. He 
was given a company in the native regiment of 
Louisiana, stationed in New Orleans, and later was 
made Colonel and Commandant of the Regiment des 
Allemands. 

In 1789, he was married to Jeanne Louise le 
Breton, daughter of Barthelmy le Breton des 
Charmeaux, Mousquetaire of the King, and of 
Frangoise de Macarty. 

Louise le Breton des Charmeaux des Chappelles 
came, as the old Creole ladies would say, from far 
back in Louisiana history. She was the grand- 



DE PONT ALBA 81 

daughter of de Noyan, Bienville's grand-nephew, who 
had married the daughter of Nicolas Chauvin de La 
Freniere, the glorious Louisiana patriot executed by 
O'Reilly. It may be remembered that, on account 
of his youth and his very recent marriage, the 
young man was offered a pardon and his life by 
the Spanish General, but he refused to abandon his 
companions and his father-in-law. La Freniere, 
whose last words were addressed to him. The 
young widow of de Noyan afterwards married Louis 
C^saire le Breton des Chappelles. Their son, Louis 
C^saire le Breton, married Louise Frangoise Ma- 
carty; and the daughter of this couple became the 
wife of Joseph Delfau de Pontalba. 

After his marriage Pontalba entered the service 
of Spain with the grade of Captain. Seven years 
of peaceful, happy life followed, the only important 
event of which was the birth of a son, Joseph 
Xavier Celestin de Pontalba (1791). 

The Pontalba family lived on their Indigo planta- 
tion outside the city facing the river where, following 
the example of thrift of their neighbors and friends, 
they drew their daily expenses from the profits of 
their garden and orchard, sending their filled-up 
baskets into the city every morning by their ven- 
deuses. These were selected from their choicest 
slaves — strong, straight, sturdy young women who 
could walk miles holding a heaped-up basket on 
their heads without wavering, and who never failed 
to bring back the full amount of their sales, keeping 
their accounts in their heads and their money in 
kerchiefs tucked in their bosoms. (We shall read 
later Gayarr6's description of them as he remem- 
bered them on the Bore plantation.) 



82 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS | 

Madame de Pontalba had been reared as a 
daughter by her aunt, Celeste Macarty, the wife of 
Governor Miro. When Miro was recalled to Spain 
in 1792 he left his private affairs to de Pontalba as 
to a son. In 1795 Miro died, and his wife fell into 
a state of despondency and ill-health so alarming 
that her niece was summoned to her side. Without 
hesitation on the part of either husband or wife 
Madame Pontalba made her preparations to hasten 
to Spain. She took with her the little five-year-old 
son — the apple of his father's eye — although the 
voyage was fraught with danger. She had never 
traveled out of the province before and the separa- 
tion seemed almost that of death. 

It is to this separation that we owe the prettiest 
document without doubt in Louisiana historical 
archives: this is the series of letters, or rather the 
letter- journal written to her by her husband during 
nine months, day after day, from the 24th of Feb- 
ruary, the day of her departure, to the 10th of 
November, when he announces that he is on the 
point of leaving and will in three months be reunited 
to her in Spain. The picture of perfect marital 
devotion and a man's virile expression of his gratitude 
to the woman who for seven years had given him, as , 
he writes, the enjoyment of the purest earthly bUss, 
would alone give to the letters a rare and unique j 
interest and make the reading of them an intellec- ' 
tual treat; but we are concerned here more in the 
other interest they offer us of the confidential and 
frank description of the life he led in his enforced 
widowhood. The incidental details fill out a com- 
plete picture of what in truth constituted New 



DE PONTALBA 83 

Orleans a century and a quarter ago ; its business, its 
diversions, its sorrows, its gossip and its truth. 

The collection as a whole is so perfect in its way 
that to detach a leaf of it is to pull out a petal from a 
beautiful flower. With the exercise of self-restraint, 
only what was necessary to satisfy natural curiosity 
has been detached. ^^Tintin" Celestin, the little son, 
flits Hke an iridescent butterfly through the letters. 
We can see the father's eyes soften and grow moist 
over his paper as he writes about him; and our own 
eyes grow moist as w^e think upon the great tragedy 
awaiting the father and son as the result of their 
passionate love, the one for the other. 

The personality and the family of the Baron de 
Carondelet, his wife and his little son, Angelito; his 
brother, the Abbe, who dies of yellow fever; the 
card parties at the Government house; the set of 
intimates who frequented them — all such personalia 
are new to the historian of Louisiana, and are pre- 
sented here for the first time in literature. The 
description of the insidious advance of an epidemic 
of yellow fever — the first epidemic that came to 
New Orleans — and, day by day, the tale of its 
casualties recall to the dwellers in New Orleans only 
an oft-suffered misfortune, the catastrophic details 
of which are limited only by what human nature 
can suffer. 

Pontalba describes the interesting young emigr6 
officer de Coigne, his brief appearance in the social 
fife of the place, his fever, his death; the beautiful 
and lively Madame de Riviere; the hospitable aunt 
de Macarty and her frolicsome parties; the other 
aunts, Madame d'Aunoy and Madame Jonchere; 



S4 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

the shrewd and cunning (as he calls him) Don Andres 
Almonaster and his pettish wife, Louise de la Ronde; 
his intimate friend, Philippe de Marigny (the splen- 
did host of the Royal Princes) and his scheming 
in a bargain to get ahead of de Pontalba (who 
showed himself not a whit behind him in money- 
making. 

We are told of the house-building for himself and 
Madame Miro; the buying and selling and hiring 
out of slaves, with the black cloud in the distance, 
but ever getting nearer, of a rising of the slaves, 
spreading from the insurrection and barbarous out- 
rages of the blacks in St. Domingo; the constant 
watchfulness of Carondelet to avert a repetition of 
the same in Louisiana; the secret, gnawing fear of it 
among the planters, and the consequent panic. And, 
as time goes, comes the infiltration of the rumor of 
a political change in Louisiana; the retrocession of 
the colony perhaps to France and in the end its 
probable domination by the United States. 

The enumeration of it all seems endless. Not a 
letter has been omitted without a pang of regret; 
every one is important. What has perforce been left 
out has been done so with the hope that some day, 
by the grace of some divine historical benefaction, 
all the letters will be published in the full series as 
de Pontalba wrote them. 

The first two weeks give the chronicle only of the 
days, the weeks of the wife's absence, of the lonely 
house, the desolate heart, the longing for news of 
what happens to the vessel. ^^What of his dear little 
love, Tintin? Does he talk of his father? Does he 
want to put his arms round his neck 'tighter, 
tighter,' to say good-night to him?" 



DE PONTALBA 85 

A few extracts from the journal follows: 

''13th March. — I have been passing my day planting strawberries. 
I did it to divert me from my weariness. I no longer have the 
passion for gardening that used to furnish all my amusement. I 
see now that you and our son were the end and aim of all my 
occupations. If I cared for the flowers it was in order to see your 
pleasure in gathering them; I really never enjoyed the beauty of 
my strawberries except when we were together and amusing our- 
selves with the joy of Tintin in gathering them. I see them now 
covered with flowers without taking any interest in them. When 
I look at them I seem to hear the cries of joy of our little love, 
and I stand overcome with the saddest of thoughts. Where are 
you, 77ion amie? . . . 

"I am gardening more than ever. Of all ways of passing the time 
I find it the least insupportable. With Augustin, when he has no 
hauhng to do, and with Baptiste and Jean, I busy myself working 
in the garden. I had forgotten it completely, but on walking 
through it I saw in it magnificent cabbages, already headed, as 
fine as any in Europe; lettuce, too, fringed and headed, superb 
brocoU, and already some httle saucers of strawberries. I gather 
them myself, sending the handsomest to my Aunt d'Aunoy (Made- 
moiselle d'Estrehan) : the rest I share among friends. 

"... Just ask my little Tintin what he wants me to do with 
all these strawberries. There are two big bowls of them a day, 
large and ripe; ask him if he does not want to come back and let 
me fill up his little wagon with them. In truth, mon amie, I have a 
lot of them and I am passing for a great gardener. I am making 
presents of them. They are found so good that every one wants to 
plant them now and multiply them everywhere. Every one beheves 
that I have made a particular study to produce things in different 
seasons from other people. In fact I am the only one at present 
with headed cabbage. I have put Jeannette to selling them; she 
brings me back six dollars a day and sells all that she has. She 
only sells summer cabbage, brocoU, and fringed lettuce. Dussuau 
(de la CroLx) is jealous of my talent; he pretends that I make more 
than he does. I do not sell my straw^burries : I give them away, 
but they would bring four dollars a day. Dussuau complains that 
his sellers are so poor that they bring back nothing. . . . 

"From time to time, I pass the evenings at the Govemor'3 
(Governor Carondelet), when I do not go to my relations. It is 



86 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

4 

the only house where I go. They play cards there — sometimes 
'Bourre/ sometimes 'Coq.' Madame de Rividre does not like to 
lose, and gets seriously offended with those who do not treat her 
well at these games. Treating her well is to let her win money, 
and as I do not treat her well she finds that I play a very ridiculous 
game and criticizes it a great deal; and you know this does not 
make me more complaisant. Oh! mon amie, where are those 
delicious evenings that I passed with you and my son? I go out i 
and I look everywhere, but never, never do I find aught that can r 
replace them. . . . 

"24.th March. — ... All this bad weather has put our levees 
in the most unfortunate condition. I am afraid that le Breton 
(her brother) will not make any more than Pedesclaux. The 
crevasse at M. Port's has been abandoned. It has become so great 
that we are assured that it is a second Bonnet Carr6.* Massicot 
has a large crevasse as well as Brand, near d'Estr^han. Besides 
the river is flowing over all the levees. Our fields are covered with 
water. Next year the planters will have to add a foot to the height 
of their levees. . . . 

*'31st March. — ... I received a letter yesterday from M. 
Herrera announcing that he had forwarded the garden seed that 
M. Paul Miro had the kindness to send me. Although I have aban- 
doned my garden, the seed will give me great pleasure. I announced 
their arrival to my aunt d'Aunoy, to whom I had just given an i 
assortment I received from New York. That will give her certainty 
of making something out of their garden, which they wanted to 
give up because all their vegetables were brought back to them 
unsold. They are surprised to see my garden at present full of 
fine cabbages, brocoli, beautiful lettuce and spinach, without any 
cost to me. It is sold as soon as it gets to the market, but I prefer 
to send them to my friends. I have revealed my secret to them, 
which is to get my seed from the North. . . . 

"... I passed the whole of to-day at the Governor's. I 
tried to get from the Baron all the circumstances relating to the 
revolt of the negroes. It seems to me from what was told me that 
there was very little reason for the alarm that produced a very 
bad effect. The slaves are not ignorant of the reason why many 
planters have brought their famiUes to the city. They will deduce 
from that, that they are feared, and this will give birth in their 

* A very disastrous crevasse of recent occurrence. 



I 



DE PONTALBA 87 

heads to projects that they never would have conceived otherwise. 
In fact, the planters have for fifteen days kept the government in 
alarm, and the clearest thing about it all ia that there is no plot. 
The three negroes who have been arrested could only be convicted 
of having been guilty of seditious language tending to a revolt, 
but it could not be proved that any plot had been formed . . . 
and it now appears that there was more fear among the planters 
than danger to the colony. . . . 

"ISth May. — . . . Another very boisterous party at Gentilly. 
Tremoulet took charge of getting it up. A Ust was passed around 
in the circle of Madame la Baronne (de Carondelet). The men 
each gave five dollars in accepting and each one was to invite the 
lady he wished. I like to contribute to the amusements of others 
and so I did not fail to pay my share, with the tacit condition that 
my presence would be dispensed with. In truth I profited by the 
excuse given me by the rain this morning to remain at home. 

'1 know, mon amie, that it would give you pleasure to have me 
profit by any amusement that presents itself, and that is a reason 
for me why I should not miss any if there were a chance of getting 
any diversion out of them, but as I feel that I should bore as much 
as I am bored I should be very much out of place in them. It is 
not a privation but a heavy duty I have spared myself. When 
the ladies return this afternoon, I shall call on them and shall not 
fail to find some valid excuse for not going. 

"... Ask my Httle Tintin if he has forgotten our little 
crayfish parties: tell him I saw one this morning that interested 
me far more than the party to Gentilly. His little cousins d'Aunoy 
with Celeste la Jonch^re were fishing for them, catching fire or 
six on their line at one time. I recalled the joy he would have had 
if he had been with them. I could see him, hanging over the ditch 
at the bottom of our field, screaming with glee whenever he brought 
one up. . . . 

"... Mon amie, the memory of all these little nothing's 
and that of the perfect happiness I enjoyed from your tenderness 
and kindness during the whole time of our union are with me all 
the time, and it is above any pleasure that society could offer me. 
If I could only know what you are doing at this very moment; 
where you are; what is to become of you; what your unfortunate 
situation is, and that of our Httle love; and if our good friends 
feel some consolation from your presence! . . - 



88 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

"22nd May. — . . . Mdle. Macarty, with whom I passed the 
evening in her box at the Com^die, spoke a long time about you 
and of our dear good aunt. Tintin was not forgotten. When I 
meet with any one, mon amie, to whom such conversation is pleasing, 
I never tire. Such moments are the only ones that do not depress 
me. My Uttle Tintin took much of my thoughts during the whole 
play. I seemed to hear him repeating, 'Down with your arms! 
The first one who advances toward me I will lay him low!' . . . 
Tell him not to lose the habit of saying good night every evening 
to his papa. . . . 

"2Jf.th May. — ... It was before your departure, I think, 
that d'Aunoy received a letter from Z^non Trudeau at the Illinois, 
announcing the arrival at his house of M. de Coigne, an 6migr6, 
the nephew of M. de Copineau, who asked him to interest himself 
in the newcomer and begged him to engage me, as well as Favrot 
and others who have served under his father (de C's), to do some- 
thing for him. He praised him and d'Aunoy, who at that time 
took no other interest in him than what was inspired by his attach- 
ment to M, Copineau, asked M. le Baron (de Carondelet) if he 
could not do something for him. He wrote to de Coigne inviting 
him to come straight to his house, and he arrived yesterday morn- 
ing. The la Jonch^re family were staying with d'Aunoy, and his 
own house was full, so I hastened to offer a room in my house 
which d'Aunoy accepted with pleasure. He had begged de Coigne 
to look upon his house as his own home, assuring him that although 
his fortune was not in proportion to the size of his family, he would 
take charge of him. When I entered into the service, the father 
of this young man was Captain of Grenadiers in the regiment in 
which I was a cadet. He had a pretty, agreeable wife, of pleasing 
manners, whom we cultivated a great deal, and he used to receive 
us in a friendly way. De Coigne, the son, does not need this to 
inspire interest. He inspires it as soon as he makes himself known. 
I told d'Aunoy that I wanted to have my share in providing for 
him, and since d'Aunoy had invited him to eat at his house he 
must leave the care of lodging him to me. He has arrived naked 
after an emigration of two years, during which he has been in need 
of the necessities. I was with him this evening for two hours in 
his room, talking all the time of you and of our good aunt. He 
showed so much interest and he is in such full accord with all my 
sentiments that I find he is the one that I love most to talk to 



DE PONTALBA 89 

about you all. . . . Good evening, good night, I embrace you 
tenderly. . . . 

"... I began my day, 77wn amw, with an action that pleased 
me very much, since I owe it to you, sending to Mde, E. what you 
left for her. I should like to have something as pleasant to do every 
day. . . . 

"... Tlie son of M. D. has just arrived from St. Domingo. 
He left it only fifteen days ago. He pretends that the negroes 
there are absolutely the masters . . . and that at the Cape 
there are only forty or fifty white men, who are worse treated by 
the negroes than the negroes were ever treated as slaves. It seems 
that they want to be independent of everything white, even of the 
French Republic. A Spanish frigate which came into port was 
forced to leave. The negroes would not permit it to stay and, 
by threatening to sifnk it, forced it to withdraw. M. le Baron who, 
up to the present, has been so vigilant to protect us against suspicious 
folk, has relaxed a great deal lately. . . . 

"... At last, mon amie, I am thinking seriously of building 
in front of the river on the Grand Pr6 lot. My plan is made; the 
materials bought; and the trade concluded. The news yesterday 
decided me. We received from Kentucky the Treaty of Peace 
between Spain and the Americans. They have the free navigation 
of the Mississippi from its source to the sea without paying any 
duty. They have New Orleans as a place of deposit for three years, 
and every kind of merchandise is allowed them except munitions 
of war. You can judge by that, mon amie, that this country is 
going to become one of the most prosperous in the world. The 
population wdll increase in an incredible manner; property will 
double in value; stores and houses will be rented at exorbitant 
prices and our city will soon resemble Philadelphia in the diversity 
of nations that will Hve here. One of the articles of the treaty 
permits Hberty of worship and the Americans will be permitted 
to bring in their own lawyers to settle their differences. I beUeve 
that there will no longer be any Custom House, for it would be 
useless. . . . 

"This treaty is already ratified by Congress and should be, at 
present, with the Court of Spain. It cannot be long before we 
receive official notice of it here. It is to be put into execution six 
months after ratification, which would bring us to the first of next 
October. I think from all this that I shall be able to sell advan- 



90 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

tageously all my built-up lots. My intention is to sell the seven 
stores I have on the corner of the 'Contador,' as well as those I 
have in front of the Government House (on Toulouse Street, be- 
tween Chartres and the levee), reserving sixty-five feet depth on 
the whole length facing the river, upon which I could at once put 
five stores. I cannot get any more tiles from Pensacola ... I 
have just bought twenty thousand tiles at fifty-six doUars a 
thousand. . . . 

"... Everybody is building. It is inconceivable the rapidity 
with which everything is being built in brick as a protection from 
fire. I have found nearly all that I need. I have bought them 
from Madame de Marigny through her husband, who prides himself 
on being a man of business. . . . This evening I went to the 
'Com^die,' because they were playing 'The Honest Criminal.' The 
piece recalled to me the happiest time of my life, though it was 
very badly given. Henry inspired no interest in the role of the 
honest criminal. Fontaine and Madame Marsay were the only ones 
that gave pleasure. • . • 

"... Behold me a gambler! Mon amie, look out for your- 
self! Quick to my rescue! Your presence by absorbing me will 
help to speed this kill time, for I cannot call it otherwise. In short, 
I went this evening to the card party (at Madame Carondelet's). 
Madame Landry, Madame Gauthier, Madame Macarty and others 
were there. The ladies are now reconciled to Madame la Baronne, 
whom they find very tactful. In fact you cannot find ladies more 
amiable in society, more friendly, more simple, more affable, than 
these who now frequent her parties and who are attached to her. 
The number would be greater if it were not for 'la petit Riv^re,' 
who estranges them by her airs with them; besides she never loses 
a chance to say a risque thing, which she takes for a witticism. 
WTien modesty forces the ladies to pretend not to notice it she 
thinks her witticism is lost or, no doubt, that their minds are obtuse 
and that they have need of an explanation — which she gives at 
once without being asked, always at the risk of making some one 
always blush. So she is never at her ease except when she is in the 
company of la Baronne, Madame Macarty or Madame Maxent. . . . 

"... I am charmed at having M. de Coigne staying with me; 
he often keeps me company; an amiable, solid young man, sensible 
and, I think, very frank and honest. He is of a very gay tempera- 
ment. He tries to recommend himself to me so that I shall make 



DE PONT ALBA 91 

a pood marriage for him, one that will relieve him of his troubles. 
For four years he has been without resources, living from day to 
day, and never knowing what fate awaited him on the morrow. 
He seems grateful towards those who have assisted him, although 
we have not done much for him. He came here with only the clothes 
he had on his body. We introduced him everywhere after we had 
provided for his needs. I think we shall be able to get him out of 
trouble. In the meantime, I shall see that he needs nothing. 
D'Aunoy, seconded by his wife, treats him as if he were of the 
family. . . . 

"... You would be astonished to see how the city is building 
up and all with terraced roof and frame work covered with brick 
or plaster; there are hardly any traces left of the fire.* Barthelmine 
Borgone is rebuilding the house I sold him on Chartres Street and 
his neighbor who bought a lot from Pierre (Marigny) is building 
also. I judge that this great rush of building will make rents fall 
and for this reason I feel hke not putting the ceilings in the houses 
of your aunt and leaving the woodwork very simple so that the 
capital required will not be so great and for fear she might not 
receive the rent I flattered myself she would. I am following the 
same course with mine which I am not furnishing with ceilings 
or windows. . . . 

"... Pardon me, mon amie, I must write you one word 
in spite of my fever. You know it is impossible for me to live 
without concerning myself with you, and that as long as a breath 
of life is left me I will make it serve to repeat to you that though 
my strength may decline my love for you will never weaken. My 
attacks of fever have been long, the interval between them short 
before the chill seizes me again. I have hardly had any head- 
ache. , . . 

"... De Coigne who loves greatly to visit, begged me to 
take him this afternoon to call on Mesdames Dreux and Cesp^dez. 
The former announced to us that in a few days she was leaving 
for Gentilly and she invited us to come next month and hunt 
grassecs with her. As for our cousin (Cesp^dez), she inquired all 
about the poor emigrant and asked him a thousand questions, 
ending by telling me that he was a charming man. 

* The great fire of 1787 that burned out the old original city of 
Bienville. The new city that was built was practically the handsome 
old-world city we see to-day. 



92 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

*'14th June. — In passing through the street yesterday 1 saw the 
children of M. L. The poor little wretches seemed to be in the 
greatest poverty. If I had found you at home when I came in and 
had told you about them you would have done something to help 
them. I did not want them to suffer too much by your absence 
so I tried to guess what you would have done. I have so many 
half-used things that you left here in the armoires — stockings, 
drawers, vests, chemises, skirts, corsets. I cleared the house of 
all that was useless and sent it all to her, for the poor mother will 
know how to make use of it to clothe her children, ^^^lat was only 
a nuisance to me will be very useful to her. I added ten dollars, 
thinking of the pleasure you would have had in sending them. 
She has thanked me in a way that shows me how timely the little 
assistance was. , . . 

"15th June. — M. de Coigne has returned from his little trip, 
and I am very glad of it. It is necessary that I should not be 
alone at home; I am too much plunged into sad reveries that harm 
my health. He is well satisfied with the houses of Robert, ]Mde. 
Marigny, Destrehan, Robin, etc. He wishes to return there often, 
but never, he says, to Mde. Bore. He did not see the husband, 
and the wife became so exalted in conversation, with so much fire 
and so much passion, that he had doubts for a moment whether he 
was in New Orleans. Miss Hortense seemed, he said, to have the 
air of admiring with astonishment all that her mother said, and he 
had hopes for no recourse in that quarter. He has become well 
informed as to what would suit him; it seems he made enquiries. 
He understands nothing, he says, of the management of slaves, and 
even less about business; he sees no other resource for him than a 
supportable marriage, and in this is all his ambition. Celeste 
Marigny would suit him well, but he fears the rivals who surround 
her; he would prefer Mdle. Emme, because he sees in her more 
possibilities, and less delay; Mdle. Collet did not excape him either; 
he is careful to pay frequent visits there and if he loses all hope in 
these quarters he will see if it is possible to fix the attention of her 
who was able not to give way before the attack of the poor great 
Captain of the Grenadiers, Chs. de Bouill6. 

"16th June. — . . . Your son will imbibe such principles from 
you that it gives me pleasure to think that he will have a sensitive 
heart. That would be the handsomest present that his good Maman 
and his excellent Mairaine could make him. Never miss an occasion 



DE PONT ALBA 93 

of rewarding him for any trait he shows of sensibiHty, kindness and 
benevolence. At his age we receive the impressions that remain 
engraved in us. Accustom him early to know the price of the true 
pleasures of doing good. If during the Winter he meets some poor 
little boy of his own age, ill clad, encourage him to ask you for enough 
to buy him a little coat. Let him give it himself, let him beheve that 
the little creature he has clothed would have died of cold. Let him 
take some poor little boy under his protection and try to find a 
pleasure in being good to him. Let him see from time to time the 
picture of suffering; make him know that he might some day be in 
the same condition. What dehcious joy, mon aviie, if I could see 
my son sacrifice his playthings for actions of charity and humanity! 
Such impressions are, in my belief, easy to make upon children, 
particularly when they are, like your son, of a good disposition. 
What is neglected in education is the heart, which is just where we 
ought to begin it. . . . 

"16th June. — . . . Inspire him above all with the strongest 
hatred of lying and deceit, being very careful yourself to be always 
truthful with him. I have often seen people deceive little children 
to spare them some little disappointment — conduct as detestable 
as it is dangerous. More children have been ruined in this way 
than in any other. Never make a promise to your son that you do 
not mean to keep; never bind a promise wath assurances and never 
let him do so, or he will not look upon a simple promise, a simple 
yes or no, as a certainty. . . . Tell him not to talk "nigger" 
(Creole), but to learn Spanish. . . . 

"... This is your feast day, mon amie, the day that usually 
dawned for me more beautiful than any other seems very sad to-day 
and it seems to me emptier than any other. My little love must 
have given you his good wishes, his Marraine would not have let 
him forget that little duty. May Heaven, vion amie, reunite us 
soon! That is the most ardent prayer inspired by the wish that 
I cherish with my hfe to see you happy; I could not be so myself 
unless it be granted. Good night. . . . 

"... Chalmette arrived two days ago with his family; all 
of them very well. He is the one of all my relations to whom I 
am the most attached and I am delighted to have a little time with 
him before his departure. His family is very interesting. His 
daughters have grown a great deal; Victoire is very pretty and gay; 
she has natural wit and great sprightliness, and she has developed 



94 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

much since you last saw her. The elder is serious; speaks Httle, 
but to the point. Nothing to be said as to her figure but all praise 
her character. The youngest will be the prettiest of all ; the mother, 
who worships them and with reason, congratulates herself upon 
getting back from the Post so that she can give them what teachers 
we have here for music and drawing. 

"Chalmette tells me that his little fortune amounts to forty 
thousand dollars. He would like to get a little establishment outside 
the city so as to live more economically. I suggested to him two 
pieces of land next to d'Aunoy that Martin, the tailor, wishes to 
resell: one hundred and twenty feet front by two hundred and 
twenty depth. I could get them for him for eight hundred dollars 
on a long term. He went to see the property and charged me to 
close the sale, congratulating himself, with cause, on his luck. One 
hour afterwards he writes me that Marigny, whom he had told of 
his acquisition, did not think it an advantageous one, and that 
above all he drew his attention to the danger he would run in case 
of a siege and he begged me, therefore, not to close the bargain. 

"Poor Chalmette: He has the greatest confidence in Marigny. 
It needed only one word from him to turn him against the acquisition 
of the piece of property and make him renounce it at once. Very 
well! But would you believe it? He did it to unload upon Chalmette 
his own plantation below the city! I do not believe he will succeed 
in this. I do not believe that Chalmette will decide to put so 
much capital in such a piece of property, two leagues below the 
city. It would absorb his entire fortune before he had provided 
himself with negroes, animals, and implements, etc., etc., which 
he would need. On the property I proposed to him he would 
find all these things, with all the resources besides for his table: 
garden, dairy, etc., and he would be in easier reach to get his daugh- 
ters established as they would be where they could cultivate society. 
His wood would cost him nothing and, like others, particularly 
Mademoiselle Macarty, he could get a return from his dairy, 
and even his garden could add to his daily revenue. I made him 
see all these advantages, which he appreciates as much as I do, 
and he renounces them! I am sure he will repent, but then it will 
be too late. I am so sorry that I have decided to buy the property 
myself. ... If Chalmette repents I will cede it to him. . . . 

"... I was invited to another bathing party to-day at 
Madame Macarty's. She gives these parties very often. Madame 



DE PONTALBA 95 

la Baronnc, her daughter, and Riviero arc at the head of them. 
Madame Andry and her sister are always among them, and Pey- 
tavain never misses one. The huHes go at eleven o'clock in the 
morning and pass two hours in the water, going under head and all. 
I make the great heat my excuse and always get out of the parties, 
and as it is not long since I have had the fever I have not the 
appearance of ill-will. The truth is, I am absolutely out of place 
in such parties; they bore me as much as I bore others in them. 
Always absorbed in sad reflections, the amusements of others 
sadden instead of enlivening me. If you were here with our son, 
if your absence did not render me insensible to everything else, 
perhaps I could amuse myself. . . . T forget myself, man amie, 
in talking to you. It is very late; a terrible storm is raging outside. 
I paid no attention to it until a violent clap of thunder awoke me 
from the dreaming that I would have given myself up to for still 
another hour. Good night. . . . 

"... I cannot see this fifth month pass away with calm, 
mon amie. It is about time that I was hearing something from you 
and my son; I fear as much as I long for a vessel from Bordeaux. 
The most distressing thoughts pursue me incessantly. . . . 
My God! . . . Perhaps at the end of this uncertainty I am to 
hear of the greatest, the most terrible of misfortunes that could be I 
With what ardor would I make the sacrifice of my life if I am not 
destined to pass it with you and with my son. . . . 

"... This morning at four o'clock I went below to Marigny's 
to settle my account with him; I passed an hour there and we talked 
of Chalmette and his fortune. He told me it would be better for 
Chalmette to have a plantation than the small property next to 
d'Aunoy, and he gave me all the details of his affairs, which he took 
charge of during the six years of Chalmette's absence. . . . 
All this confirms me in my decision not to leave my business to him, 
as I once had the intention of doing; although w^e had agreed formerly 
that he should take charge of it. I shall not speak to him any more 
about it, and I shall try to find someone who will not mix my affairs 
with his, for such a business always turns against the one for whom 
it is made. Very surely had I been in the place of Marigny I should 
have invested Chalmette's funds in such a manner that, on his 
return, he might have been sure of getting them back when they fell 
due in case he wanted to turn them into something else. . . . 

"Two days before the arrival of the courier, Madame Andry 



II 

96 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS i 

told me at the Government House that she would give up her 
loge, if any one wished to buy her share of stock. As the letter 
of your aunt announced to me that it might happen that you might \ 
Boon return, I took her share, because her Idge is the best in the 
opera. She asked me two hundred and thirty dollars for it. Madame 
Almonaster proposes to me now to change the box with her; if so, j 
she will return to me sixty dollars. I ask her one hundred in order j 
to pass the box and my share on to Chalmette for one hundred I 
and thirty-two dollars, and so make a gain of one hundred dollars i 
to him at the expense of Louison (Madame Almonaster). I will i 
arrange that with Chahnette. ... , 

"8th July. — Captain Robin (just arrived from Philadelphia) has 
brought back the son of Marigny and of Madame Dreux. They j 
are returning, having made only a short trial of the educational 
facilities there. . . . 

17th July. — There was another large bathing party to-day at 
Madame Macarty's — the closing one, for it will be the last. The 
water has gone down so low that the ladies must have bathed in 
the mud. It was more impossible than ever for me to go, though 
the ladies have such a scarcity of men that they press me to accom- 
pany them. . . , To-day they were reduced to Peytavin, their 
faithful, unshakable cavalier, Andry and the Chevalier (the master 
of the house), (Chevalier Macarty). These three champions had 
to hold their own against the ladies of the Government: Riviere, 
Maxent, Gauthier and Andry. Your aunt (Madame Macarty) 
renews these parties every week, but she will have to give another 
motive to them now, for the canal to the mill does not ofifer water 
for bathing any longer. ... 

"... I am giving a contract for the houses I still have to 
build on the Grandpr6 lot. The workman pledges himself to finish 
them by the first of January. They are to be two little houses 
(34 feet by 28 feet each), with one little story and a kitchen. The 
two will come, I think, to eight thousand dollars. I have a contractor 
for the carpentering; and another for the masonry. I furnish all 
the materials. You see, I am getting everything ready so as not to 
retard my joining you and your aunt. . . . 

"21st July. — Marigny brought his son to see me this morning. 
I blamed him for recalling him so soon (from school), but it seems 
that at the North one receives a very poor education. He has 
brought back the vices of the country and the rough manners of 



«; 



DE PONTALBA 97 

the Americans, He holds himself excessively bent over, he chews 
(tobacco) continually, swears at everything, and looks bored by 
everything he sees as well as by everything he hears. He speaks 
English rather well and has learned it in a very short time, which 
proves that he does not lack intelligence and that he would have 
learned anything else had it been taught him. Ilis father complains 
of his indifference. On his arrival he came up to his father very 
slowly and told him good day as if he had not been absent, and 
this after having embraced Bernard! Oh, mon aniie, I should feel 
indeed that I was to be pitied if my dear little Tintin should ever 
become as indifferent to me! But no! He has your delicacy of 
feeling and will never give us cause for that fear, . . . 

"28(1 July. — . . . Here I am with something more to do, all 
on account of taking that share of stock from Landry! I never 
thought of the bother it would give me. The management (of the 
theatre) is going very badly and now it is being robbed; the stock- 
holders govern, but none of those charged to /supervise is doing his 
duty. If things go on this way we will be forced to give up the 
theatre. As soon as they saw that I was a stockholder, they all 
turned to me to straighten out their finances. There was a meeting 
of stockholders to-day in which I represented fourteen persons, 
some of them owning two shares of stock, who had asked me to 
act for them: Mmes. Maxent, Montaigut, Guillemard, Almonaster, 
BouUgny; Messrs, Marigny, Ramos, Lachaise, Fouvargeues, etc., 
with the result that all who were present at the meeting unani- 
mously made me manager. Although I was representing fourteen 
I got out of it and named Pedescaux in my place, but they all united 
to beg me to supervise the management. I could not refuse; but 
I am going to be the bete noir of the actors, for I saw myself forced 
at once to lay down some rules against which they at once protested. 
I shall neglect nothing to get out of cetle gaVere. 

"... I passed by Madame de la Ronde's this morning on 
my way from my work; she was so insistent that I had to stay to 
breakfast with her. Madame Cesp^dez saw a ring on my finger. 
She said, 'What! A ring! And it seems to be a pretty one too. 
Let's see it. I declare I shall write to my cousin about it. What, 
made of hair!' And without ceremony she took it from my finger 
and put it on her bosom: 'In truth it seems to be made for me. 
How pretty it is. How new! What admirable work! Two hearts 
pierced; two doves tied by a ribbon that tightens as they separate, 



98 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

with the device that the further they go from one another the 
tighter it is drawn. How pretty the idea! How admirable! Oh, 
my cousin, I can never give it back to you. Do not expect it. It [ 
would be impossible.' You can imagine how miserable I was. 
'But why should you prize it so? If it were from Madame Miro 
or your wife — well, of course! But surely my cousin could not have 
had the time to have had it made in Bordeaux! Besides, she would 
never think of it! Take care: if you care so much for it I shall 
write to my cousin!' And on the instant she flew away, to reappear ! 
without the ring. I said nothing, taking it all for play; but she had 
put it into her head very seriously to keep it and it went so far as 
to provoke me out of my good temper to get it back from her. 
She declares I am very unpleasant to refuse her a trifle that gave 
her pleasure. 

"8th September. — . . . We went this evening to the reception 
of the famous Knight of Charles III ! {Don cin dres almonaster.) 
That poor man is never satisfied. As soon as he gets one thing 
he strives for another! Now his mind is full of the title of Brigadier 
and he can talk of nothing else. Madame don Andres is pouting 
at me still, and for some time has been distant to me; although 
I went to the reception of her husband she showed no wish to be 
reconciled with me. I would not have believed that she could have 
kept up her spite against me so long for a little piece of society 
pleasantry in which I had no part. 

"Some time ago she was playing cards at the Government House 
when I was there. Madame Riviere, who loves to amuse her- 
self with childish pranks, had tied a long hair to a coin with a hole 
pierced in it which she drew away slowly whenever Madame 
Almonaster tried to take it. This she repeated over and over again 
without our cousin seeing the joke and who was constantly trying 
to get hold of her picayune. Madame Riviere was choking with 
laughter as she whispered to me! Louison thought that we were 
making sport of her; she murmured, frowning, that if that sort of 
thing continued she would render tit for tat. Madame Riviere 
grew frightened, and I whispered to her that she was exposing herself 
to a scene. Then she stopped; but the other one remained con- 
vinced that she had been made the subject of a joke, and that I 
had started it, so she has never looked at me since except with 
eyes of indignation. 

"The reception of her husband followed the usual custom. He 
was enveloped in the great mantle of the Order and his train was 



DE PONTALBA 99 

carried by three lackeys in red. An immense crowd followed him 
as he went in state from the Cathedral to his dwclHng. He placed 
himself, in his mantle, at the door of his drawing-room, where he 
aflfectionately kissed on both cheeks all who approached to greet 
him, to the number of more than three hundred. About eight 
o'clock in the evening he sent up from the Place a balloon, accom- 
panied by a small display of fireworks at the end of a collation 
consisting entirely of sweetmeats, they played cards until ten 
o'clock. Folch, who stayed through all of it, told me all this, for 
I did not go up to greet the new Chevalier. He has not yet finished 
the balcony on the house of my aunt, there is still only one end of 
it laid, and as long as I have any business with him, I wish to see 
him only at a distance. 

"18th September. — The deluge of rain continues; it has been so 
for three or four days without ceasing. I have never seen such a 
continuous rain here, above all in the middle of September. No 
matter how disagreeable the weather is, it pleases every one; all 
over the city people are terrorized by the fear of an epidemic — 
the women above all; they even went so far as to wear garhc on 
their bodies and carry hartshorn; everywhere tar is being burned. 
The doctors and priests concealed the number of deaths; now that 
there seems nothing more to fear, we learn that there were at least 
fifteen or seventeen deaths a day; but this did not last long. . . . 

"... Mme. Le Blanc died this morning; her son, Terence, 
is dangerously ill. M. de Turpin will not last through the day. 
He is the grandson of the Marechal de Lowendal and Chevalier 
of Malta; he is thirty years of age, and had a fine constitution. 
He is a connection of Baron de Carondelet. M. Laf argue, whom 
you must have met in Bordeaux, is also very low. Many English- 
men and Americans are dying. In burying a Protestant lately, 
five corpses were found in the back of the Protestant corner of the 
cemetery, apparently covered only with branches and leaves. They 
had not taken the time to bury them. Such negligence is enough to 
give us the plague. The greatest precautions are now being taken 
to put order into such things, and to discover the authors of the 
affair and to punish them. 

"I repeat, mon amie, do not alarm yourself about me. I am well 
and am taking good care of myself. I go very seldom into the city, 
and I shall take care not to put this letter into the post until the 
epidemic is over. 

*^22d September. — More bad news! Turpin died yesterday after- 



100 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

noon, and his doctors ordered him to be buried at once. One 
hardly took the time to put him in a cofiin. No one could be found 
to carry him. The whole city is in alarm. Many have gone away 
to the country. Every one you meet is asking news about some 
sick person. A Captain of the Mexican Regiment is very ill, and 
Madame Gauthier, wife of the Major, is in danger. In spite of 
it all, I think the panic very mat a propos. I remember that after 
the fire of 1788 there was a greater mortality than now. 

"I am not satisfied with the condition of Polidore; his crisis of 
fever now is the worst he has had, and his illness is taking an alarm- 
ing character. Zerbin, going yesterday to see a workman of Mon- 
treuil who died to-day, was suffocated with the bad odor of his 
patient, and an instant after he was taken with the same fever. 
He is, they say, in the greatest danger. Madame Riviere and 
Mademoiselle Phelipa are frightened to death. Madame Macarty, 
who never comes into the city, has invited them to come over to 
her on the other bank of the river. The Baronne consents, but 
she does not wish to leave the Baron alone, and they are all begging 
him to go with them. He is firmly resolved not to do so. He 
thinks if he goes away it will increase the panic, which is only 
too general. It would only need for him to go out of the city for 
everyone to rush to the country. . . . 

"24f'h September. — The sickness does not cease, mon amie. Every- 
body is frightened, particularly the strangers. Besides the seven 
or eight who have died in the hospital, we counted up yesterday 
nine or ten more, so that to-day more than eighty left for the 
country. Those who have no friends there have gone to Barataria 
and to the other side of the lake. They will, of course, carry the 
sickness with them. We are all agreed that it is the Yellow Fever 
that rages nearly every year in Philadelphia, and that the Americans 
brought it in. . . . 

*'25th September. — As for Annette, she is sold for the same price 
that you paid for her — nine hundred dollars. ... If I cannot 
bring her to you I shall myself learn how to make Gombos and 
Galas, so as to be able to show some of your servants in Spain 
how to make them. I have already laid in a nice supply of excellent 
orange flower (water or syrup) for my good aunt, and I shall leave 
an order to send some every year to Barcelona. . . . 

". . . Every thing you tell me about my son, mon amie, gives 
me sweet satisfaction. Tell him that I have answered his little 



DE P0NTAL3A 101 

letter and have sent him some toys and pralines. Be at case about 
my voyage. I have too much at stake not to take all the precau- 
tions you desire. I feel that I exist more for you than for myself; 
that I owe myself to you, to oar son and to our aunt ... I do 
not know wliat our political situation will be at the time of my 
departure, fixed for February. We may then be at war with the 
Enghsh and even with the Americans. M. le Baron is always expect- 
ing some rupture. On the other hand, rumors of the cession of the 
province to France are being confirmed. All here believe it. The 
Baron is the only one who is sure there is nothing in it and he must 
have some particular reason for his belief. At any rate, the situation 
we are in is very critical and my fate very uncertain. Good night, 
ma bonne amie.takecareof yourself and of our good aunt and may I 
at least be able to provide for you both comfortably before we have 
here the scene of a revolution! 

''30th Se-ptemher. — . . . The North wind is still continuing, 
although not so strong as it was. It has absolutely destroyed all 
contagion; we have no more epidemic. We are assured that all 
those who went to the country were not attacked and that very few 
of those who were acclimated died. It was the same with the sol- 
diers; the mortahty was greatest with the newcomers, particularly 
among the English. . . . 

''Zd October. — At last, mon amie, here is the month of October! 
Already a year since we sold our plantation! A year since you were 
to leave to join our good aunt! I have every reason to think that in 
four months I shall be on my way to you. The bad season is now 
over; I shall profit by every minute to finish my business. I think 
that by the end of October, there will no longer be any question of 
the sickness. A few who were attacked are still dying. Made- 
moiselle E., the one who wanted to marry de Coigne, has just died; 
and Miller, the artist, who Hved at the Marigny's. Mademoiselle 
de la Chaise is, they say, beyond hope; the sacrament was adminis- 
tered to her last night. This morning I went to see Madame Dreux. 
She was in bed, and although I had not been to see her for a month 
she received me in a very friendly way. I like her very much; she 
is not sensitive and I think she is a good friend. ... As I am 
certain she will finish by getting married again, I believe for her own 
Bake it would be better for her to marry de Coigne than any one else. 
He is a man, refined and honest, and I am sure gratitude for her 
kindness will make him exert himself to the utmost to render her 



II 



102 OLD FAMJLIES OF NEW ORLEANS 



happy. She receives him with distinction and he goes there often. 
Yesterday he spent four hours there and I have no doubt that on her 
recovery the affair will be carried through at once. 

"3d October. — I am putting the finishing touches to my houses on 
the corner near the Government House (Toulouse Street and the 
levee), and the two will be finished and ready to sell at the end of the 
week. I am sure I shall be able to sell them before my departure if 
they are finished. 

"We have not seen anj^thing of the Baron for five or six days. 
His family is with Madame Riviere, on the other side of the river, 
with Madame Macarty. I crossed over yesterday morning with 
la Baronne, who had come over to hear mass. She told me that the 
doctors did not understand anything about the Baron's pains in 
his jaws and ears and that he had decided to take the tisane of Dr. 
Ramos. Without doubt, it is not to interrupt the treatment that 
the ladies have decided to remain on the other side of the river. 
The Baronne complains continually of trouble with her breathing 
and heaviness in her head : Madame de Riviere, of general pains all 
over. She is totally changed; not only has she lost her color but she 
is distressingly thin. She is terribly afraid of dying and is getting 
ready to leave for Bordeaux, even at the risk of being a suspect. 

"6th October. — . . . Marigny thinks that because I am going 
away I should let him have my slaves for nothing . . . For a 
long while he has been asking me for Baptiste; but at last, as he 
talked no more about it, I sold him to Sigu and then he reproached 
me. Sigu, seeing that I did not leave, asked me either to give him 
Baptiste at once or to break the trade. Thinking of Marigny I 
broke the trade; then Marigny offered me four hundred dollars, 
although I had broken a trade on his account by which I could have 
sold for five hundred. A few days ago Fortier offered me five 
hundred if I would deliver the slave at once, and I asked twenty-four 
hours to think about it. I did this on account of Bernard (de 
Marigny), who had begged me fifteen days ago to keep Baptiste for 
him. I asked Marigny in the evening if he had decided to taka 
Baptiste; again he asked me the price. 'Five hundred.' 'Oh! that is 
too dear! I am buying him for Bernard with his own money, and 
you must be considerate.' *I am giving you the preference: five 
hundred dollars are waiting for me elsewhere.' 'Oh well! Give me 
two days to think about it.' 'Willingly.' I went to see him this 
morning. 'Well, what have you decided?' 'Oh, Bernard cannot 



DE PONT ALBA 103 

spend so much money as that. He must renounce the idea.' Think- 
ing myself at Hberty to do so, I left him at once to go and close with 
Fortier. And now Marigny is very much ofifended! 

''7th October. — . . . The sickness, that seemed to be disap- 
pearing, is giving us new anxiety. The English who have not left 
the city are, of course, the victims; a second demoiselle Fuselier has 
just died and one of her brothers is very ill. The whole house of that 
poor Delory is in the most pitiable condition : four of his daughters 
are in danger. M. le Baron has at last given in to the solicitation 
of the ladies to remain on the other side of the river. I go over very 
often to play cards with them. . . . 

''9ih October. — . . . A great crowd of us to-day were at the 
Macarty's. I took de Coigne with me. We are all at our ease there 
and we can do what we please . the Baron himself is quite different 
there; he takes part in all the frolics and he even appears to be 
amused. He seems to have left behind him, in the city, all the 
responsibility of his official position — to be only a man of society, 
and an amiable man of society. 

"The ladies come even into our rooms to play their pranks on 
us. . . . They make a racket all night at our doors, but I am deaf 
to all their wild noise. They needed to get to the country. In the 
city so much sickness had saddened them to the point of giving them 
the blues. They now %von't hear any talk of the epidemic on the other 
bank; they have prohibited all news of the kind and think only of 
amusing themselves. This afternoon they all went on horseback to 
the Laporte Crevasse with all their young men; they ran races and 
committed all sorts of extravagances. I am good only to Usten to 
their talk about their wild foolishness; I am not gay enough to 
participate in it. 

"One of the Delery young ladies died to-day. Several others of 
the family are in danger. Doctor St. Martial, attacked by the same 
fever yesterday, is in a state to cause great uneasiness. Good-night, 
ma bonne amie, good-night. . . . 

^'19lh October. — Poor St. Martial died this morning after three 
days of illness. Mademoiselle Macarty is distressed; he was the 
only physician in whom she had any confidence. Mademoiselle de 
Kernion is very low. There is being distributed here a little printed 
pamphlet that came from Spain which many people are making use 
of to protect themselves against illness. It is a receipt of Massdeval, 
a celebrated physician of Charles HI. It has been used often in this 



1 



104 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 



contagion but without success. As for the Baron, he is in the hands tfe 
of Ramos, * whose tisane he has been taking ever since he went over 
to the other side of the river. It is doing him such immense good 
that the Baronne has decided to take it herself. She began the 
treatment yesterday and Madame Riviere said to-day that if it did 
the Baronne good she would make use of it herself. In truth it is '} 
astonishing to see how quickly all the Baron's ailments disappeared 
from him. He suffered intolerable pains in his jaws and ears and 
had continual insomnia. From the fourth day he was relieved \ 
and, at present, he has completely recovered both sleep and appe- 
tite, and his pains are gone. So that Ramos is now a wonderful 
man, and all the ladies are praising him. 

**I went yesterday to see Madame Dreux. She asked about you 
and our aunt. No matter how much one neglects her, she is always 
the same; she pardons her friends for all their faults toward her. 
She is made for society and I like to cultivate her. She seems to 
receive de Coigne with pleasure and I predict that as soon as her 
health is re-established there will be a marriage. Ever since he lost 
hope of Mdlle. E., de Coigne has turned his eyes in her direction, 
and I think with success. D'Aunoy thinks he should come to the 
point at once; however, I think that under the circumstances, no 
matter how de Coigne proceeds, he will make a success of it. 

"We are living in a state of the greatest disquietude here and I 
dare not persuade myself that I have the time to arrive in Spain 
before the breaking out of hostihties. There is no more talk of 
*the line' (line between Spain and the United States, fixed by the 
treaty) on one side, and on the other there is every disposition to 
evade the treaty. 

"Mdlle. Kernion died to-day. Mme. Sognac (Soniat?) who was 
completely recovered, but who had nursed the Mont6gut child 
through its serious illness, has been attacked by the same illness 
and is in graver danger than from her first attack. In the midst of 
all this sickness I keep in good health. My plate is never filled with 
enough roast beef for my breakfast, and when I take supper at 
Madame Macarty's one would think it was my only meal during 
the day. I ate this evening for my supper a whole plateful of sorrel, 
taking out the hard-boiled eggs, a side-bone of turkey, some butter 
beans, a lot of asparagus, three heads of lettuce and Roquette in 

* A Spanish physician famed in the city for his cure of yellow 
fever. 



DE PONTALBA' 105 

salad, some quince preserves, fritters, sponge cake and three rolls, 
and I still had some appetite. Every day it is the same. I think it 
is the Quiquina in bark which I have received, and I chew every day, 
that gives me this appetite. 

"October 6th. — We went this morning to the mass and intern- 
ment of the poor Abb6 (brother of the Baron de Carondelet); his 
brother is inconsolable; and truly, this worthy ecclesiastic merits 
the grief of all who knew him. He died with all the tranquility 
and resignation of a man who has nothing to reproach himself 
with. Poor little Angehto (the son of Baron de Carondelet) is 
still very ill; his fever has not yet abated. 

*' October 7th. — Angehto is somewhat better; there seems a little 
hope for him. Montegut's son, who was in the greatest danger, 
is entirely recovered. Our Bishop leaves to-morrow for his diocesan 
visit to the Attakapas, Opelousas and Natchitoches. On his return, 
he is to go to Pensacola. Good-night, dear one whom I love alone, 
and of whom seven years of happiness have so well taught me the 
value! 

"October 8th. — The son of the Baron de Carondelet goes from 
bad to worse; the only hope is in his youth. My heart bleeds 
when I think of the condition of this unhappy father! My God! 
if it should happen that my son should be exposed to a similar 
danger, satisfy Thyself with the sacrifice of my Hfe and save his! 
The state of this father and mother is deplorable. Still crushed 
by the blow that took from them the Abb6, in whom they had 
found a brother, a friend and a tender mentor for their only son, 
they have now to tremble for the life of this only child. 

"October 9th. — Little Angelito is entirely out of danger. Mon 
aiyiie, it is impossible, being a father, not to be interested in the 
condition of this unhappy family. I saw the Baron this evening; 
he is not yet himself; he doubts sometimes that it is really true 
that his son has been given back to him. The death of his brother 
struck him so hard that he could not beheve that his son would 
recover. His fever was of the same character as that of the Abb6. 
Phihpa has recovered. Madame Riviere was of the greatest assist- 
ance to them; she never left the bedside of Angehto, and she alone 
had the courage to make him take the remedies. 

"October 10th. — I passed the greater part of the evening at the 
Governor's house; the ladies received me, and I was not surprised 
to find them consoled; the almost certain idea that they would 
lose Angehto, once banished, they felt a joy which was indeed 



106 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

a paliative of the grief at having lost the Abb6. I saw the child, 
he could not be better. . . . 

"ISth October. — The sickness is diminishing a little under the 
fresh North wind that has been blowing for two days; nevertheless, 
there are two or three deaths every day. The sickness is particularly 
fatal to unmarried women. Mdlle. Nancy, that Enghsh woman who 
lived with Madame Oquon will not, they say, Hve through the day. 
The Baron de Stephnelt, the German who brought a letter of 
exchange to me, died after two days. The city is nearly deserted; 
my stores that were all taken are abandoned; there are only the 
two on the levee that are retained. More than one hundred and 
fifty Enghsh have died in the epidemic and more than three hundred 
have gone away to the country or elsewhere. Clark was so frightened 
when his last clerk came to give in his account that he would only 
speak to him from a distance. Three clerks died in his own house; 
the fright has given him a little fever. His physicians are more 
afraid of this imagination than of the sickness. But with it all, 
mon amie, I am well and have a good appetite, and I am too busy 
with my longing to get to you to give the sickness a chance to get 
hold of me. . . . 

"The Baron has completely recovered his health. He left the 
Macarty plantation yesterday; his wife, who continued taking the 
tisane of Ramos, finishes with it to-day. She will go on with the 
Sarsaparilla for several days yet; she used to have her glass of it 
brought into the card parties by her husband, who would exhort her 
to take it. Madame Riviere preaches the same thing to her husband 
but he rejects the proposition, and this prevents her from taldng it. 
You can imagine the fun all this causes, but I find no amusement 
in it; it bores me. I am doing everything possible to shorten my 
time here but I am continually thwarted. My works are going along 
with inconceivable slowness. Almost all the masons and English 
carpenters are dead; the few that are left are run after by everybody 
and they are paid a price beyond all reason. But in spite of that do 
not think that I shall be a day later in getting to you than planned. 
The sale of my houses is made and I will leave the contracts to my 
agent. . . . 

"17th October. — Every day, mon amie, I have had to announce to 
you the sickness of some one; now I can make up by telling you of 
their recovery, for almost all are getting well. The epidemic does 
not give us any more uneasiness. Marigny was attacked yesterday, 



DE PONT ALB A 107 

and the physicians say he is in danger, but I believe it is only to 
give him importance. I saw him yesterday and he was up, although 
he did have fits of vomiting. . . . 

"22d October. — Lafon arrived a few days ago. He had left his 
family all well but he found that his eldest son, a charming child of 
nine, had died two days before his arrival. Despau, whom you met 
on the plantation, arrived yesterday from Pointe Couple, and he 
found that his little daughter of eleven had died after two or three 
days of illness. . . . 

*'24th October. — More bad news for your poor friend! A vessel 
that came in yesterday reported meeting an English frigate which 
announced that Spain had declared war on England. If that is bo, 
my courage v/iU give out! And I learned from the Baronne yes- 
terday, under the seal of the greatest secrecy, that the Baron had the 
strongest reasons for believing that in three or four months the 
King of Spain would publish a cedula to accord freedom to all slaves 
io his dominion. If that should happen in so short a space of time 
we will find ourselves absolutely ruined, for all our creditors are 
Blave-o"9VTiers who under the circumstances will pay no one, and the 
greater number of them will go into bankruptcy. . . . 

*' 25th October. — Marigny has at last found a way to get something 
out of me at a vile price ! But his manner of doing it gave me pleas- 
ure, because I very much love his son Bernard, who is my godchild. 
The child came to beg me to sell him Antoine, my Uttle Mulatto of 
nine, but very large for his age and very robust. He told me that 
it was for himself and that he did not have much money. I answered 
that with his godfather he would always have enough and that he 
could take Antoine and give me any price he thought proper. 
'I will see about it,' he said. Yesterday I went down below to 
breakfast with them. After talking a long time with his father, 
Bernard came to me, saying, holding his head down, 'I have thought 
of what you said, godfather, and I thank you. I will gladly take 
Antoine but I have only one hundred and sixty dollars.' 'That's all 
right, my friend, send and get him. Did I not tell you to make the 
price yourself that suited you and it would be mine? You can send 
and take him whenever you wish.' He thanked me. His father was 
present during the conversation without coming into it the least in 
the world. Now I have only Julien left, whom I do not wish to sell 
unless his godfather (another slave) buys him to give him his liberty; 
and Charles, whom I will set free; Pelagie, Madeleine, and Augustin, 



108 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

whom I will not sell for less than their value, in which case I will hire 
out Pelagie and Madeleine and put Augustin at Tremoulet's (the 
hotel keeper) to learn how to cook. . . . And then, if slavery is 
abolished, I shall not suffer any considerable loss. 

*'28th October. — I slept last night at Macarty's, where the ladies 
were waiting to renew their tricks." 

He describes how the clothes of all the gentlemen were stolen 
during the night so that when they arose in the morning they 
could find nothing to put on; trousers, shoes, coats — all had been 
taken. Fortunately, the ladies had all gone away, taking even 
the children with them. They had locked all the doors of the 
places where clothing was kept, and had taken even the oars of 
the skiffs. The gentlemen had to breakfast in their shirts after 
searching in vain from garret to cellar to find someone to help 
them. Finally, they decided to cross the river to their homes and 
get clothing there. The sans culottes excited much laughter when 
they arrived in the city. 

"I arrived home at eleven o'clock. Mon amie, will we never be 
through with sickness? I found de Coigne there with a Uttle fever 
which has never left him since yesterday. I think it comes only from 
a sUght cold, but I have my fears, for a month past there are no 
fevers that are not dangerous. Good-night, I leave you to go back 
to him and arrange so that he will not need anything during the 
night. Good-night. 

"29th October, 8 o'' clock at night. — You know the sensibility of 
your husband! Judge then what my heart is suffering! I have 
just closed the eyes of my unfortunate friend, de Coigne. He 
expired at half -past seven o'clock, perfectly conscious to the last 
moment. Good-night, I leave you to go to d'Aunoy, who has been 
helping me with him without interruption. . . . 

"SOlh October. — I cannot yet convince myself of the death of 
poor de Coigne, although I saw him expire. After rather a restless 
night he found himself better yesterday morning; his pulse was 
weak but he was without fever. I sent for Davo, but I could not 
get him until I went for him myself. During my short absence he 
had changed completely. Davo found him in danger. At one o'clock 
I called in Montegut who was of the same opinion. They prescribed 
the remedy of Massdeval and told me if he did not get better he 
must put his affairs in order. At three o'clock he had an oppression 
on his chest and a difficulty in speaking. Father Louis then came to 



DE PONTALBA 109 

administer the last sacraments. He still showed his gay, pleasant 
temper, and his quickness to seize a chance to make a witticism. 
He was always smiling when speaking to me, but showed no sensi- 
tiveness about his condition or regret at leaving his friends. 

"About six o'clock when he was given the remedy he had to take 
every hour, 'good,' said he, 'give it to me. I must die according to 
rule.' At the same time he said to d'Aunoy and to me, 'Each one 
in his turn.' At two o'clock he wanted to go into the salon, and he 
sat by the fire there for more than an hour. From there he went 
into his room. He complained, touching his nose, that he had lost 
the sense of touch. 'I do not feel any longer what I touch; see how 
our poor machine goes to pieces.' When Father Louis told him that 
the King of Kings was coming to pay him a visit, 'Oh, it is you who 
are bringing him!' And so on to the end in the same tone. 

"He took everything that was given him to the last, when he 
asked me to send for a little box of papers he had left with Clark. 
He said he wanted them. I sent. A moment later he asked if they 
had come, adding that he wished they were there. He was very 
fond of Zenon Trudeau and of his mother, but he did not even 
mention them, and showed no sign of feeling about his own fate or 
about his friends. At seven o'clock he asked to go into the salon 
again. We did not wish him to do so but he persisted. We supported 
him to the door, when he was taken with convulsions in the arms, 
legs and face. We had to carry him back to his bed. The convul- 
sions that were caused by his weakness ceased when he lay down. 
He continued to talk to us, though with difficulty, until half past 
seven. 

"He died after a struggle of a minute. About three o'clock spots 
of gangrene began to be seen and after his death he became covered 
with them. After giving my orders for everything to be done, I 
left him to the care of Jeannette, Pelagie, Polidore and Charles. He 
was buried this morning at nine o'clock. We could not find anyone 
to carry him to the church or cemetery. Banique, PoUdore and 
Charles had to do it. 

"I understand nothing about this fatal sickness; it is a kind of 
pestilential fever. You know well, mon amie, my love for you 
dictates to me all the precautions useful in such a case. I always 
had camphor on me and plenty of vinegar. We have used two demi- 
johns of vinegar sprinkling the rooms. I had some qiuitre voleurs 
('four thieves vinegar,' an old Creole preventive against contagion) 



110 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

to use on myself, and my good cousin Mannette provided me with 
a little sachet of camphor (to wear) . The servants were all sprinkled 
with vinegar. I chewed constantly the quinine that I received from 
Cadiz. Ma bonne amie, I did it all for your sake for I was too affected 
to think of myself. 

"De Coigne's sickness was the same as that of the Abbe de 
Carondelet and of many others, but none were carried away so 
rapidly by it. I shall sleep again to-night at my aunt d'Aunoy's. 
I have had all the rooms aired and everything that de Coigne used 
put outside immediately after his death. I sent his keys to the 
Baron begging him not to have any judicial expenses; telUng him 
that de Coigne had arrived here unprovided, and that all he had 
had been given him by d'Aunoy and me. We wanted all they saved 
to send to his mother in Bordeaux. I do not know what the Baron 
will do. All of his effects sold would bring very little. The most 
solid thing de Coigne left was one hundred and fifty dollars that I 
gave him, which would be very useful to his mother, but which the 
auditor would eat up very quickly if we let him. Good-night, my 
dear, I have need of rest. I passed last night in a state of agitation 
that prevented my closing my eyes. I embrace you with my whole 
heart, and my good aunt and Tintin. 

"31st October. — I could only sadden you with my reflections, 
mon amie, and so I will restrict myself to writing you only a few 
lines. I am inconceivably sad and I have no one near me in whom 
I can find consolation. I loved de Coigne; he merited all the senti- 
ment I had for him and I have had the misfortune to lose him just 
when I had learned to know him and was certain of making him 
my friend. I lost him without having had the time to render to him 
the care that was due him and without ever being able to hope that 
we could save him. . . . The day has been passed in whitewashing 
my house with lime. 

"A man named Viard, a Garde du Corps' imigrS, a handsome man 
of thirty-five, well-to-do, a friend of de Coigne who came here six 
months ago, and whom I saw very often, has died also of the same 
disease, but after five days. And that clerk of Tricou's who had the 
quarrel with Theodore died this morning. We congratulate ourselves 
from time to time that the epidemic is over, but it always comes back 
worse than ever. 

*'lst November. — I am this evening at Macarty's. I crossed the 
river at nightfall to sleep there after finishing my business in the 



DE PONTALBA 111 

city. I think the precaution very useless, for my poor friend did not 
Uve long enough to leave the germ of his malady in my house. 
To-morrow I shall sleep at the d'Aunoy's, for in spite of your aunt's 
welcome I perceive that her fear is so great that my presence makes 
her uneasy for her family. She takes the greatest precautions. She 
never crosses to the other side of the river and never allows a servant 
who has done so to come near her. Nevertheless it seems that the 
sickness is diminishing and the physicians assure us that there is 
very little in the city. I know of only one case at present — Mile, 
de Blanc, the sister of Madame du Forest, who is in great danger. I 
shall not come back here; your aunt is so sad, she adds to my 
melancholy. 

'^2d November. — M. Bor^ is making fine sugar, sirop and tafia; 
he has that man who was staying with Mendez. It is said that he 
will make twelve thousand dollars (gourdes) on his crop, and for that 
he has only thirty-five hands. 

"Piguery, a young man of fifteen, died after three days; de Gruy, 
who is ill, seems to be going the same way. We hear that all the 
ports of North America are quarantining boats that come from 
Louisiana. I am sleeping to-night at d'Aunoy's. Your aunt, in her 
care for me, puts in my room aromatic herbs, and juice of wild 
orange, burns sugar in it and scatters everywhere little bags of 
camphor. In short, she is taking all precautions imaginable to 
escape the scourge which is becoming milder every day. We hope 
that the first rain will put an end to it. For eight days we have had 
a heavy mist, thick but dry, to which the continuation of the 
deathly fevers is attributed. 

"5rd November. — The aide-de-camp of the French General (CoUot) 
has just died, regretted by all who knew him. 

'*4th November. — This evening 'Eugenie' was given, followed by 
a compliment to the King and to the Baron. Minerva and Thaha 
appeared to recite a piece written in a prose worthy of a cabaret. 
It was almost all in praise of the Baron. He was flattered in the most 
servile manner and in the most tasteless way for a full hour until 
Phelipa, who is very bright, grew impatient of the platitudes that 
were being served in it. Two hands were made to appear clasping 
each other, representing the King of Spain and the French Repubhc, 
with the epigraph : 'Let us be ever united.' Not an actor pleased me. 
Mme. Durosier acquitted herself very poorly in the role of Eugenie. 
The little Boh^mienne took it upon herself to massacre even the 



II 

112 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS | 

f 
role of 'Mile. Clairette.' But the piece recalled precious memories 
which are now only regrets. 

"4th November. — Philips has just died. He was a young Parisian 
that Maxent brought with him from Paris. Mile, de la Chaise is 
still between hfe and death. Her passing away has been announced 
ten times and she always resurrects; but now only a miracle can save 
her. I am writing from home; I had it whitewashed three days ago 
and the odor has all passed away. 

"6th November. — Champigny, who has just cut my hair, com- 
plained bitterly of his wife who had struck him over the arm with 
the tongs. He wants to leave her and proposes to come with me to 
serve you and your aunt as a valet. I accepted his proposition with 
pleasure; that is, after he has thought it over seriously. 

"Although the fevers are diminishing they are still very fatal. 

"8th November. — The dry North wind we are having has dis- 
sipated the bad atmosphere, and the fevers that were so putrid and 
malignant are no longer dangerous. 

"10th November. — At last, mon amie, here we are in full winter! 
I think it is going to be a very cold and rough one. Everyone is 
rejoicing over the cold that has completely freed us from the fever. 
My work is beginning to lighten. The two houses alongside the 
Government House with their kitchens are under way. My terraces 
and those of my aunt are repaired. Her houses are rented for a 
term of one year, but not for as high a price as I flattered myself I 
would get. Nevertheless, the house on the corner of the levee will 
bring a rent of $178.00 a month and the one on the Place $118.00. 
No one will rent the store under the apartment of the bishop. That 
one will be a pure loss. My eleven stores are finished; five are rented; 
no offer at present for the six others. 

"Adieu, mon amie, I am going to send this packet to the courier; 
there's not an instant to lose. When you receive it you, I believe, 
can have the sure hope of our reunion three months later. Good-bye. 
Take care of yourself and my good aunt and Tintin. 

"PONTALBA." 

Resigning his position in the Spanish Army, he 
left New Orleans in 1797. His friend Carondelet left 
a few months later in the same year for his new 
post of Quito. Madame de Pontalba, with her son 
and Madame Miro, joined her husband in Paris. 



DE PONT ALB A 113 

While living there he wrote a full Memoir on 
Louisiana to be submitted to Napoleon. Bernard de 
Marigny, de Pontalba's godson, who was in Europe 
and presumably in Paris at the time, gives his 
personal coloring to the usual bare statement of the 
fact. He declares that Napoleon, being aware that 
a Louisianian of high intelligence, Joseph Delfau de 
Pontalba, was in Paris, thought proper to consult 
him as to the advantages and resources Louisiana 
might offer to France. 

De Pontalba's paper is pronounced a masterly 
production by the best of judges, Charles Gayarr^. 
Its wonderful clearness of political insight, and the 
complete knowledge exhibited in it of the condition 
of the province in its relation to Spain and the 
United States, had seemingly a convincing effect 
on the mind of the First Consul. It was presented 
to him on the 15th of September, and fifteen days 
later the Treaty of St. Ildefonso was concluded, by 
which Louisiana was retroceded by Spain to France. 

A careful reading of the paper to-day warrants 
the inference that its effect may have been still 
further influenced in predisposing Napoleon's mind 
in favor of the ultimate cession of the province to 
the United States. Marigny, in his later paper, 
''Reflections Politiques," clearly indicates this. 
The following extract is a good example of de 
Pontalba's judicial tone toward the revolution 
against Ulloa and the subsequent surprising result 
of the Spanish domination in gaining the hearts of 
the Creoles, and, as in de Pontalba's case, the 
loyal services of the French officers. 

"After having granted to Louisiana all that might be in her power, 
France would, in the event of talcing possession again of it, still 



114 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

have done nothing for her if she did not give her as Governor an 
honest, frank, just and good man who, by his conciUating temper, 
would gain the affection of the inhabitants. They are of a mild, 
sensitive and remarkably grateful temper. The statement of one 
fact alone will be sufficient to show how much I ought to insist upon 
this point. After having done in order to remain French more than 
it was then permitted to subjects to do, after having seen the 
sohcitations of their delegates rejected by the court of France, the 
inhabitants of Louisiana, after having deliberated among themselves, 
came to the resolution of relying on nothing else than their courage, 
which was the sole resource remaining to them. The result was the 
expulsion of Ulloa. 

"O'Reilly arrived with an army. He had caused himself to be 
preceded by words of peace, indulgence, and f orgetfulness oi tne past. 
The colonists abandoned by the mother country thought that they 
were no longer bound to nurse and preserve for her the love which 
she rejected. They gave themselves up to the hope of an endurable 
condition under a new master and received him without resistance. 
O'Reilly's conduct is but too well known. It exasperated every 
heart and caused the new domination to be abhorred. 

"The Count of Galvez made his appearance and inspired the 
pubUc with confidence; for he was distinguished for the affabihty of 
his manners, the sweetness of his temper, the frankness of his 
character, the kindness of his heart and bis love of justice. Receiving 
in 1779 the news of the declaration of war against the English, he 
convened the colonists around him. 'Let them who love me follow 
where I lead* said he; and the next day fifteen hundred Creoles, 
among them many heads of families, gathered round him, and were 
ready to march to the enemy." 

On the 3d of October, 1802, Pontalba presented a 
petition to the First Consul, stating that he, Joseph 
Xavier Delfau de Pontalba, one of the principal 
proprieteurs of Louisiana, where he was born, had 
renounced his rank in the army of Spain, and that 
the transfer of some of his fortune to France showed 
his desire of becoming a French citizen once more, 
and proving his devotion to France. He stated that 
he has given the Minister some notes on the relation 



DE PONT ALB A 115 

of the United States to Louisiana, and on the colony 
in general, which the Minister had found of use; he 
asks, therefore, that his previous service in the 
French Army also be taken into consideration and 
that he be appointed Adjutant-General without 
pay in the French Army; asking only the honor to 
serve the French Republic. This is annotated by 
General Victor: ''Colonel Pontalba had given val- 
uable notes on Louisiana." 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs makes a report 
upon the petition that Pontalba, having renounced 
service with Spain, would be very useful to France 
in the newly-acquired colony; that he had furnished 
an interesting Memoir and asked the grade of 
Adjutant-General without pay. Decres annotates 
it: ''This has been presented to the First Consul, 
who has commanded that a prepared conmaission be 
presented to him." Decres soon after sends him the 
commission with the intimation that it is accorded, 
with the hope that he will cooperate with the new 
Captain-General (Victor) and Prefect toward the 
prosperity of the colony of which France takes pos- 
session, and which she wishes to see flourish. 

But neither General Victor nor Pontalba came to 
New Orleans. In 1807, de Pontalba bought the 
magnificent chateau of Mont FEveque (dep. Oise) 
where he enjoyed, as he had often declared in his 
letters to his wife, what would constitute the reaUza- 
tion of his highest ideal of human felicity — a life 
passed in the family circle with her, his son and their 
good aunt, Madame Miro. 

Here the little boy Tintin (Celestin de Pontalba) 
grew to young manhood. When still a boy, in 1804, 
he had been made a page of the Emperor. Five 



116 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS '] 

I 
years later, when but nineteen, he was given the » 
grade of Sous-Lieutenant of a regiment of Chasseurs i\ 
a cheval, at the request of Marshal Ney, Due | 
d'Elchingen, who states to the Minister of War ', 
that the young man was related to his wife; that he i 
was a youth in whom he took the greatest interest, ' 
and whom he desired to attach to himself later as 
aide-de-camp. In 1811, Ney writes further to the 
Minister of War that the young de Pontalba had , 
served under him at the siege of Ciudad Rodrigo •? 
and Almeyda, had made the campaign of Portugal, ,1 
just terminated, and had shown himself brave, ' 
zealous and active in service, asking as a particu- 
lar favor that he be promoted as aide-de-camp. [ 
Napoleon himself countersigns the order for the if 
promotion. [ 

The next official paper in the '^Dossier Pontalba' ' 
grants a leave of absence for six months that the [ 
young Sous-Lieutenant may go to New Orleans to f 
contract a marriage. De Pontalba was accom- 
panied to New Orleans by his mother. 

The marriage figured for over a century in New 
Orleans' social traditions as the most important 
one ever contracted in Louisiana. According to the 
standards of the time, a standard fixed by the 
parents and not by the children, it was a perfect 
one, uniting as it did the only son and heir of the 
rich and distinguished Baron de Pontalba, with 
the only daughter and heiress of the wealthy Don 
Andres Almonaster, the famous benefactor of the 
city; the donor of the Cathedral, a schoolhouse, a 
hospital, a chapel, and the builder of the Cabildo; 
also a Chevalier of the noble and royal Order of 
Charles III, and the standard bearer (Alfarez Real) 



DE PONT ALBA 117 

of the Royal and Illustrious Municipality of New 
Orleans, to quote from the Spanish register in the 
Cathedral. 

Don Andres had died in 1798, leaving a great 
fortune to his wife and two daughters, Andrea and 
Micaela. Andrea survived her father only a short 
time, and her share of the estate went to increase 
the portions of her mother and sister. Micaela, 
sixteen at the time of her marriage, had been 
educated in the Ursuline Convent, and had never 
seen the world outside her native city and her 
mother's circle in society. She was not good 
looking, but had intelligence. She had been asked 
in marriage (the fate of heiresses) by every bachelor 
in the community, but her worldly-wise mother, the 
pettish ^'Louison" of the Pontalba letters, had other 
views in her head and was deaf, it is said, to the 
prayers of even her daughter, who had given her 
heart in an unworldly-wise manner to an impe- 
cunious youth. 

Madame Almonaster wrote cheerfully to the Baron 
de Pontalba in a letter (written according to the 
standard of the day) : 

"My daughter has no inclination for any one; she wishes to see 
her cousin; she says, 'What a pity if such a pretty marriage should 
fail!' They seem to be made one for the other." . . , 

As for the young groom of twenty, nothing is 
known of him beyond his official record already 
quoted. According to his portrait, he was a re- 
markably handsome young officer in his uniform of 
the Chasseurs; his face, too soft and pretty, was 
indeed the face of a petted only son, who had been 
fed through childhood and youth on tender smiles 



118 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

and words of endearment. It was a great contrast 
to that of his stern, strong father, the Indian fighter 
and sturdy soldier of Bienville, the shrewd business 
man, that we know in New Orleans. 

Dispensation was obtained for the degree of con- 
sanguinity, and in order to hasten the affair for 
the publication of the usual number of banns. To 
quote the account at the time, the young couple set 
out from the altar to France, accompanied by the 
two mothers. The Baron awaited them in Mont 
TEveque. 

The next document concerning him comes not 
from the ''Archives de la Marine, Dossier Pontalba," 
but from the ''Procedure de M. le Mar^chal Ney, 
par devant le Conseil de Guerre.'^ Among the 
effects of the Marshal seized at the time of his 
arrest was found the following letter: 

"Paris, 11th of July, 1815. 
"Monsieur le Mar6chal, 

"It seems to me that, in the event of your deciding to leave 
France, you would give the preference to Louisiana over other partg 
of the United States; that colony would, in truth, offer you more 
agreeable inducements than the Eastern parts. You would find in 
the manners, character, and language of the people, formerly French, 
a way of living more conformed to your own. Life there is not only 
much less expensive than in New York, but it is much more in accord- 
ance with our habits. The one reason to be alleged against that part 
of America is the sickness that often reigns in New Orleans, during 
the months of 7bre and 8bre. But it does not extend outside the 
city. One is not attacked by it in the country; therefore all men of 
means retire to it at that period, and nothing retaining you in the 
city you could easily seek shelter from the danger. You would find 
among my relatives and friends in Louisiana, a welcome even more 
cordial than is bespoken in the letters I enclose to you. . . . 
When you enter the Mississippi River, you will have to ascend it 
for thirty-six leagues. The Captain forwards the mail to the city, 
from the mouth of the river, by a skiff. Therefore by sending to 



DE PONTALBA 119 

Marigny the letter I addressed to him you can count upon finding 
him at the landing to meet you. 

"Make use of me, M. lo Mardchal, and count upon it that on all 
occasions you will find in me the same devotion that I have never 
ceased to show you." 

Pontalba's letters to Marigny and others in New 
Orleans have already been quoted. But New 
Orleans was not to have the honor of receiving, 
nor the people of New Orleans of entertaining, in 
their hospitable manner the noble and distinguished 
Marshal. He was, as we know, executed in the 
gardens of the Luxembourg five months after de 
Pontalba's letter, written, one cannot avoid the 
surmise, not only to give an invitation, but also to 
convey an intimation in the way of advice; and, 
involuntarily, another surmise arises in the mind of 
a New Orleanian, that de Pontalba may have 
ventured still further and may have suggested the 
rescue of Napoleon from St. Helena. It was pro- 
posed, according to a faithful chronicle in the city, 
to convey him in a swift-sailing vessel to New 
Orleans, where a house was built for him — a stately 
mansion that is still standing awaiting its imperial 
guest to-day as in 1815. The Battle of New Orleans 
and glorious defeat of the British had given the 
city no inconsiderable fame in 1815; and the gather- 
ing in the city of a distinguished band of old warriors 
from the Napoleonic army may have seemed to de 
Pontalba an opportunity for escape and safety that 
the Emperor would have been wise to seize. 

Two years after his marriage, Celestin de 
Pontalba's resignation was accepted and he was 
freed from all military service and permitted to 
retire to his home in the magnificent estate of Mont 



120 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

TEveque, where lived also his father, mother andi 
aunts, Madame Miro and Mademoiselle Macarty. 

During the early years of the marriage three sons 
were born: Celestin, Alfred and Gaston. Madame 
Almonaster re-married soon after and died in 1827. 
Her fortune went to her daughter, Micaela. Young 
and immensely wealthy, even according to the 
standards of Paris, Micaela was not unnaturally 
tempted to enjoy her advantages according to the 
tastes of Paris. She bought a magnificent hotel and 
furnished it in a splendid way, and gave entertain- 
ments which even the haughty and aristocratic 
society of the Faubourg St. Germain attended. 

The Baron made over to his son the chateau of 
Mont I'Eveque (whose garden was the finest in 
France) and the family, including always Madame 
Miro and her sister, Mademoiselle Macarty, retired 
to a new home bought in the outskirts of Senlis. 

But Micaela cared not for the country. When she 
paid unavoidable visits to the stately chateau of 
Mont TEveque, she carried with her a princely 
retinue of servants, and generally a cortege of 
fashionable friends and the leading actors of the 
great companies. She built a theatre in her grounds 
and acted in it herself. In short the Creole heiress 
followed the beaten path of her kind, in life as in 
fiction. The story is a commonplace one. Her 
husband cared only for the quiet pleasures of 
domestic life. His father, mother, aunts, children 
and wife constituted his world. The brilliant round 
of Paris pleasures grew distasteful; the extravagant 
expenditure of money abhorrent. 

Estrangement between husband and wife fol- 
lowed and practical separation. In short, what had 




cc 



3 
O 

K 

a 
o 

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DE PONT ALB A 123 

constituted in wordly eyes the perfection of the union 
became its destruction, twenty years after its con- 
summation. From its beginning the contract drawn 
with so much business sagacity became a casus belli. 
Lawsuits ensued — the veil of family secrecy was rent 
in twain, because, in truth, the one thing needful, 
in marriage, which the contract had ignored, was 
lacking. 

Micaela made a dash to Louisiana in 1831 to 
secure the succession of her mother and, if possible, 
a divorce from her husband; but a timely interven- 
tion from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sebastiani, 
frustrated this last. She returned by way of the 
great cities of the North and the Falls of Niagara, 
describing them to her aunt, Madame de Chalmette, 
in letters written with all the exuberance of a strong, 
original mind. On her return to Paris she obtained 
her independence of her husband and his family. 

The culmination of the greatest Louisiana matri- 
monial union was a tragedy, that has bowed the 
fine old name of Pontalba under a veil of crape. 
It is a family secret of New Orleans, guarded with 
filial piety; the details are imparted by those who 
know them under the seal of personal confidence; 
the ghastly truth only is acknowledged, which is — 
that at Mont I'Eveque, on an October morning in 
1834, Madame de Pontalba was discovered on the 
floor of her apartment, weltering in her blood, 
and apparently in a dying condition, her body torn 
with pistol shots. The old Baron was found dead, 
sitting upright in a great armchair in his apartment, 
a pistol in his hand! 

Thus, in a moment of insanity, in his eightieth 
year, passed away the fine soldier of Bienville, the 



124 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

dashing Indian fighter, the noble aristocrat, the 
devoted husband, the too-doting father, the writer 
of charming letters, the author of the masterly 
''Memoir of Louisiana !'' 

By a miracle, Madame de Pontalba recovered, jl 
carrying to her death the bullets in her body and | 
maintaining to the end the prestige of her wealth, 
position, and indomitable will. Still frequenting 
and frequented by the Faubourg St. Germain, she 
escaped none of the horror and excitement that ! 
filled the minds of the Ancien Regime, when it ' 
became rumored that the beautiful palace built by 
Louis XIV for the Due de Maine, on the rue de 
Lille, was to be bought by the ^'Bande Noire" and | 
razed to the ground — the site to be filled with f 
smaller buildings. With her Louisiana millions she 
bought the palace herself, and even attempted, with 
the vaulting pride of woman, to live in it. Only ■ 
royal wealth and attendance could, however, properly 
fill the place — four hundred rooms it contained, so 
the new proprietor, submitting, as even royal per- 
sonages must, to circumstances, demolished the 
palace herself, but reserved all its artistic wealth 
of carvings, columns, ornaments and marbles for 
the new hotel she built; a hotel of magnificent state 
but more in proportion to her position and means. 
It was sold afterwards for five million francs to one 
of the Rothschilds. 

Celestin de Pontalba came but once to New 
Orleans, on a business visit. His mother came twice, 
once as we have seen before the tragedy in 1831, and 
once later, when she received a warm welcome from 



DE PONTALBA 125 

her friends and relatives; ardent sympathizers in her 
griefs and misfortunes.* 

Finding her native city in full tide of prosperity 
and architectural development, she was too much 
the daughter of her father not to want to connect 
her name with that of New Orleans. In 1846, 
through her agent, she communicated to the Council 
of the IMunicipality her desire to aid in the embellish- 
ment of her native city, proposing to demolish the 
two rows of buildings fronting on the Place d'Armes 
from Chartres and Cond6 (lower Chartres) Streets 
to the levee, and to replace these buildings by edifices 
according to a plan submitted to the Council. 
But with an astuteness worthy of her father, she 
would consent to carry out the project only if 
seconded by the Council, making the request that 
the new edifices be exempt from city taxation for 
twenty years from the date of their completion. The 
Council consented, providing that the entire front 
of said structures, in St. Peter's and St. Anne Streets, 
should be finished in all particulars according to the 
plans furnished. 

In 1849, Madame de Pontalba communicated to 
the Council that, relying upon their resolution, she 
had contracted for the demolition and reconstruc- 
tion proposed; the Council, on the excuse of some 
flaw in the contract, claimed that they were without 
authority to grant her the exemption asked for. 
Notwithstanding this, with characteristic energy, she 
persisted in her filial and patriotic purpose. Her 
plans grew in beauty and grandeur and finally found 

• "Jackson Square," Henry Renshaw, Louisiana Historical So- 
ciety. Quarterly, Vol. II, No. 1. 



126 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

consummation in the stately rows of buildings that 
stand on the northern and southern sides of the 
Place d'Armes. They were finished in 1850 and from 
the standpoint of to-day, even with the wear and 
tear of three-quarters of a century, to quote from the 
last pretty compliment paid them: ^They are fair 
to look upon and they arouse admiration by their 
noble proportions, their spacious verandas and 
elegance of the tendril-like iron work, which displays 
the interlaced initials of the families of Almonaster 
and Pontalba." 

All guides of New Orleans relate with proud 
pleasure that the central house of the row was 
finished in time to be furnished and offered to Jenny 
Lind as a residence when she came to the city in 
1850. The celebrated chef and culinary authority 
of the time, Boudro, was engaged for the cuisine; it 
is also said that the Diva ever afterwards, in speaking 
of her visit to the city, mentioned him as the greatest 
attraction she had found in it. But the houses were 
entirely out of keeping with their old setting of the 
Place d'Armes, which still retained its rustic ap- 
pearance of a village muster green, with grass-grown 
spaces enclosed within a dilapidated iron raihng. Its 
only beauty consisted of its double avenue of old 
sycamores, the favorite promenade and the delight 
of the old citizens, who were fond of passing the 
summer afternoons under their shade, while enjoying 
the fresh breezes from the river. 

It was from the Square that the evening gun was 
fired which gave the signal for slaves to retire from 
the streets; here it was that O'Reilly had proclaimed 
the sovereignty of Spain, and Laussat later the 
domination of the French Republic. And grass 



DE PONT ALB A 127 

grown and shabby as it was, more gloriously still 
it was the scene of the cession of Louisiana to the 
United States. From its flagstaff, the fleur-de-lis 
the banner of Spain, the tricolor, had all risen in 
temporary sovereignty, until the flag of the United 
States arose and spread its folds to the wind, in sign 
of proud, permanent possession. 

General Jackson passed in triumph through it to 
the Cathedral after his glorious victory of Chalmette. 
Nevertheless it had to submit to the spirit (the 
ruthless spirit, as it seems) of improvement. Its 
venerable sycamores were felled, despite the agonized 
protests of the citizens; its rough greensward was 
laid off in parterres. A flower garden was made of 
it, and a clean sweep (as it were) was made of its old 
memories and traditions, by changing its name and 
consecrating it to the memory of the hero of 
Chalmette. 

When Madame de Pontalba left New Orleans in 
1851, she carried with her the consciousness of having 
left, even as her father had done, an enduring mark 
upon her native city. In addition to a considerable 
contribution to the erection of the monument to 
Jackson, for whom she had an enthusiastic admira- 
tion, she had furnished a suitable site for it (a nobler 
one could not have been found in the United States), 
and she had added grandly to her father's benefac- 
tions — the Cathedral, the Cabildo and the Presby- 
tere, by giving them noble and worthy surroundings, 
assuring beyond peradventure against the neglect 
and decay that have degraded many an historic and 
ecclesiastic center in Europe. For a half century 
the Pontalba buildings furnished the dwelHngs of 
the most exclusive famihes in the city. Jackson 



128 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Square still reigns, the center of all civic, social and 
ecclesiastical functions of ceremony; the noble 
monument in its center, far from excluding, seems 
courteously to salute the old traditions and memories 
which seem to follow the great General as he guides 
his charger toward the Cathedral portal. 

Micaela returned to her Ufe in Paris and reigned 
there in a kind of exotic supremacy; giving her 
great entertainments and welcoming to them right 
cordially friends and relatives from her native 
place. 

Charles Gayarre,* a kinsman and friend, used to 
relate that in 1837 he once had taken dinner with 
her on the evening of a great ball she was giving, 
to be preceded by a concert of artists from the 
Italian opera. The repast was luxurious in every 
particular, with many guests; among them were 
Celestin, her husband, with whom she was more 
friendly, and her three grown sons. She presided 
in a magnificent toilette and was taking the lead, 
as usual, in conversation, when she suddenly turned 
ghastly pale and fell back in her chair unconscious. 
Her sons at once calmed the guests, and carried their 
mother to a couch, explaining simply that she often 
suffered such attacks. They were the result of the 
wounds inflicted by her father-in-law. The banquet, 
the concert and the ball proceeded as if nothing had 
happened. 

Charles Gayarr6 described her as majestic and 
impressive, and with the kindest possible expression 
of countenance, particularly when speaking to or 
about people from her old home. She died in 1874, 
in her hotel, rue St. Honor6. Her husband survived 

* Related also to the author. 



DE PONTALBA 129 

her four years, dying in 1878, at the age of ninety- 
seven, in his domicile, Avenue Malakoff. 

Celestin de Pontalba, the eldest son and eventual 
bearer of the title, like his father came to New 
Orleans for his wife. He married, in 1858, Frangoise 
Georgine Blanche Ogden who, Uke himself, belonged 
to a historic family of New Orleans. Her mother 
was the daughter of Madame de McNamara, who 
was a daughter of Chauvin des Islets de Lery and 
Charlotte Faucon du Manoir. McNamara was an 
Irishman (his title of Count has never been 
explained) who came to Louisiana early in 1800 to 
become a planter. M^rieult was the name of his 
plantation (below the city), from the name of its 
former owner. 

The marriage of Celestin to Blanche Ogden, as she 
was familiarly called, was one of the pretty memories 
that survived to an old lady, a very grande dame of 
the past.* She was one of the little girls who clus- 
tered on the steps of the Cathedral to see the bride 
(a beautiful blonde) walk in, as was the custom of 
that time, at the head of a long suite of beautiful 
bridesmaids. 

And, a propos of the beautiful blonde bride, comes 
to memory another story — a tradition. Madame 
McNamara Merieult, sojourning in Paris during 
the Empire, was noted for her beauty, which was 
enhanced by a wonderful chevelure, golden blonde, 
that fell Hke a veil to her feet. Napoleon, so the 
fantastic story goes, who was at that time wishing 
to please the Sultan of Turkey, heard that that 
royal personage was looking through Paris for a 

* Mrs. James Grimshaw; a Miss Berthoud, daughter of a dame 
d'honneur of Marie Antoinette. 



130 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

blonde p^ruque to take away with him to fulfill a 
promise to a favorite of his harem, and that he was 
in despair at not finding one suitably handsome. 
From maid to maid and from coiffeur to coiffeur the 
story w^ent and traveled upward until it reached the 
ears of Josephine that the Louisiana Countess, 
McNamara de M6rieult, carried on her head the 
making of the most beautiful and wonderful peruque 
in the world! To Napoleon this was sufficient; 
Madame McNamara de Merieult was approached 
and offered her own terms for her hair ! She decUned. 
And the story goes no further. 

Celestin de Pontalba and Blanche Ogden left two 
sons and a daughter. The eldest son. Baron Edouard 
de Pontalba, brings the family well within the present 
memory of Louisianians. He was born in France 
in 1839, and in 1864 married, at Senlis, Desiree 
Victoire Clothilde de Vernois, the handsome aristo- 
cratic grande damey who presided with the ineffable 
grace (one may say, of a Louisianian) at his table; 
showing herself in sympathy, talk and historical 
interests his coadjutor as well as helpmeet. 

In heart and mind, true to ancestral attachments, 
Edouard de Pontalba ever responded to the name of 
the State as to a watchword ; and fortunate was the 
one able thus to invoke his kindly interest and 
enjoy his unforgetable generosity of mind and 
hospitaUty of board. He was an ardent student of 
Louisiana history to which, as we have seen, he was 
connected by family ties, reaching through ancestral 
alliances to Bienville himself. Through his long and 
careful searchings for historical documents con- 
nected with Louisiana, he became an intimate fre- 
quenter of the colonial archives of France, prov- 



DE PONT ALB A 131 

ing an ever-ready and available means of communi- 
cation between them and Louisiana historical 
students. 

In the progress of further elucidation of political 
questions and personal appreciations, he penetrated 
into the family archives of Mont FEveque, where 
finding the letters (from which we have quoted) of 
his distinguished and unfortunate great-grandfather, 
written to his wife, that throw such a kindly light 
upon his character, he copied and presented them to 
the Louisiana Historical Society. It is in his own 
minute, beautiful handwriting that we possess also 
the Etat des Services of the gallant soldier, which, with 
the letters, he presented to the Historical Society. 
He added also to its archives from his family papers 
the very valuable copies of the official letters of his 
great-granduncle. Governor Miro; an inestimable 
aid to the understanding of the hnportant period of 
the Spanish Domination in Louisiana. 

SUght of form, with extreme dehcacy of features, 
modest and retiring to an almost embarrassing 
degree, he nevertheless conveyed the impression of 
an heir and, if need be, of an actor ol heroic deeds. 
He was a good talker in spite of his reserve, drawing 
frankly upon the inexhaustible treasures of ex- 
perience, reading and family traditions at his 
command. 

After passing through the war of 1870, and the 
horrors of the Commune, he, in his old age and 
feeble health, was summoned to suffer the even 
greater horror of the late war! In Paris, in 1914, he 
endured the painful anxieties caused by the ruthless 
march of the Prussians upon it, and the terrible 
panic that, as a whirlwind, drove him and his family 



132 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

into flight from the capital. When he returned he 
was broken in health. His beautiful summer home 
at Senlis lay in the path of the Prussian army. He 
did not live to see the compensation of victory. He 
died during the early winter of 1919 in Paris, at the 
home of his daughter, rue Pergolese 66, and was 
buried at Senhs. \ 

His only child, Blanche Genevieve Jeanne Micaela 
Delfau de Pontalba, is the wife of Jacques Frederic ^ 
Kulp of Paris. Their daughters, Jacqueline and • 
D6siree, are the only descendants of this line of the I 
Pontalbas. ; 

Jacqueline is the wife of the Comte Roland Balmy ^ 
d'Avricourt. The title and the patrimonial chateau \ 
of Mont I'Eveque passed to a half brother of the j 
Baron Edouard, whose grandson Alfred is the only r 
male descendant of the family living to-day. '> 



CHAPTER VII 
ROUER DE VILLERAY 

THE name of Villere shines with a luster all its 
own in the annals of New Orleans' history. To 
the historian the hand of the city seems to hold it 
poised aloft — a jewel from her casket. The name 
was known at first as Rouer de Villeray and, accord- 
ing to local tradition, was originally ItaUan, belong- 
ing to the illustrious house of la Rovere, which gave 
two Popes besides Cardinals and Bishops to the 
Church, many sovereign Princes to Italy and the 
Republic of Genoa, and possessed chevaUers innum- 
erable of the most distinguished orders of France, f 

When the family became French is not recorded, 
but it is known that branches established in Pied- 
mont passed from there into France in the sixteenth 
century, where they were known under the several 
names of Rovere, La Rouyer, Rouer. 

One of them, Raymond de Rouer of Languedoc, 
a Knight of St. Louis and Governor of Narbonne, 
was sent as Ambassador to Spain in the sixteenth 
century, and in 1562 he commanded the armies of 
the King during the rehgious wars in Languedoc. 

Louis Rouer de Villeray, the first of the name who 

* "FamiJles de la France Colonials." Margry. Paris, 1851. 

t There are no documents left in the family for the reason that 
when, in Havre, in 1793, the wife of the Marquis de Villere, a 
loyalist and imigree, dreading a domiciliary visit from the Revolu- 
tionists, destroyed all her family papers, fearing that their discovery 
might lead to her husband's denunciation and condemnation. 

133 



134 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS ; 

went to Canada, belonged to the branch of theii 
family established in Touraine, the head of which, \ 
Rene de Rouer, bore the hereditary title of Marquis j 
de Villeray, Seigneur of Martin, Revillon and off 
Comblot, near Mortagne, where he died. i 

Louis Rouer went to Canada about 1650, very 
young and very poor, to seek his fortune, following 
the good old Norman recommendation, ^'cherche 
qui n'a/^ The young Canadian sought; but found 
at first only dangers innumerable and cruel hardships 
of all kinds. Nevertheless, he was able to make his 
way despite them all, and from a subordinate employ- 
ment rose at the age of twenty-four to a respectable 
position in the Sovereign Council of Canada, later 
becoming its President, a position that he filled for 
thirty years. 

He married Catherine Sevestre, daughter of one 
of the great pioneer Canadian families, his name 
being now corrupted by the Canadians into Roy de 
Villere. His sons following in the career he had 
opened for them in civil life, became Councillors and 
Judges. They married into good Canadian families, 
such as Le Gardeur de Tilly, de Repentigny, de 
Lery and Lemoyne de Longueil. They passed, or, 
as it was regarded in that day, mounted from the 
magistracy into mihtary service. At the end of the 
Seven Years' War, four Villeres were listed in the 
French Army as ofiicers. Upon the surrender of 
Canada by the French, they returned to France. 

Previous to this, however, a Villere had made his 
appearance in Louisiana. He had presumably, 
with the Canadian Chauvin family, to which he 
was allied by marriage, joined Iberville's expedition 
for the discovery of the Mississippi. It will be 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 135 

remembered that Iberville, in his preparations for 
his expedition, demanded that a contingent of 
Canadians should be allowed him. 

The existing marriage contracts furnish the only- 
traces by which this Viller6 can be followed. In 
1695, Jacques Nepveu, son of PhiUppe Nepveu and 
Marie Denise Sevestre, was married in Montreal 
to Michelle Chauvin, daughter of Pierre Chauvin 
and Marie Antreuil — a dispensation being obtained 
on account of their consanguinity. Marie Catherine 
Nepveu, their daughter, was married in Montreal 
to Etienne Roy de Villere, the first Louisiana Vil- 
ler^. He became the father of Joseph Roy de 
Viller^. 

Coming to our next stepping stone of date, in 
1726, we find living on Bienville's land, extending 
from New Orleans up the Tchoupitoulas road, ^'Le 
Roy, his wife, and Bellair, his associate. '^ Higher up 
the river, on the Tchoupitoulas tract in Bienville's 
concession, were situated the plantations of the three 
Chauvin brothers: DeLery, Beaulieu and Lafreniere. 

In 1728 the marriage was celebrated, in the St. 
Louis Cathedral, of Catherine Nepveu, widow of the 
deceased Etienne Roy de Villere, and Jacques 
Hubert Bellair, son of Ignace Hubert and Barbe 
Chauvin. Here also, a dispensation, on account of 
consanguinity, was necessary, both parties being 
children of sisters. 

Joseph Roy Villere, who was very young when his 
father died, was reared by his stepfather, Bellair, 
who sent him to France, where he and his cousin, 
Nicolas de Lafreniere, received their education. 
The daughter of Hubert Bellair and Catherine Nep- 
veu, Marie Marguerite Bellair, was married to her 



^li 



136 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

cousin, Nicolas de Lafreniere, who thus became the 
brother-in-law as well as cousin of Villere. When 
Lafreniere was appointed Attorney-General, Villere 
was named to the official post of Ecrivain de la 
Marine (maritime notary). 

Beyond these facts nothing is Known of the early 
life of Villere. The great Canadian pioneers, leav- 
ing no private papers or documents behind them, 
have to be trailed, as it were, across a virgin forest 
of history, through which they gUded like Indians. 
We come, however, into a clear space in the marriage 
contract between Villere, described as an ^'Ecrivain 
de la Marine en cette ville," and Mademoiselle Mar- 
guerite de la Chaise, grandaughter of the Chevalier 
d'Arensbourg. The settlements were handsome and 
generous from both parties, as beseemed so notable 
a marriage. The dower of the bride amounted to 
forty thousand livres, the groom presenting her with 
six thousand. According to the good old Creole 
custom, the parents of the bride provided all the 
furniture, silver and linen of the future estabhsh- 
ment, but with the stipulation, also a Creole custom, 
that the husband and wife should live with the 
bride's parents for the space of three whole consecu- 
tive years. The marriage was solemnized in the 
St. Louis Cathedral October 12th, 1759. 

In 1763, Marie de la Chaise, sister of Marguerite, 
was married to Frangois Chauvin de L^ry — the 
first cousin of Viller^ — thus binding the two great 
families together by another tie. 

By 1763, Villere had acquired a plantation on the 
Cote des Allemands and had become Captain of the 
German Militia, of which his wife's grandfather, 
the old Chevalier d'Arensbourg, was Commandant. 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 137 

At the end of the prescribed three years, the 
couple established themselves on their plantation. 
As described by Gayarr^, it was not a large planta- 
tion, and the slaves upon it, of both sexes and all 
ages, did not exceed thirty-two. The house was the 
usual modest Louisiana plantation house of the 
period, one of the little unpainted wooden cottages, 
called at that time '^Acadian houses," furnished 
with the Spartan simplicity which, Gayarr^ remarks, 
distinguished the Louisiana planters of that time. 
The furniture of the wife of the most distinguished 
citizen of Louisiana and granddaughter of the 
Sieur de la Chaise, consisted of a cypress bedstead, 
three feet wide by six feet in length, with a mattress 
of corn shucks and one of feathers on top ; a bolster 
of corn shucks, and a coarse cotton counterpane, 
spun and woven probably by the lady herself; six 
chairs with straw bottoms ; and candelabra with the 
common wax candles made in the country. The rest 
of the house was not more luxuriously furnished. 
Here, in 1761, was born to them their son, Jacques 
Phihppe Roy de Villere, who became the first Creole 
Governor of Louisiana and, in 1764, their daughter 
Louise, who married Simon Du Courneau Dasplatia, 
and here they ended their serene lives of wedded 
bhss. 

In June, 1764, the news came of the cession of 
Louisiana by France to Spain. It was the hardy, 
independent Canadians who were the first to resent 
the transaction as an insult to Louisiana and to 
themselves. Always restive under the official arro- 
gance of the French officers, civil and military, they 
had with their own arrogance shouldered their way 
to the front in opinion and action, assuming a pro- 



138 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

prietary right of domination in the community 
founded by Canadians, and maintained by their 
independent strength and shrewdness, in striking 
contrast to the more dependent position of the 
French. 

Lafreniere, the foremost citizen among the Cana- 
dians, had risen to the important position of Attor- 
ney-General, a position that he owed to his natural 
abilities and superior education. Backed by his 
strong family connections and by his ever-growing 
popularity, he, and not Aubry, was unquestionably 
the first representative of power in the Louisiana 
country. When he voiced a manly opposition to 
slavish submission to a decree that, by the stroke of a 
pen, passed them, their families, their children and 
their posterity away to another foreign country, 
Aubry's voice, in comparison, was a mere whimper- 
ing of childish fear. 

When Lafreniere called a pubHc meeting in New 
Orleans to protest against the cession of the province 
to Spain, Villere attended it, seconding him enthusi- 
astically and whole-heartedly, and leading the 
applause of the Assembly for Lafreniere. When the 
Assembly was again called to support the resolution 
for the expulsion of Ulloa, Villere, at the head of four 
hundred armed Germans, marched down the river, 
captured the Tchoupitoulas Gate, entered the city 
and proceeded to the place of meeting, where he 
again supported Lafreniere's resolution. His serv- 
ices can be measured by the furious denunciations 
of the Spanish Attorney-General. Lafreniere, alone, 
has the glory of surpassing Viller6 in the celebrated 
''presentment^': 

"With regard to Viller6," so it says, "he was a man of atrociou? 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 139 

disposition and remarkable for his pride and violence; he was 
undoubtedly one of the most consiMcuous movers in the conspiracy, 
and signalized himself by deeds of the most striking character. 
He it was who stirred up to rebellion the Germans, of whom he was 
the commander. He it was who made them sign the petition request- 
ing the expulsion of Ulloa and of other Spaniards. He it was who 
led them to New Orleans to incorporate them with the other rebels 
and to strengthen the insurrection ... he was at their head and 
commanded them." . . . 

Upon the arrival of O'Reilly, Viller6 at first 
thought of seeking safety with the English at their 
post a few miles above his plantation. But when he 
heard of the arrest of his friends and kinsmen as 
conspirators, receiving at the same time assurances 
from Aubry that O'Reilly was minded to act len- 
iently toward all engaged in the revolt, he decided 
to proceed instead to New Orleans and present him- 
self to the Spanish General. 

He was arrested at the Tchoupitoulas Gate. 
There are various versions of what befell him. The 
Spanish official report states that the blasting of his 
hopes threw him into such a state of frenzy that he 
died, raving mad, on the day of his arrest.* 

The cool and judicial Martin, who lived at a time 
when intimate evidence of the affair was obtainable, 
relates that after Villere was arrested he was im- 
mediately conveyed to a Spanish frigate which lay 
in the river. On hearing of this, his wife hastened 
to the frigate in a skiff rowed by her slaves. As her 
boat approached the vessel, she was hailed and 
roughly ordered away. She made herself known 
and solicited admission to her husband, but she 
was answered that she could not see him. Viller^, 
in the place of his confinement, recognized his wife's 

* Gayarr^'a "French Domination." 



140 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

voice in protestation, and insisted on being allowed 
to see her. On the refusal of this, a struggle ensued 
between him and his guards, in which he fell, pierced 
by their bayonets. 

^'His bloody shirt, thrown into the boat, announced 
to Madame Villere that she had ceased to be a wife; 
and the rope was cut that held the skiff to the 
frigate. '^ Gayarre thinks that the atrocity of the 
bloody shirt is not probable; but the story is piously 
preserved in popular tradition, and has been repeated 
by other historians as well authenticated as Martin. 

Villere's escape from the Spanish tribunal did not 
relieve him from the condemnation he had deserved, 
according to the Spanish Attorney-General. As 
the others had been condemned to death, in the same 
manner, his memory was condemned as infamous. 
The death of Villere, however, in New Orleans, 
excited even more horror than the subsequent execu- 
tion of Lafr^niere. A contemporary historian, 
Champigny, has written what must have been the 
popular feeling about him : 

"None could be braver than Villerd ... he had eveiything; 
valor, fortitude, freedom of mind. Violent and fiery, but frank, 
loyal, and firm in his resolutions; of good size, well made, his step 
firm, his look bold and martial, his devotion to his King was a 
frenzy rather than a form of patriotism. . . . Had all the colo- 
nists thought as he did, I doubt whether a single Spaniard would 
ever have reached New Orleans." 

The machinery of the Spanish Government was 
installed and set in motion. The great French 
Colonial tribunal, the Superior Council, was abol- 
ished, and in its place the Cabildo was inaugurated, 
with Alfarez, Alguazil, Alcalde and Regidores. 
Spanish was made the official language, not only Id 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 141 

the State, but in the Church. Spanish priests were 
put in the Cathedral. The Ursuhne Nuns were 
required to use Spanish breviaries and to teach 
Spanish. De jure and de facto, the province was 
made the province of Spain, as surely as it had 
formerly been the province of France. 

After O'Reilly's departure, Don Luis de Unzaga 
became Governor. A great silence and quietude fell 
over the Creole population. The excitement of the 
revolution, like a delirium of fever, passed away in 
the gradual restoration of healthy activities — save 
in the hearts of those families where was cherished 
and enshrined the bloody grave of a father or hus- 
band. Time and the gentle conduct of the Spanish 
Government slowly effaced the traces of the past. 
The brother of Marguerite de la Chaise, and brother- 
in-law of Villere, accepted a position in the Cabildo. 
In an incredibly short space of time we read of social 
amenities and cordialities between the Spaniards 
and the Creoles, with the usual happy result of inter- 
marriage. Unzaga, himself, set the example by 
marrying the daughter of St. Maxent, a wealthy 
Creole planter ; other officers imitated him. Milhet's 
widow married Don Panis, Captain of the firing 
squadron that executed the patriots, but it is said 
that she never found this out, so well did he guard his 
secret. Creole names crept into official positions. 
A Louisiana regiment, to serve the Spanish King, was 
formed from the elite of the population. ^'It is an 
admitted fact," writes Gayarre, ^'that the Creoles of 
those days were remarkable for their great size, for 
the manhness of their bearing, for their pecuharly 
striking lineaments, which constituted nobility of 
face, and for the elegant symmetry of their forms." 



142 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

O'Reilly, struck by the distinction in appearance of 
the Creole officers, regretted his inability to take 
with him some of them to show the King as speci- 
ments of his new subjects. 

Of all the documents that the historian longs for 
at this period, the one whose loss or non-existence is 
most deplored is one that might have recorded the 
life of Jacques Philippe Viller6, the son of Joseph 
Roy Villere, the first Creole Governor of Louisiana- 
Imagination alone can supply it, and we turn fondly 
to the picture of the little boy of eight in the planta- 
tion home, anxiously watching his father in delibera- 
tion, hesitating between the advice of his wife not to 
trust the Spaniards but to escape to the English, and 
the advice of Governor Aubry, in a written letter 
counseling a manly confidence in O'Reilly's fine 
words and gracious demeanor. The child sees and 
hears the proud decision; the final determination to 
brave rather than to flee from the Spaniards ; to take 
his stand beside his imprisoned friends. With beat- 
ing heart he looks on as his father makes ready to 
depart, and with his mother he receives his embrace. 

Then in the quiet of the apprehensive household, 
comes the rumor — forerunner of the dire truth of the 
master's, the father's, the husband's arrest and 
capture! Then the little boy beholds his mother's 
consternation and frenzied haste to go at once to 
join her husband — to share his fate with him! No 
time now for farewells! She throws herself into the 
skiff, always waiting at the plantation landing on 
the river, and her slaves, the good rowers, bend their 
backs and strain their muscles under her urging for 
greater and greater speed — and so they disappear 
around the bend in the river. Anxious long hours of 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 143 

waiting follow for the little boy — she returns, clasping 
a reddened garment to her bosom! No cries! No 
words! They are not needed, and then the black 
doom hovering like a cloud over the city for days, 
crashes, falls! To the eyes on that plantation, it 
must have been a surprise that annihilation of the 
city itself did not ensure, that its buildings still 
could be seen standing! 

The seizure of the plantation by the Spanish 
officials followed, and the flight of the widow and her 
two children (although this is not known) to a refuge 
with the grandfather, the old Chevalier d'Arens- 
bourg, the patriarch of the German Coast. The 
rightful inheritance of wealth was succeeded by an 
inheritance of poverty! But after this comes a 
tardy gesture of pity and sympathy from France. 
King Louis XVI sends for the son of Joseph Roy 
Villere, to be educated at his court, at his expense. 
The little boy departs for France, and his career 
is now recorded for us. 

Schooled and trained like the son of a nobleman, 
he became a page in the Court of the King. But, 
according to a story inherited by his great-grand- 
children, and still repeated, the life at court had its 
trials for the little Creole, fresh from a Louisiana 
plantation. His vernacular was the Creole patois 
of his negro nurse. When excited or angry he forgot 
his French and, in local parlance, talked "nigger,'' 
to the extreme delight and amusement of his fellow 
pages. His feet, as awkward as his tongue, could 
never learn to walk on waxed floors; he slipped and 
fell continually, an accident that never failed to 
excite further ridicule. One day when the laughter at 
his expense was at its height, the young Creole, with a 



144 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

vigorous expression or two of "nigger," jerked off his 
coat and, proceeding to show the Httle courtiers 
what he could do with his fists, gave each one a severe 
drubbing, and suffered no more from their ridicule. 

At eighteen, Villere was commissioned a Lieu- 
tenant in the French Army, the King presenting him 
with a sword. He joined a regiment serving in San 
Domingo. A few years later, on the death of his 
mother, he returned to his own people in Louisiana; 
and in 1784, in the parish church of St. Louis, he 
was married to Henriette Fazende, daughter of 
Gabriel Fazende, who came from France in 1723 to 
serve on the first Superior Council in the colony. 
They made their home on a sugar plantation below 
the city, facing the river and adjoining the estates 
of Delaronde, Chalmette and Bienvenu. The land 
of these plantations, gained, as we shall see, immor- 
tality in history as the battlefield upon which General 
Jackson defeated the British Army under Pakenham, 
in 1815. 

The home of Villere was a wooden cottage similar 
to the one in which he was born, all the rooms being 
on one floor, with wide galleries in front and rear, 
surrounded by trees and shrubberies. 

Five children were born to him: Rene Gabriel, 
1785; Adele, 1792; Jules, 1794; Delphin, 1797; 
Caliste, 1799; Felix, 1802; Anatole, 1807. 

There are no other happenings to record in the 
life of the sugar planter. His was the life that his 
father had dreamed of, on his plantation, with his 
wife and children. The passing of the seasons, the 
ripening of his crop of cane, the growth of the chil- 
dren from babyhood to childhood, filled the years, 
a scant number as history reckons it, when lo, by a 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 145 

mere grasp of the hand, Napoleon seized from Spain 
and returned to France the colony so carelessly 
thrown away in 1763 — the country which thirty-four 
years before his father and uncle had given their 
lives to preserve to France! 

Villere could watch from the gallery of his plan- 
tation house the Colonial Prefet, Laussat, going up 
the river on his way to take possession of the city, 
his barge followed by a long procession of boats, 
filled with Spanish officials and Creole citizens. He 
doubtless contributed by his presence to the bril- 
Hant fetes given in the city to celebrate the great 
event. But his name does not appear in any of the 
addresses to the French Prefet printed by the exuber- 
ant Creoles. 

Laussat, nevertheless, was too well informed to 
ignore Villere 's importance in the community. He 
writes in his report to his government on the 
measures he took to annul the Spanish municipality 
and inaugurate a French one in its place, announcing 
that after selecting M. Bore for Mayor, he took care 
to join with him, in authority, some of the most 
respectable inhabitants of the city, known to have a 
capacity for business and a knowledge of the three 
languages spoken in the colony — French, Spanish, 
Enghsh. 

"It was with a true feeling of pleasure," he writes, "that I put 
in authority M. Villere, the son of the most interesting of O'Reilly's 
victims, himself much loved in the colony and held in repute for 
his probity, good conduct and merit. I thus discharged a second 
debt on the part of France." 

In the more impressive ceremonies shortly after- 
wards, of the transfer of Louisiana to the United 
States, Villere acted as Major on the staff of Laus- 



146 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

sat. He became, with the colony, American, and 
served his new flag with steady-going loyalty. 

To the new American Governor's many anxieties, 
to the many causes of perturbation that were spread 
like thorns on the couch of that serious, conscien- 
tious official, to his patient complaints to President 
Jefferson and Secretary Monroe, Villere furnished 
naught. When Louisiana from its state of probation 
was finally raised to the dignity of a State in the 
Union, he was chosen as a member of the convention 
called for the momentous duty of framing a consti- 
tution — the first constitution of Louisiana (1812). 
The record of his contributions to its proceedings 
is contained in the report of the Convention. 

Three years later came the great, the crowning 
ordeal to the new State. In 1815, the English Army 
invaded Louisiana, counting upon finding a divided 
State through the ill feeling of the Creoles to the 
American Government, and an easy and sure con- 
quest of New Orleans. But the annals of military 
history do not contain a more striking example of 
miscalculation than the simple story of what en- 
sued. It is too well known to repeat except in 
connection with Villere. Offering himself at once to 
Governor Claiborne, he was made Major-General 
of the first Regiment of Louisiana Militia, and given 
a commission at one of the outposts of defense of the 
city. 

The English plan of campaign was to secure a 
position on the river, whence they could strike at 
New Orleans before it had time to prepare adequate 
means of defense. Through the treachery of some 
Spanish fishermen, they were led from the lake 
where their ships lay, through a bayou, to the 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 147 

Viller6 plantation canal, in full view of the river. 
But the story should be told in its full completeness : 

"At dawn the barges entered the bayou. The English sailors, 
standing to their oars, pushed their heavy loads through the tortuous 
shallow water. By nine o'clock the detachment was safe on shore. 
'The place/ writes the English authority, an officer during the 
campaign, 'was as wild as it is possible to imagine. Gaze where we 
might, nothing could be seen except a huge marsh covered with 
tall reeds. The marsh became gradually less and less continuous, 
being intersected by wide spots of firm ground; the reeds gave place 
by degrees to wood, the wood to enclosed fields.' 

"The troops landed, formed into columns, and pushing after the 
guides and engineers began their march. The advance was slow and 
toilsome enough to such novices in swamping. But cypresses, 
palmettoes, cane brakes, vines and mire were at last worried through; 
the sun began to brighten the ground and the front ranks, quickening 
their step, broke joyfully into an open field, near the expected canal. 
Beyond a distant orange grove, the buildings of the Villere planta- 
tion could be seen. Advancing rapidly along the side of the canal, 
and under cover of the orange grove, a company gained the buildings, 
and, spreading out, surrounded them. The surprise was absolute. 
Major Gabriel Villere and his brother, sitting on the front gallery of 
their residence, jumped from their chairs at the sight of the redcoats 
before them; their rush to the other side of the house only showed 
them that they were bagged! 

"Secured in one of his own apartments, under guard of British 
soldiers, the young Creole officer found in his reflections the spur to a 
desperate attempt to save himself and his race from a suspicion of 
disloyalty to the United States, which, under the circumstances, 
might easily be directed against them by the Americans. Springing 
suddenly through his guards, and leaping from a window, he made a 
rush for the high fence that enclosed the yard, throwing down the 
soldiers in his way. He cleared the fence at a bound and ran across 
the open field that separated him from the forest. A shower of 
musket balls fell about him. 'Catch or kill him!' was shouted 
behind him. But the light, agile Creole, with the Creole hunter's 
training from infancy, was more than a match for his pursuers in 
such a race as that! He gained the woods, a swamp, while they were 
crossing the field, spreading out as they ran to shut him in. He 
sprang over the boggy earth into the swamp, until his feet, sinking 



148 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

deeper and deeper, clogged and stuck. The Britons were gaining; 
had reached the swamp! He could hear them panting and blowing, 
and the orders which made his capture inevitable. There was but 
one chance; he sprang up a cypress tree, and strove for the thick 
moss and branches overhead. Half way up, he heard a whimpering 
below. It was the voice of his dog, his favorite setter, whining, 
fawning and looking up to him with all the pathos of brute fidehty. 
There was no choice; it was her hfe or his, perhaps the surprise 
and capture of the city! Dropping to the earth, he seized a billet of 
wood, and aimed one blow between the setter's devoted eyes — with 
tears in his own eyes, he used to relate. To throw the body to one 
side, snatch some brush over it, spring to the tree again, was the work 
of an instant. As he drew the moss around his crouching figure, and 
stilled his hard breathing, the British floundered past. When they 
abandoned their useless search, he slid from his covert, pushed 
through the swamp to the next plantation, and carried the alarm at 
full speed to the city! 

*'The British troops moved up the road along the levee to the 
upper line of the plantation, and took their position in three columns. 
Headquarters were established in the Villere residence, in the yard 
of which a small battery was thrown up. They were eight miles 
from the city and separated from it by fifteen plantations, large and 
small. By pushing forward, General Keane in two hours could have 
reached the city, and the Battle of New Orleans would have taken 
place then and there; and most probably a different decision would 
have been wrested from victory. The British officers strongly 
urged this bold hne of action, but Keane, beUeving the statement 
that General Jackson had an army of about fifteen thousand in 
New Orleans, a force double his own, feared being cut off from the 
fleet. He, therefore, concluded to delay his advance until the other 
divisions came up. This was on the twenty- third day of December. 
'Gentlemen,' said Jackson, to his aides and secretaries at half past 
one o'clock, when Villere had finished his report, *the British are 
below; we must fight them to-night.' "* . . . 

In the skirmishes that followed, and in the great 
battle of the eighth of January, Joseph Roy Villere 
fought gallantly and brilliantly, when (so it is always 
repeated in the family tradition) he wielded the 

* "New Orleans, The Place and the People." Grace King. 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 149 

sword presented to him by Louis XVI. One of the 
trophies picked up from the field of battle was given 
to Viller^ — a small, very pretty fowhng-piece, said to 
have belonged to General Lambert. All the boys of 
the Villere family learned to shoot upon it, caUing it 
familiarly and tenderly ''le petit Lambert.'^ It is 
still a cherished heirloom in the family, having sur- 
vived all the trials and tribulations possible to a 
gun during the Confederate War. 

Pakenham, shot on the field of battle, was car- 
ried, dying or dead, to the Villere house and there laid 
upon a bed in a front room. According to the slaves 
employed in the house, he was buried temporarily 
under a great pecan tree on the lawn; by the same 
token, the old slaves, more picturesquely than truth- 
fully, aver the nuts from that tree, for years after- 
wards, always showed a red streak as of blood. 

The Villere house exists no longer, having been 
destroyed by fire, but its substitute, a low cottage 
with gallery in front, preserves a likeness of the home 
in which Villere lived and to which the body of the 
gallant Pakenham w^as borne from the field of battle. 
The field would still be in sight, and the river, as in 
1815, but for what, after the memory of the battle, 
is the glory of the spot — an avenue of majestic oaks, 
veiled in their moss.* The venerable trees did not 
belong to the Villere house, but to Versailles, the 
mansion of the Marquis de la Ronde, whose drive- 
way, leading from the river, they shaded and 
adorned. The good brick walls of the noble ruin, 
with ragged holes in their stucco, still strive to 

* In the opinion of Mr. Charles S. Sargent, the supreme authority 
on trees in America, this avenue of oaks is probably "the finest in 
the United States" as he expressed it, in conversation with a friend. 



150 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

maintain their old air of patrician pride and strength. 
Time has despoiled the once elegant villa of its great 
front gallery, and its only roof is now the evergreen 
tops of tall trees, that have pushed their way up 
from the foundations to spread their covering leaves 
over it. The soft foliage of a thick undergrowth 
screens the desolation of the once lordly hall and 
drawing-room. A more beautiful, haunting place 
for memory cannot be imagined, when, under the 
low-lying sky, the long gray moss of the oaks swings, 
and vibrates in the breeze from the river. It is a 
spot of pious pilgrimage for historical devotees, a 
hallowed shrine frequented by strangers. Ladies 
of patriotic societies hold gatherings there on the 
anniversary of the battle and recapitulate to one 
another the traditions, the stories, the incidents 
that ladies love to collect from the past. A ceme- 
tery for soldiers, with its checkerboard of graves 
with painted headboards, fills the space (and hurts 
the eye), where once fought the heroic forces of 
England and America, and a tall, gaunt, bare monu- 
ment tries, in vain, to commemorate the glory of the 
victory. 

Poetry and imagination, however, have raised their 
own monument — not from granite but from living 
memory, to Jackson behind his embankment with 
his Tennesseeans, his Kentuckians, his Baratarians, 
and his Creoles having against them Pakenham with 
his hitherto unconquerable regiments, flaunting 
on banners their famous names. After the battle, 
it is said, they made a broad red line of uniforms 
on the ground where they fell, whole platoons 
together! And it is always remembered and re- 
peated how, once the smoke of battle cleared away, 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 151 

the Angel of Peace came down to the ground where 
lay the dead with such blessing of good will as wiped 
all enmity from the heart of the living. For, as 
sings the oldest of poets of the most heroic of war- 
riors : ''These men fought for the sake of a heart-con- 
suming contention. Yet did they part again after 
in friendship bonded together!" 

(1 ) The Colonial Dames of Louisiana have exerted every possible 
effort of enthusiastic patriotism to obtain from Congress adequate 
provision for the preservation of this noble field, and its maintenance 
as a National Park. It is the fervent wish and prayer of all Louis- 
ianians that what they once preserved to the Union may, by the 
Union, be preserved to them, "To the glory of God and in memory 
of the glory achieved by men!" 

(2) The Chalmette Tract, as it is called, is now the property of 
the Southern Railways System, which maintains there extensive 
docks, where ships arrive from all parts of the world, to discharge 
and receive cargoes. 

To return from the fascinating divergencies of the 
history of Louisiana to the history of Viller6 — after 
the Battle of New Orleans, he had one more adven- 
ture before him. In 1816, he was elected Governor of 
Louisiana to succeed Claiborne. Time has never 
awarded a more signal compensation for past in- 
juries. His term fell during the halcyon days when 
Louisiana enjoyed, as our history records it, her 
Golden Age ; w^hen wealth flowed in a tidal wave over 
State and City, disrupting old limits and barriers and 
obliterating old landmarks; when, in truth, prosperity 
had to be contended with as adversity once had been. 

The record of it is to be found in the pages of 
Gayarr^ and Martin. Villere proved himself to be 
the Governor for the period; wise, steadfast, exalted 
in his ideals. His first messages are those of a 
Louisianian carried away by the good fortune that 



152 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

had come to his State, through admission to the 
Union. ^'May we always by our conduct render our- 
selves deserving of such blessings/' is the ending of 
one of them. His last message comprehends not 
only Louisiana, but America: 

"Wherever we turn an enquiring eye, it is impossible among the 
civihzed nations of the earth to discover one whose situation we can 
reasonably envy. The most powerful are certainly much less free; 
the most free are less tranquil; the most tranquil less independent; 
and the most independent, less sheltered from foreign influence, 
than the great American family." 

Viller6 died in 1830 and was buried in the St. 
Louis Cemetery, in a simple brick tomb that has 
almost sunk out of sight in the soft soil. His eight 
children survived him. The sons settled on planta- 
tions below the city on both sides of the river as 
near as possible to the paternal home; prettily 
named ^'Conseil" in memory of the good counsel 
that had never failed them there. It was the 
pleasant custom of the six brothers every morn- 
ing, before beginning their day's work, to meet 
under a great tree on one of the plantations over the 
river, where they exchanged greetings and talked 
over the news of the day. 

Iien6 Gabriel was married to Eulalie de la Rondes ; 
they had five children. She was the daughter of 
Pierre Denis de la Ronde. Jules, married to Perle 
Olivier, had three children. The daughter of Jules 
Viller6 and Perle Olivier became the wife of General 
Gustave Toutant Beauregard, and was the mother 
of his three children : Rene, Henri and Laure. Del- 
phin, married to Delphine Bienvenu, had four chil- 
dren. Caliste, married to Isabel Duverger, had eight 
children. Hon. Paul Villere, Vice President of the 



ROUER DE VILLERAY 153 

Hibernia Bank, is the grandson of Caliste Viller6 and 
Isabel Duverger. St. Denis de Blanc Villere, a noted 
citizen and the bearer of two famous names, is also 
the grandson of Caliste Viller^. His father was the 
well-known merchant, Ernest Viller^; his mother, 
xVngele Bernard. Felix married Eloise Verret and 
had six children. Anatole, married to F^licit^ 
Elmina Forstal, had six children. Adele married 
Hugiies de la Vergne; they had six children. L^o- 
cadie married, first, Cyril Fazende; second, Paul 
Lanusse. 

Governor Viller^'s eldest son. Major R6n6 Gabriel 
Villere, died in 1855 on his plantation in the Parish 
of St. Bernard, in the same house, so it was stated, 
in which he had been taken prisoner by the British 
in 1815. To quote a mortuary notice which, in his 
case, w^as a true testimonial, he was ^'a, noble repre- 
sentative of the virtues and high qualities of the 
ancient population.'^ He was buried with mihtary 
honors in the old St. Louis Cemetery. 

With the sole exception of the Delery family, the 
descendants of the Chauvin brothers, the Villere s 
count more descendants in active business life in the 
city than any of the other ^'foundation families, '^ 
as they may be called. Their name spreads like a 
fruitful vine over all the genealogical records of the 
old prominent Creole famihes.* 

* The records of the Viller6 family were kindly furnished the 
author by Madame Fcrnand Claiborne, herself a representative of 
the direct line of Joseph Roy Viller^. Her father was Alc6e Villerd, 
her mother Delphine Fleitas, daughter of Paulin Flcitas and Celes- 
tine Jumonville de ViUiers. She is married to Fernand Claiborne, 
Esq., grandson of Governor Claiborne. Their children are: Made- 
moiselle Clarisse Claiborne, and Lieutenant Omer Claiborne, in 
service in France (A. E. F.). 



CHAPTER VIII 
D'ARENSBOURG 

CHARLES FREDERICK D'ARENSBOURG 
arrived in Louisiana, landing at Biloxi in 1721, 
according to our best and indeed only authority 
about him.* He was a former Swedish officer from 
the town of Arensbourg on the Island of Oesel in the 
Bay of Riga which, with the whole province of 
Livonia, belonged to Sweden up to the year 1721, 
the date of Charles Frederick's emigration to 
Louisiana. As thirty Swedish officers are said to 
have accompanied him, as Deiler states, it may be 
assumed that as the cession of Livonia to Russia 
occurred in 1721, they all, having fought on the side 
of Sweden against Russia, preferred exile to Russifi- 
cation. 

According to tradition among his descendants, 
d^Arensbourg fought at the Battle of Paltava, on the 
staff of Charles XII (1709), and fought so gallantly 
that the Swedish King presented him with his sword. 
On the surrender of the Swedes, the Russian General 
gallantly refused to take this sword from the young 
officer and he brought it out with him to Louisiana. 

D'Arensbourg came to his new country with a 
commission, issued in Paris by the "Compagnie des 
Indes,'* shortly after the failure of the Mississippi 
scheme and Law's flight. He was given command of 

• J. Hanno Deiler. "The Settlement of the German Coast of 
Louisiana." 

154 



Jl 



D'ARENSBOURG 155 

a large band of German settlers, awaiting embarka- 
tion in Havre for the Law concession on the Arkansas 
River. They sailed on the 'Tortefaix" and arrived in 
October at Biloxi, bringing with them the news of 
Law's failure, which caused great consternation 
among the new colonists. 

The news traveled up to the Arkansas River, 
where a band of Germans were already settled ; they, 
abandoning their lands and crops, took to their boats 
in a panic, and hastened to Biloxi, to demand im- 
mediate passage back to their fatherland. Stopping 
on the way at New Orleans, where Bienville was at 
work on his proposed city, he found means to pacify 
them and induce them to remain in the colony and 
join the fresh arrivals of their countrymen, under 
d' Arensbourg ; changing the location of their settle- 
ment to the much more promising one of the rich 
alluvial lands on the banks of the Mississippi, about 
twenty miles above New Orleans (comprised to-day 
in the parishes of St. John Baptist and St. Charles). 

It seems impossible to resist the temptation to give 
Hanno Deiler's moving description of what fol- 
lowed: 

"No pen can describe, nor human fancy imagine, the hardships 
which the German pioneers of Louisiana suffered even after they had 
survived the perils of the sea and epidemics and starvation on the 
sands of Biloxi. No wonder that so many perished. Had they 
been of a less hardy race, not one of these families would have 
survived. 

"It should be remembered that the land assigned to them was 
virgin forest in the heavy alluvial bottoms of the Mississippi, with 
their tremendous germinating powers awakened by a semi-tropical 
sun. Giant oaks with wide spreading arms and gray mossy beards 
stood there as if from eternity, and defied the axe of man. Between 
them arose towering pines with thick undergrowth, bushes and 
shrubs and an impenetrable twist of running, spinning, and climbing 



156 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

vines under whose protection lurked a hell of hostile animals and 
savage men. Leopards, bears, panthers, wild cats, snakes and alli- 
gators; and their terrible allies, a scorching sun, the miasma rising 
from the disturbed virgin soil, and the floods of a mighty river — all 
these combined to destroy the work of man and man himself. 
There were no levees then, no protecting dams, and only too often 
when the spring floods came, caused by the simultaneous melting 
of the snow in the vast region of the upper course of the Mississippi 
and its tributaries, the colonists were driven to climb upon the roofs 
of their houses and up into trees, and hundreds of miles of fertile 
land were inundated. . . . There is in Louisiana a popular saying 
— heard from Creoles when they speak of work uncommonly hard: 
*It takes German people to do that.' " 

"Nevertheless, in spite of all the hardships which the pioneers 
had to endure and the difficulties to be encountered, German 
energy, industry and perseverance conquered all; and although 
hundreds perished, the survivors wrested from the soil not only a 
bare living but in the course of time a high degree of prosperity also. 
Early travellers who came dov/n the Mississippi, describe the neat 
appearance of their little white houses which stood in endless num- 
bers on both banks of the Mississippi, and they also tell how these 
thrifty Germans used to row down to New Orleans in their boats, 
with an abundance of their produce; vegetables, corn, rice, and, 
later, also indigo, to sell their goods on Sunday mornings in front 
of the Cathedral; and how at times when non-producing New 
Orleans in vain waited for provision ships from France or San 
Domingo, these German peasants more than once saved the city 
from heavy famine."* 

Charles Gayarre relates that one of the pleasures 
of his childhood was to stand on the levee in front of 
his grandfather's plantation above the city and 
watch of a Saturday afternoon the long procession 
of skiffs, from the Cote des Allemands, "heavily 
laden with vegetables, fruit, poultry and eggs, pass 
by on their way to New Orleans, which they sup- 
plied with farm produce." 

♦ The "Cote dcs Allemands" was dubbed, in short," La Cote 
d'Or" of Louisiana. 



D'ARENSBOURG 157 

Laussat, in an official letter to the Minister of the 
Interior, Chaptal, June, 1803, adds this tribute of 
praise : 

"What is called the 'German Coast' is the most industrious, the 
most populous, the most at ease, the most upright, the most 
respected part of the inhabitants of this colony." 

D'Arensbourg obtained a concession among his 
German settlers, built his home and reared his 
family among them, sharing their joys and hard- 
ships. For forty years he served them as judge and 
conmiandant, taking creditable part in all .the mili- 
tary activities of the colony, particularly in the 
defensive measures against the Indians after the 
Natchez massacre. He took a prominent stand 
against the giving over of the province by France 
to Spain. So competent an authority as Deiler 
says that ''the revolution of 1768 against UUoa 
began on the German Coast, and it was d'Arens- 
bourg's word and his influence that enabled Vil- 
lere to march with four hundred Germans upon 
New Orleans and take the Tchoupitoulas Gate.'' 
After this, joined by the Acadians under Noyan and 
the Tchoupitoulas militia under de Lery, they 
marched to the Place d'Armes to support the demand 
of Lafreniere to give Ulloa three days' time to leave 
Louisiana. 

Among the six revolutionists condemned to death 
by O'Reilly, two were married to granddaughters of 
d'Arensbourg. Tradition has it that O'Reilly in- 
tended also to have d'Arensbourg executed, but 
he was saved through the intercession of For- 
stall, under whose uncle O'Reilly had served in the 
Hibernian regiment in Spain. 



1 ' 



168 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

D'Arensbourg was made a Chevalier of St. Louis in 
1763. He died in 1779, a patriarch of eighty-four, 
surrounded by his children and grandchildren, and 
the children and grandchildren of the German 
settlers that he had led to Louisiana when he was a 
young man of thirty-one. 

He married, in the colony, Catherine Mextrine, 
according to Hanno Deiler, a daughter of one of the 
German settlers. The eldest son married Frangoise 
de la Vergne; the second, EUzabeth Duclos de Selles. 
P^lagie married Jacques de la Chaise, son of the 
King's Commissary. A third daughter, whose first 
name is unknown, became Madame de *^Bois Clair." 

Of the Swedish officers who accompanied d'Arens- 
bourg no trace remains in Louisiana history. In the 
course of centuries the Germans have been absorbed 
in the Creole population (as were the descendants of 
d'Arensbourg) and can only be traced in Louisiana 
records by the curious philologist who, like Hanno 
Deiler, cares to follow the windings and transmuta- 
tions of these names, as they travel upward to bloom 
on the highest branches of local genealogical trees, 
attached to representatives of most prominent and 
important governmental and social personalities. 

Of the fate of the famous Charles XII sword, the 
following story is told. The Chevalier was a model 
of virtuous dignity and of the most perfect moral 
rectitude, giving an example to his eldest son which 
was not followed. Before his father's death, the 
bearer of his name and title asked for the sword, 
claiming it as his by right. The stern old Swede 
took it, and, standing up, broke it across his knee, 
handing the fragments to his son with the words: 
^*You are not worthy to wear it!'' 



CHAPTER IX 
DE LA CHAISE 

JACQUES DE LA CHAISE left behind him to 
Louisiana the traditions of an interesting and 
most impressive personaHty, joined to the reputation 
of a perfect official or representative type of the old 
French magistracy. He was one of the two com- 
missioners sent to Louisiana by the Company of the 
Indies in 1722, charged with inquisitorial powers to 
take information on the conduct of all the officers 
and administrators of the colony, and to make a 
report to the government. The brother com- 
missioner, de Saunoy, dying shortly afterwards, de 
la Chaise remained invested with the full power of 
the joint commission. He met, as was to be ex- 
pected, fierce opposition in the colony, but pro- 
ceeded unflinchingly in the discharge of his duties. 
Gayarr6, evidently speaking from intimate knowl- 
edge, calls him ''one of the worthiest men the colony 
ever possessed,'^ giving the following description of 
him: 

"He was of patrician birth, a nephew of the confessor of Louis 
XIV. The Chateau d'Aix, the feudal castle of the family, was situ- 
ated in the Province of Forez. His father was the son of George 
d'Aix, Seigneur de la Chaise, who married R6n6e de Rochefort, 
daughter of one of the noblest houses of France. Members of the 
family distinguished themselves in the army of France. In the time 
of the Regency one of them died, a Lieutenant-General, leaving a 
reputation for uncompromising integrity and unflinching attachment 
to duty." 

159 



160 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS i 

Jacques de la Chaise, to quote Gayarr6 again: 

"was not gifted with superior intellect, but he was a solid square 
'block of honesty' who moved solidly onward in the accomplishment 
of his mission, regardless of persons and consequences. The never 
ceasing repose of his handsome features was an unmistakable indica- 
tion of the unruffled serenity of his soul and the dignity of his person; 
and the measured propriety of his deportment and actions was such 
that it checked in others the ebuUition of passion, forcing discussion 
to be courteous and anger, itself, to be respectful. With the blandest 
urbanity but with unswerving firmness, he called every one to ac- 
count and met serenely the opposition of those whom he goaded into 
fury by his steadiness of purpose. . . ."* 

Bienville was recalled to France to answer the 
charges which his implacable enemies had for years 
been bringing against him; and his cousin, Bois- 
briant, appointed Governor ad interim, on de la 
Chaise's report, he also was simmioned to France. 
Three members of the Council were dismissed from 
office; the Attorney-General's resignation was de- 
manded, and his office suppressed for the time being. 
The disgraced officers were ordered to appear before 
Perier and de la Chaise, and to stand trial for their 
official acts. Instructions were also issued to Perier, 
that he should be the executive and military com- 
mander of the colony, but that de la Chaise should 
have official supervision of its police and executive 
judicial administration. 

It was a gloomy period in the history of Louisiana, 
and the distress of the colony had reached an acute 
stage. The supplies sent from France failing, famine 
began to threaten, and the distress was increased by a 
hurricane, which caused the most extensive damage; 
the paper currency had been reduced to such a state 

* His portrait and that of his wife are possessed by Colonel 
Hugues de la Vergne. 



DE LA CHAISE 161 

of discredit that it ceased to pass ; hence a cessation 
of business. To make the situation worse, the 
Natchez Indians, goaded by the tyranny of the French 
officers over them, began murdering and pillaging 
traveling traders, while they secretly prepared for a 
general revolt and massacre of all the whites in their 
land. This was bloodily and successfully accom- 
plished in 1729. 

It would seem, from the following letter, that at 
the time of the massacre, de la Chaise was making 
one of his official tours of inspection, accompanied 
by Governor Perier: 

Fort Chartres, AprU 14th, 1730.* 

"The dugout of M. Perier and M. de la Chaise made — leagues 
to the place in all haste to advise us of the massacre of the French 
estabUshed at Natchez. . . . 

"Terrisse de Ternan." 

Le Page Dupratz concludes his account of the 
Natchez massacre with a panegyric on de la Chaise: 

"Those orphans and widows who escaped from the Natchez mas- 
sacre would be extremely ungrateful if they did not all their lives 
pray for the soul of that good and charitable man." 

But not only on the widows and orphans were his 

heart and mind directed, as the following document, 
remarkable for its time, shows: 

"To the Councillors of the Superior Council of the Province of 
Louisiana: 

"Exposed to a disaster like that which happened at Natchez, 
where all the inhabitants were inhumanly massacred, obliged to 
have recourse to all sorts of means to baffle these barbarians, the 
most pressing need was speedily to advise the distant posts to be 
on the alert. M. Perier found men of good will who offered to 

* Wrong date. The Natchez massacre took place in 1729; de la 
Chaise died in February, 1730. — Author. 



162 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

undertake the perilous journey. They were accompanied by a few 
negroes, chosen from among the boldest, and they were promised 
freedom if they inviolably kept their word. There are also several 
other negroes who at the time of the Natchez siege gave proofs of 
valor and attachment to the French nation, and exposed them- 
selves to peril with intrepidity. Some were even wounded, and as 
this is a very important affair, and as it is a question of holding 
the negroes and attaching them, so that we may rely on them on 
such occasions, the question is to find means the best calculated 
to attain that end. We beUeve we cannot reward them otherwise 
than by granting them freedom. That will give others a great 
desire to deserve similar favors by material services; and, besides, 
a company may be formed of free negroes that can be placed in 
the posts which the commander will judge proper, which company 
is to be always ready to march on short notice, 

"As there were then a great number of negroes at Natchez, I do 
not exactly know who did best and who will be rewarded; therefore 
they will be chosen from the reports and testimony of the officers 
in this war and on the account given by them to M. Perier, who 
will choose them. We cannot do better than to refer this to him ji 
and beg him to demand an account of their good and bad qualities. j| 
This considered, may it be your pleasure to grant freedom to the J 
negroes who went to Illinois, and to whom M. Perier judges it to j 
be proper to give the same. In the report made to him, conditions 
and clauses prescribed by the 'Black Code' must be adhered to."* 

De la Chaise found at Natchez Le Page du Pratz, 
the historian who had been living among the Indians 
there for eight years, perfecting the invaluable study 
of the tribe, their language and their customs, that 
fill the best pages of his history. This historian, 
who was also a botanist, made a study of the medi- 
cinal plants used by the Natchez, and a collection 
of three hundred of them, which the enlightened de 
la Chaise sent to France, with a Memoir on the sub- 
ject by du Pratz. The plants were confided to the 

* From the Louisiana Historical documents. 



DE LA CHAISE 1G3 

Jardin des Plantes, of Paris, where there still exists 
a record of them. 

Before Bienville's departure (1724), and almost 
the last act under his rule, was the promulgation of 
the ''Code Noir" by the Superior Council. De la 
Chaise's signature follows that of Bienville on this 
most important document. In the division of au- 
thority between Perier who succeeded Bienville and 
de la Chaise, as Dart says: 

"De la Chaise became apparently the sole law officer of the Crown, 
at any rate for the time being, and devoted himself earnestly to his 
judicial duties, setthng disputes and simplifying the law " 

His power to override constitution and customs 
is illustrated by Gayarre, in the action of the Su- 
perior Council on a question of community. To 
continue the interesting quotation from Dart: 

"There had been intermarriages between French emigrants and 
Indian women, and, upon the death of the husband, it was usual for 
the wife to return to her people, failing to pay the debts of the dece- 
dent and carrying off the property to her tribe, without observing the 
formalities required by and inherent to the local laws of succession. 
De la Chaise recommended and the Superior Council decreed that 
thereafter on the death of a Frenchman married to an Indian woman, 
the property left by the decedent should be administered by a tutor 
if there were minor children; if none, by a curator to vacant estates, 
who should pay annually to the widow one third of the revenue of the 
estate; which payment should cease io case she returned to dwell 
with her tribe." 

In the records of the Superior Council is preserved 
an instance of de la Chaise's unswerving directness 
of purpose in pursuit of justice. He proceeds against 
Bienville in the one clearly proven instance of injus- 

* "The Legal Institutions of Louisiana." W. P. Dart, Esq. 






164 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

tice recorded by history against Bienville, in evicting 
Pauger, the Royal Engineer, from the land upon 
which he had settled and which he had improved. 

Petitioning as executor for the late M. de Pauger, 
de la Chaise recalls the land suit between M. de 
Bienville and M. de Pauger, wherein M. de Pauger 
was worsted, on the subject of compensation for im- 
provements on the land at issue. The sum of one 
thousand francs was allowed but it was afterwards 
claimed by M. de Bienville, against the valid rights 
of Pauger's estate. ^^Let M. de Bienville be cited 
in the person of his nephew, M. de Noyan, and the 
thousand francs be entered to the account of the 
estate." It is painful to record that the Superior 
Council sustained Bienville and not his ill-treated 
antagonist in the decision of the case. 

De la Chaise died in 1730, his sudden death giving 
rise to dark rumors of poison by those who had 
cause to fear his investigations. He was accompanied 
to Louisiana by his wife, Marguerite le Cailly, who, 
according to a popular report, still beUeved and 
repeated (although unproven), was related to the 
family of Jeanne d'Arc. 

According to the Census of 1726, de la Chaise, with 
his wife and two children, occupied a large house on 
Chartres Street. He left the following children : 

Marie Louise, born in Nantes; married in 1729 to 
Louis Prat, physician and Councillor, of the Superior 
Council, ^'a man of regular habits, approved honesty, 
and a practical Catholic/' according to the report 
of the Clerk of the Council. 

Alexandrine, born in Nantes; married to Jean 
Pradel, Captain of Infantry. 

F^licit6, born in Nantes; married in 1732 to Louis 
Dubreuil Villars. 



DE LA CHAISE 165 

Marie Marguerite, married to Louis Joseph Bizo- 
ton de St. Martin, ''officier de Marine/' 

Jacques, married to Marguerite d'Arensbourg.* 

Councillor Prat, acting as guardian of the minor 
children, petitioned the Superior Council in June, 
1730, for authority to pay them quarterly install- 
ments yearly, advanced from their portions of the 
estate for their support, ^'as the Council may ap- 
prove" ; Madame Pradel also to receive an allowance 
up to the date of her marriage. 

The estate of de la Chaise showed no accumulation 
of wealth during his terms of office. The inventory 
of it is in the archives of the Louisiana Historical 
Society, but unfortunately is not available for 
scrutiny. His plantation, situated above the city, 
facing the river, was not a large one, its working 
force consisting of only thirty-five slaves. The upper 
districts of the city were known at one time as de la 
Chaise, Gayarre mentioning that the de Bore 
plantation was situated in de la Chaise. One street 
in New Orleans remains to bear the name. 

A few outstanding debts were presented to the 
Council for payment: One for two hundred and 
twenty francs due on 'Vig'' supplies; another for 
thirty francs for making a '^fine shirt" for the late 
M. de la Chaise. And, again, ^'R. B. Petit, of the 
S. J., claims two hundred and twenty-eight francs for 
some wrought iron made by the Society's blacksmith 
for use on the de la Chaise plantation." 

Auguste de la Chaise, the son of Jacques de la 
Chaise and Marguerite d'Arensbourg, attained a 
lurid notoriety in his day as a member of the Society 
of French Jacobins, established in Philadelphia in 
1794. The distribution of their inflammatory 

* Parish Register of St. Louis Cathedral. 



166 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

addresses in New Orleans through secret agents 
caused great uneasiness and alarm to Carondelet. 
The alarm was increased by Carondelet's knowledge 
of the efforts being made by Genet, the French Minis- 
ter, to raise an expedition against Louisiana, with 
the aid of the discontented people of Kentucky and 
Tennessee. De la Chaise was sent to Kentucky 
by Genet to recruit forces, and he was counted upon 
to lead the invaders down the Ohio and Mississippi. 

Gayarre writes that of all the agents employed by 
Genet, de la Chaise was the one most feared by 
Carondelet, on account of his rash intrepidity, his 
indefatigable activity, and his exquisite address; 
and because, being a native of Louisiana, and be- 
longing to one of its most powerful families, he exer- 
cised considerable influence in the city.* 

But, as we know, the firm interference of Washing- 
ton checked the intrigue of Genet, and the revolu- 
tionary plan aborted. In his disappointment, de la 
Chaise abandoned his hopes of wresting Louisiana 
from the power of Spain. He retired from Kentucky 
and took service in the French Army, leaving behind 
him this document as his last political testament and 
will: 

Address of de la Chaise, laid before the Democratic 
Society of Lexington: 

"Citizens: 

"Unforseen events, the effects of causes which it is unnecessary 
to develop here, have stopped the march of two thousand brave 
Kentuckians, who, strong in their courage, in the justness of their 
rights, in the purity of their cause, and in the general assent of their 
fcllow-citizcns, and convinced of the brotherly dispositions of the 
Louisianians, waited only for their orders to go and take away, by 

* "Spanish Domination," Gayarr^, 



f 



DE LA CHAISE 1G7 

the irrcsistable power of their arms, from those despotic usurpers, the 
Spaniards, the possession of the Mississippi, secure for their country 
the navigation of it, break the chains of the Americans and of their 
French brethren in the province of Louisiana, hoist up the flag of 
hbcrty in the name of the French llepubhc, and hiy the foundations 
of the prosperity and happiness of two nations destined by nature 
to be but one and so situated as to be the most happy in the universe. 
"Citizens, the greater the attempts you have made towards the 
success of that expedition, the more sensible you must be of the 
impediments which delay its execution, and the more energetic 
should your efforts be towards procuring new means of success. 
There is one from which I expect the greatest advantages, and which 
may be decisive — that is an address to the national convention, or to 
the Executive Council of France. In the name of my countrymen, 
of Louisiana, in the name of your own interest, I dare once more 
ask you this new proof of patriotism. 

"Being deprived of my dearest hopes, and of the pleasure, after 
an absence of fourteen years and a proscription of three, of returning 
to the bosom of my family, my friends, and my countrymen, I 
have only one course to follow — that of going to France and express- 
ing to the representatives of the French people the cry, the general 
wish of the Louisianians to become part of the French Republic — 
informing them at the same time, of the most ardent desire which the 
Kentuckians have had, and will continue to have forever, to take 
the most active part in any undertaking tending to open to them the 
free navigation of the Mississippi. The French Republicans, in their 
sublime constitutional act, have proffered their protection to all 
those nations who may have the courage to shake off the yoke of 
tyranny. The Louisianians have the most sacred right to it. They 
are French but they have been sacrificed to despotism by arbitrary 
power. The honor, the glory, the duty of the National Convention 
is to grant them their powerful support. 

"Every petition or plan relative to that important object would 
meet with the highest consideration. An address from the Demo- 
cratic Society of Lexington would give it greater weight. 

"Accept citizens the farewell, not the last, of a brother who is 
determined to sacrifice everything in his power for the liberty of his 
country, and the prosperity of the generous inhabitants of Kentucky. 
Salut en la -patrie, 

"AuGUSTE LA Chaise." 



168 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

De Pontalba, in a letter to his wife, October 13th, 
1794, speaking of the general uneasiness in the city 
over its impending Jacobin uprising, adds: 

"Madame Marre has just come from Charlestown; she has been 
to the Government (house) and repeated that la Chaise told her in 
New England, where he is, that it was he who fomented the troubles 
which we had had in Point Coupee, adding that he had not suc- 
ceeded that time, but that he would do better next time; he told her 
he was only waiting for his dispatches as Consul of France, to come 
here by way of Kentucky, and that he would show there instructions 
that would make the negroes know what their rights were. 

"Madame Marre protested that Louisiana was his country, that 
his parents were there and his friends, and that this should deter 
him from bringing trouble there, with horror, ruin, and assassination; 
he replied that humanity came before such titles, and that the negro 
men were his compatriots as well as the white men. Madame Marre 
gave the names of persons who heard this conversation; they are all 
here and their declarations will be taken, a summary made, and 
afterwards, orders will be given to high and low, that he must not 
be allowed to enter the colony if he seeks to. He has done every- 
thing that he could to excite the negress of Madame Marre; telling 
her she was free, that slavery was horrible, that no one had the right 
to hold her in it — either her or any of those held so in Louisiana. 
Such a subject is a great curse to this province." 

Auguste de la Chaise married the daughter of 
Pierre Toucher, the granddaughter of de Bore. 
There is no further record in Louisiana of the name. 
He perished in an ambuscade in St. Domingo in 
1803, shortly after his elevation to the grade of 
General. Gayarre concludes his account of him with 
the not very enthusiastic praise : 

"Had not death stopped him in his career, when he was still 
in the meridian of life, it is to be presumed, from what he had already 
accomplished, he would have risen to higher honors; and might have 
left behind him a memory of which his native country, Louisiana, 
would have been proud." 



CHAPTER X 
LAFRENIERE 

NICOLAS DE LAFRfiNIERE stands in the his- 
tory of Louisiana and in the annals of New 
Orleans upon a pedestal that raises his heroic gfiure 
even above that of Bienville, whose long devoted life 
of hard service missed the consecration of a glorious 
death. 

Lafreniere, like Bienville, belonged to a family 
that seemed sent by history into the new country on 
a mission. 

Like the Lemoynes, the Chauvins came from 
France to the new world to seek their fortune in the 
strenuous pioneer days of Canada. Pierre Chauvin, 
a native of Anjou, the first of the name, son of R^n^ 
and Catherine Avard de Solesne, lived in Montreal 
in 1658, receiving his grant of land in 1654. 

He married Marthe Autreuil, daughter of Ren6 
and Frangoise Lachaunerlin. Four of their seven 
sons followed Bienville to Louisiana. Like the 
Lemoynes, they affixed to their family names titular 
designations: De Lery, Beaulieu, de Lafreniere, 
Boisclair, and the like. 

As Ulloa, in his report upon the insurrection in 
Louisiana, succinctly states: 

"Of the common people Bienville brought over with him were 
four brothers who afterwards assumed different surnames in Louis- 
iana, one causing himself to be called Lafreniere; the other Lery; 
the third, Beaulieu; the fourth, Chauvin. These four Canadians 

169 



170 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS f\ 

were so low in extraction and had so little education, that they could { 
not write and had come with an axe on their shoulders to live by 
their manual labor. The sons of these men are now the chiefs of the 
rebeUion." 

The four brothers were: 
Jacques (married to Jeanne Dauville) ; 
Joseph de L^ry (married to Hypolite Mercier) ; 
Nicolas Lafreniere* (married to Marguerite 

Le Sueur) ; 
Louis Chauvin de Beaulieu (married to Charlotte 
Dural). 
There were two daughters, Barbe Therese (mar- 
ried to Ignace Hubert de Bellair) and Michelle 
Chauvin (married to Jacques Nepveu). 

During the hard epoch of the settlement of the 
colony, when Bienville had to maintain himself 
against Spaniards, English and Indians as well as 
against domestic foes, and fight no less strenuously 
against starvation when the colony was forgotten or 
neglected by the mother country, he found in the 
men with the axe on their shoulders, the illiterate, 
hardy Canadian ^'coureurs de bois,'^ his most effec- 
tive fighters against overwhelming odds. Indefati- 
gable in daring enterprise, courageous beyond all 
tests, indomitably loyal, unconquerable by famine, 
they, and not the feeble military garrison provided 
by the Royal Government, held the province for 
France, and kept the fleur-de-lis flying over the fort 
at Mobile. 

The Chauvins are met in historical chronicles 
during this period whenever and wherever need was 

* A recently discovered document in the Louisiana Historical 
Society collection states that Lafr6ni^re, after his arrival in the 
colony, learned to read and write in four months. 



LAP RM I ERE 171 

found for their services, if not in the lists of military 
promotions or awards of honors. 

In 1716, when Louisiana was under the regime of 
the Crozat Charter, St. Denis, it may be recalled, 
was sent from Mobile to Mexico in an attempt to 
create an opening for French trade with the Spanish 
provinces. After many adventures, military and 
amorous, St. Denis returned to Mobile to report 
the utter failure of his commercial effort, but the 
complete success of his love affair with the daughter 
of the Spanish Viceroy, whom he married and left 
at the Presidio del Norte to await his return. 

The three Chauvin brothers, De L6ry, Lafr^niere 
and Beaulieu, were then dispatched with merchan- 
dise from Mobile to engage in trade with Mexico. 
They acquitted themselves less romantically, but, 
balked by Spanish vigilance, they met with no better 
commercial success than St. Denis. 

The Chauvins followed Bienville from Mobile to 
Biloxi, and to the proposed site of the city of New 
Orleans, there selecting for themselves choice con- 
cessions in the Tchoupitoulas district, where they 
established plantations. Working in their bold, 
energetic, enterprising way, they soon became known 
as money-makers. On a census taken at the time, 
de le Roy (Del^ry) and Bellair are mentioned as set- 
tled on the immense concession that Bienville him- 
self had obtained, extending from New Orleans to 
the Tchoupitoulas, and upon this settlement lived 
Chauvin Delery with three children, and Chauvin 
de Lafr^niere, who also had a wife and three children. 

There is record before the Superior Council, in 
1724, of a sharp legal dispute between the Chauvins 
and the owner of the neighboring plantation, M. 



Ill 

172 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS ; 

Ceard, over the digging of a ditch and the raising of a j 
levee which caused an overflow on the Ceard lands. 1 
In spite of Lafreniere's spirited defense, the Council { 
decided against him, ordering him to build a coffer | 
dike for the protection of Ceard's lands under the i 
supervision of Broutin, the Royal Engineer — the j 
costs of the court to be paid by the Chauvin brothers. ; 

Nicolas Chauvin de Lafreniere, the third brother, 
had married Marguerite Le Sueur. Their son be- , 
came Louisiana's famous man. Marguerite Le Sueur • 
was presumably (but only presumably) the daughter ' 
of the celebrated explorer of the Upper Mississippi; ' 
and the ardent adventurer in search of copper mines. 
He was a Canadian and had followed Iberville to | 
Louisiana, where he died, leaving his wife and family 
in Mobile. 

There exists, unfortunately, no data concerning 
the early days of Lafreniere's childhood. Even the 
date of his birth is uncertain and can only be guessed 
at approximately as 1720. He was, doubtless, ' 
one of the three children that were taken to the 
plantation on the Tchoupitoulas Road and he must 
have received the elements of his education from 
some primary instructor such as generally at that 
time kept a small school for the children of planters 
in the neighborhood of rich plantations. 

We come into the light of historic certainty with 
the authoritative statement of Gayarre that Lafren- 
iere was sent to France for his education and there, 
during his long sojourn, studied civil law. He mar- 
ried Marguerite Hubert de Belair, a cousin, daughter 
of Ignace Hubert and Barbe Therese Chauvin, half 
sister of Joseph Roy Viller^. 

The register of the Cathedral contains the record 



LAFRMIERE 173 

of the baptism of two daughters : Catherine Chauvin 
de Lafreniere, born in 1750; and Marguerite Cather- 
ine de Lafreniere, born in 1753. The latter married 
in 1767 Jean Baptiste August de Noyan, captain of 
cavah-y, son of Augustin Payen de Noyan, Chevaher 
of St. Louis, a Lieutenant of the King, and nephew of 
Bienville. 

In 1740, Lafr^niere's name, as Counsellor of the 
Superior Council, figures among witnesses of the 
marriage contract of his cousin, Delery des Islet, 
Charlotte Faucon du Manoir. Gayarre mentions, 
without explanation, that he returned to Louisiana 
in 1763 on the same ship with d'Abbadie, the Gover- 
nor newly appointed to succeed Kerlerec, carrying 
in his pocket his appointment as Attorney-General 
and the decree of expulsion to be executed against 
the Jesuits. 

They landed in New Orleans in June, 1763. The 
decree against the Jesuits was published at once. It 
restated merely the decree that was being executed 
in Europe against the order; that as the institution 
of the Jesuits was hostile to the Royal authority, 
public peace and safety, their vows were proclaimed 
mil; they were prohibited to call themselves there- 
after by the name of Jesuits and to wear the garb. 
All their property, except some books and wearing 
apparel, were to be seized and sold at public auction ; 
their sacred vessels were to be dehvered to the 
Capuchin Fathers ; their chapels were to be demolished, 
their cemeteries destroyed and their priests ordered to 
return to France by the first ship ready to depart. 

According to the Relations of the Jesuits, and the 
authorities of the time, the execution of the decree 
by the young, newly appointed Attorney General 



I! 

174 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

lacked nothing in stern vigor, although he was 
implored to moderate his zeal. And notwithstanding 
that he honored the Fathers with a personal visit, 
and assured them of the pain he felt in discharging 
his disagreeable duty, he nevertheless discharged it 
in such a way as to incur the hot resentment of the 
inhabitants, who have not failed to placard his 
memory with despicable accusations that remain to 
this day. Among them, it is not surprising to find 
him called an atheist, as a result of association with 
the brilliant freethinkers of Paris, and from other 
associations he was said to have formed a taste for 
society of gay morality. 

But Gayarre and other historians paint a different 
picture of him: 

"Large, well-formed, with noble appearance, impressive, brave, 
with eyes lightened as if by fire; in short, so remarkable a person that 
people not knowing with whom to compare him, called him Louis 
XIV! . . . Good beyond all tests, loving his fellow citizens like 
brothers, possessed of all the qualities that make a loved husband, 
father, friend. Charming and agreeable in his speech, with all the 
grace and charm of manner acquired in the most pohshed society 
of Europe. . . . 

"Sweet tempered and moderate in all ordinary situations of life, 
he was as if electrified with passion on serious occasions, and none 
could resist the torrent of his eloquence." 

As a matter of course, therefore, he was the object 
of the most flattering popular attentions of New 
Orleans, and the wonder and admiration of public 
assemblies. 

The result of the decree against the Jesuits, the 
confiscation of their property, including the fine 
plantations above the city upon which they were 
making the experiment of planting sugar cane, the 
closing of their chapels and the abrupt termination 



LAFR£NIERE 175 

of their religious and educational benefactions to the 
community, the parting with beloved pastors and 
friends, threw New Orleans into acute distress of 
mind and heart, from which it had not recovered 
when the Treaty of Paris, signed in 1763, was made 
public in 1764. 

The Louisianians had followed with the shrewd 
eyes of Indian fighters the progress of the war in 
Northern America between the English and French. 
That France as a consequence of defeat should be 
forced to give up her American possessions to her 
victorious rival had been foreseen, with the cool 
stoicism of good fighters; and the humiliating sight 
of the Enghsh boats sailing up and down the Missis- 
sippi River carrying provisions and men to the newly 
acquired Enghsh possessions was one their eyes were 
growing accustomed to. 

The city, with its territory, the Island of Orleans, 
as it w^as called, alone remained to France and, as it 
may be imagined, never had the fleur-de-lis flown 
more proudly and bravely after its humiliating with- 
drawal from Canada than it did over the small 
sovereignty remaining to it in Louisiana ; and never 
was sovereignty more loyally and devotedly acknowl- 
edged by the city of New Orleans than in the hour 
of French defeat. The city contained only 3,190 
inhabitants, but the population of New Orleans has 
never, in political crises, been reckoned by mere 
numerical physical statistics. At this time it was 
less to be so reckoned than ever. The city seemed 
at last on the point of fulfilling the arrogant hopes 
of its future that had been sown in the time of Bien- 
ville, and the colony, after bravely struggling for 
half a century, had at last made a sure foothold in 



176 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

the soil. Rewards for past suffering were flowing in. 
Commerce was beginning to prosper, and agriculture 
to be profitable. The conditions of life were being 
softened into luxury by wealth. Population was 
increasing. The Indians were flocking everyivhere to 
the French settlements; the English, busy taking 
possession of their new acquisitions, were friendly 
and content. 

The political horizon, viewed from the city, was 
never freer and clearer than when the greatest cloud 
of its history burst over it, in the publication of an 
official letter from the Eang to M. d'Abbadie. It 
stated that, by private act passed at Fontainebleau, 
on November 3d, 1762, he had by his own free 
will ceded to his very dear and beloved cousin, the 
King of Spain, and to his successors and heirs in full 
property, completely and without reserve or restric- 
tion, all the country known under the name of 
Louisiana, as well as New Orleans; and that by 
another act, signed by the King of Spain on the thir- 
teenth of November of the same year, His Catholic 
Majesty had accepted the cession! 

Historians, in default of more appropriate expres- 
sion, merely write that the colony was plunged into 
the deepest consternation. Gayarre being in touch, 
as he was, with the sentiments of his grandfather, 
describes the heartfelt bitterness, the talk and the 
feelings which spread through the streets, and which 
the streets of New Orleans were too small, in truth, 
to contain: 

"As Frenchmen, they felt that a deep wound had been inflicted 
on their pride by the severing in twain of Louisiana, and the dis- 
tribution of its mutilated parts between England and Spain. As 
men, they felt the degradation of being bartered away as marketable 



LAFR^NIERE 177 

objects; they felt the loss of their national character and rights, 
and the humiliation of their sudden transformation into Spaniards 
or Englishmen, without their consent. As colonists, as property 
owners, as members of a civilized society, they were agitated by 
all the apprehensions consequent upon a change of laws, manners, 
customs, habits and government." 

There ensued a moment of panic with loss of 
nerve. Lafreniere, the popular favorite, was the 
first to recover his presence of mind and logically, 
in his case, flew to legal measures of defense. By a 
poUtical innovation, daring at that time, he appealed 
to the people, calling a pubUc mass meeting of repre- 
sentatives from every parish in the province to con- 
sider the question of the cession. The response was 
enthusiastic. A vast number crowded to the meet- 
ing. Among them were Viller6; the Chevalier 
d'Arensbourg; Maxent; de la Chaise; Marquis, the 
commander of the Swiss troops; Doucet, a distin- 
guished lawyer recently arrived from France; St. 
Lette, Pin; Jean Milhet, the richest merchant of the 
city ; Joseph, his brother ; de Boisblanc ; de Grandmai- 
son; de Lalande; Le Sassier; Kernion — all prominent 
names of the best and strongest men in the city and 
country. 

Lafreniere called the meeting to order, made an 
eloquent speech explaining the situation, and sub- 
mitted a prepared resolution of protest — a sincere 
document, written in simple language, expressing 
passionate devotion to the mother country and to the 
King, ending with a heart-rending plea not to be 
divorced from France, not to be made to change 
the name of Frenchmen for that of Spaniards. The 
resolution was enthusiastically adopted, and Jean 
Milhet was deputed to carry it to France and lay it 



178 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

at the foot of the throne. A year elapsed before 
Milhet returned, but no Spaniard had presented 
himself to take possession. On strength of the so- 
called truism that ''no news is good news," the 
passions of the excited population began to calm 
down and, 'like little wanton boys,'^ they swam on 
bladders, until Milhet did return to report that he 
had not even been able to gain access to the King or 
to deliver the protest; and almost at the same time 
in June came the announcement that Don Antonio 
de UUoa had been sent to take possession of the 
province ! 

August, September, October, November, Decem- 
ber passed away. Governor d'Abbadie died and 
was succeeded by Aubry, the military commander, a 
Frenchman and only a Frenchman — with no thought 
save for his military duties. The year 1766 opened, 
and still no Spaniard appeared. 

"Many of the colonists," says Gayarre, "now adopted the con- 
viction that the Treaty of Cession was but a sham instrument, con- 
cealing some diplomatic manoeuvring."* 

But on the fifth of March the unexpected, the 
impossible, happened. Ulloa arrived, accompanied 
by two companies of infantry, and the Spanish 
officials of the government to be set up : a Commis- 
sary of War, Loyola; an Intendant, Gayarre; a 
Treasurer, Navarro. Aubry, the Governor, re- 
ceived them according to the ceremonious military 
etiquette of the day, while the concourse of citizens 
looked on in sullen discontent. He had previously 
convened all the French officers and laid before them 
the instructions he had received from his government 

* "French Domination." Gayarr6. 



lafrMiere 179 

to put the military forces at the disposal of the 
Spanish Governor; and he consulted them on the 
practicability of coercing the troops into the service 
of Spain. The officers refused unanimously to go 
into the service of Spain, and warned him that the 
attempt to coerce the French soldiers would be 
exceedingly dangerous. 

The next step in the transaction should have been 
for Ulloa to exhibit his powers to the highest court 
authority in the province, the Superior Council, 
who alone could deliver the province to him. He 
refused to do this on the ground that he intended to 
postpone taking possession of the country until the 
arrival of all the Spanish forces that he expected, 
adding that he had nothing to do with the Superior 
Council, which was only a civil tribunal by which he 
could not possibly be called to account. With regard 
to the delivery of the province into his hands, he 
declared that he had to deal only with Governor 
Aubry, whom he recognized as the sole competent 
authority on that matter. 

Autocratic insolence could go no further. The 
issue was made clearly now, not between the inhabit- 
ants and Spain, but between the civil and military 
authorities. Unquestionably, if Ulloa had pro- 
ceeded to the Council, then in session, and had fol- 
lowed the proper formalities, as requested, he could 
have been put in possession of the province peaceably 
and legally. 

Ulloa' s military weakness and his insolent arro- 
gance fanned the sparks of hatred existing already 
against him and his government. New Orleans 
was soon seething with revolutionary talk, the fury 
of which he kept at a white heat by his subsequent 



180 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

conduct. While refusing to take formal possession 
of the colony, he proceeded to exercise all functions 
of the Governor of it. He visited various posts, 
remaining some time in Nachitoches the sensitive 
spot on the border between Spanish and French 
possessions, and in each place, with the tacit consent 
of the subservient Aubry, raised the Spanish flag 
and lowered the French. He ordered a census of the 
colony. The commercial restrictions he imposed 
were all for the benefit of Spanish trade and ruinous 
to the interests of New Orleans. 

In September, a file of soldiers with fixed bayonets, 
heralded by the loud beating of a drum, proclaimed, 
by order of Aubry, an ordinance dictated by Ulloa, 
according to instructions received from Spain. As 
Aubry wrote to his government: 

"I command for the King of France, and at the same time I 
govern the colony as if it belonged to Spain!" 

The Superior Council was composed of no insignifi- 
cant men, as their names and titles show : Foucault, 
the Commissary-General of France; Lafreniere, the 
Attorney-General; de la Chaise; Le Sassier; Laplace. 
They were not the men to be flouted with impunity, 
or to look on supinely while a foreign usurper, as 
they considered Ulloa, exercised their functions and 
ruined their country. They met in secret caucus, as 
it would be called to-day, and discussed what could 
be done, not to hold the province to France, but to 
drive the Spaniards away. 

Lafreniere was, as usual, the leader; Foucault, 
the King's Intendant, was his right hand; their fol- 
lowers were: Masan, a retired Captain of Infantry 
who had served under Bienville — a middle-aged 



lafrMiere 181 

man who had become a wealthy planter and Cheva- 
lier of St. Louis; Marquis, Captain of the Swiss 
soldiers; the two nephews of Bienville — the one 
called Bienville, a Captain of Cavalry; and Noyan, a 
Lieutenant in the Navy; Doucet, a lawyer, just 
arrived from France; the Milhets; Caresse; Poupart; 
Hardy de Boisblanc; and Viller6, brother-in-law of 
Lafreniere, and Commander of the German Coast. 
The band of patriots met secretly, either at Masan's 
house or at Madame PradeFs (a friend of Foucault's), 
on the outskirts of the city, a villa which was sur- 
rounded by a large garden, shaded by magnificent 
magnolias. 

The conspirators would drop in one by one, and, 
when their number was complete, would unfold and 
discuss their plans; after which they would saunter 
in the perfumed alleys of roses, myrtles and magnolias 
and end the evening with a luxurious banquet. 
The secret of their meetings was so well kept that 
Aubry and Ulloa learned of it only late in October, 
when all the plans were matured and when the pro- 
gramme of proceedings was decided upon. 

On the twenty-seventh, Foucault called a meeting 
of the Superior Council for the next day. The day 
before this sitting of the Council, a pubhc meeting 
was held; it was addressed by Lafreniere in a fiery 
speech, of which Gayarr6 publishes a fragment: 

"Sirs, we are arrived at a moment of crisis, when we must face 
with vigor. In desperate cases we must have recourse to desperate 
measures. What greater misfortune could we suffer than that to 
being no longer Frenchmen. What shame to be sold as slaves to a 
foreign nation whose language we do not know! Our possessions 
they are naught : our life, our honor will be put under laws that we 
know nothing of. Let us follow the noble example of the people of 
Burgundy, when Francis the first, abandoned by fortune on the 



182 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

plains of Pa via, consented to buy his liberty at the price oi one of the 
most beautiful provinces of France. The nobiUty of Burgundy 
replied with unanimous voice to Launoy, who came to take possession 
in the name of the King of Spain : 'The French soil is unahenable, 
therefore the King of France cannot transfer it to a foreign power! 
French by birth and by our hearts, we will know how to live and die 
as Frenchmen! If the King of France persists in abandoning use, 
come and take us!"* 

The Superior Council met as convened by Fou- 
cault. Only five members were present, the rest 
excusing themselves on the plea of sickness. Car- 
esse, being introduced, presented a petition signed 
by six hundred planters, merchants and other citi- 
zens, demanding the restoration of their rights and 
liberties as Frenchmen, and demanding the expul- 
sion of UUoa. The petition was said to have been 
written by Lafreniere and Doucet. 

It was not read at the Council, but was referred to 
two members, Huchet de Kernion and de Launay, 
with instructions to present it next day. 

In order to restore the Council to its full strength, 
Lafreniere moved to replace the absent members 
by appointment, and six were chosen on his and 
Foucault's recommendation. During the night of 
the 27th the guns at the Tchoupitoulas Gate were 
spiked; the next morning Villere, at the head of the 
German settlers, all armed, entered the city. The 
AcadianSjt also armed, under Noyan, followed the 
Germans. The planters along the coast joined their 
confederates. 

* "Essaie Historique sur la Louisiane, 1830." This fragment, 
Gayarr6 says, was found in an old manuscript, but the manuscript 
has been lost. 

t In 1765, about six hundred and fifty Acadians had arrived in 
New Orleans and had been sent to settlements in the Attakapas 
and Opelousas districts, where their descendants still live and thrive 



lafrMiere 183 

Marquis took command of the insurgents. Alarm 
and confusion spread through the town. The 
Spanish frigate withdrew to the other side of the 
river. Aubry distributed cartridges to his small band 
of one hundred and ten French soldiers, after sending 
for Lafreniere and Foucault and in vain imploring 
them to desist. UUoa and his household prudently 
retreated to the Spanish frigate; Gayarr^, Loyola 
and Navarro barricaded themselves in the Govern- 
ment House. On the 29th, the next step was taken: 
the Superior Council met to take the petition of 
Caresse into consideration, but before deliberating 
inquired of Aubry whether 'Ulloa had exhibited to 
him his powers to take possession of the colony in 
the name of the King of Spain? Aubry answered 
that nothing decisive on the subject had ever been 
shown. 

Then the Attorney-General arose with the ques- 
tion: ''Is yours a competent tribunal? Are these 
complaints in the petition just?" and proceeded to 
open an elaborate, thorough and convincing argu- 
ment; a scholarly exposition of the legal position of 
the Superior Council and the illegal assumption of 
authority on the part of Ulloa. After hstening to it, 
and to the report of the committee, the decree 
against the government of Ulloa was granted, and 
Ulloa was enjoined to leave the colony in three 
days. 

Gayarre mentions with pride a passage in La- 
freniere's address before the Council:* 

"Without liberty there are but few virtues. Despotism breeds 

* This able document is printed in full in the appendix of Gayarr^'s 
"French Domination." 



184 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

pusillanimity, and deepens the abyss of vice. Man is considered as 
sinning before God only because he retains his free will." 

As Gayarre comments, to appreciate this bold 
language it must be remembered that it was officially 
uttered by the Attorney-General of an absolute 
monarch and that it was intended to reach the ears 
of the despotic government of France. 

Each one of the thirteen members of the Council 
gave his opinion separately and in writing, that of 
Hardy de Boisblanc being distinguished by its 
violence against Ulloa. The decree prayed for was 
granted — the Council framing it in almost the exact 
words of Lafr^niere. It was also resolved that col- 
lated copies be sent to the Due de Choiseul. 

In the meantime the excited populace, gathered in 
the Place d'Armes, were giving vent to the wildest 
clamor against Spain and for France. When the 
decree issued by the Superior Council was communi- 
cated to them, the most intense enthusiasm thrilled 
them; women and children rushed to the flagstaff 
that bore the banner of France, and embraced it 
frantically. 

Two days later Aubry sent to one of the Ministers 
of France a detailed account of all that had taken 
place. He writes, exonerating himself from any 
responsibility in an action that he says, plaintively, 
he considers one of the greatest outrages that could be 
conunitted: 

"I protest against their decree which orders the expulsion within 
three days of him whom His Catholic Majesty had sent to take 
possession of the colony." 

This despatch was entrusted to a Knight of St. 
Louis who was instructed to give all further informa- 
tion needed about the revolution. 



LAFR^NIERE 185 

The Superior Council lost no time in sending also 
their account of what had taken place. Their 
messengers were Le Sassier, one of their members, 
and Bienville, of the Navy, with Milhet to represent 
the merchants. Bienville was debarred from serving 
by his miUtary duties and St. Lette was named in his 
place. 

In the evening of the same day, October 31st, Ulloa 
embarked with his family and attendants on a French 
vessel that he chartered, alleging that the Spanish 
frigate needed repairs. 

The following morning, November 1st, a band of 
merrymakers from a wedding feast, who had passed 
the night frolicking, could not restrain themselves 
at the sight of the French vessel moored at the bank. 
With shouts of exultation they saw Petit, one of their 
mmiber, cut the ropes that made the ship fast to the 
shore; and as it slowly moved away on the current 
of the river they flung their cries of derision until 
it passed out of sight. 

The coup d'etat had been accomplished. The 
colony had repulsed both the French and Spanish 
effort against its liberty and had shown what was 
the quality of its manhood. The planters and mer- 
chants put forth as their final justification a Memo- 
rial repeating the arguments contained in the address 
of Lafreniere before the Council, reinforced by their 
proven allegations. This Memorial, as it is called, 
was printed by Brand the Royal Printer, on the 
order of Foucault. The Memorial was evidently 
written by Lafreniere. 

"What harm have we done" it asks, "in shaking off a foreign 
yoke? What offense have we committed in claiming back our laws, 
our country, our sovereign? Are such laudable attempts without 



186 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

an example in our history? Has not more than one city in France, 
such as Cahors and Mautauban, and even whole provinces, such as 
the Guerci, the Rouerque and Gascony, repeatedly broken with 
patriotic courage the English yoke, or refused to be fettered by 
foreign chains? Noble resistance to the decrees of our natural born 
sovereigns, far from kindUng their wrath, stirred up the fountains of 
their attachment and forced them into helping their loving subjects 
and thus wrought out their deliverance!" 

The Superior Council also addressed to the Prime 
Minister a communication forwarding its decree to 
be laid at the foot of the throne. With this document 
went a letter from Foucault justifying what had 
taken place, and Aubry added another letter in 
which he had the courage to say: 

"I foresaw the unfortunate event which has occurred. . . . 
M. de UUoa was not the proper person to govern this colony, not- 
withstanding his vast interest . . . and although he is full of 
honour and probity, and zeal for his sovereign, he does not possess 
the necessary qualifications to command Frenchmen. . , , Pie 
has done all that he could to alienate them. He seemed to despise 
the first men of the colony and particularly the members of the 
Superior Council. ... He has alarmed everybody . . . and 
contributed not a Uttle to draw down upon himself and his realm 
the storm that has swept him away." 

All fruitless . . . France, destined a score of 
years later to be the torchbearer of hberty to all 
the world, was still a slave in chains ; and the patriots 
of Louisiana, worthy to stand in the ranks of the 
great liberators of people, were coldly condemned 
by a mere turning down of thumbs! 

Ulloa arrived safely in Havana, whence he at once 
sent his report of his expulsion from Louisiana to his 
government, making as good an argument for hunself 
as his antagonists had made against him. He showed 
in it that he was fully aware of the state of feeUng of 



LAFRMieRE 187 

the colonists at the time of his arrival, and thor- 
oughly cognizant of the efforts they were making to 
frustrate the cession. His report, indeed, is so well 
furnished with information, that historians have 
supplied themselves from it. 

Ulloa states that when the revolt was only in 
contemplation, de Bienville, the brother of Noyan, 
and Masan, son of the *' Conspirator, '^ went secretly 
to Pensacola to solicit assistance of troops from the 
English Governor-General to support the insurrec- 
tion; upon his refusal to do this, the proposal was 
made to transform the colony into a repubUc under 
the protection of England. This being discouraged, 
they then boldly determined to rise in their own 
strength and trample under foot the orders of their 
Sovereign. Lafreniere he names as the one single 
man who put the colony in a state of insurrection, 
and that it is not the first time that his ^'seditious 
maxims" had caused trouble. 

In the report of Ulloa above quoted, he states that 
Kerlerec had, in a letter, mentioned Lafreniere to 
him as one of the turbulent spirits whose intrigues 
and practices had agitated the colony during his 
administration; and that M. d'Abbadie, who had 
succeeded Kerlerec, had made the same complaint. 

The news of the revolution in Louisiana reaching 
Spain in forty days, a Cabinet Council was held to 
determine whether the colony should be retained or 
returned to France. On account of its extreme 
importance geographically, it was resolved to retain 
it ; and to use force to reduce the colonists to submis- 
sion, the necessary measures to be taken without 
delay. Don. Alexander O'Reilly, Lieutenant-Gen- 



188 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

eral of the Royal Annies, was given powers to effect 
this. 

While the fate of Louisiana was thus settled in 
Spain the colony had resumed a certain degree of 
apparent tranquility. 

Says Gayarre: "The excitement of action having given way to 
calm consideration, what would France do? what Spain? became the 
anxious questions of the hour. The crowd which had filled the 
Place d'Armes with its clamor began to shrink. The leaders alone 
maintained their proud attitude, imder the lowering cloud, with 
unfaltering courage." 

The Spanish frigate, still anchored in the river, 
was at last forced to relieve the city of its menacing 
presence. But the three Spanish dignitaries, Loyola, 
Gayarre, and Navarro, remained to make friends for 
themselves, if not for their government. It was in 
this interim of somber disquietude that the proposi- 
tion was made to expel Aubry and his few French 
troops; to proclaim New Orleans a free port; to form 
a republic where the oppressed and needy among all 
the nations of the earth would find a refuge and 
a home. The chief of the republic was to be styled 
a Protector. A bank, on the plan of that of Amster- 
dam or Venice, was to be created to furnish the 
financial support of the commonwealth. 

The Swiss captain, Masan, originated this scheme 
of a republic, violently and openly recommending 
its adoption, and it became a subject of public dis- 
cussion and was circulated in the colony through 
manuscript and printed documents. 

"There is no doubt," says Gayarr6, speaking with his usual 
authority, that the colonists would have eagerly adopted this form 
of government, for they had always been republicans in spirit." 



LAFR^NIERE 189 

But although the idea was abandoned as Quixotic, 
it nevertheless bequeathed to Louisiana the right of 
claiming to be the first European colony in America 
that formed the design of proclaiming her indepen- 
dence. 

In the meantime, rumor spread that Spain was 
making formidable preparations against Louisiana 
and the leaders of the revolution were urged to seek 
safety in flight to the English possessions. This they 
scornfully refused to do, determined to remain in 
Louisiana with their fellow citizens. 

It was on the morning of July 24th, 1769, when, 
as we can imagine, the inhabitants of New Orleans 
had awakened to their work or their pleasure and 
were intent only on them, that the city was shaken, 
as if by an earthquake, by the news that a formidable 
Spanish fleet had made its appearance at the Balise — 
in command of General O'Reilly. The judgment 
day had come! 

Latent uneasiness of conscience burst at once into 
violent fear. Any attempt at further resistance w^as 
as much out of the question as further attempt at 
sinning on the last day. Nevertheless, the spirited 
Marquis stuck a white cockade in his hat and made 
an appeal to the people to oppose the landing of the 
Spanish. Petit, with a pistol in each hand, spoke 
wdth passionate violence against the Spanish, and 
was ready, he declared, to blow out the brains of any 
coward who would not cooperate against them! 

In vain! The conviction of the hopelessness of 
their condition made the populace apathetic to all 
else. There was no longer any spirit of resistance 
in them! The leaders of the revolution themselves 
became alarmed over the desperate outlook. The 



190 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

magnitude of the armament against the colony- 
threw them into dismay. They presented them- 
selves before the despised Aubry, as before the pos- 
sessor of the confidence of the Spaniards. He, with 
a hypocritical show of real sympathy, cheered them 
with his belief that, as no blood had been spilt, none 
would be demanded in expiation; and that the great 
force of General O'Reilly could not possibly be 
meant to carry terror and desolation through the 
land, but merely to insure possession of it. He 
advised prompt submission, offering to act in their 
favor with O'Reilly. 

In the evening, Don Francisco Bouligny, a Spanish 
officer, made his appearance in the city, bearing dis- 
patches to Aubry from O'Reilly, who requested him 
to take all measures necessary to faciUtate the trans- 
fer of Louisiana to Spain. Bouligny, with Gayarr^, 
Navarro and Loyola, dined the next day with Aubry, 
who with emphasis assured them of the return of 
the people to sentiments of prudence and submission ; 
and on the next morning Aubry, assembling the 
people in the Place d'Armes, counseled them to make 
a prompt and entire submission, as the only means 
to prevent their ruin and that of the colony. 

Lafreniere, and it was his most heroic moment, 
then went to Aubry and informed him that he was 
resolved to trust to the generosity and magnanimity 
of O'Reilly. With Marquis and Milhet, he offered 
to present himself to the Spaniard with the proffer 
of an assurance of the complete submission of the 
people to the Spanish Government. 

Aubry eagerly accepted the proposition and, with 
the Spanish officers, the Louisiana gentlemen 
departed at once for the Balise. Don Francisco Bou- 



lafrMiere 191 

ligny presented them to O'Reilly, who received them 
in state on the deck of his flagship. Lafr^niere 
was the spokesman: 

"Excellency, M. Marquis, an cx-captain of a Swiss company; 
M. Milhet, a lieutenant of militia and a merchant; and I, Lafr6ni^re, 
a planter and the King's Attorney-General, delegates of the people 
of Louisiana, come to assure you of their submission to the orders of 
their Most Cathohc and Christian Majesties. . . . The harshness 
of M. Ulloa's temper and the subversion of the privileges guaranteed 
by the Act of Cession were the only causes of the revolution which 
took place in the colony. We beg your Excellency not to consider 
Louisiana as a conquered country. The orders of which you are the 
bearer are sufficient to put you in possession of this province. The 
French are docile and accustomed to a mild government. The 
colony claims from your benevolence the grant of privileges and 
from your equity the allowance of sufficient delay for those who 
choose to emigrate. . . ." 

O'Reilly listened with grave dignity and made the 
answer hoped for. In the course of it, the words 
' 'seditious people" escaped his lips. Marquis, inter- 
rupting him, objected to the word "seditious'^ and 
explained the conduct of the colonists. O'Reilly 
listened with gentle condescension, detained the gen- 
tlemen to dine with him with the most delicate 
poHteness, and sent them back completely reassured. 

On the morning of the 17th the Spanish fleet, 
twenty-four ships in full rigging, colors flying, ap- 
peared in front of the city. O'Reilly landed and 
went to the house prepared for him. During the 
afternoon the Spanish troops were landed and were 
received by Aubry at the head of his French soldiers 
and the Militia. The Spanish troops, numbering 
two thousand six hundred men, were, it is said, 
among the choicest of Spain, and had been selected 
by O'Reilly himself. As they marched from the 



192 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

ships with their artillery of one hundred and fifty 
guns, and battalion after battalion of infantry with 
colors flying, perfect in discipline and in brilliant 
equipment, they excited the awe and admiration of 
the New Orleans people. 

All the bells rang merrily and a salute was fired 
from the guns of the twenty-four vessels. O'Reilly, 
splendidly accoutered, preceded by guards with 
silver maces, followed by his staff, advanced toward 
Aubry, who was standing with the men of the 
Superior Council, and presented them his credentials, 
which were read aloud. Aubry released the Louisian- 
ians from their allegiance to France. The keys of 
the city were handed to the Spanish Governor; the 
banner of France was hauled down. Then all the 
dignitaries proceeded to the Cathedral, where they 
were received by the clergy. A Te Deum was sung, 
and with a pompous parade through the awed 
streets, the cession was completed in the eyes of the 
humiliated patriots, but not in those of O'Reilly. 

On the day following the stately ceremony, he 
gave a great dinner to the French and Spanish offi- 
cials and citizens of distinction ; but this, as Gayarr^ 
remarks, did not interfere with. the business which 
he had on hand. He had secretly been gathering 
documents and papers and depositions of witnesses 
and, on the very day of his banquet, had summoned 
Aubry to furnish him, as soon as possible, with the 
names of the persons who had roused the people 
to enforce the expulsion of Ulloa — in other words, 
the chiefs and agents of the conspiracy, as he styled 
it, demanding in particular the decree of the Council 
and Memorial of the inhabitants. 



LAFRSNIERE 193 

The pusillanimous Aubry responded fully and 
promptly. 

"No Attorney-General/' to quote Gayarr6 again, "could have 
drawn a more precise and more fatal indictment, concluding with a 
humble and servile apology of his own conduct." 

Aubry^s document fixed O'Reilly's determination, 
and he proceeded through his crafty programme. 
Without loss of time, while Aubry was with him, 
he drew to his house under different pretexts nine 
of the Louisiana patriots. Lafreniere was, of course, 
among the first. 

When they were all in his presence, and Aubry 
standing by, he tersely addressed them: 

"Gentlemen, the Spanish nation is respected and venerated all 
over the globe. Louisiana seems to be the only country which is not 
aware of it, and which is deficient in the respect due to that nation. 
His Catholic Majesty is much displeased at the violence lately 
exercised in this province, and at the offense committed against his 
governor, his officers and his troops. He orders me to have arrested 
and tried according to the laws of the Kingdom the authors of these 
excesses and of all deeds of violence." 

After reading the orders he added: "Gentlemen, I regret to say 
you are accused of being the authors of the late insurrection. I 
therefore arrest you in the King's name! Here are your judges." 
(Pointing to some officers in the room.) "They are as equitable 
as they are learned, and they will listen to your defense. ... In 
the meantime, all your property according to the customs of Spain 
shall be sequestered. . . . As to your wives and children. . . . 
I shall grant to them all the assistance of which they may stand in 
need. A faithful inventory shall be made of your estates and effects, 
and I invite each one of you now to appoint whom he pleases to be 
present at that inventory, who shall also countersign it." 

The astounded prisoners gave the names of those 
who were to represent them. ^'Now, gentlemen," 
concluded O'Reilly, ''please deliver up your 



194 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

swords/' The house during this scene had been 
surrounded by troops and the room filled with grena- 
diers. One of the Spanish officers received the 
swords and, with an officer holding each arm, the 
Louisianians were conducted from the room to their 
places of confinement where they were all separated 
and not permitted to communicate with one an- 
other. * Some were put in O'Reilly's Spanish frigate, 
some in other vessels, and the rest in a well-guarded 
house. They were interrogated, and their deposi- 
tions taken down in writing. 

The news of the arrest of the patriots and of the 
death of Viller^ caused terror far and wide. They 
were so much identified with the whole population — 
as Gayarr^ says, ^' their personal friends were so 
numerous, their family connections so extensive, 
that the misfortune which had befallen them could 
not but produce a general sense of desolation.'' 
Well were verified the dire prophecies about Spanish 
cruel and despotic rule. Many in secret began to 
make preparations to fly to the English. Most of 
the houses in the city were closed; the streets were 
deserted and silent, save for the heavy tramp of the 
grim Spanish patrol. 

O'Reilly pursued his progranmie inexorably. The 
ceremony of taking the oath of allegiance to Spain 
was sternly carried through and submitted to by the 
panic-stricken citizens. The trial was opened. The 
judges descended into the cells of the accused and 
forced them to answer minutely the questions they 
propounded. The prisoners never saw the witnesses 
brought against them and never knew who they 

* The account of Villere's death is given elsewhere. 



LAFRtlNIERE 195 

were. But the facts of the accusation were of so 
public a nature that they could not be denied. The 
accused admitted most of them and confessed their 
respective parts in the insurrection, resting their 
defense on the ground that the King of Spain had 
never taken possession of Louisiana, as Ulloa had 
never exhibited his commission; and, therefore, the 
colonists were not bound to receive Ulloa as the 
representative of His CathoUc Majesty, but had 
the right to treat him as an intruder and im- 
postor and expel him from the province. Also, as 
the colonists had never taken the oath of allegiance 
to the King of Spain, or been released by Aubry 
from their oath to France, it followed that the 
inhabitants, not having become Spanish, had re- 
mained French. 

The French laws had never been repealed and they 
claimed the right to be tried and judged according 
to the principles, forms and usages of French juris- 
prudence; and by tribunals and authorities compe- 
tent to take cognizance of their offense at the time 
it was committed. 

Foucault declined to answer when interrogated, 
on the ground that whatever he had done was in his 
official capacity as Intendant of the King of France, 
and that he was answerable to his government alone, 
taking exception to any jurisdiction of the Spanish 
tribunal for acts which he had done officially. He 
was willing to stand his trial in France and re- 
peatedly asked to be sent thither. This was ac- 
corded: he was shipped to France, where on his 
arrival he was thrown into the Bastille. In Loui- 
siana Foucault's reputation has suffered the penalty 



196 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

of the infamy to which the Spanish judge con- 
demned that of Villere. Madame Pradel shortly 
followed Foucault to France. 

The prosecuting attorney at the trial of the 
colonists was the Licentiate, Don Felix del Rey, a 
practitioner before the royal courts of St. Domingo 
and Mexico. In the long documentary report he made 
of the trial, he blames Lafreniere as chief instigator 
of the conspiracy, and complains of his deportment. 
As he truthfully says, if the Attorney-General had 
followed the example of Aubry, the rebels would 
have been constrained to do the like. 

By the 24th of October the Court came to the 
end of its elaborate formalities and found the 
prisoners guilty. O'Reilly, as its President, pro- 
nounced and signed 

"the judgment, condemning Nicolas Chauvin, de Lafreniere, Jean 
Baptiste Noyan, Pierre Caresse, Pierre Marquis, and Joseph 
Milhet to the gallows, which they have deserved by the infamy of 
their conduct; to be led to the place of execution mounted on asses — 
with a rope around their necks, to be hanged and to remain suspended 
until further orders." 

Doucet, Hardy de Boisblanc, Masan, Jean Milhet 
and Pierre Poupart were sentenced to six years of 
imprisonment and perpetual exile from Spanish 
dominions. All printed copies of documents relat- 
ing to the insurrection were to be burnt by the com- 
mon hangman. Passionate appeals for mercy were 
made to O'Reilly by the women of the colony. 
Loyola, Gayarr^ and Navarro joined their interces- 
sions, to no effect. The sentence was carried out the 
next day. At three o'clock of the afternoon the 
five prisoners, their arms well pinioned, were con- 
ducted to the barracks yard. 



LAFR&NIERE 197 

"They were well dressed," writes the gossipy Baudry dc Lozidres, 
and perfectly calm and self-possessed; conversed with one another 
as they went along, looking around them kindly and returning 
salutes addressed to them affectionately." 

Ciipidon, a slave, overcome with emotion, rushed 
forward and threw himself into the arms of his mas- 
ter, Caresse, shedding tears and embracing him. 
His master returned his embraces, told him to be 
calm, and freed him publicly, exhorting him not to 
misuse his liberty. 

The space for their execution was guarded by a 
large force of Spanish soldiers, forming a square. 
The prisoners were conducted to the center. A bench 
had been placed for them, but they refused to sit 
down. Their sentence was read to them in Spanish 
and French. They refused to have their eyes ban- 
daged. ''I have braved death too often," said 
Marquis, pushing the hand of the Spanish officer 
away, "to fear it now." Lafreniere enjoined upon 
his son-in-law, Noyan, to send the scarf he wore to 
his wife, that she might present it to her son when 
he became a man. With his finest Louis XIV man- 
ner, he faced his executioners, gave, himself, the 
word to fire, and fell, shouting with his last breath, 
"Je suis Frangais!" De Noyan, Milhet, Marquis 
and Caresse died in their uniforms. , 

The wives and famiUes of the patriots, with the 
good Ursuhne Sisters, were on their knees before the 
altar in the chapel of the convent, which adjoined 
the barracks yard. When the shots rang out on the 
other side of the chapel wall their screams pierced 
the air and they fell prostrate on the floor. 

The day after the execution the six sentenced to 
imprisonment were sent to one of the forts at 



198 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Havana. The property of all was sequestered. 
According to O'Reilly's report, he was satisfied that 
the insult to the Ejng of Spain had been wiped out. 

The Cathedral archives, kept with minute preci- 
sion, contain no record of the burial accorded the 
patriots. It is not known where they were buried, 
or even if they were accorded Christian rites. 
Tradition supplies what seems only a pious hope, 
that Father Dagobert, the good French priest of 
the Cathedral and Vicar-General of the province, 
who was in hearty sympathy with the patriots, 
secretly had their bodies conveyed to the Cathedral 
precincts and, during the night, had them buried 
in holy ground, but the spot was never marked. 

O'Reilly, it is said, wished to engage Cupidon for 
his servant. ''What, serve the butcher of my mas- 
ter! Heaven forbid!" was the negro's reply. La- 
freniere's slave, Artus, who had a fine reputation as a 
cook, was sent for by O'Reilly, who told him: ''You 
are the slave now of the King of Spain; I will take 
you for my cook." "Beware!" said Artus. "You 
are the assassin of my master! I would poison you!" 

A wandering rumor from the past is still to be met 
in New Orleans historical circles, that a very old 
Creole lady, who lived in Dauphine Street, about 
1830, in the greatest seclusion, and who was known 
as "Madame Boisclair," was in reahty the widow of 
Lafreniere. To protect her privacy she had dropped 
the celebrated name and taken refuge in that of one 
of the four Chauvin brothers who had followed Bien- 
ville to Louisiana. 

This explains Bernard Marigny's statement in his 
historical Memoirs. He relates what he seems per- 
sonally to have heard: 



il 



lafrMiere 199 

"To move the heart of this 'Cannibal' (O'Reilly), Madame 
Lafrenidre after stating to him that she was the granddaughter of 
the Chevalier d'Arcnsbourg, one of the heroes of Sweden and 
former aide-de-camp to Charles XII, . . . represented to him 
the horror and humiliation that would be inflicted upon her noble 
race, upon the old companion in arms of Charles XII. 'My grand- 
sire,' exclaimed the noble woman, 'will die of shame and grief! 
Do not disgrace us by an infamous punishment!' 'You may retire, 
madam,' answered O'Reilly, 'I will take your prayer into con- 
sideration.* Accordingly, the mode of execution was changed." 

Aubry left Louisiana for France. His steamer was 
wrecked in a storm as it was entering the Garonna 
and he perished with it. ''His end/' says Gayarre, 
''was looked upon as an act of retributive justice by 
Heaven!" 

Lafreniere's plantation on the Mississippi, above 
the Bor^ place, lay just above the Audubon Park 
of to-day. It passed into the hands of Le Breton, 
the husband of one of his daughters. A son of this 
Le Breton married a daughter of Bore and thus be- 
came related to Charles Gayarre, whose mother 
was the wife of Carlos Gayarre, the son of Ulloa's 
Contador. 

France thrust a last stab of disappointment into 
the heart of Louisianians who, with despairing love, 
still clung to the hope that the mother country would 
make at least a gesture of pity towards them, but 
a mere ripple of excitement, and nothing more, passed 
over the French Government councils when the 
news came to them. The Spanish Government sus- 
tained O'Reilly who, in true Spanish conquistador 
style, had laid the body of a defenseless country 
weltering in its blood at the feet of His Most CathoUc 
Majesty. In Louisiana, Time, the great obliterator 
of mortal misdeeds, has never been able to efface the 



I 



200 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

memory of the tragedy. The soil that drank in the 
blood of the patriots has given it back in the flowers 
of inmiortality that bloom around their names. 

The great Chauvin family overlived the Spanish 
rule, carrying their fine heredity of sturdy patriotism 
into the vitality of the American Domination. In 
New Orleans, the name still lives and is met in the 
families of Villere, La bedoyere Huchet de Kernion, 
de Boisblanc. Le Breton, and many others. 



CHAPTER XI 

LABEDOYERE HUCHET DE KERNION 

•T^HE old New Orleans name of Huchet de Kernion 
-*- is constantly met to-day in the current ways of 
social and business life. It always arrests the 
attention to the bearer of it and elicits conaments of 
respect. To trace its source one must go far back 
into history. 

To quote the genealogical records of the family, 
compiled by a representative of it to-day: 

"The Huchet de Kernion family of New Orleans is one of the 
youngest branches of a memorable tree, whose origin is lost in the 
darkness of ages. The name is Breton Bretonnant, whether it 
descends from Huchelin de Clamban, the gallant knight who took 
part in the Combats des Trente in 1530, in the celebrated champion- 
ship fight between Ploermel and Joselin in Brittany, or whether, fol- 
lowing the records in the BibHotheque Nationale, the founder of the 
family was Hugues de Home, of the famous Home family of Holland, 
who settled in Brittany in 1295, changing his name from Home to 
Huchet, is yet to be determined."* 

"The fiFst authenticated founder of the family," 
to quote again from the records, ^'is Bertrand 
Huchet who lived in 1415, Keeper of the Seals of 
John, Duke of Brittany, and also his ambassador to 
England." His coat of arms bore three hunting 
horns or Huchets sables, on an argent field. In 1420 
he married Jeanne de la Bedoyere, heiress of the 

* Kindly loaned to the author by Georges Charles la Bedoyere 
Huchet de Kernion, a well-known authority on Louisiana genealogy. 

201 



202 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

noble name and lands of the La Bedoyeres, and he 
annexed her arms, ^'six pierced billets on an azure 
field" to his '^ three Huchets sables J' Her name has 
been transmitted to his line, which is known to-day 
as the La Bedoyere Huchet de Kernion branch. 

In the nineteenth century, the glory of the name 
shone out in the person of General Charles Angelique 
de la Bedoyere who, like the great Marshal Ney, 
was executed under the restoration for his desertion 
to Napoleon. He was on the point of making his 
escape to the United States, but not being able to 
resist the temptation of bidding his wife farewell, 
he turned back and was seized at the door of her 
dwelling 

Jean Frangois Huchet de Kernion was born in 
Rennes in 1604. Being the youngest son of the 
family, and having no share in the paternal estates, 
he was destined for the priesthood. Instead of this, 
he married Marie Leonore de Boisdonet, of an old 
Breton family, and settled in Quimper about 1650. 

There his five children were born and in course of 
time were married into good old Breton famiUes. 
The eldest son, who married Catherine Bouillot de 
Kergadon (forming the branch of Kerourin), was 
the grandfather of Ren6 Theophile Laennec de 
Kerlouarnec, the celebrated French physician, in- 
ventor of the stethoscope, to whom a statue has been 
erected in his native city of Quimper. The youngest 
son, Pierre Huchet Sieur du Rest, married twice, 
and it is from his second wife, Thomase R^ne 
Guesdan de Keravel, that the Louisiana branch of 
the Kernions descends. But it must not be forgotten 
that, through his first wife, Ren^e Salaun du Rest, 
he became the uncle of the celebrated hero of France 



LABEDOYERE HUCHET DE KERNION 203 

• — la Tour d^Auvergne, surnamed by Napoleon ''the 
first Grenadier of France.'' One of the proudest 
traditions of the family to-day, however, is the proof 
they made under the Revolution, of their loyalty 
to their Church and their King — giving up their 
lives unflinchingly to the guillotine. 

Jean Frangois Huchet, Sieur de Kernion, the first 
of the name known in Louisiana, was born in Quimper 
in 1700; he was the only son of Pierre Guillaume 
Huchet and his second wife, Thomase Renee 
Guesdan de Keravel. After a youth spent in 
Quimper, he embarked in 1720 for Louisiana as an 
officer on the vessel, 'Ta Loire, '^ which was bringing 
settlers to the concession of '^Ste. Reine," one of 
the largest grants of Louisiana land made by the 
Company, situated on the Mississippi above Baton 
Rouge. 

Louisiana was then m its period of greatest infla- 
tion under John Law, and the ' 'Mississippi Bubble'' 
was glittering in the horizon of French speculators. 
After an unsuccessful trial of Perier as Governor, 
Bienville had been put in charge of the colony once 
more, and was engaged in the effort to end the 
Natchez War on terms the least disastrous to France. 
Huchet de Kernion does not figure in the list of his 
officers, either civil or military. The first mention 
of his name occurs in 1729; he is mentioned in the 
census as living with M. Petit de Levillier, officer of 
the company, on the plantation of ' 'Petit Coulange '' 
on the left bank of the river, going up. 

According to the family tradition he brought with 
him from France the voluminous pages of the 
Kernion record existing to-day, comprising patents 
of nobility, titles, baptismal and marriage records and 



204 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

settlements reaching back fourteen generations to 
1240, even to the divine nimbus surrounding the 
name of St. Louis. His marriage in 1736 in New 
Orleans, with Jeanne Antoinette Mirbaize de Ville- 
mont, Widow Rivard, is the first important item con- 
cerning him in the Louisiana records of the family. 

Jeanne Antoinette Mirbaize de Villemont was 
the daughter of Henri Martin Mirbaize (or Mirbois), 
Sieur de Villemont, a native of Poictiers, and of 
Antoinette Fourier. The Sieur de Villemont, a 
lieutenant in the French Army, came to Louisiana 
on the ship ^'Deux Freres,'^ in 1719, accompanied 
by his wife, Antoinette Fourier, and his two 
daughters, Jeanne Antoinette and Marie Anne, and 
bringing twelve laborers for his concession, which was 
located on the Ouchita River, one hundred and 
twenty leagues from the capital. 

Gayarr^ recounts a stirring episode in 1722 of 
which Lieutenant Villemont was the hero. Stationed 
at Fort Toulouse, in the Alabama district, in com- 
mand of twenty-six soldiers, his men were rendered 
desperate by their hunger in a period of famine and 
revolted, killed their captain and started to escape 
to the EngUsh, in the Carolinas. Villemont, having 
escaped from them to the Indians, succeeded in 
raising a party to join him in pursuing the deserters, 
who were recaptured after a bloody combat. 

Marie Anne de Villemont married Sieur Frangois 
de Caue. Jeanne Antoinette married, in 1730, 
Antoine Rivard, son of Antoine Rivard, one of the 
original settlers in Louisiana, whose plantation is 
shown on the earliest maps of New Orleans on the 
Bayou or ''Ruisseau" St. Jean. The Rivard act of 
marriage is one of the earliest records in the Cathedral 



LABEDOYERE HUCHET DE KERNION 205 

register. Two daughters were born: Jeanne 
Antoinette and Marie Frangoise. The latter died 
unmarried; the former married Sieur Christophe de 
Glapion, officer in the French Army, son of Charles 
de Glapion, Seigneur de Mesnilaganchie in Nor- 
mandy, an illustrious family with titles of nobility 
dating back to 1508. The marriage was celebrated 
in 1757, on the old Rivard plantation on Bayou St. 
Jean, which was then known as the plantation of 
Huchet de Kernion. 

The wealth of the Rivards was in its day a proverb 
in Colonial New Orleans, and it is still repeated 
currently among the descendants of the old famihes. 
The marriage of the Widow Rivard with Huchet de 
Kernion must have been considered an event of 
great social importance in the entire city. The 
names of the witnesses inspire respect two centuries 
afterwards. Bienville, Chevalier de St. Louis, 
Governor of Louisiana; de Noyan, his nephew, 
Chevaher de St. Louis and his wife; Fleuriau, 
Attorney-General; Salmon, Commissary and In- 
tendant; Renaud d'Hauterive; Madame Veuve 
Delery; Frangoise de Villemont, sister of the bride. 

Only one child was born of this union, Jean Ren6 
Huchet de Kernion. 

Bienville having retired to France, and the 
Company of the West having retroceded Louisiana 
to the French Government, Vaudreuil w^as appointed 
Governor, giving to Louisiana an administration con- 
sidered still the most brilliant in her annals. His 
wife, the handsome and elegant Marquise de 
Vaudreuil, is entitled to share his honors in history. 
She may be said to have created society in New 
Orleans, gathering about her the beautiful women 



206 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

of the city (among them we may imagine the beau- 
tiful and rich Madame Rivard) in her Httle ''govern- 
ment court," training and poUshing them and con- 
verting them to the adoption of an etiquette so 
perfect in its ruUngs that it reigned triumphantly 
during the Spanish and American administrations, 
and remained in force two centuries later, as New 
Orleans grandmothers of to-day love to recall. 

The Marquise, who adored festivities, held recep- 
tions where she entertained with music and 
theatricals. The first drama ever composed in 
Louisiana, an Indian story, was written for her by 
a brilliant young French officer of her court, LeBlanc 
de Villeneuve; and it was acted before her in her 
drawing-room. The portrait of the author is still 
preserved as an Indian, the hero of the play. During 
her reign the ladies of New Orleans advanced very 
far from colonial simplicity of manners and dress, 
and indeed went so far in sophistication as to order 
their carriages from France. 

In 1735, Vaudreuil was appointed Governor of 
Canada, and Louis Billouart de Kerlerec was named 
to succeed him in Louisiana. A Breton, born in 
Quimper, and therefore a fellow countryman and 
townsman of Kernion, Kerlerec found in him a 
friend during the hard trials of the most uneasy 
administration known in colonial Louisiana. To 
the constant menace of Indian troubles and British 
aggression was added the keen opposition of a private 
enemy — his Commissary, Rochemore, who, with 
vindictive persistence, not only thwarted his superior 
at every turn, but formed with the citizens a cabal 
against him, and kept up a constant current of 
charges against him to the Minister in France. 



LABEDOYERE HUCHET DE KERNION 207 

The doughty Breton, who had begun Ufe at 
fourteen on the sea, fought as sturdily and obsti- 
nately against his domestic enemies as against 
Indian and English intrigues. He fought even 
against the poisonous venom of the libels of Madame 
de Rochemore, whom he calls ''the worst woman the 
earth has ever borne, the most perfect emblem of 
avarice''! He, nevertheless, was recalled in 1763, 
and was imprisoned in the Bastille until he could 
disprove the charges against him. Huchet de 
Kernion was active in Kerlerec's behalf, and he 
signed, if he did not write, the strong protest sent 
to France against Rochemore. 

On recoimnendation, Kernion was promoted in 
1760 from Associate to Titular or Active Councillor, 
in the Superior Council, thereby enabling him to 
take an important part in the great event so soon 
to follow in Louisiana. This was the transfer of 
Louisiana by France to Spain. The survivors 
among the men who had followed Iberville and 
Bienville to the discovery of Louisiana had entered 
upon the tranquil enjoyment of the well-earned rest 
and prosperity of their old age. Their sons were in 
the full strength of a hardy middle age, when this 
poHtical chasm opened at their feet. 

The story need not be repeated except as to the 
role played by Huchet de Kernion. Ulloa had 
arrived and was assuming the reins of government 
despite the public protest of a first indignation meet- 
ing of Louisianians. A larger meeting was then 
called and a still stronger protest, signed by more 
than five hundred of the leading citizens, was pre- 
sented to the Superior Council, asking the expulsion 
of Ulloa from the colony. This being read, it was, 



208 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

on motion of Lafreniere, referred to the Councillors, 
Huchet de Kernion and Petit de Launay, to be 
examined by them and reported upon. The next 
day, the Council raised to its full strength by 
appointees to fill the place of absentees, met to hear 
the report. Upon due consideration of it, Kernion 
and de Launay wrote a strong endorsement of the 
petition, which the Council voted unanimously to 
sustain; and in consequence the Spanish Governor 
was expelled from the colony. 

The inevitable result followed. O'Reilly was sent 
by Spain with a military force to "pacify the colo- 
nists," as it was termed. This was done by executing 
and banishing the leaders of the revolt. Huchet de 
Kernion who, besides his official act, had attended all 
the public meetings and put his name to all the peti- 
tions against Spanish rule and the justicative 
Memorial of the expulsion of Ulloa to the govern- 
ment in France was, strange to say, never called 
to account by the Spanish authorities with the other 
patriots, nor was his name mentioned once as a 
'^rebel'^ by Pere Antoine, the priest. 

But he did not long survive the bloody death of 
his friends and relatives. Bent with age and sorrow, 
he died before a year had passed, leaving one son, 
Ren6 Huchet de Kernion, who was born in 1739 on 
the plantation on the Bayou St. Jean. Like his 
father, he was an officer in the colonial troops, and 
was retired with the other French officers by order 
of the King when the colony passed over to Spain. 

In 1767, two years before the Spanish Domination, 
he married ''the high and well-born" Louise Con- 
stance Chauvin de Lery des Islets, daughter of 
Antoine Chauvin de Lery des Islets and of Charlotte 



LABEDOYERE HUCHET DE KERNION 209 

Faucoh du Manoir, thus entering the great family 
of the Chevalier d'Arensbourg and becoming a 
cousin of the famous patriot Lafreniere and of 
Joseph Roy de Viller^. His witnesses present us to 
the most distinguished citizens of the city at the 
time: the ChevaHer de Glapion; Trudeau, Captain 
of Infantry; deVillemont de Kernion, and all the 
Chauvins; Boisclair; des Islets; de Lery; Hubert 
Bellair; de Mazan; Dreux. 

With other French officers and children of 
Louisiana patriots, Huchet de Kernion became in 
time reconciled to the Spanish rule. During the 
administration of the greatest Spaniard who ever 
came to the colony, Galvez, himself the husband of 
a Creole lady, and through her connected with many 
distinguished Creole families, he was appointed by 
the Spanish Eang Alcalde Ordinaire, the first 
office in the Cabildo. It was a position of im- 
portance, dignity and distinction, invested with the 
function of Judge and as such ranking next to the 
Governor of the province. 

It is noticeable that in official documents he, like 
his father and grandfather, adhered to the old 
Breton custom of using the barred K — in names 
beginning with Ker; signing himself Knion 
Kernion. 

He married a second time; uniting himself to 
Marie Joseph Modeste du Verges de St. Sauveur, 
daughter of Bernard du Verges de St. Sauveur, of 
a distinguished family of Beam who came to New 
Orleans in the early days of her history, becoming 
Chief Engineer of the province. He showed himself 
to be an able officer under Bienville during the 
Natchez War, when he surveyed a road for the 



210 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

passage of French troops into the Chickasaw 
country. He also made an important report to the 
government on the mouth of the river, in 1745. 

Pierre, his son by his first marriage, married 
Marie Genevieve Claire Jumonville de ViUier, the 
daughter of a retired Spanish officer. From this 
union descend the Kernion family of to-day. Celes- 
tine, his eldest daughter, became the first wife of 
Charles LeBreton des Chapelles, the grandson of 
Etienne de Bore. Her sister, Marie Rosilde, became 
LeBreton's second wife. 

Chrispin Charles LaBedoyere Huchet de Kernion, 
born in 1796, became a planter and was Uving on 
the old place on Bayou St. Jean, when in 1815 the 
British Army seemed about to overwhelm New 
Orleans. He shouldered his musket and walked out 
to the field of Chalmette. It is related of him that, 
at the time, he was physically so weak he could not 
carry his heavy * 'muzzle-loader'' all the way, and 
that his older and stronger brother had to carry it 
for him. 

He married in 1822 Euph^mie Arnill Lambert, 
the daughter of Pierre Joseph Lambert and Marie 
Constance Wiltz. The miniature of the two, pre- 
served in the family archives, represents faces of 
youth, beauty and intelligence. Euphemie is es- 
pecially distinguished by the pensive, mysterious 
expression of her beautiful eyes. At her death, 
among her private papers was found the pretty 
legacy of a large portfolio of music, songs and verses, 
copied in her exquisite handwriting, collected as she 
went along from the society that she loved and that 
loved such things — a private labor of love, the 
patient result of long hours of rapt application and 



LABEDOYERE HUCHET DE KERNION 211 

withdrawal from the busy world of plantation life 
and the domestic cares of a family of nine children. 

Her youngest son, Anatole LaBedoyere Huchet de 
Kernion, married Fannie Evelina Campbell (ac- 
cording to the record a member of the Argyle 
family), adopted daughter of Samuel J. Peters, Jr., 
Avhose wife, Aspasie de la Villebeuvre, was her 
second cousin. He hved to add one more episode 
to the history of his ancient family, for he served 
from the beginning to the end of the Civil War, in 
the Twenty-third Louisiana Regiment, and was one 
of the heroic soldiers who gained glory for their cause 
in the terrible siege of Vicksburg. 

On his return, he found that the lot of the van- 
quished severed him from the past wealth of his 
family, but not from its proud fortitude and its 
capacity for business. He '^did not stoop or He in 
wait for wealth or honors, or for worldly state," as 
many did in the sad period of demoralization that 
follow^ed the Civil War, but, courageously facing the 
doom he had incurred, he sold his ancestral planta- 
tion and heroically engaged in a mercantile pursuit, 
serving faithfully for twenty years in the ranks of the 
employees of the old Canal Bank. 

George Charles Huchet de Kernion, the archivist, 
the kind contributor of these notes, is his son. 



CHAPTER XII 
DE LIVAUDAIS 

ESNOULD DE LIVAUDAIS, Esnould Beaumont 
de Livaudais, Esnould Dugue de Livaudais.* 

The sturdy family tree of the Livaudais was rooted 
in the strong soil of Brittany. Olivier Esnould of 
Parame, 1510, is the first name it bears. OHvier 
Esnould, 1534; and Frangois Esnould, 1559, continue 
the record. With Briand Esnould, 1604, the family 
life begins in St. Malo, where it rem^ains until 1695. 

Jacques Esnould de Livaudais, Chevalier of St. 
Louis, was the first of the family in New Orleans. 
He was the son of Jacques Esnould de Livaudais of 
St. Malo, who married Marie Guillette le Jaloux, 
1695; therefore he had the good fortune of being 
born during the glorious period of St. Malo's 
history. As a child he heard the ringing of the city 
bells and firing of cannon in honor of the great 
victories of the mighty sea captains against the 
English and Dutch vessels. He must have seen the 
immortal ''sea wolf,'' Duguay Trouin himself, bring- 
ing into port his prizes. His own uncle, Lavigne 
Voisin, was one of the celebrated corsairs of the 
day. A lad of such a city, such a family and such a 
period could not prove disobedient to the heroic 
spirit about him and within him. 

Following the example of a brother, he embarked 

* Genealogy of the Livaudais family arranged from authentic 
records, by Alfred Fortune Livaudais. New Orleans. 

212 



DE LIVAUDAIS 213 

with Lavigne Voisin to make his apprenticeship as a 
seaman. The good termination of his apprentice- 
ship opened his way to a position on a ship of the 
Company of the Indies. The proof he gave of 
courage, capacity and good seamanship recom- 
mended him to the directors of the Company, and, 
in 1720, before he was twenty-five, he was made 
First Lieutenant on the vessel ''La D^couverte," 
with a salary of two hundred Uvres a month and a 
''gratification" of two thousand Uvres on his return, 
a briUiant testimonial in that day of his worth to his 
employers. He continued his East India voyages 
for twelve years to such complete satisfaction of the 
directors that they transferred him to an important 
post in Louisiana. He was made Pilot of the Port 
of New Orleans. 

The explanation is hardly needed that, after the 
founding of the city upon the Mississippi, the 
problem that confronted its founders was not its 
maintenance as a city but as a port. A city upon 
the banks of a river not navigable to large vessels 
would have been indeed a disastrous speculation for 
them. Bienville, as we know, had gained the 
directors of the Law Company to his project of found- 
ing a city that, he affirmed, should be a dominating 
port on the Gulf of Mexico for France, as well as an 
outlet for the trade of all the interior of the continent. 
He had maintained an obstinate contention with 
the Council Board at Biloxi to prove the correctness 
of his calculations ; the Council Board maintaining as 
obstinate a fight in favor of Mobile or Biloxi as the 
capital port. It was not until the city itself was laid 
off and the settlement of it begun that the Royal 
Engineer, de la Tour, practically ended the discussion 



214 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

by coming over from the opposition to the side of 
Bienville and in proof of the feasibility of the latter's 
assertion sailed through the mouth of the river 
himself on the loaded vessel ^^Aventurier," accom- 
panied by his assistant, de Pauger. 

The letters of Bienville to the directors in France, 
the reports of de la Tour and de Pauger, and the 
instructions of the directors to their engineers, give 
in detail the interesting history of their strenuous 
efforts to solve the stupendous problem before them 
— the problem that was to be the mythical dragon 
of the nineteenth century to river commissions and 
engineers of the United States. The changing 
channel, the shifting sand bars, the mud lumps, and 
drift wood held in constant menace over the city 
for a century and a half the doom prophesied by its 
enemies at the Council Board at Biloxi. 

De Pauger, with a masterly map of the Passes 
and the table of his continuous soundings of the 
channel, was the first one to approach the problem 
with systematic thoroughness; but he died, leaving 
only suggestions of a remedy behind him. Among 
them, it is interesting to note a foreshadowing of 
Ead's scheme — the closing of two of the Passes, and 
the deepening of the third by means of jetties, to 
be made of sunken vessels and driftwood.* In 
the time of Bienville and succeeding French Gover- 
nors, a pilot was stationed at the Balize, whose duty 
it was to keep a record from day to day of the depth 
changes in the Passes and of the shifting of the 
channel, and to pilot the vessels arriving from 
France or elsewhere. 

In 1734, Bienville, who had succeeded P^rier 

* "Voyages et Di^couvertes." Pierre Margey. Vol. VI. 



DE LIVAUDAIS 215 

as Governor of Louisiana, wrote to the Minister in 
France: 

"We have had the honor, M. Salmon (the Commissary) and I, 
to write to you in favor of M. de Livaudais, sent by the King of 
Louisiana as pilot. He should be made Captain of the Port." 

In the letter to which Bienville alludes, he writes that he "par- 
ticularly recommends M. de Livaudais as an officer to be retained." 

A marginal note says, "he is a nephew of Lavignc Voisin, a 
famous corsair of St. Malo." 

Following this, Livaudais was made ''Captain of 
the Port," a title that should be rendered ''Captain 
or Surveyor of the Ports,'* for it comprehended the 
charge of all the ports of Louisiana on the Gulf of 
Mexico and the Atlantic Coast. 

In a voluminous report on the river written in 
1738, Bienville and Salmon, his commissary, give 
an account of the delay, danger and difficulty met 
by vessels entering the river. He adds: 

"The Sieur de Livaudais, who has been a navigator for thirty 
years, has been up to the present time of the greatest service in 
getting vessels through the Passes, and has by his prudence saved 
them often from accidents. After having served on the corsairs of 
St. Malo, he was transferred to the Company of the Indies. He de- 
serves, and it would be proper to accord him, a commission." 

In 1760, Kerlerec, in pressing need for powder, 
sent Livaudais on the armed transport, "The 
Opal,*' to Vera Cruz for a supply. He left in March 
and returned in September with the powder, having 
encountered four British vessels, one of sixty guns. 
In the chase that ensued, "The Opal" managed to 
keep her distance ahead, until she arrived in sight 
of the Bahze, where Livaudais, determined not to 
lose his powder, took the daring risk of bringing 
his vessel through the Passes at night, although the 
water was low at the time. 



216 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

In 1733 Livaudais married, in New Orleans, 
Marie Genevieve de la Source, ^'daughter of an 
honorable family of Mobile/^ From this marriage 
issue the many members of the Louisiana family of 
the Livaudais that fill the branches of their great 
genealogical tree. There is no explanation given 
of the subsequent division of the family name into 
Beaumont and Dugu6 de Livaudais other than 
the suggestion that it came or was assumed from a 
land title.* 

There is no Beaumont recorded among the colonial 
French officers in Louisiana, and the only Dugu6 
was Jean Sidrac Dugu6, of Canadian origin, who 
styled himself Boisbrillant. He was a brilliant 
officer under Bienville's first settlement at Mobile. 
It is constantly stated that he was a cousin of Bien- 
ville, although there does not appear to be any 
connection with the Lemoyne family. According to 
tradition the first Dugu6 de Livaudais had seventeen 
children, who married early into the prominent 
colonial families and left behind them descendants 
numerous enough to clothe the branches of the 
family tree with leaves as close set as a five oak in 
spring. The record, however, limits its list to the 
eldest sons: Frangois Esnould de Livaudais, born 
in 1736, who married P^lagie de Vaugine; and 
Joseph Esnould Dugu6 de Livaudais, who married 
Jeanne Fleurian de Morville. 

The eldest son of Frangois de Livaudais and 
Pelagie de Vaugine was Frangois Esnould de 
Livaudais, who married Charlotte des Islets de- 

* In 1728, the Dugu6s, "famous for their wealth," were estab- 
lished on Bayou St. Jean. "The Louisiana Historical Quarterly. 
Vol. I, No. 3. 



DE LIVAUDAIS 217 

Lery. He appears to be the Livaudais who shared 
with Marigny the honor of being the largest land- 
owner and wealthiest citizen of New Orleans of 
his time, and of entertaining the Royal Princes of 
France on their visit to the city, and, with Marigny, 
making a generous loan of money to them, although 
Marigny alone is credited with this. 

His son, bearing the same name as himself, 
married the great heiress of the city, C(^leste de 
Marigny, daughter of Phihppe de Marigny, from 
whom she inherited what would to-day be estimated 
as fabulous wealth in property situated in the 
upper portion of New Orleans, which, joined to what 
her husband already possessed, made them the 
owners of all the "American'^ quarter, or uptown 
portion of the city, just as the Marigny s remained 
the owners of the lower, or ^'Creole'' quarter. The 
American quarter was then an undeveloped tract of 
land some of whose great oak trees may still be 
seen, the aborigines of the primeval forest, in 
isolated groups standing here and there, in proud 
defiance of property lines and street demarkations. 

In recent years a lawsuit has brought the history 
of a part of the property of Celeste de Marigny de 
Livaudais to mind. Pierre Marigny held it under a 
concession from the French Government. It passed 
from Celeste de Marigny de Livaudais to her heir, 
Jacques Enould de Livaudais. It was one of his 
heirs who conceived the idea of building a military 
academy, or Prytaneum, on two squares of it, 
bounded by St. Charles and Prytania, Melpomene 
and Euterpe Streets. The academy project was 
abandoned in course of time; the name of the 
street, Prytania, alone commemorating it. 



218 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

The heirs sold the land more than a quarter of a 
century ago. Celeste, the widow of Frangois de 
Livaudais, with what remained of her magnificent 
fortune, retired to Paris where, as the Marquise 
de Livaudais, she lived until the middle of the 
eighteenth century, receiving to the last with open 
arms her friends and relatives from New Orleans, 
and entertaining them in the style of generous 
hospitality to which, as a Marigny, a de Livaudais, 
and a New Orleans woman, she felt herself, as it 
were, commanded. 

Unfortunately for so distinguished a family, the 
genealogical tree gives no other information 
than the record of births, marriages and deaths — 
too long a list to insert here. But we may cull a 
few of the names bracketed together along the 
branches: Frangois Enould Dugue de Livaudais 
and Ahne de la Chaise; Henri Enould Dugue de 
Livaudais and Celestine Dreux; Sophie Enould 
Dugu6 de Livaudais and Pierre Auguste de la Chaise; 
Charles Jacques Enould de Livaudais and Eulalie 
Leocadie LeBreton des Chapelles; Jacques Philippe 
Enould Dugue de Livaudais and Rose Victoire 
Voisin; Jules Barth Enould Dugue de Livaudais and 
Marie Zunia Trudeau; Louis Adolphe de Livaudais 
and Irene Eulahe Frederic de St. Ferol. 

The good old names are repeated over and over 
again; the good lives that flow from them appear 
also in a monotonous repetition of able men and 
beautiful, noble-looking women. Joseph Frangois 
Enould Dugue de Livaudais, born about 1784, was 
the first to sign and call himself Frangois Dugu6. 
He married Jeanne Marie Plique, and had, like his 
remote ancestor, a goodly number of children, 
who all are known as Dugu^s. 



DE LIVAUDAIS 219 

Henri Philippe Dugu6, the late distinguished 
lawyer, and Charles Oscar Dugu6, a local poet of 
noble proportions, were his sons. 

Henri Philippe Dugu6 married Celestine Dreux, 
the sister of the Confederate hero, Charles Dreux. 
Caught in the whirlpool of the Civil War, he was 
forced to take refuge in Havana. He left his native 
city a man of wealth; he returned, like most of his 
confreres with nothing left of all his former pos- 
sessions except his good reputation as a lawyer 
and two old slaves who, although free, insisted 
upon devoting to him their services until their 
death. Children and grandchildren survive him 
to carry on his good name and tradition. 

A last reminiscence is given by an old writer and 
lover of New Orleans.* 

"There was but one highway leading above the river, and this 
was 'The Tchoupitoulas Road.' Along this road commencing about 
Delord, the upper extremity of the Faubourg Ste. Marie, and extend- 
ing toward the magnificent Livaudais plantation, was a succession 
of beautifully located villas and agricultural establishments. All 
along Tschoupitoulas Street there ran a low levee planted with wiUow 
trees, and during the season of high water, when the batture then 
forming was thoroughly immersed, the long western keel boats and 
barges, as well as the unseemly flatboats, or chalands, would make 
fast to these trees and thence discharge their cargoes. 

"After the receding of the spring and summer floods, these flat- 
boats, of enormous construction and unfit for a return voyage, would 
be left high and dry upon the batture front, and then be broken up 
for fuel and building purposes. The strong side pieces, or gunwales, 
were used in the suburbs as footpaths or side banquettes f in lieu 
of our present brick-paved sidewalks. Upon these wooden trails, 
as it were, pedestrians had to make their way through immense 
vacant spaces, for there were but few buildings toward the rural 
precincts, leading to the Livaudais plantation, which constituted 
that portion of New Orleans which now forms the Fourth District. 

* "New Orleans As It Was." Henry C. Castellanos. 
f Sidewalks in New Orleans are still called banquettes. 



220 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

"On the way to that wealthy estate, the river front was lined with 
a continuous series of delightful rural residences, surrounded with 
orange hedges, orchards and well-tended gardens. The great 
Macarty crevasse, in the spring of 1816, submerged the rear portions 
of the numerous plantations. The Livaudais estate was one of the 
heaviest sufferers from this calamity. A great misfortune this, for 
Mr. Francois Livaudis. The planting of a crop or several hundred 
hogsheads only yielded twenty-eight hogsheads of sugar; and the 
splendid residence, commenced about that time, was never finished, 
affording even to these latter days the spectacle of an abandoned 
castle, that went afterward by the name of the 'Haunted House' 
(near Washington Avenue). 

"The value of this plantation became greatly enhanced on ac- 
count of its being raised several feet by the remaining deposit, or 
alluvial settlement, of the Mississippi water. A company of specu- 
lators acquired by purchase a great part of this estate, which is 
now the beautiful Garden District, and which took its rise from 
this very circumstance of the overflow." 



CHAPTER XIII 

SONIAT DU FOSSAT 

\ CHARMING bit of family reminiscence is 
-^^ conveyed in a few simple lines written by the 
late Charles T. Soniat du Fossat for the Louisiana 
State Historical Society: 

"While visiting the great Paris Exposition in 1900, I had the 
pleasure of receiving a charming invitation from my cousin, Henri 
de Pousargues, a General of the French Army, the owner of the 
Chateau du Fossat, the cradle of the family of Soniat du Fossat." 
He goes on to describe it: "In a charming valley of the picturesque 
stream, the Lot, near its juncture with the Garonne, the chateau 
appeared a very citadel of strength. Built of solid stone and 
masonry, it had withstood well the ravages of time. The grand old 
oaks at the entrance — hoary with age — seemed to have braved 
numerous tempests. It was in 1538 that my ancestor, Francois de 
Saunhac de Belcastel, took possession of the chateau, which has 
been continuously owned by the family ever since." 

Taken into the spacious rooms where the heir- 
looms of the family were stored, our writer found 
among them papers and documents relating to the 
American branch of the family, which his kind host 
allowed him to bring to New Orleans with him. 
Among them was an old and faded manuscript, 
written in French, entitled ^'A Brief History of 
Louisiana/^ The document was unknown to Mr. 
Charles Soniat du Fossat, a student himself of 
Louisiana history. The page where the name of 
the author should have been signed was torn; the 
handwriting was peculiar and difficult to decipher. 

221 



222 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

He, nevertheless, translated and published it; 
sought and found the name of the author, who was 
the Chevalier Guy Soniat du Fossat, the first of 
his name in Louisiana and the founder of the Ameri- 
can branch of the family. Born in the chateau in 
1726, he entered the French Army as volunteer in 
1746. By 1747 he was a lieutenant in the Regiment 
of Monaco and in 1748 was wounded in the siege of 
Maestrich. 

In 1751, during the reign of Louis XV, when the 
Marquis de Vaudreuil, Governor of Louisiana, made 
an appeal for troops, France sent a reinforcement of 
five thousand men. Among them was the young 
lieutenant, Guy Saunhac du Fossat. He was sta- 
tioned in New Orleans. Following the example of 
young French officers of family, he married shortly 
after his arrival in the city, taking as his vdfe 
Claudine Dreux, the daughter of one of the most 
prominent famiHes of the city — that of Mathurin 
Dreux, the ^'Sieur de Gentilly,'' the aristocratic and 
wealthy planter on the Bayou St. Jean. 

Being an engineer of ability, Soniat was appointed 
a captain in 1759, and sent to Illinois to construct 
and repair forts. Owing to him. Fort Chartres 
and the Kaskaskias were put in a state to ensure 
the protection of the Western colonies for years. 
He rendered good service in the colonies against the 
English, and was recommended by Kerlerec for the 
Cross of St. Louis. It is not definitely known when 
the ancient name of Saunhac was changed to its 
Louisiana version, Soniat. 

He was recalled to New Orleans in 1761, where he 
continued in the service of France until 1766, when 
UUoa came to Louisiana to take possession of the 



SON I AT DU FOSSAT 223 

colony in the name of the King of Spain. In 
accordance with a permission granted by the King of 
France, in 1769, he entered the service of the King 
of Spain in Louisiana. After O'Reilly had assumed 
control of the colony, in 1769, he was made captain 
in the Battahon of Louisiana and was therefore one 
of the officers who, according to Gayarr6, impressed 
O'Reilly so forcibly with their distinction of appear- 
ance that he regretted his inability to take some 
of them with him to Spain, as specimens of the new 
subjects acquired by His Catholic Majesty 

In 1772, Soniat was retired from active service 
and was appointed Alcalde by Unzaga. Returning 
to civil life he bought in 1778, from the Ursuhne 
Nuns, the plantation seven miles below the city of 
New Orleans, which he afterwards exchanged with 
Bernard Marigny for the one above the city on the 
river still retained in the family. Marigny even- 
tually sold the tract to Jacques Phihppe Villerd, and 
it is known in history as a part of the field of Chal- 
mette, upon which was fought the Battle of New 
Orleans. 

In 1786 Soniat was reappointed Alcalde by Gover- 
nor Miro, and in 1794 he died and was buried in 
New Orleans. From his marriage with Frangoise 
Claudine Dreux he had three sons: Frangois Guy 
Soniat du Fossat, who married, first, Anne Arnout; 
second, Louise Duralde; Joseph Soniat du Fossat, 
and Juan Baptiste, under whose name the significant 
and discreet record is written — ''II reussit aupres 
de la Reine d'Espagne.'^ He had (consequently we 
may assume) to leave Spain and come to Louisiana 
in 1800. He died unmarried. 

Frangois Guy, the eldest son, a soldier like his 



224 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

father, followed the campaigns of Galvez against 
the English. He was present at the capture of 
Baton Rouge and Manchac, and witnessed the 
storming of Mobile and Pensacola. For signal 
bravery on the field of battle he was promoted to 
lieutenant in the Battalion of Louisiana in 1780, 
after which he was recalled to France by the death 
of his uncle, le Baron Jean du Fossat, to take posses- 
sion of the chateau, with the title of Baron. 

He presented a memorial to Louis XVIII, asking 
as recompense of his services the Cross of St. Louis. 
To support his claim, he mentions also the services 
rendered by his father to France; among them 
a ''Memorial" of Louisiana. It seems doubtful 
whether the manuscript ever left the author^s pos- 
session. It is probable that, once finished, it was 
laid away in the old cabinet among his family papers, 
and that it lay there until Mr. Charles Soniat of 
New Orleans discovered it. 

There is no mention of it by other historians and no 
evidence of its ever having been read even by such 
meticulously careful historians as Gayarr^ and 
Martin, or by his kinsman, Alcee Fortier. The 
author himself quotes from no written authorities ; in 
fact, when he wrote there would have been none 
available to him. He tells a plain historical story 
as he heard it, with a simpUcity and an originality 
of judgment which makes him a refreshing com- 
panion over a road that has become monotonous and 
dusty from constant travel upon it. 

The geographical description of the province 
with which it opens, is what we are accustomed to, 
except when he relates such ''peculiarities" as in the 
village of the Cohoes, ''where are to be seen tombs 



SONIAT DU FOSSAT 225 

ranging from seven to eight feet long, and they 
seemed to have contained bodies of that size, judging 
by the skeletons found therein," to which he added 
his own version of that weird, apochryphal legend 
of 'The Man Plant." 

"In going up the Missouri River, about three hundred leagues, 
some travelers discovered on its banks the trunk of a plant 
resembhng a human figure. Having approached near enough they 
saw that it looked like the body of a woman, with arms, legs, hands 
and breasts. At the extremities of the hands, fingers and breasts 
there were filaments serving as roots, leading into the ground, and 
the head was crowned with a small tree, with some fohage. The 
travelers searched in the vicinity and found others of the same 
kind and after having dug to the roots of the plants, they found 
bodies of the same nature as the first, designating males and females. 
The travelers, with their sense of curiosity and wonder, brought 
with them to the Illinois post a few of the curiosities, which brought 
about several theories. Some contended that it was a root to which 
nature had given the form of a human figure. Others argued that 
they were real bodies that had been buried standing, according to 
the custom of certain nations, and that they had vegetated in a 
soil proper thereto. The first theory prevailed over the other. 
Awaiting further investigation which may settle the question, we 
had in our possession an arm from said plant, which resembled in 
every respect the arm of a man." 

It is, however, Soniat's frank and judicial opinion 
upon historical events and men of his day that is of 
most value to the student, weary of the constant 
repetition of the almost mechanical opinions found 
in other histories. 

"It was," he says, "the dissensions between Bienville and Noyan, 
captain of the vessels and commander of the troops, that were the 
cause of Bienville's failure, in his expedition against the Chickasaws 
and Cherokees." Of the Governors, as an observer at close range, 
he says, "M. de Vaudreuil was kind and peaceful and did much for 
public welfare. . . . M. de Kerlerec was a man full of vanity 
and of an intriguing and selfish disposition. ... He considered 



226 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Louisiana as his prey and did all he could to reap all the fruits pos- 
sible. . . . Under him the good will and cordiality which had 
existed between the inhabitants during previous administrations, 
vanished entirely. During the time of Bienville and Perier, those 
who composed the colony Uved in perfect accord with one another, 
so much so that they seemed to form part of one large family visiting 
one another and holding reunions and meetings at which harmony 
and gayety invariably prevailed. The food products, and hunting 
and fishing, were in abundance. The women were neatly dressed 
without ostentation. Living was cheap." 

His impression of Ulloa, the sinister author of 
Louisiana's tragedy, bears out the judgment of the 
* 'patriots" upon him, and his description of the 
revolt against Spanish authority is the coolest- 
worded one of the event that we have 

"Ulloa had been the traveling companion of M. de la Condamine 
(in Peru) but did not create the impression in any one, by his ap- 
pearance or conversation, that he had taken any great part in these 
discoveries ... a man of talent, very self-opinionated, incapable 
of putting in his official acts such care and attention as were neces- 
sary to gain the confidence of a people just experiencing a change of 
government. . . . 

"O'Reilly, who simulated good will towards the inhabitants 
(deceiving the revolutionists), arrived quietly in New Orleans, and 
made all preparations for disembarking, as if an army were before 
him, ready to oppose him. ... He took possession of the colony, 
a formality which his predecessor had neglected. . . . Unzaga, 
reputed to have been unjust in other governmental positions and 
who, in the beginning, had by his coarse, repellent manners given 
poor hopes, became popular and was well liked and applauded." 

To the usual heavy historical laudation of Galvez, 
Soniat substitutes new and original version of his 
character and campaigns, written with the sharp 
pen of a discriminating French officer — perhaps 
dictated by his son who fought under Galvez. 

"Don Bernardo de Galvez succeeded Don Luis de Unzaga; he 
was the nephew of a Minister of that name who ruled Spain and who, 



SONIAT DU FOSSAT 227 

having no male children of his own, took occasion to favor his 
nephew, who was not slow in taking advantage of the good will of 
his superior. He started his nephew's fortune by sending him to 
Louisiana in the capacity of Colonel and Governor ad interim. 

"That Minister, well posted concerning the secrets of the Cabinet, 
saw that Louisiana was destined to be the siege of war, and the 
place where his nephew could make his mark. He furnished him the 
means to that end in his capacity as Minister of 'Indies,' and he 
planned everything so advantageously that an officer with any 
ordinary capacity should have succeeded within a year. Don 
Bernardo de Galvez was subsequently appointed Governor, with 
full title. He had properly made use of his time in endearing himself 
to the inhabitants by means of flattery, caresses and even by pro- 
curing to them new pleasures. He appeared sympathetic, just and 
disinterested, even assisting the natives. His conduct, supported 
by his uncle, conciliated everybody. He was not slow in making use 
of all the advantages that were thrown in his path by the Minister 
who, ever mindful of all that could turn to his advantage, and 
seeing that war was inevitable with England, apprised his nephew 
beforehand that war would be declared; by which means, Bernardo 
de Galvez knew of the declaration of war in Louisiana before it was 
known in Madrid, and he acted in consequence. . . . 

"Galvez, having made the necessary arrangements, issued a 
proclamation summoning the colony to arms, and marched with 
his forces towards post Manchac. There he pubUshed the news of 
war, and by that means surprised the EngUsh, who were in pos- 
session of that fort. The latter, finding it impossible to defend that 
post, which was of little importance, abandoned it and retreated to 
Baton Rouge, which they fortified in haste, the day after their 
retreat. During the night, Don Bernardo de Galvez, apprised of the 
evacuation, disposed his troops to advantage, ordered the assault 
and entered the fort which had only twenty men, who made no 
resistance. 

"The news of this conquest, conveyed to the Court under the 
most glowing colors, brought to Galvez the title of Brigadier. 
... He employed part of the winter in making preparations for 
the siege of Mobile. He demanded of the authorities of Havana 
men and vessels for the purpose of attacking it with advantage and 
with all possible security. . . . 

"He embarked with a small number of soldiers and inhabitants 
of the colony, and arrived on the ninth of March, 1780, in Mobile 



228 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Bay, where a severe tempest destroyed several of his ships, which 
foundered in the pass of the bay. These ships carried many men, 
who spent more than thirty hours on the debris of the vessels. The 
calm, which came in due time, permitted the launches, or ship's 
boats, which had resisted the tempest, to pick up the unfortunates, 
who, with eyes and hands raised towards the heavens, were implor- 
ing aid and succor. Their prayers were answered and they were all 
saved. . . . They were landed on the coast of the bay. At that 
moment the army was in such a bad condition that if the Enghsh 
had had a single detachment on the parapets, as they should have 
had, they would have taken all these unfortunates that had been 
saved from the storm, and thereby not only would they have pre- 
served their post but would have easily conquered Louisiana, which 
had been left without a defender. . . . 

"After that, there remained to the English in the Gulf of Mexico 
only a single possession which was Pensacola. . . . Galvez was 
anxious to effect this conquest. He finally undertook it, and, with 
that end in view, sent M. Miro to Havana, to ask for all that was 
necessary for the enterprise. He obtained soldiers, vessels and 
artillery. All left in the year 1781. 

"Galvez succeeded in passing the fort and its artillery, and landed 
without obstacle. The English offered feeble opposition. . . . 
Half of the garrison perished; the fortification, which was of wood, 
was burnt. . . . Galvez took possession of his conquest and came 
back triumphant to New Orleans. Don Bernardo de Galvez gathered 
all the fruits of that war. He obtained promotion from Captain of 
Infantry to Lieutenant-General and Viceroy of Mexico, where he 
died. 

"When Galvez died, Don Estevan Miro became Governor of the 
Province of Louisiana. His solicitude for the welfare of his people, 
his honesty of purpose, and his sense of justice, made him an ad- 
mirable Governor. He was always attentive to duty and ever ready 
to obtain from the Court of Spain new favors for his people. He 
used his best endeavors to check the evils brought about by habits 
of luxury, which had been allowed to spread by the actions of his 
predecessors. ... M. Miro corrected as much as he could the 
many disorders that had crept into the community. He had 
already succeeded in giving splendor and ^clat to all the affairs of 
the colony. . . ." 

The author was in New Orleans when the great 



SONIAT DU FOSSAT 229 

conflagration occurred and gives this account 
of it: 

"On Good Friday of the year 1788, a fire was caused by the 
neghgence of a woman who thought of crowning her devotion by 
making a small altar in her house. She left several candles burning 
around it and went off to take her dinner. During her absence, a 
candle fell on some ornaments which took fire, and the house in an 
instant was in flames, which communicated to the adjoining house. 
The wind, which was strong at the time, spread the fire to the 
balance of the city, which in two hours was consumed. , . . 

"It would be difficult to depict the despair of the poor unfortunate 
persons, whose properties had suffered from the fire; these unhappy 
creatures who two hours before had enjoyed vast and commodious 
lodgings, with enough affluence to make one's life agreeable and 
easy, saw themselves and their children, in a moment, without 
resource. Some of them were obliged to take refuge in the woods, 
without necessary provisions and clothes. Some slept without cover 
under the broad canopy of the heavens. It was in that moment of 
necessity that the tender solicitude of Governor Miro showed itself. 
He opened his house to all who were seeking shelter, and he dispensed 
succor to the distressed families, caused the Royal stores, which had 
escaped the flames, to be opened; and he distributed the provisions 
therein contained. Recourse was had to the surrounding country 
for help; permits were given to vessels to bring goods from abroad; 
in short the Governor administered as a good paterfamilias. . . . 
Poverty stared the people in the face; the inhabitants were in a 
state of consternation; one-sixth of the citizens died. 

"Governor Miro tried to divert their attention and alleviate their 
sorrow by his care, his attention and his purse. He gave balls and 
amusements in order to lessen their sorrows and to divert their 
minds. . . . Eight hundred fine and commodious houses valued 
on an average at three thousand dollars each were destroyed, with- 
out prospect on the part of the owners of ever recovering anything 
except perhaps the bare hope of receiving some day some relief 
from the King." 

After having spoken of Louisiana's soil, the author 
says of the Creoles: 

"Creoles are defined to be the children of Europeans born in the 
colony. They in general measure about five feet, six inches, in 



230 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

height; they are all well shaped and of agreeable figure; they are 
Uvely, alert, and agile; notwithstanding the great heat of this 
climate, they are laborious. They are born with ambition and an 
honest self esteem. They are endowed with a natural disposition 
for all sciences, arts and exercises that amuse society. They excel 
in dancing, fencing, hunting, and in horsemanship. Nature has 
favored them with an active and penetrating mind; they are capable 
of being easily instructed. The lack of teachers renders their 
education somewhat incomplete, and it must be said, in all justice, 
that among the many quaUties which they possess are pohteness, 
bravery, and benevolence. They are good fathers, good mothers, 
good friends, and good kinsmen. The women besides having the 
qualities above enumerated are agreeable in figure and seldom 
deformed. They make good mothers and are devoted to their 
husbands and children." 

The record closes all too soon at the end of the 
year 1791, when the administration of Miro ter- 
minated and that of Carondelet began, the author 
dying in 1794, during the incipient agitation that was 
to result in the recession of the colony to France and 
its transfer to the United States. The last pages of 
the manuscript are devoted to a description of birds, 
reptiles and animals of Louisiana, narrating many 
curious personal experiences. One of them about a 
crocodile seems worth quoting: 

"A negro woman who was washing clothes on a bridge near the 
water's edge was perceived by a crocodile, which came swiftly 
swimming just under the surface of the water, and he tried to 
snap her by the hand, but she saw the creature and ran away. 
The crocodile, after several unsuccessful attempts, finding he could 
not accompHsh his end, passed under the bridge and caught the 
negro woman's clothes from behind. Luckily I was within reach with 
my gun, and as she yelled, I flew to her rescue and released her from 
the clutches of that beast which would, beyond a doubt, have dragged 
her into the water but for my opportune presence and assistance." 

Guy de Saunhac (Soniat) and Claudine Frangoise 
Dreux left the following children: Frangoise; Agathe 



SON I AT DU FOSSAT 231 

Antoinette, who married Jean Enoul de Beaumont 
de Livaudais; Frangois Guy, who married C^cile 
de Lassudrie, daughter of Jacques de Lassudrie and 
of Marguerite de Toucheboeuf; Lucie; Jeanne; 
EUzabeth, married to Antoine Doriocourt; Guy 
(Joseph), married first to Marie Anne Arnoult, 
second, to Louise Duralde (sister of the wife of 
Governor Claiborne); Marie EmiUe, married to 
Jean Baptiste Bermudez; CataUna; ChevaUer Jean 
Baptiste, unmarried. 

The children of Guy Joseph Soniat du Fossat and 
Marie Anne Aenoult, were: Chevalier Guy Joseph, 
who died in France; Joseph; Pierre Antoine; Jean 
Ursin, who married C^lestine AUain; Frangois Guy. 

There were nine children of Guy Joseph and Louise 
Duralde (the sister of Clarisse Duralde, wife of 
Governor Claiborne): Edmond; Charlotte Adine; 
Martin Valmont; Charles Meloncy; Valerie; 
Gustave; C^lestine; Joseph Th^ophile; and Charles 
Theodore, married to Marie Am^naide Labranche, 
daughter of Lucien Labranche and Mathilde Fortier. 

The children of Charles Theodore and Am61ie 
Labranche were: Lucien; Charles Theodore; Louise, 
who married Amed^e Fortier; Gustave Valerien, 
married to Louise Marie Sarpy; Meloncy Charles, 
married to Louise Anne Exil^e Fortier — named for 
the sad period in which she was born, after the Civil 
War, when Louisiana seemed indeed an exile from 
her once proud state. 

This brings the line to the present generation, and 
notably to Mr. Charles T. Soniat, to whom we are 
indebted for the finding and publishing of the historic 
memoir of his great-grandfather. He was born on 
the plantation home of his father — the Tchoupi- 



232 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

toulas plantation in Jefferson Parish, obtained from 
Bernard Marigny in 1805. Barely thirteen years of 
age when the Civil War broke out he, like all the 
spirited youths in Louisiana, was fired with the 
passion of arms. To thwart his determination to 
join the Southern army, in which his brother Lucien 
had already enlisted, his father, on the fall of 
New Orleans to the Federal forces, sent him to 
France. Until the end of the war, he remained with 
his uncle Valmont Soniat du Fossat in Paris, where 
he completed his education. 

On his return to New Orleans, he studied law in 
the office of his relative, Edmond Bermudez, after- 
wards Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of 
Louisiana. Upon graduation, finding the practice 
of law did not agree with his tastes, he obtained the 
commission of Notary Public. To the duties of this 
office he devoted the energies of his fife with so much 
success that the title of ^'Perfect Notary" was given 
him. The good old name that he bore, the prestige 
of family and race, his courtesy of bearing and 
polished manners, constituted him in the eyes of 
society the perfect type of a New Orleans gentleman, 
as it is perhaps fatuously called; and he became to 
the beaux and belles of his day the perfect man of 
the world, as he became to the Bar the perfect 
notary. 

But it is not by such qualifications that the great 
grandson of the first historian of Louisiana is to be 
remembered. Far otherwise. He became, for useful 
services to his State and people, as the prophet says, 
"a nail in a sure place." Always a student of 
Louisiana history, he became an active and zealous 
member of the Louisiana Historical Society, con- 



SONIAT DU FOSSAT 233 

tributing to its publications papers written with 
scholarly preparation upon subjects that he gathered 
from a rich field all his own — that of notarial records. 

In 1908, he published a transcript of a volume 
of original documents concerning the history of 
Louisiana, 1679-1769 — the manuscript* being repro- 
duced with all possible fidelity, a storehouse of 
reference whose value is obvious and above praise. 
He also donated to the Louisiana Historical Society f 
the chronological statement of papers and docu- 
ments concerning the history of Louisiana, obtained 
by him from the National Historical Archives of 
Madrid, accompanied by a letter from Don Miguel 
Gomez del Campillo, who had prepared the state- 
ment. 

^'His Titles to the Jesuit plantation'* is in truth, a 
priceless document of historical and legal authority 
upon an intricate question — that of the land grants 
of the French Government to the first settlers around 
New Orleans. As it need hardly be repeated, Bien- 
ville and his followers (not inaptly called ''Land 
Grabbers") obtained from their government, well 
in advance of the foundation of New Orleans, con- 
cessions covering all the land in the vicinity of the 
site already selected for the future city. Both banks 
of the Mississippi were sliced into plantations, so 
to speak, from the river back to the Gulf. These 
plantations, in course of time, were sold or divided 
by inheritance or marriage settlements, and after- 
wards reunited by purchase. 

* Vol. I. Publications of the Louisiana Historical Society. He 
makes acknowledgment to Mr. William Beer, Librarian of the 
Howard Memorial Library for valuable assistance. 

t Vol. IV. Publications of the Louisiana Historical Society. 



234 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

The Jesuits acquired the Bienville concession, the 
most valuable of all the concessions lying above the 
city. Their expulsion and the confiscation of their 
property threw the land back into the hands of 
speculators. Soniat's researches into the title of 
the Jesuits led him into the densest thickest of 
genealogical records and chains of titles. He recon- 
structed the first plans of concessions on the banks 
of the river and, link by link, connected them with 
the corresponding chains of family transactions. He 
transcribed it all with notarial neatness, precision 
and accuracy in a great ledger, with a mass of 
additional information, gathered together from per- 
sonal observation, family traditions and newspaper 
articles. In short, he furnished so full and complete 
a store of historical gatherings that a student, in the 
vast ease and comfort it affords to research work, is 
tempted to exclaim: ^'Were all other land and 
family records of New Orleans destroyed, the data 
connecting family and property together could be 
recovered from, this ledger alone !'^ 

The immense work, a labor of love, was carried 
through privately; and at his death was modestly 
left, with his notarial business and office, to his 
brother Meloncy, also a notary, who holds it in 
trust and administers it for the benefit of the history 
of New Orleans and its students. 

Charles Soniat died in 1918 in his home, situated 
between the two streets of his name, Soniat and 
Dufossat, and was laid to rest with his fathers in the 
old tomb whose preparation he had personally super- 
intended and made ready for himself. The courtly 
old name still lives in New Orleans, though divested 
for the sake of simplicity of its aristocratic trappings, 



SONIAT DU FOSSAT 235 

and become only Soniat. So, in truth, are its bearers 
in simple worth fulfilling their duties, in their several 
stations among the rank and file of good citizens. 

It was with no surprise, rather with an expression 
of fulfilled expectation, that in his native city, the 
following item in a local newspaper was read in the 
closing year of the World War: 

"Charles T. Soniat was one of the eight thousand United States 
marines who distinguished themselves at Chateau-Thierry and 
fought at Belleau "Wood. In command of one of the famous columns 
that marched through the retreating Poilus, behind Chdteau-Thierry, 
Soniat was directed to hold the Boches as long as possible and then 

retreat. 'Retreat, !' he exclaimed. Instead his column 

advanced through Belleau Wood and beyond. The regiment was 
sent to Soissons; he fought one day in its victorious finale, when he 
was wounded, and was barely out of the hospital when the armistice 
came, and he sailed for America. 

"The French Government gave him the Croix de Guerre, and he 
was promoted by his own Government. His name is one of four 
stars (Charles, Lucien, Leon, Guy) on the service flag in the home of 
his mother, Louise Marie Sarpy, widow of Gustave Soniat." 

Leon died in the Aisne region while serving with 
the signal corps. His body lies in the fatherland of 
his ancestors, and it may be said about him, as about 
many a Louisiana boy who gave his life freely to 
France: ''Here he lies where he longed to be.^* 



CHAPTER XIV 

DE LA VERGNE 

T^HE present head of the family in New Orleans, 
-*- Colonel Hugues Jules de la Vergne, a student of 
Louisiana history and an authority on its colonial 
families, traces his line back to the twelfth century— 
to Hughes and Renaud de la Vergne, Lords of St. 
Cupery and la Mauriange.* The Chateau de la 
Vergne at St. Priest, Ligourne, some twenty miles 
from Limoges, is still in the family, its actual pos- 
sessor being the Marquis de la Vergne. The record 
in Louisiana begins with a Lieutenant Lavergne on 
the list of officers under Bienville in the Archives de 
la Marine, to whose name is affixed the note, *'Has 
been only a year in the colony; has seen service. 
Sensible and very energetic." 

Further along in history, in 1766, a Captain La- 
vergne signs the protest of officers and citizens 
against Rochemore, defending Kerlerec from the 
unjust charges made by the Intendant against him. 
Frangoise de la Vergne, who married the eldest son 
of the Chevalier d'Arensbourg, belongs, according 
to our authority, to another branch of the family. 

To follow the present line and the documents in 
the family : Pierre de la Vergne, Count and Chevalier 
of the Legion of Honor, a native of Brive la Gaillard, 
Province of Limousin, France, married in New 

* Taken from personal notes furnished the author by Colonel 
Hugues Jules de la Vergne, New Orleans. 

236 



DE LA VERGNE 237 

Orleans, 1789, Marie Elizabeth (or Isabelle) du 
Vergier Mari6, widow of Joseph Fides, Lieutenant 
and ex-Commander ''del Esquadron de Caballeria 
de Mexico.'^ She was the daughter of Guillaume 
du Vergier Mari6 and Rose Busson de la Marini^re 
of New Orleans. 

But one son was born of this union; Hughes 
(1789), who married, in 1813, Marie Adele de Vil- 
lere, the daughter of the first Creole Governor of 
Louisiana and granddaughter of the illustrious 
patriot who was killed by the Spaniards. He had 
the honor of serving on the staff of General Andrew 
Jackson and of fighting in the Battle of New Orleans. 
He served also on the staff of Governor Robertson, 
the successor of Governor Viller^. 

Although a member of the Bar and a Notary- 
Public, he consented to fill the place of President of 
the Bank of ''The Consolidated Association of the 
Planters of Louisiana,'' one of the numerous insti- 
tutions organized when wealth, like a mythological 
stream, was flowing through the State, when money, 
accumulating like the rising currents of the Missis- 
sippi, threatened a golden overflow in New Orleans. 
Instead of which, however, the usual result followed 
a sudden fall after a sudden rise in values with the 
collapse of levees and crevasses of banks. Fourteen 
of the new institutions suspended payment. The 
Consolidated Association of Planters, notwithstand- 
ing its bulwark of a name, went down with the rest, 
but more tragically. Its President, proud, haughty, 
and a fanatic on the subject of personal honor, could 
not brook what he considered, foolish as it sounds 
to-day, an imputation upon it. Winding up the 
affairs of his bank, he crossed the river and made his 



238 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

way to the du Vergier plantation, where he sought 
the family cemetery. He was found on his mother's 
grave, pierced through the heart ^dth a sword. 

His only son, Jules, born in 1818, became a lawyer, 
and served also as Colonel on the staff of Gover- 
nor Moore, and afterwards of Governor Allen, during 
the Civil War. He married Marie Emma Josephine 
Bermudez, the daughter of Judge Joaquin Bermudez 
and the widow of Meloncy Soniat. The only child 
of her second marriage is the present bearer of the 
name and title : Colonel Hugues Jules de la Vergne, 
a lawyer like his father and grandfather and an 
officer on the staff of the Governor of Louisiana. 
He was born in 1867. His biography, therefore, while 
not yet history, rests upon the pleasant foundation of 
social reminiscence and estimation. It may, how- 
ever, be permitted to state that he is a helpful mem- 
ber of the Louisiana Historical Society — a student 
of historical records and a writer of note. He mar- 
ried Marie Louise Schmidt, daughter of the eminent 
jurist, the late Charles Edouard Schmidt. 



CHAPTER XV 
DE BORE 

ETIENNE DE BORE'S family, as we learn from 
notes left by his grandson, Charles Gayarr^, 
belonged to the old Norman nobility. It ascends to 
Michel de Bor6 who, under Louis XIII, was a 
''conseiller de roi'^ and Director of Posts and 
Couriers between Paris and Orleans. Robert de 
Bore, his son, was also a Councillor in 1652 and was 
attached to the royal household. 

Robert Louis de Bor6 filled the same offices as his 
father. He married, in 1654, EUzabeth Hotman. 
Their grandson, the first of the name in Louisiana, 
married in Kaskaskia, Illinois, Celeste Th^r^se 
Carriere of that place. Their son, Jean Etienne de 
Bor^, our de Bore, as New Orleans takes pride in 
caUing him, was born in Kaskaskia in 1740. He was 
educated in France and, as soon as age permitted, 
entered the Mousquetaires du Roi or ''Mousque- 
taires Noirs," the household troops of the King, a 
corps that none but a noble could enter : its privates 
holding the rank of captains, and captains the rank of 
Ueutenant-generals in the regular army. 

After ten years of service at court, de Bor6 was 
transferred to the command of a company of cavalry, 
but having married Marguerite Marie, daughter of 
des Trehans des Tours, a representative of an old 
French family who for many years had been Royal 
Treasurer in Louisiana, he resigned his position in 

239 



240 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

the army in 1772 and came to Louisiana, where his 
wife possessed much property. 

It may be remembered that des Trehans was 
sent back to France by Kerlerec as '^too rich and 
dangerous ;'' in reaUty, because the Treasurer was a 
friend of Rochemore the Intendant, an unscrupulous 
enemy of Kerlerec and the leader of a cabal against 
him. 

D'Estrehan had two other daughters: one married 
Pierre Philippe de Mandeville de Marigny; the other 
Favre d'Aunoy; his son married a Maxent, the 
beautiful lady who subsequently became the wife of 
Bernardo de Galvez. Besides her beauty there is 
but one fact remembered about her; that the 
daughter born to her and Galvez was named Guada- 
loupe and that the city for which she was named 
stood godmother to her and gave her a magnificent 
present in solid silver — one worthy of so wealthy a 
sponsor and the bearer of her name. But Guada- 
loupe died in infancy and never enjoyed her god- 
mother's wealth or her distinction. 

We must not omit to mention a souvenir of him 
that Gayarre always recalled with peculiar pleasure. 
De Bore had previously visited Louisiana on a leave 
granted by the Count Rochechouart Montboissier, 
the Minister of War, upon which occasion he had 
brought back from America some feathers which he 
presented to the Countess de Montboissier, the 
wife of the Minister. When he was ready to embark 
for Louisiana the second time, he received the 
following note from the Countess addressed to him 
as ^'Mousquetaire Noir a la Rochelle, Hotel du 
Bien Nourri. (Happy name for a hotel!) The old 
paper is worn and falling into pieces and the ink is 



F5£^ 




I 









!': I 



DE B0R6 243 

faded, but the pleasant words stand out upon it 
still clear and distinct : 

Paris, 9th January, 1772. 

"It is with great pleasure, Sir, that) I have undertaken to inform 
you that the commission of Captain which you seemed so much to 
desire has been granted you 'par le dernier travail de M. de Mont- 
boissicr.* When the brevet is ready he will forward it to you. He 
is very glad to have been able to render you this service. We both 
wish you a happy voyage and a speedy return to us after having 
arranged your affairs in that country sufficiently to your satisfac- 
tion. If it should be possible for you to send me a hundred feathers 
like those with which you had the kindness to favor me, my obHga- 
tion to you would be very great. The trimming of my dress is 
finished; it is superb; and as I am afraid of losing some of the 
feathers, I should be happy to be able to replace them. I beg to 
be excused for thus taxing too much your gallantry and generosity, 
for you have given me such a large quantity of the feathers that it 
looked as if I would need no more. I return to you my thanks 
in advance, and I entreat you to be convinced of the very great 
sincerity of the sentiments with which I have the honor to be, Sir. 

"Your very humble and very obedient servant, 

"ROUCHECHOUART DE MONTBOISSIER. 

"P.S. — M. de Montboissier requests me to address to you a 
thousand compliments on his behalf." 

The colony having by the time that de Bor6 
arrived in New Orleans become quieted in the rule 
of the Spanish Government, he bought the plantation 
of the patriot Masan, who had been exiled and sen- 
tenced to imprisonment for life in Morro Castle. 
It w^as situated about six miles above New Orleans, 
measuring from the Cathedral, and was on the same 
bank of the river. The plantation above him was 
owned by Pierre Foucher, who became his son-in- 
law; a portion of it is now Audubon Park. The 
plantation above Foucher's had belonged to La- 
freniere, the great Louisiana patriot. His daughter, 



244 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

the widow of Noyan de Bienville, who was executed 
at the same time as her father, married Le Breton 
who, like de Bore, had been a Mousquetaire in the 
household troops of the King of France. He thus 
became the proprietor of the lafreniere place and 
his son eventually married a daughter of deBor^.* 

On Le Breton's death, he was assassinated by a 
petted slave (to follow the Gayarre's narrative), the 
plantation passed into the hands of Macarty and 
Lafreniere's great-grandsons, Des Chappelles Le 
Breton and his brother, Jean Baptiste Le Breton, 
who lived with their grandfather de Bore, serving on 
the managerial staff of the plantation. The other 
two managers of the plantation had also their his- 
torical significance. One was the nephew of General 
Klein d'Alberg, of Napoleon's army, afterwards a 
peer of France. Gayarre used to meet his son in Paris 
many years afterwards in the salon of the Baronne 
de Pontalba. The other employee, very small in 
stature, ' 'almost feminine in manner and appear- 
ance; the most modest, the most tender-hearted of 
men,'' was the son of General Duphot of the French 
Embassy, who, under the First RepubHc, was 
assassinated in a riot in Rome by the partisans of 
the Pope. 

The ex-mousquetaire gave his plantation a mihtary 
appearance and ruled it with military discipline. 
His staff made their report to him every night and 
received their orders for the next day's work. Every 
morning at dawn a great bell assembled the whole 
force of laborers in front of the master's house, where 
they knelt and said a prayer before being detailed 

* "A Louisiana Plantation of the Old Regime." — Harper's Maga- 
zine, March, 1887. 



DE BOR& 245 

to work — a member of the family always presiding 
during the prayer with head uncovered. 

"I vividly remember," writes the historian Gayarrd, seventy 
years afterward, "how I felt when, about eight years old, I was 
called upon for the first time to preside over the prayer of this 
dark assemblage." 

When the day's work was over, the same ceremony 
dismissed the negroes to their rest. Before retiring 
at night and on meeting in the morning, the members 
of the family respectfully saluted Monsieur de Bore. 
'Tor a kiss on my forehead I returned one on his 
hand as if he were a monarch, and the same feeling 
of reverence was shown by all who approached 
him,'^ writes the same historian. 

From his service at court, de Bore derived the 
authority to cite in manners, customs and pro- 
nunciation, ''la cour de Versailles" — the standard 
that reigned tyrannously supreme on his plantation. 
One of the anecdotes that Gayarre loved to quote 
(which is quoted here merely to preserve a personal 
memory) was that when a very small child, riding 
a stick-horse on the gallery of his home, he dropped 
or lost his whip and so began to cry out, "J'ai ferdu 
mon fouet,^^ pronouncing it "foi.^^ Some young 
ladies and gentlemen sitting on the gallery gaily 
took up his cry to tease him, adding, ''he called 
fouetj joiy M. de Bore, hearing the teasing, came 
out upon the gallery to defend his little favorite and, 
turning to the gay group, said: "Sachez, Mesdames 
et Messieurs, qu'a la cour de Versailles on dit foi 
et non foueV^ (Know, ladies and gentlemen, that at 
the court of Versailles they ssiy foi and not fouetJ^ 

De Bore's historical benefaction to Louisiana was 
that of establishing the making of sugar on a per- 



246 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

manent and sure basis in 1795. Indigo had been the 
principal crop of the colony and all the plantations 
had been given over to its culture, but a worm that 
attacked the plant and destroyed it through several 
successive years was reducing to poverty and to the 
utmost despair the whole population. Etienne de 
Bot6 determined to make a bold experiment to save 
himself and his fellow citizens by turning his indigo 
into a sugar plantation. Hitherto, many attempts 
had been made to make sugar in Louisiana. As 
has been related the Jesuits had, in 1751, introduced 
the culture of sugar cane into Louisiana from their 
plantations in the Islands, and the planters who had 
followed their agricultural experiment had endeav- 
ored to make sugar from it. But, season after 
season, they had succeeded only in making syrup 
or, at best, a soft sugar that melted away in 
transportation. 

De Bor6 resolved to remake the experiment to 
manufacture sugar in Louisiana and prepared to go 
into all the expense and incur all the obligations 
necessary for so costly an undertaking. His wife 
warned him that her father had in former years 
vainly made a similar attempt; she represented to 
her husband that he was hazarding on the cast of a 
die all that remained to them of their means of 
existence and that if he failed, as was probable, he 
would reduce his family to hopeless poverty. She 
reminded him that he was over fifty, of an age when 
fate was not to be tempted by doubtful speculations, 
as he could not reasonably entertain the hope of a 
sufficiently long life to rebuild his fortune were it 

Note. "A Louisiana Sugar Plantation under the Old E^gime,' 
Charles Gayarr^. — Harper's Magazine, March, 1887. 



DE BORS 247 

once completely shattered; and that he would not 
only expose himself to ruin but also to a risk much 
more to be dreaded — that of falling into the grasp 
of creditors. 

Friends and relatives joined their remonstrances 
to his w ife's, but could not shake the strong resolve 
of his energetic mind. He had fully matured his 
plans and was determined to sink or swim with it. 
Purchasing a quantity of cane for seed from two 
Spaniards, named Mendez and Solis, who cul- 
tivated it only for sale as a dainty or for the making 
of syrup, he began to plant in 1794. His venture 
excited the keenest interest and many visited him 
during the year to witness his preparations. 

Gloomy predictions had been set afloat about him 
and on the day when the grinding of the cane was to 
begin a large number of friends and other citizens 
gathered about the sugar-house to be present at the 
failure or success of the experiment. Would the 
syrup granulate? Would it be converted into sugar? 
The crowd awaited with eager impatience the 
moment when the sugar boiler would be able to 
answer the question. The moment came; the 
stillness of death spread over them; each one was 
holding his breath feeling that ruin or prosperity 
was upon all. Suddenly the sugar boiler cried out 
triumphantly: * It granulates!" 

Inside and outside the building one could hear the 
wonderful tidings flying from mouth to mouth and 
dying in the distance. Each one of the bystanders 
pressed forward to make sure of the fact on the 
evidence of his own eyes and, when it could no longer 
be doubted, there came a shout of joy and all flocked 
around de Bor6, overwhelming him with congratula- 



248 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

tiorxs and embracing the man whom they called 
their saviour — the saviour of Louisiana! 

In a private gossipy letter to Thomas Jefferson, 
written in 1806, Governor Claiborne gives the fol- 
lowing additional account of this episode which he 
heard from Colonel Macarty during a visit to his 
plantation: 

"The Colonel esteemed the cane the only sure and lucrative crop 
which could be cultivated in the lower part of this territory. For- 
merly, indigo was the staple commodity, but for several years in suc- 
cession the crops were diminished and on many farms entirely 
destroyed. The planters changed their seed and procured a species 
from Campeachy; for the first year this quality of indigo prospered, 
but was ultimately attacked by the common enemy. This destroyer 
was a worm called by the inhabitants 'vers luisants,' a species of the 
"chenille," which commenced its ravages in the year 1790. The pros- 
pects of the farmer w^ere often blighted in a night. . . . Thus it 
was that indigo was finally abandoned and that the planters resorted 
to a more certain culture. Some raised corn, others cotton; but 
M. de Bore in the year ninety-six, turned his attention to sugar. 
The cane had previously been brought from Havana and had orna- 
mented the gardens of Louisianians; but M. de Bore has the credit 
of being the first to introduce it in his fields. He succeeded beyond 
his expectations and found for his sugars an immediate and lucrative 
market. 

"Other planters followed the example of M. de Bor6, and the cane 
will doubtless be very soon cultivated in every part of this territory 
where the climate permits. The facility with which sugar planters 
amass wealth is almost incredible. . . . It is not uncommon with 
220 working hands to make from ten to fourteen thousand dollars; 
and there are several planters whose field negroes do not exceed 
forty who make more than twenty thousand dollars a year. . . . 
The sugar planters raise a sufficiency of corn for their own use; nor 
do those citizens who reside near New Orleans neglect their gardens. 
I think Colonel Macarty told me that his daily receipts from the 
markets were equal to nine dollars. 

". . . Yesterday I dined with M. Destrehan; he is esteemed 
the best sugar planter in the territory and is perhaps the wealthiest; 
his sugars bring him in near thirty thousand dollars per annum and 



DE BORS 249 

his rents in the city, six thousand. But he is nevertheless an econo- 
mist; everything around him has the air of simphcity; his table is 
good but by no means luxuriantly served. He is much attached to 
retirement; and the education of his children (ten in number) and 
the improvement of his estate constituteat present his primary cares. 
"M. Dcstrehan (do Bor6's brother-in-law) is certainly a man of 
sense, but has strong prejudices and although they may be founded 
in error it is not in the power of man to remove them. He continues 
in the opinion that Congress has not been just to the ceded terri- 
tory; but is nevertheless an admirer of the American government." 

In 1796 a stirring event occurred on the planta- 
tion. The French General, Collot, on his way to 
New Orleans from the Western states and territories, 
stopped to visit Etienne de Bor^. As soon as this 
was known in the city, the Governor, Baron de 
Carondelet, who had received from Philadelphia a 
confidential communication informing him that 
General Collot was intrusted by the French Govern- 
ment with a secret mission against which the 
Spanish authorities were to be on their guard, sent 
up an armed boat by the river and fifty dragoons 
by land to arrest him. The General was put in the 
boat and taken dow^n to New Orleans, w^here he was 
imprisoned in Fort St. Charles (on the spot where 
stood the United States Mint). On the next day 
he w^as called upon by the Spanish Governor, who 
offered him a house in town which he might occupy 
on parole, with a soldier at his door. The General 
accepted the proposition and left the fort in the 
Governor's carriage. Shortly afterwards, his maps 
and drawings having been taken away from him, he 
was put on board one of the King's galleys and 
transported to the Balize, where he was detained a 
prisoner in the house of the chief pilot, Juan Ron- 
Note.— Official letter book of W. C. Claiborne. Vol. Ill, page 61. 



250 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

qillo, situated in the midst of a vast swamp from 
which there was no egress except by boat. He 
remained there for two months, when he was 
allowed to embark on board an American brig for 
Philadelphia. 

Etienne de Bor6 was extremely indignant at the 
arbitrary arrest of his guest, and he expressed his 
feelings loudly and without restraint. As he was 
known for his intense attachment to France and her 
interests, it is said that the Baron thought seriously 
of having him also arrested and transported to 
Havana, but that he was deterred by the fear of the 
commotion that would be produced by inflicting 
so harsh a treatment on so distinguished a citizen — 
one who by his personal character, his rank, his 
family connections and the benefit he had lately 
conferred on Louisiana by the introduction of a new 
and valuable branch of industry, commanded uni- 
versal sympathy and exercised the widest influence. 

What an imaginative child hears, he sees ; and the 
historian in after days could relate this event as if 
his heart and not merely his memory had been tinged 
by it. In the same way, he could relate that truly 
royal moment in the hospitality of his old home 
when the three illustrious visitors, the Due d'Orl^ans, 
the Comte de Beaujolais and the Due de Montpen- 
sier passed some days there. As the old mousqu^taire 
repeated to his grandson : 

"Little did I think when in the household troops of Louis XV 
that the day would come when three princes of the blood would be 
my guests on the banks of the Mississippi." 

When the colony was transferred from Spain to 
France, de Bor6 was appointed Mayor of the city of 



OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 251 

New Orleans for reasons that Laussat explains in his 
confidential despatch: 

"I thought also of securing without loss of time an imposing sup- 
port in the civil department of the government and I selected for 
Mayor of the city, M. Etienne de Bor6, a native of Louisiana of a 
distinguished family, formerly mousqu6taire in France, one of the 
largest and most skillful planters of the province; a gentleman re- 
nowned for his patriotism and for a character of undeviating inde- 
pendence. I made a powerful appeal to him in the name of his 
country whose interests required his services and I had the satisfac- 
tion to win him over. After M. de Bore, and through his influence, 
I secured the services of some of the most distinguished among the 
colonists." 

De Bor6 continued to act as Mayor during the 
initial years of the American Domination and 
faithfully endeavored to bring into the management 
of the city the same order that reigned on his 
plantation. He ably seconded Governor Claiborne 
in his efforts to prevent an outbreak between the 
turbulent Americans and the excitable Creoles 
whenever they met — particularly in the exciting 
scenes that spoiled the pleasure of the public balls 
when the Americans would call out for their favorite 
dances, the Creoles for theirs; and such an uproar 
would ensue as to frighten the ladies and drive them 
away, while the gentlemen would try to enforce 
their desires by their swords or even fists. De Bor6 
regulated this disorder by drawing up a programme 
with American and French dances, alternating in 
regular succession; and stationing gendarmes to 
enforce it. 

Bernard Marigny describes such a scene in a ball 
given in 1804 in the ''Salle rue Conde.'' The Anglo- 
Saxons, who loved to amuse themselves, but in a 
different manner from the people of French origin, 



252 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

asserted that as Louisiana had been bought by the 
United States the amusements should be conducted 
according to the American taste, that the '^rill'^ 
(reel) should replace the waltz, and the jig the cotil- 
lion. The Creoles, informed of these ridiculous pre- 
tensions, attended the ball, as well as the French, who 
were naturalized Americans, by the fact of the ces- 
sion of Louisiana to the United States. An infernal 
row took place; the men were armed. That evening 
was to decide whether the reel or the waltz was to 
triumph. In the midst of so much noise and con- 
fusion which frightened the beau sexe, who were all 
on the point of retiring from the room, a young lady 
jumped on a chair. She belonged to a family in which 
wit was and is a heredity. Her face was animated by 
excitement. 

''Sirs," she said to the furious Americans, ''for 
thirty years we were Spaniards, and the Spaniards 
never forced us to dance the fandango. We wish to 
dance neither the reel nor the jig." 

The astonished Americans asked all over the room, 
''What did she say?" General Wilkinson, who was 
present and exerting himself to induce calm, stood 
on a chair and translated what the beautiful Creole 
had said and ordered the musicians to play a waltz 
and to the great astonishment of every one began to 
waltz himself. Crying "Hurrah! Hurrah!" The 
Anglo-Saxons, vanquished by Beauty, began also 
to dance. 

Claiborne, in a letter of May 21st, 1804 acknow- 

NoTE. — From "Reflexions sur la campagne du General Jackson 
en Louisiana en 1814 ct 1815," by Bernard Marigny. New Orleans, 
1848. 



DE B0R6 253 

ledges receipt of a letter from de Bor6 announcing 
his wish to resign the mayoralty. 

"I cannot," writes the Governor, "but regret the circumstances 
which have induced your rchnquishment of an office the duties of 
which have been discharged with so much credit to yourself and 
advantage to the city." 

When the territorial government which had been 
decreed by Act of Congress went into operation in 
Louisiana, de Bore was appointed a member of the 
Legislative Council by the President. He had, 
however, been one of the leaders of the opposition 
against the establishment of a territorial govern- 
ment, when full statehood in the Union had been 
stipulated in the cession by Napoleon; and as he had 
been most zealous in stimulating his fellow citizens 
to remonstrate against the form of government 
imposed upon them, he could not aid in establishing 
it and, therefore, declined the proffered seat in the 
Legislative Council. This refusal, with that of the 
other gentleman named by the President, had a 
considerable influence on other members, who held 
back in dubious suspense; and two months nearly 
elapsed before a Council could be formed, notwith- 
standing the incessant efforts of Claiborne to soothe 
and conciliate the refractory tempers that he had to 
deal with.. 

The portrait of the ex-mousquetaire and planter 
bears out the character given by his grandson. It 
represents a man of sixty of quiet dignity and simple 
manners, looking at one with piercing, shrewd, yet 
kindly eyes, and with a pleasant paternal smile — 
in short, a man of business abiHty and a good 
disciplinarian, though of benevolent disposition. 



254 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

His house was furnished in the style of plain 
simphcity that prevailed among the planters of his 
day, but the table and wines went to the other 
extreme. In the memory of Gayarr6, they were, as 
he wrote, ^'superb,'^ and the hospitahty they graced 
were worthy of them. Every Sunday there came 
regularly to dinner a score or two of guests from 
New Orleans. Among them some Knights of St. 
Louis, wearing their decorations, struck the imagina- 
tion of the future historian ; among them the Hazares, 
two brothers who lived near the Bayou St. Jean on 
the Gentilly Road. (Their tombs may be seen to-day 
in the old St. Louis Cemetery.) 

"There was something," says Gayarre, ''in all those waifs of 
another age, in their appearance, in their dress, in their physiognomy, 
in their manners, in their peculiarities of conversation and language, 
in their bows and greetings, in their accent and the modulation of the 
voice, that produced a most vivid impression. These men of the old 
regime seemed to entertain more esteem and respect for each other 
than we do now for our contemporaries. As I grew in years I be- 
came more deeply impressed with the faith which men of that epoch 
reposed in one another." 

And again: 

"There is not a vestige, not a wreck's fragment of the de Bor^ 
plantation left," writes Gayarre at eighty with pathos, "save myself, 
standing alone, forgotten but trying in vain to forget." 

M. de Bor6 died when seventy-eight years of age; 
at his very last moments he summoned his grandson 
to his presence. Putting his hands on his head, he 
blessed him and gave him his parting instructions 
and recommendations with a firm voice: 

"Let no temptation ever betray you out of the path of honor and 
virtue. Keep your conscience always free from self-reproach, so 
that your death may be as calm as mine. Trusting in the mercy of 



DE BOR^ 255 

God, I fear not to appear before His tribunal where I hope not to 
grieve for you when in due time we are to meet again and when you 
shall render your accounts to Him." 

According to his directions his funeral and his 
tomb were to be of the plainest kind, and the thou- 
sand dollars that might have been spent upon them 
given to the Charity Hospital. 

He died February 2nd, 1829. On a little side 
path of the old St. Louis Cemetery may be seen his 
last resting place. The tomb, as he requested, is of 
the plainest kind, with no inscription upon it but 
his name and dates. In the great hall of the Charity 
Hospital, a tablet bears the record of the donation of 
a thousand dollars given by his family. 



CHAPTER XVI 
GAYARRfi 

Non I'avenir n'est a personne 

Sire! Tavenir est a Dieu! 
Qui sait si I'onde qui tressaille, 

Si le cri des gouffres amers, 
Si la trombe aux ardentes serres 

Si les Eclairs et les tonnerres, 

Seigneur! ne sont pas necessaires 
A la perle que font les mers! 

— Victor Hugo. 

GAYARRfi is the first fruit of the grafting of 
the stock of Spain upon the French stock 
growing in Louisiana. The grafting came about in 
this wise. On March 5th, 1766, as the standard 
bearer of the name himself relates, the long expected 
and much dreaded Ulloa arrived in New Orleans to 
take possession of the colony of Louisiana for Spain. 
He landed with two companies of infantry and was 
accompanied by three joint commissioners: Loyola, 
Commissary of War; Gayarre, Contador or Comp- 
troller; and Navarro, Treasurer. 

While it is conceded by all historians that Ulloa 
was totally lacking in the qualities needed for the 
proper performance of his high office, it is as generally 
recognized that no better men than the three com- 
missioners could have been named for the duties 
entrusted to them — duties which even the irate 
Creoles handsomely avowed they accomphshed, not 
only as loyal servants of the King, but also as Spanish 

256 



GAYARR^! 257 

gentlemen of the highest rank. They, therefore, 
were never included in the rigid ostracism practised 
against Ulloa, but on the contrary, from the first 
were received with the respect due them and 
accorded the generous hospitality of the citizens. 

Don Juan Joseph de Loyola belonged to the famous 
family of Guiposcoa, which produced the great 
founder of the Jesuits; and he showed the elegance 
of manner, the high breeding and the knightly 
courage that distinguished his celebrated kinsman, 
Ignatius, in addition to his poetical mind, luxuriant 
imagination and rehgious enthusiasm. Don Martin 
Navarro, on the contrary, was the son of a poor 
tavern keeper who had risen by dint of industry, 
perseverance and address. Shrewd, active and 
honest, he deserved the confidence he gained, and 
being, withal, a boon companion and skillful in the 
ways of the world, he had also the genial qualities 
that make smooth and easy the path to social success. 

Don Estevan Gayarre, the great-grandfather of 
Louisiana's historian, was the younger son of a 
patrician house of the Kingdom of Navarre. He 
had enlisted at the age of nineteen in the army of 
Spain and he served in it with distinction for twenty- 
four years. His health being impaired from a wound 
received in the war with Italy, he was in 1755 
permitted to retire, and was a year later appointed 
Contador for the army and the Kingdom of Gallicia. 
He was finally chosen for the place of Contador in 
the newly acquired Province of Louisiana. 

He is pictured by his great-grandson as a man 
excelling in all the gentle qualities of an affectionate 
nature, besides possessing a mind far above the 
ordinary. He showed, especially, the robust traits 



258 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

of character that distinguished the hardy race of 
mountaineers among whom he was raised in the 
valley of Roncal, in Navarre, surrounded by the 
impressive scenery of the Pyrenees. His young 
son, Juan Antonio, joined him in New Orleans. 

The three courtly Spaniards, during the uneasy 
month that followed UUoa's arrival, when 
Lafr^niere's fiery eloquence was kindhng sedition 
in the populace, increased their circle of friends., 
and found more and more doors opened to them, al- i 
though they were in constant attendance upom! 
their obnoxious commander. j 

The tradition that accounts for the pleasant social I 
bridging of the ugly chasm of hatred contains twojj 
pretty versions. According to one, the Spanish i| 
gentlemen themselves were too refined and polished li 
not to appreciate the charm of the place and of the;,' 
society into which they had been thrust so rudely, 
so that they showed their feelings of admiration and 
sympathy for the ladies and gentlemen whom they 
met. The other version states that the ladies andL 
gentlemen of New Orleans' society who met thej! 
Spanish officials were themselves too sensitive to»' 
high-born manners and the charm of graceful I' 
courtesy to resist their own hospitable desires and I 
make known the pleasures of their table and saloni 
to the strangers. Thus was brought about, despite 
political opposition, the conditions necessary for the 
sowing of Spanish seed in French soil. It is on 
record, however, that although subjected to many, 
attempts to elicit information from them as to the?' 
feelings and plans of their commander, the Spanish) 
gentlemen could always manage to answer in ai 
manner that silenced or parried inquiry without loss:, 
of cordiahty. 






GAYARR^ 259 

The enigmatic Ulloa, after an absence of seven 
months at the Balize, returned in March, bringing 
with him in triumph his beautiful young bride, the 
Marquise d'Abrado, celebrated as one of the richest 
women of Peru. They opened their house and gave 
receptions on three evenings of the week. The 
Spanish officers attended as a matter of course ; also 
the three commissioners and a sprinkling of French 
officers, with the citizens who had been put on the 
Council instituted by Ulloa to supply the place of 
the discarded French Su erior Council: de Grand 
Pr^, de Grand Maison, -"\llivier de Vezin, de la 
Chaise (the brother-in-la\^ ^ of Viller6 and kinsman 
of Lafr^niere), Reggio, M;^ ent and Dreux. But 
none of the ladies of the city <^i\s they always proudly 
recalled, could bring th^ma ves to pay Madame 
Ulloa the civiUty she expect^^ from them, and the 
beautiful stranger and her Pa vian girls, sneered at 
as * ^colored," reigned alone \ her dismal soirees. 
In fact she was more hated, i that were possible, 
than her husband. 

On the first appearance of danger, Gayarr6, 
Loyola, Navarro and the few other Spaniards who 
were in the city, w4th some of their French friends, 
gathered around Ulloa to die with him or save him. 
They barricaded his house and put it in a state to 
stand a siege. From time to time the frenzied people 
would come rushing upon it, uttering fierce shouts 
and cries of vengeance, but they were always 
restrained at the last moment and prevented from 
committing the outrage intended. In the evening, 
when Ulloa sullenly consented to retreat to the 
Spanish frigate awaiting him, the three Spanish com- 
missioners accompanied him. A large concourse of 



260 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

people waited on the river bank to see his departure. 
As Loyola, Gayarre and Navarro approached the 
bank, returning from the Spanish vessel in their 
boat, the crowd opened before them with respect, 
and as the gentlemen passed through to their 
residences they bowed right and left with stately 
formality; in their steady look there was neither 
fear, anger nor defiance, only an expression of cold 
indifference. And it is always related as typical of 
the manners of the Spaniards that, as the vessel 
glided away, the Captain ^ standing on his quarter- 
deck, bowed to the crow(d while the guns of his ship 
fired a salute. ic 

In the calm that follo^^ied the storm, the revolution 
being accomplished, aio ominous stillness fell upon 
the minds of the popuiace and all ideas of further 
resistance were gradually abandoned. The schemes 
of the idealistic Lafreniere and his partisans began 
to demonstrate their utter impracticability. Loyola, 
Gayarre and Navarro saw their circle of friends 
increasing and their importance in the colony 
rising. They were men capable of sympathizing 
with the growing anxiety of their friends and the 
cruel torture of their suspense. They became pain- 
fully affected, says Gayarr6, by the direct and 
indirect appeals to their feelings; but not knowing 
what course their government would pursue they 
had to be careful not to commit themselves in any 1 
official way, confining themselves to assurances only 
of their feelings and wishes and to what they thought . 
might be expected from the well-known clemency 
of Carlos IIL 

Thus matters stood, to continue the narration of '; 
Gayarr6, when, on the 24th of July, 1769, New ' 



GAYARRS 261 

Orleans was thrown in a violent commotion by the 
news that a formidable Spanish fleet had made its 
appearance at the Balize in command of General 
O'Reilly who had been appointed to take possession 
of Louisiana and who had brought with him such a 
large army that resistance would be impossible. 
The leaders of the insurrection, seeing at last the 
hopelessness of their condition, became greatly 
alarmed and, in desperation, sought counsel from 
Aubry. He cheered and encouraged them with his 
belief that O'Reilly could not possibly have the 
intention of spreading te^Tor and desolation in the 
province, and he counselle 1 them to see the General 
themselves. As no blood had been spilled, it was 
to be hoped that if the colonists submitted now 
promptly, their trust in the clemency of His Catholic 
Majesty would not be in vain. 

In the afternoon came the news that a Spanish 
officer was coming up the river with despatches from 
O'Reilly to Aubry. ^^On that night," to profit by 
Gayarr6's description, * 'there was no thought of 
sleep for the greater part of the population. They 
were seen clustering in groups in the streets or 
hurrying from house to house. About ten o'clock, 
Loyola, Gayarr^ and Navarro, preceded by torches 
and followed by friends, were seen going through 
the streets to the landing place. At eleven, the 
Spanish envoy, Francisco BouUgny, arrived in front 
of the Place d'Armes, and, jumping ashore, was 
greeted by his countrymen. Passing through the 
large and anxious crowd, they quickly walked to 
the house of the Governor, who was in bed, but he 
arose at once to receive O'Reilly's messenger, who 
translated to him the Spanish communication that 



262 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

he bore. On the next day Bouligny, the three 
Spanish commissioners and the most influential 
among the French officers and citizens dined with 
Aubry. The dinner was very gay, and Aubry took 
occasion to assure BouUgny that the people had 
listened to counsels of prudence and were prepared 
to act on them. 

When Bouligny departed the following day, he 
was accompanied by Lafreniere, Marquis and 
Milhet who had decided, according to their well- 
known courage, to present themselves to the Spanish 
General and assume the responsibility of the revolu- 
tion. After forty hours on the way, they reached 
the Balize and were presented by Bouligny to 
O'Reilly, who received them with dignified poUte- 
ness. After a long interview with them he detained 
them to dinner, treating them with the most delicate 
attention, displaying the utmost suavity of manner 
and, in short, sending the Creoles away fully im- 
pressed with the certainty that their past misde- 
meanor should be forgotten, reports Bouligny who 
was present at both interview and dinner. 

The city sighed with relief and hope began to 
soothe its troubled inhabitants. We know the sub- 
sequent movement of the drama and its tragic 
fifth act. Shakespeare himself could not have 
invented a more poignant crisis than the arrest, the 
trial, the condemnation, the appalling sentence and 
the agony of the citizens. Some of the Creole ladies 
whose husbands, fathers or brothers had taken no 
part in the revolution but who were, on the con- 
trary, in favor of Spain, hoping to exercise some 
influence over O'Reilly, demeaned themselves, as 



gayarr:^ 263 

they afterwards felt it, to make a passionate appeal 
to him for mercy for the condemned, pouring out 
their souls to him in supplication; but the Irish- 
Spaniard, looking upon them with his cold, crafty 
eyes, resisted them with inexorable firmness and 
with the same '^suavity" of manner that his friends 
say characterized him. Loyola, Navarro and 
Gayarr6, under the irresistible impulse of their own 
feelings, went to him and spoke for the people among 
whom they had lived for three years, advising the 
hard-hearted man at least to assume the responsi- 
bility of suspending the sentence until further orders 
could be received from Spain. Their answer was 
that the condemned would be executed the next 
day — and they were. 

When O'Reilly departed, Loyola went with him 
to Cuba, where his wife awaited him. Navarro 
followed soon after. Don Estevan Gayarr^ remained 
in Louisiana with his son who had been appointed 
by O'Reilly Commissary of War, although but 
eighteen years of age. Don Estevan subsequently 
obtained leave to retire to his native country and to 
be put on the list of retired pensioners. He died at 
the close of the century. The following letter 
written by him to one of his grandsons in Louisiana 
was preserved by Charles Gayarr^, and was often 
quoted by him in his old age — with sad effect. 

"My son, I may say that I have already one foot in the grave. 
I have httle of earthly goods to bequeath or dispose of, contenting 
myself with leaving at my death what will be necessary to bury me 
in seven feet of ground with the little but honorable exhibition of 
mihtary pomp, within which have shrunk all my vain hopes in this 
miserable world. Yea, such is this world! Its flitting glories fade 
away — and there remains nothing but the alternate lassitude and 



1I 

264 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

seK-torment of thought. Therefore a pure and sound mind ought 
ever to have its eyes fixed on heaven."* 

Don Juan Antonio Gayarre was one of the brilliant 
young Spanish officers who effected practically the 
union of Louisiana with Spain by marrying into 
the families of the French officials of the province. 
According to the precise notes left by him in his 
own beautiful handwriting, he was born ^^or bap- 
tized in the Catholic faith, for in Spain no differ- 
ence is made between them," on the 14th of March, 
1752. On April 23rd, to follow the venerable 
record of the Cathedral, ^'the Sieur Jean Antoine 
Gayarr^, legitimate son of Sieur Etienne Gayarr^ 
and Dame Marie Francois Cochard, was married to 
Dame Constance Grand-Pre, native of this parish, 
and legitimate daughter of M. Louis de Grand-Pr6 
and Dame Therese Galar de Chamilly,'^ in the 
Cathedral of St. Louis." The record bears the 
interesting signature of Fr. Dagobert, grand vicar 
and curate of the parish. 

The Chevalier de Grand-Pr6 had come into 
Louisiana in the time of Bienville and had received 
the Cross of St. Louis for his long and faithful 
service. It is of significant interest to note that this 
Chevalier de Grand-Pre was a descendant of the 
Sieur Pierre Boucher, the early Governor of Trois 
Rivieres in Canada, and the first Canadian ennbloed 
by Louis XIV. He was also the author of the first 
published account of that country. 

Carlos Anastasio Estevan de Gayarr6 (the father 
of the historian) was born on January 2nd, 1774, 
and, "to conform to the custom of this country," 
was baptized on the 12th of February, 1775. 

* From "The Spanish Domination." 



GAYARR^ 265 

The godparents were the grandparents, with Don 
Luis Nicola de la Landa and Donna Juana Sophia de 
la Landa. Antonio Estevan de Gayarr6, the second 
son, was born in 1775. Luis Estevan de Gayarr6 
was born in 1777. 

Don Juan Antonio Gayarr6 distinguished himself 
second only to his brilliant commander-in-chief, 
Galvez, in the glorious little campaign against the 
English in 1779, which resulted in the conquest of 
Manchac, Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobile and 
Pensacola, or the whole English Province of West 
Florida. In the distribution of honors and rewards 
that followed the successful termination of the war, 
Don Juan Antonio Gayarr6 w^as appointed Contador 
Real of the rich post of Acapulco. He died there and 
his wife returned to her birthplace, bringing her 
three sons with her. 

Of these, Carlos married the youngest daughter of 
Etienne de Bore. He lived with de Bor6 on his 
plantation and became the father of the historian. 
Although born in Louisiana, he remained fixedly 
loyal to Spain and to his Spanish ancestors. Always 
at the head of his bed, relates his son, hung his coat 
of arms with its three mountains spanned by a 
bridge, surmounted by the turbaned head of 
Abderahman, the testimonial of the proud day 
when the Gayarr^s defeated the Sultan in their 
native valley of Roncal, about the year 800. 
AVhen Napoleon invaded Spain, Carlos Gayarr^, 
in the presence of his father-in-law, respectfully 
suppressed his feelings. But when came the 
announcement of French triumphs in Spain he 
would retire to his chamber in which his little son 
would hear the sound of passionate playing of the 



266 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

guitar and the passionate singing of Spanish patriotic 
songs. 

He held an office under the Commissary of War 
when the colony was transferred to France and was 
one of the Spanish officers who consented to receive 
a commission from the French Republic. The 
colonial prefect, Laussat, appointed him First 
Lieutenant of the Third Company of Louisiana 
Mihtia in 1803. In 1807, he was appointed 
Captain of the Fourth Company by Governor 
Claiborne. His name is enrolled in the first Masonic 
Lodge founded in Louisiana. To quote his own 
note, ''On the 1st June, 1799, I was received as 
Mason in the Tarfaite Union.' '' One of the reUcs 
remaining of him is a little packet which contains 
his regalia and the certificate of the degrees that he 
took in the order. His portrait represents him in the 
prime of his youth and manly beauty; he did not 
live beyond them, dying in 1813, in New Orleans. 
He was buried in the tomb of his wife's family in the 
old St. Louis Cemetery. 

Like his father, he left behind him a "note de ma 
naissance et celle de ma famille": 

22nd January, 1774, I was born. 

19th January, 1783, was born Dame Marie Elizabeth Bor6, my 
wife. 

9th January, 1805, was born Charles Etienne Arthur, my eldest 
son. 

12th June, 1807, was born Ferdinand Etienne Gayarr^, my 
second son. 

♦Ferdinand Gayarr4 had an unhappy life, and died in consequence 
of it in his early prime. 




Toilette Table. St. Domingo Mahogany, 



CHAPTER XVII 
CHARLES GAYARRE 

CHARLES GAYARRE, the historian of Louisiana 
— name and title came almost together ninety- 
three years ago, and so closely has the slow process 
of time welded them that it would take as many 
years again to divorce them or for our ears and 
tongues to unlearn their habit of coupling one with 
the other. To Louisianians, indeed, it seems that 
Gayarre was not only the historian of Louisiana but 
the history of it as well ; and when, upon the morning 
of February 11th, 1895, it became known that 
Charles Gayarre had passed away, when the little 
black-bordered notices of his death were affixed to 
the posts on the street corners of New Orleans, 
according to the local custom, the feeling aroused 
was not simply that a great and a good and a useful 
life had ceased to exist in the community, but also 
that a great, good and useful volume had been 
closed — the volume of the past of city and state — 
which had stood so long open and ready for all who 
wished to profit by it that, like old folios and precious 
classics in public libraries, it seemed chained to our 
eternal service. 

Charles Gayarr6 was born in the month of January, 
1805, and baptized in the parish church of the 
Cathedral of New Orleans, receiving the name of 
Charles Etienne Arthur, or, as it stands in the 

269 



■X 



270 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Spanish, Carlos Estevan Arturo. The ceremony was 
performed, registered and signed by Fr. Antonio de 
Sedilla, the Pere Antoine whose name is connected 
with the church of Louisiana in the same indis- 
soluble manner as the name of the infant he baptized 
with its history. 

The cession of Louisiana to the United States was 
still a recent event in the city. The official act and 
pageant of transfer had taken place only the winter 
before. Of the large group at the baptismal font, the 
infant was the only American; the others were all 
colonists — French or Spanish. Ninety years later, 
Charles Etienne Arthur Gayarr6 was again borne 
into the church of St. Louis to receive its last, as he 
had received its first, blessing on his fife. 

His life had been a long one, overspanning the 
average, not by years but by generations. He had 
seen the new things of his parents^ day become old, 
and the old linger along in the heart like the echo 
of a cathedral chant; he had seen the transplanted 
flag, language and government become home bred 
to the soil, and the people who had stood around his 
baptismal font disappear in the dim distance of 
tradition. In his childless old age, when time was 
bearing him ever farther and farther from his native 
time, he used to sigh over his isolation and the 
dreariness of that land of exile in which octogenarians 
live. Of all the friends that he started with in youth, 
a goodly circle, but one, a schoolmate, survived to 
accompany him to the end. . , . 

Fr. Antonio's certificate of baptism, with other 
certificates antedating it, signed by him or his no 
less celebrated predecessor, Pere Dagobert, recording 
the baptism, marriage, death, of father, mother, 
grandparents, uncles, granduncles, together with 



CHARLES GAYARR-^ 271 

testaments, titles of property, and preciously 
guarded letters, remain in the archives of the 
Gayarr6 family. They must have been laid aside 
in some miraculous casket, it would seem, to have 
been preserved entire through the fierce tempest of 
war, ruin and devastation that scattered and made 
flotsam and jetsam of all that the lives that they 
chronicled held as tangible possessions. 

Like poets, historians are born, not made. As a 
child, Gayarr^ lived in intimate touch with the 
chronicles of a century earUer than his own. By 
merely listening to his home gossip, the tales of 
maternal and paternal reminiscence, and the talk 
of nurse, teacher and playmate, he could see and feel 
in imagination not only the very beginning of the 
Colony, but the conception of its beginning, in 
Canada and in Normandy. What followed thence- 
forth — French and Spanish Domination, the cession 
to France, and the cession to the United States — ^he 
knew as the child born seventy-five years later, 
knew the events of the Civil War and of the recon- 
struction era. What historians of to-day study 
painfully from documents (now that Gayarr^ is no 
more), he knew as he knew his family ties. Our 
historical questions were to him questions of mem- 
ory; and his memories have become to us historical 
documents. 

Gayarr6 tells us in some of the most charming and 
valuable pages he ever wrote, ''A Louisiana Planta- 
tion of the Old Regime,"* how he passed his child- 
hood on the plantation of his grandfather, Etienne 
de Bore. It was situated six miles above the city, 
measuring from the Cathedral, and was reached 
by the public road winding along the river bank. 

* Harper's Magazine. March, 1887. 



272 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

In front, it presented an imposing appearance. 
The avenue of pecan trees that led from the high- 
road was arrested by a deep moat, edged on its 
farther side by an impenetrable hedge of Yucca or 
' 'Spanish Bayonet.'' Behind this was a great grass- 
covered rampart bearing a massive brick wall. But 
Nature then, as now, proved a mocker of the im- 
posing. The waters of the jealous moat became 
in time thick with dainty fish. The Yucca hedge, 
with its sharp-pointed dagger leaves, sent up such 
luxuriant staffs of its beautiful waxen, bell-shaped 
flowers that it made the spring glorious to the child, 
and the sturdy rampart and surrounding brick wall 
so protected an inner hedge of wild orange that its 
golden fruit made the winter as resplendent. The 
drive to the house described a circle, and was 
bordered with sweet orange trees, whose golden fruit 
made it glorious. 

Gayarr6 tells us that he learned his alphabet 
from one Lefort, who lived in a house on the upper 
limit of the Foucher plantation and kept a school 
which was well attended by the children of the 
planters on both sides of the river. Lefort was a 
man of culture but rough and given to whipping his 
pupils unmercifully. When past eighty, the 
historian related that he had not yet forgotten the 
blows given him, when a child of six, for imperfect 
pronunciation of the English word ^'the." At nine 
years of age, Gayarr6 was promoted from this 
teacher and sent as a boarder to the College of 
Orleans. In the opening pages of 'Ternando de 
Lemos," he describes this historic institution of 
learning, with its courtly President, Jules d'Avezac, 
whom the students affectionately nicknamed 



CHARLES GAYARR^ 273 

' 'Titus/ ^ and its corps of professors, composed of 
original types of scholars and gentlemen. The 
rules of life and study there were Spartan in their 
austere simplicity, and they were enforced with 
Spartan sternness. No puerilities, except in age, 
were permitted the scholars. Even the afternoon 
walks and weekly visits to the theatres were admin- 
istered with rigid regard to duty rather than to 
amusement. 

Gayarr^ was in this college in the memorable year 
of the British invasion. He relates that, on the 
second of December, about three o'clock, there was 
a great commotion in the learned precincts. The 
news had arrived in New Orleans that the British 
had landed in Louisiana and that they had been seen 
on a plantation below the city. Studies w^ere sus- 
pended, classrooms closed, alarmed pupils hurried 
to and fro, parents poured in to take their children 
away. Gayarr6 and his cousin, Frederic Toucher, 
were left so long that they began to fear they had 
been forgotten and had been left to shift for them- 
selves in the face of the British invasion. At 
the last moment, however, an aunt sent for them. 
She lived in a house on Dumaine and Royal Streets, 
and the two boys stood on the gallery, with her and 
other ladies of the household, and looked at the 
troops marching by, hastening to meet the enemy 
below. At seven o'clock the fighting began, ''and 
the roar of artillery and discharge of musketry were 
almost as distinctly heard as if the battle were in 
the immediate neighborhood. There was not the 
slightest noise in the city; it held its breath in awful 
suspense." 

The two boys and the ladies, petrified into absolute 



274 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

silence by their apprehensions, stood on the balcony 
until half-past nine o'clock, when the firing gradually 
ceased ; and then they passed a never-to-be-forgotten 
hour of anxiety. Were their defenders retreating, 
pressed by the enemyf What was happening? 
About eleven o'clock the city's awful silence was 
broken; the furious gallop of a horse was heard, and 
the cry of the horseman, shouting as loud as he could, 
'Victory! Victory!" 

Early the next morning the children were sent to 
their homes. On the eighth of January, when the 
decisive battle on the field of Chalmette was fought, 
the child stood on the gallery of his grandfather's 
house, with the ladies of the family, who were pale 
and trembling with fear. No man was visible: the 
only one, de Bor^, who had remained at home, on 
account of age, had, when the battle began, gone up 
to the top of the balcony for observation. When the 
firing ended he came down from his post and an- 
nounced to his daughter that the Americans were 
victorious. His soldier's ear had distinguished that 
the American guns had silenced the English. 

All that is known of Gayarr^'s youth is what can 
be gathered from his descriptions of other people. 
He stayed at the College of Orleans until he com- 
pleted bis education in 1825; when twenty years old, 
he published his first work — a pamphlet on the 
subject of the Livingston Criminal Code, opposing 
some of Livingston's views, and particularly his 
recommendation of the abolition of capital punish- 
ment, which the young Creole combated as an 
innovation of dangerous application in the State of 
Louisiana. The pamphlet, whether it aided public 
opinion on the subject or not, certainly reflected it; 




c3 

O 
J3 



O 
C 

a 

a 
<v 
O 



a 



CHARLES GAYARRS 277 

for Livingstones system of penal law for the State of 
Louisiana, though it was admired and commended 
by the most celebrated philosophers, philanthropists 
and statesmen of that day, was never adopted by the 
State for which it was framed. 

In 1826, Gayarr6 went to Philadelphia and re- 
mained there for three years, for the double purpose 
of studying law and of perfecting himself in the 
English language, which was still taught and spoken 
as an alien tongue in New Orleans. He studied in 
the office of William Rawle, the distinguished jurist 
and legal author. He was admitted to the Pennsyl- 
vania Bar in 1828; a year later, upon his return to 
New Orleans, he was admitted to the practice of law 
in Louisiana. 

The man of that era whose character to us of to- 
day was most strongly marked, whose individuality 
was most clearly cut against the background of the 
time, was Frangois Xavier Martin, Associate Justice 
of the Supreme Court of Louisiana, and author of a 
then recently published ^'History of Louisiana.'' No 
one, to judge by the accounts that have come down 
to us, received so keen, so just and so true an impres- 
sion of Martin's greatness of intellect as Gayarr6, 
and no one so fully showed the effect of it. Martin 
was the determining force in Gayarre's hfe. He was, 
in effect, Gayarr^'s Uterary progenitor. 

The two volumes so rare nowadays and so dear 
to Louisiana book lovers — Martin's first edition 
of 1827 and Gayarr^'s *^Essai Historique sur la 
Louisiane," 1830 — stand to one another in a nearer 
and more sentimental relationship than that of mere 
literary succession, as the product of each shows. 
In addressing himself, as an old man, to ^'Louisiana's 



278 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

youthful citizens," Martin not only enumerates the 
steps by which Louisiana advanced from Indian 
barbarism to state sovereignty in the Federal Union, 
but also traces for the young historian a plan of 
future work which Gayarr^ faithfully carried out in 
later years. 

Gayarr^'s preface in his first essay at writing his- 
tory is an ingenuous response to Martin's appeal. 
^'A Louisianian by birth and blood," he describes , 
himself, ''who has read with emotions of filial piety ^ 
the * History of Louisiana,' " which Judge Martin has 
published in English. Gayarre acknowledges that 
he owes most of his material to the venerable 
magistrate and makes a timid apology for his feeble 
essay at an attempt to bring the history of Louisiana 
within reach of those whose tongue is French. 

Upon his return from Philadelphia (before he 
pubUshed his '^Essai Historique") he was elected, 
by a unanimous vote, a representative of the city of 
New Orleans in the Legislature. There he received 
the compliment of being chosen by the Legislature 
to write an address complimenting the French 
Chamber on the revolution of 1830. In 1831, he 
was appointed Assistant Attorney-General. In 
1832, he became presiding Judge of the City Court 
of New Orleans. In 1835, when he had barely 
reached the constitutional age, he was elected to the 
Senate of the United States. 

The calamity of his Hfe, as he always felt it, over- 
took him here. A distressing form of malady had 
fastened upon him, and it seriously impaired his 
capacity for work. He decided to go to France and 
seek medical assistance before assuming his duties at 
Washington. Three eminent physicians pronounc- 



CHARLES GAYARRl^ 279 

ing his case too far advanced for relief, he resigned 
his seat in the Senate and remained in France for 
medical treatment until 1843. 

Readers of Fernando de Lemos can follow him as, 
under the thin disguise of a pseudonym (a favorite 
literary device of the period), he travels hither and 
thither in France, now to some springs to drink the 
waters, now to some city or town in search of his- 
torical information, conversing on the road with his 
fellow travelers of all conditions and storing their 
expressions and opinions in his wonderful memory. 
The prestige of his name, wealth and official title, 
enhanced by his rare intellectual gifts, gained him a 
welcome into the literary and political salons of 
Paris in its brilliant period before the revolution of 
1848. 

The book is but a dull substitute for the personal 
recital which, with its infinite charm of manner and 
language, remained to the last moment of the 
author's life a deUght to his friends. The balls at 
the Tuileries; the salon of Madame Ancelot; the 
fancy ball at the Spanish Ambassador's; Louis 
Philippe; the old Maid of Honor to Josephine; de 
Tocqueville; Balzac; Lamartine; Casimir Perier, 
the famous physician ; Koreff , the hangman of Paris ; 
Mademoiselle Lenormant, and all the long list of 
historic Louisiana famiUes then living in Paris, with 
their anecdotes and their experiences — many a 
dreary hour in his own life and in the Hves of others 
he beguiled into a pleasant one by these reminiscences. 
He learned to know Paris as he knew New Orleans; 
and he loved it only second to his native city. But 
the cure he sought there he did not find and he was a 
chronic sufferer throughout his long life. 



280 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Shortly after his return from France he married 
a beautiful, charming and most intelligent lady — 
Mrs. Ann Buchannan, a member of the prominent 
Ricks family of Mississippi. The union proved a 
perfect one, although childless, and, as the husband 
always avowed with emotion, she was life's great 
compensation to him for the many disappointments 
and misfortunes he had suffered. 

The absence, which apparently cost the loss of his 
services to the State for eight years, proved, on the 
contrary, a period of unexpected usefulness. As 
soon as his health permitted, he threw himself 
ardently again into the study of the history of 
Louisiana, working now, not from the material 
furnished by Martin and local traditions, but from 
the vast collections of historical documents lying 
stored in the archives of the Ministry of the Marine 
and Colonies in Paris — -a field hitherto unexplored 
by American historians. His researches in it were so 
thorough that little of moment has been added to 
them by after gleaners. 

Gayarr6's family connections gave him access to 
private archives and documents that but for him 
would never have been exhumed. When he returned 
to Louisiana he brought with him, therefore, a new 
history of Louisiana practically complete. He wrote 
it in French to preserve the text of the official 
documents copied from the French archives, which 
form the bulk of the volume, and published it in 
New Orleans. The first volume appeared in 1846; 
the second, in 1847. 

The work has been so long out of print that it is 
rarer now than the ''Essai Historique,'' but covering, 
as it does, the official history of Louisiana from its 



CHARLES GAYARR:^ 281 

colonization by Iberville to its cession by France to 
Spain, it is a treasure of reference to the student. 
The only rival it has in Louisiana bibliography is 
Gayarr^'s later and last history. A good appraise- 
ment of its value can be made by comparing it with 
other histories of the same scope published in the 
United States at that date, or for a score of years 
afterwards. Had it been written in the language of 
the country and brought thus within the reach of the 
ordinary writers and teachers, it is but truth to say 
that it would have elevated the standard of historical 
research of the time and advanced by a generation 
the method of the study of original documents that 
is the rule to-day. But it could not fail to awaken 
local enthusiasm and a revival of interest in the past 
of the State whose future greatness was becoming the 
political creed of the hour. 

The work has its defects in the rigidity of a con- 
tinuous series of copied documents. Even while 
composing it, Gayarre conceived the plan of a larger, 
freer, more comprehensive use of the same material, 
and the addition to it of a volume to be collected from 
American archives, and written in the language of 
the country. 

At this period, the 'Teople's Lyceimi'^ (New 
Orleans having so far progressed in its Americaniza- 
tion) invited Gayarre to deliver one of its twelve 
annual lectures. As a bird from a cage, his heart 
seems to have bounded from the hard-and-fast con- 
fines of the official documents that encompassed 
him into the open air and flowery pastures of 'The 
Poetry and Romance of the History of Louisiana." 
He culled from it not one lecture, but a series of 
lectures that form the first volume of the pubHcation 



282 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

entitled "The American Domination." In his 
preface he confesses to a humble imitation of Sir 
Walter Scott in this use of the imagination as a bait 
to lure readers into a knowledge of history. Time 
abounds with such attempts and history has lost 
rather than gained from the concession of gilded 
facts to readers, for these prove generally the most 
annoying errors to get rid of afterwards. 

In this case, however, the damage caused may well 
be overlooked in comparison with the good achieved. 
''The Poetry and Romance of Louisiana'' is the 
portal through which most readers enter the history 
of Louisiana. If, thereafter, one never feels quite 
sure of the true reality of the realm one enters, if 
there happens to the reader what the author con- 
fesses happened to him, that in it the things of the 
heart became confused with the things of the mind, 
the gain has been that in Louisiana the popular senti- 
ment for the history of the State is vivid and pic- 
turesque, and that there is not only a popular but 
also a true poetic sentiment for it that has made 
itself felt most notably in the educational systems of 
the day. As a source of inspiration to the dramatist, 
poet and novelist, it has been in truth too generously 
prolific. To withdraw its contributions, if such an 
experiment could be made, from the fiction and 
drama of the country since its publication, would 
[produce indeed something like a collapse in our 
native pseudo-historical literature. 
j The second volume, "The French Domination,*' 
' is also formed from a series of lectures, but the author 
says it is, so far as he could make it, detailed and 
accurate history; in other words, there are in it no 
adventitious charms. While, however, it holds fast 



CHARLES GAYARR^ 283 

to the chronological documents, it is not shackled 
iby them. It rises out of them and above them, 
'expanding with freedom and ease into a narrative 
that in truth gives such a full satisfaction of charm 
and interest as makes a Louisianian well-nigh afraid 
to express any other opinion of it than this — the 
difficulty is not how to praise it, but how not to 
overpraise it. 

]\Ieanwhile, by what in the experience of after 
time seems a political anomaly, Gayarr6 was twice 
chosen by the city of New Orleans as ner repre- 
sentative in the Legislature; and he was also 
appointed by two succeeding governors Secretary of 
State, a position he held for seven years. This 
period represents the proudest and pleasantest 
years of his life and also of that of the State, which 
was then in the full glow of her maturity as an 
American commonwealth. The friction between the 
old and the new population had duly changed rough 
into polished surfaces; the irritating chafing under 
the yoke of strange conditions had ceased, yoke and 
neck having become habituated to one another and 
'^the life of the conamonwealth,^^ to quote the con- 
tented words of our historian, 'Vas but a quiet, 
ever swelling stream of prosperity. '* 

The banks of such a stream have ever proved 
fertile soil for intellectual culture, and they seemed 
to prove so then in Louisiana. But the stream of 
prosperity, alas! has found so many impediments in 
its course in the lifetime of the present generation 
(whose whole strength, indeed, has at times been 
devoted to keep a current alive in it) that it seems 
only a part of the usual vain and feeble boasting over 
an age gone by to say that great institutions, hand- 



284 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

some buildings, schools, colleges, public libraries, 
charities and noble private benefactions flourished 
then, with every promise of continuous development, 
where to-day the seed of them are being so 
laboriously resown. 

There was, however, no consummation of thai: old 
and passed prosperity that commends itself so much 
to the student of to-day as the manifest appreciation, 
public and private, of the importance of the 
knowledge of the history of the State as an element 
in the wise development of the State. This is an idea 
that we are familiar with at present — one that has 
become a part of the educational outfit of every 
State of the Union. At that time, in Louisiana, 
Gayarre was the evangelist of it — and, rare as the 
exception sounds, he did not preach in a desert. 
Appropriations for a statue of Washington by 
Powers, to be placed in the rotunda of the State- 
house; for an equestrian statue of Jackson, to be 
placed in Jackson Square; for a monument on the 
battlefield of Chalmette; for swords and gold medals 
to Mexican War generals, adorn the legislative 
records of that period. They, all of them, bear the 
signature of Gayarr^. 

During his seven years in this office the Secretary 
of State had the expenditure of an annual appro- 
priation of one thousand dollars for the purchase of 
books for the State Library. Gayarr^'s scholarly 
use of this money changed a mere accumulation of 
volumes into a library worthy of the name, whose 
historical section, even in its infirm and invalided 
condition to-day, commands the respect and admira- 
tion of scholars. Each rare volume in it bears the 
date of Gayarre's incumbency. 



CHARLES GAYARRli: 285 

Shortly after his return from France, he secured 
the purchase by the State of the historical documents 
copied by M. Felix Magne from the archives of the 
Marine and Colonies in Paris. The two bulky 
volumes, for which one thousand dollars were paid, 
are now the precious heirlooms of the Louisiana 
Historical Society, ^vhich was resurrected, in truth, 
to receive them and to carry on the work of further 
research under the new historical impulse. 

Estabhshed in 1836, the historical society had 
languished and become inert from lack of the special 
direction of effort necessary in such societies for 
healthful activity; when Gayarre became Secretary 
of State he, with a group of friends, revived the 
society, reorganized it, adopted a constitution 
for it, and elected Martin, the venerable historian. 
President, wdth John Perkins, the wealthy bene- 
factor of letters in Louisiana, and J. D. B. De 
Bow, Secretaries. If to the above names be added 
those of B. F. French and Edmond Forstall, the 
list of the century's eminent servitors of the his- 
tory of Louisiana will be complete. It is a list 
the Hke of which will hardly be seen again in the 
annals of the society. French was the publisher 
of the ''Historical Collections of Louisiana'' ; De Bow, 
the editor of *'De Bow's Review," Forstall (of the 
old Creole family) w^as the author of "An Analytical 
Index of the whole of the Public Documents Rela- 
tive to Louisiana Deposited in the Departement de 
la Marine et des Colonies, et Bibliotheque du Roi, 
at Paris." 

Perkins, delegated by the society to make re- 
searches in Europe for interesting historical matter 
relating to Louisiana, secured the services of Pierre 
Margry, the archivist, to make a transcript, 



286 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

chronologically arranged, of all the papers in the 
different archives of the French Governxnent referring 
to Louisiana from the date of Iberville's landing to 
the time of its cession to the United States. This 
undertaking, vast as it proved to be, was superbly 
carried out by Margry; and the pride of the remark 
may be excused here, that it was to this commission 
of the Louisiana Historical Society that the historical 
students of the United States are indebted for what 
was a consequence of it — the compilation and publi- 
cation of Margry's great and momentous work: 
*'D6couvertes et EtabUssements des Frangais dans 
rOuest et dans le Sud de I'Amerique Septentrionale." 

Pushing his influence farther, Gayarr^ obtained 
from the Legislature of 1847 an appropriation of 
two thousand dollars to be expended under the 
auspices of the Historical Society in procuring from 
Spain copies of original documents relating to the 
history of Louisiana. In his report as Secretary of 
State for 1850, he gives the account of the disburse- 
ment of this money and his correspondence with the 
United States Minister to Spain and with Sr. Pascal 
de Gayangos on the subject. Several packages 
dealing with the transactions of the Spanish Domina- 
tion were received by the society, an addition of 
great value to those already possessed in Louisiana. 
The investigation, however, was not completed; 
another appropriation was needed which, notwith- 
standing the warm recommendation of the Governor 
in his message of 1853, was never passed. The 
adoption of a new Constitution in 1853 occasioned 
the retirement of the historian from his office and 
also, it may be said, the retirement of the State from 
its patronage of letters. 

In 1854 the third volume of Gayarr^'s history, 



CHARLES GAYARRS 287 

"The Spanish Domination," was published. This 
ended the colonial history of Louisiana. The fourth 
volume, ^'The American Domination," was begun 
at once, but finished only after the Civil War in 1866. 
He passed the years of the Civil War in retirement at 
his country place "Roncal," named for the old home 
of the Gayarr6s in Spain. Here he wrote a life of 
Philip II of Spain, pubUshed simultaneously with 
'The American Domination." 

'Ternando de Lemos" was published in 1872. 
In 1875 Gayarr6 was appointed by the Judges of the 
Supreme Court of Louisiana reporter of their 
decisions. This seemed at the time a blessed inter- 
vention, an opportunity for him. Looking back 
upon it through the corrective lens of years, the 
opportunity is seen as all in favor of the State; and 
futile resentment must ever be felt by the chronicler 
who is called upon to transmit the record that when, 
by some political exigency of the hour, the Supreme 
Court was superseded, the historian, whose reports 
were a model of their kind, was also superseded by 
one w^ho was considered a more valuable political 
asset of the party in power. The record may as well 
be inserted here, for the sake of history, that what- 
ever services Gayarre might have rendered his 
State, in exchange for what Goldsmith calls the best 
encouragement for genius — subsistence and respect, 
there w^as henceforth always a man younger, and 
of more practical use in politics, preferred before 
him. And history demands also that the fact be 
not omitted that Gayarre was twice an applicant 
for an insignificant position in the gift of the Presi- 
dent of the United States, and that by two different 
Presidents negroes were preferred to him! 

Note. — One of the good stories of the war that Gayarr6 was fond 



288 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

of relating was that on thie rumored advance of the Federal army— 
in camp not many miles away — he thought it only an act of the 
commonest prudence to follow the example of his neighbors and hide, 
that is, bury his valuables. He, therefore, packed in a secure tin box 
all that he selected as most precious to him: his wife's jewelry and 
diamonds and his treasured heirlooms; the shoe buckles and sword 
hilt studded with brilliants that belonged to his father; his grand- 
mother's miniature in a frame surrounded with diamonds; de Bora's 
snuffbox; in short, all the priceless innumerable trinkets of genera- 
tions of his family. Selecting a good spot for the purpose under a 
tree that he could easily identify afterwards, he, accompanied by his 
wife, stealthily crept out to it in the dead of night but taking a 
lantern with them ! His confidential body servant, * 'the most accom- 
plished valet and rascal in the world," according to his master, 
easily suspecting what was in the wind, played the spy and watched 
the burial of the treasure. Gayarr^ could not sleep for thinking of 
his precious box under the tree; by morning he was at the spot to 
disinter it ; but it was gone ! And the valet and the carriage horses as 
well! The plunder was sold in the camp and for years afterward in 
New Orleans, WiUiam, the confidential servant, hved on the proceeds. 

It is hardly necessary to add more at the present 
time, which is as yet but the morrow of a painful 
yesterday. The memory of it is still fresh and 
sensitive. Some day perhaps the suffering in it will 
be forgotten in the spiritual gain that comes to one 
generation from the example of ill fortune nobly 
borne in another. The pen, at best of times a frail 
support, became perforce Gayarre's staff of life. He 
had inherited, however, from his past days of fortune 
at least a well-known name and reputation. These 
stood him in good stead with the pubUshing world. 

In 1877, he was requested by the editor of the 
North American Review to write upon 'The Southern 
Question,'^ then in its most acute stage in national 
affairs, as one who could and would treat it not from 
a sectional or partisan, but from a broadly historical 



CHARLES GAYARRJS 289 

point of view. He accomplished this difficult task 
with remarkable dignity and skill. 

The Historical Society, which again had suc- 
cumbed to neglect and impoverislmient, was again 
revived by Gayarre at this time. 

^'Aubert Dubayet, or The Two Sister Republics/' 
was published in 1882. As name and subtitle 
indicate, it is an historical romance connecting the 
American and French revolutions by means of one 
of Louisiana's favorite heroes — General Aubert 
Dubayet of the French Republican Army and 
Minister of War under the Directory. Like ^Ter- 
nando de Lemos," it is a landmark of the past of 
Louisiana, and its value therefore one that time 
increases. 

This last book was followed by a period of the 
most stringent necessity and, therefore, of the most 
incessant activity of the author's life. The ever- 
ready market of the newspaper and magazine was 
a continual incentive to his energy, and for several 
years he was a steady contributor to it of such 
wares as he could furnish, mainly historical articles 
concerning the early life of the colony. The most 
noted of these are: 

"An Historical Sketch of the Two Lafittes;" 

"ffistorical Sketch of Washington's Surrender at Fort Necessity, 
to Frangoig Coulon Dumonville de Villiers, a French Knight of St. 
Louis (whose family hag left descendants in Louisiana) ;" 

"Seward on Reconstruction of the Southern States;" 

"A Louisiana Sugar Plantation of the Old Regime;" 

"The New Orleans Bench and Bar;" 

"An Old Street in New Orleans;" 

"The Norman on the Banks of the Mississippi ;"\/' 

"Don Carlos and Isabelle de Valois;" 

"The Creoles of History and the Creoles of Romance;" 



290 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

as well as numerous long and valuable articles in the 
current newspapers of New Orleans. 

For three consecutive winters Gayarr^ lectured 
upon Louisiana history, at the request of a circle 
of patriotic ladies and gentlemen of the city. His 
record of work, which had lasted sixty-four years, 
drew to a close only a year before his life ended. 
Demands upon his time and his courtesy were still 
met generously as of old. Information was given, 
as it had always been, freely to all without discrim- 
ination, in spite of great abuses of such kindness in 
the past. A large correspondence was faithfully 
attended to; visiting strangers were received with 
unfaihng cordiality; books, letters, manuscripts 
were placed at the disposition of any student that 
needed them. His memory never grew dim, for it 
was kept polished by incessant use. He was to the 
end always the last resource and authority in disputes 
over questions of Louisiana history. His circle of 
friends grew smaller as he lived on, outliving them; 
but the devotion of those that remained increased 
only the more. He passed away quietly, painlessly, 
his hand clasping the hand of his wife, to whom he 
had been united in a long and happy marriage, and 
who survived him until 1914, passing away in her 
ninety-fourth year in the fullness of a brave and 
beautiful old age. 

He was buried in his grandfather^s tomb, in the 
old St. Louis Cemetery, 



CHAPTER XVIII 
BOULIGNY 

THE Bouligny family, according to their superb 
collection of family documents, one of the most 
complete in the historical annals of New Orleans, 
came originally from Milan. The name was 
Bolognini, and the founder of the family was Mateo 
Atendolo Bolognini, first Count of Bolognini, who 
married, in Milan, Ysabel Urcelli. One of his de- 
scendants in the fifth generation, Geronimo, married 
Ysabel Visconti, of the ducal house of Milan; and 
iMaximihano, in the eighth generation, married 
Juha Visconti. In the tenth generation, Francisco 
Bolognini w^as Captain of Cavalry in the service of 
Spain. He was made prisoner by the French and 
taken to Marseilles, where he changed his name to 
Bouhgny. He married a French lady, Cecilia 
Germain, in 1649, and entered a commercial career. 
He was the father of Josef, who married Agnes 
Larchier and became the father of Juan, born in 
Marseilles, 1699. 

After the war of the Spanish Succession, Josef 
settled in Alicante, Spain, where he died. The 
family thenceforward was Spanish. Juan, the only 
son of Josef, married Maria Pared of Marseilles in 
1724. He was the progenitor of the Louisiana 
family and he was a man of influence. He had five 
sons and six daughters. The oldest son, Josef, 
became a wealthy merchant of Alicante; the second 

291 



292 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

son, Juan, became Spanish Ambassador at Con- 
stantinople and died in Madrid, in 1789, Honorary 
Councillor of State. His son Josef was Ambassador 
Plenipotentiary of Spain at Stockholm. The third 
son of Juan was Francisco, who came with O'Reilly to 
Louisiana. The fourth and fifth sons, Louis and 
Lorenzo, were captains in the Spanish Army. The 
Boulignys occupied high positions in Spain, and 
became connected by marriage with the noblest 
families. The father of Francisco was on inti- 
mate terms with General O'Reilly, according to his 
letters to his son. 

Francisco Bouligny was born in Alicante in 1736; 
he entered the Spanish Army in 1758 as cadet in the 
infantry regiment of Zamorra, serving two years; 
and was then transferred to the Royal Guards, 
serving one year and nine months. In 1762 he was 
sent to Havana, where he remained seven years. 
In 1769, he came to Louisiana as aide-de-camp to 
O'Reilly. History relates that he first set foot in 
New Orleans on the night of July 24th, bearing a 
communication from General O'Reilly to Aubry, 
the Governor. His barge landed in front of the 
Place d'Armes, where stood awaiting him the 
Spanish officials, Gayarr^, Navarro and Loyola, 
who received him with open arms and immediately 
conducted him to the hotel of Aubry, to whom he 
delivered and translated the letter he bore. 

But imagination, clinging ever to history like a 
child to its nurse, chattering its artless questions 
and wonderments, cannot and will not be satisfied 
with merely the necessary information. The way 
from the Place d'Armes to the hotel of Aubry leads 
over the distance of but a few squares or ^' Islets f^* 



BOULIGNY 293 

as they were called, in the very heart of the little 
city. Bouligny, glancing about him as he walked 
along through the crowded and excited streets 
(Gayarr6 says that no one went to bed that night), 
could not but have noticed the fine manner and 
courteous bearing of the men who made way for 
him and his companions, saluting them respectfully. 
It was a July night and the doors and windows of 
the low, picturesque houses must have been frankly 
open, revealing their handsome, luxurious rooms, 
set with fine-carved furniture and rich ornaments, 
with negro slaves moving about in them bearing 
trays of refreshing drinks in crystal glasses. And 
through the open windows he must have had 
glimpses of beautiful Creole faces, wan with anxiety 
and care, awaiting with fear in heart the purport of 
the very missive he was bearing — tidings that he, 
perhaps, knew were as a lifted sword over the city — 
a sword to drip with blood. 

The soft, warm air of the July night, heavy with 
the fragrance of jasmine and oleander and belated 
blooms of magnoha, the dusky green of gardens 
about him, the giant forms of moss-laden oaks left 
over from the forest, the gorgeously brilliant stars 
overhead could not but work a charm upon him. 
He was thirty-three, handsome, and gallant as all 
Boulignys were and are at thirty-three. The beauti- 
ful Creole faces, wan with anxiety, must also have 
been not unconscious of him as he passed by. What 
his friends told him casually of the city he had come 
to (where they had been living three years), and of its 
society, could not but have chimed in harmoniously 
with the impressions he was receiving. 

History vouchsafes to say that he dined the next 



294 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

day with the Governor and met the most important 
and influential of the citizens — especially those who 
had been conspicuous in the revolt against UUoa — 
and that Aubry had taken the occasion to assure 
him that the hotheads among them had returned 
(in plain words) to their senses and that the Spanish 
ruler had no more to fear from them. Hearing that 
Lafreniere and Milhet intended to present themselves 
in person to O'Reilly and assume responsibility for 
the conduct of the guilty citizens, he offered to 
accompany them and present them himself to the 
General (who was, as we have seen, a friend of his 
father's). It took them forty-eight hours to reach 
the Spanish vessel at the Balize and at the end of 
the journey they must have learned to know one 
another. Bouligny was present at the interview, 
in which the Creole gentlemen showed themselves 
no whit behind the Irish-Spaniard in dignity or in 
address. 

Bouligny has left his report of the interview, and 
tradition, of course, repeats more than he ever said 
that his heart was then frankly moved in favor of 
his new friends. He was present at the dinner 
that O'Reilly gave to his Creole visitors and, from 
the suavity of the General's manner, was persuaded 
that, as he said, "all was forgiven and forgotten." 

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet 
of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth 
peace!" More beautiful tidings or bringer of them 
have never come upon the Mississippi to New 
Orleans. From the depths of despair the little city 
rose to the heights of confidence. O'Reilly's ruse 
had succeeded and he could proceed now with his 



BOULIGNY 295 

game as he had planned. The leaders, all unsus- 
pecting of a trap, walked into his presence in answer 
to an invitation and were instantly disarmed and 
conducted to a prison which they never left except 
for the place of execution. The form of a trial was 
gone through with and the sentence, pre-decided by 
the military governor, w^as pronounced. The in- 
credulity of the citizens passed into a stupor which 
was not dissipated until the ehots of the firing squad 
were heard in the barracks yard. 

Bouhgny joined his efforts to those of his friends, 
Loyola, Gayarr6 and Navarro, to obtain a commuta- 
tion of the brutal sentence or at least a suspension of 
its execution until the government in Spain could 
be heard from; but they, like the patriots, had to 
bow to O'Reilly's cruel will. ''If rulers but imagined 
what visions coming time would show!" The 
lilies of France never bloomed more luxuriantly in 
Louisiana than after Spain threw upon them the 
blood of the Creole patriots. Even the flag that 
O'Reilly hoisted to the tall staff in the Place d'Armes 
drooped as if in shame before them. 

Love makes a quick growth when sympathy 
prepares the ground. During the next year, Fran- 
cisco Bouhgny was married to Marie Louise le 
Senechal d'Auberville. She was the best that the 
city could give him and in beauty and lineage worthy 
of all that he could offer. She was the daughter of 
Vincent Guillaume le Senechal d'Auberville, Marine 
Commissioner of Louisiana and of Frangoise Petit 
de Levilliers de Coulange. 

The Sieur d'Auberville w^as born at Brest in 1713. 
His father was Louis d'Auberville; his mother, Marie 
d'Ayme de Noailles. The Sieur de Noailles is well 



296 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

known in Louisiana history. He was the officer 
in command of reinforcements sent to Bienville 
in the Chickasaw war in 1738; and Bienville was 
commanded to act with him and even under him, 
as he was a man 'Vith the talent and experience 
necessary for command.'' The result produced was 
disunion between Bienville and Noailles; and, in 
consequence, the failure of the expedition. He was 
the brother of Marie d'Ayme de Noailles and uncle 
of the Sieur d'Auberville. 

The marriage contract of the Sieur d'Auberville 
and of Marie Frangoise de Levilliers de Coulange is 
still in existenoe, signed by the Marquis de Vau- 
dreuil. The family of Petit de Levilliers de Coulange 
goes back in the documents of the Bouligny family 
to Etienne Petit, *' Grand Audiencier de France'' 
under Louis XL Claude de Coulange," Seigneur 
de Bustance en Auvergne," married Madeleine 
d'Aguesseau of the family of the great Chancellor 
d'Aguesseau. (It will be remembered that the mother 
of Madame de S^vign6 was a Marie de Coulange.) 
After the death of the Sieur d'Auberville, in 1758, his 
widow married the Chevaher Pierre Gerard de 
Vilemont. 

Among the letters preserved by the family is the 
one written by Don Francisco's father to him on his 
marriage: 

"Alicante, June 12, 1770. 
"My very dear Son: 

"Your letter which I received on May 26th, informs me of your 
marriage with Miss Louise d'Auberville, daughter of the French 
Intendant-General of that Province, aged twenty years, well-bred, 
and of infinite merit, which I approve in wishing you all kinds of 
happiness and benediction in your new condition. May God have 
you in His holy protection in good health and good union and grant 



BOULIGNY 297 

you what you may need. Give her a kiss for me as I cannot do so 
personally on account of the distance. Receive the benediction of 
your father, 

"Jean Bouliony." 

Another letter on the same occasion comes from 
the commanding General, O'Reilly: 

"Madame: 

"I shall always be interested in your happiness and will give you 
with pleasure all the proof of this that depends upon me. 

"I fehcitate you upon your marriage. Your husband is a worthy 
oflficer whom I esteem; I hope you will be happy together. It is 
because I am persuaded of this that I wish you joy in your union. 
"I have the honor to be, very respectfully, Madame, 

"Your very humble and very obedient servant, 

"O'Reilly." 

Among the papers preserved are no less than 
twenty-seven letters written by the Baron 
Carondelet; some of them on subjects of high 
poHtical importance, such as the incredible conduct 
of Genet, the French envoy, and the rumor of an 
uprising of the slaves; others on subjects pleasantly 
convivial, such as accepting BouUgny's invitation 
to dinner on Sunday, from w^hich, if it is to be 
ceremonious, he begs to be excused, but if it is to be 
merely friendly and in the family he accepts, *'muy 
gustoso'\' assuring his hosts that it would be a 
pleasure to eat with them whenever he had a moment 
of relaxation, but on the condition that no ceremony 
will be made over him, for what he seeks is the 
pleasure of their society, etc., etc. 

Bouhgny rose in grade to ^'Coronel Vivo," and 
was made a Knight of St. Charles. He served with 
distinction under Galvez in his famous little war 
against the Enghsh, was present at the capture of 



298 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Baton Rouge, at the siege of Mobile and at the final 
triumph over Pensacola, when he took the fort by 
storm at the head of his company and was rewarded 
for it especially by the King. He acted as Gov- 
ernor of Louisiana in 1784, during the absence of 
Governor Miro; and, in 1799, on the sudden 
death of Governor Gayoso de Lemos, he, as Colo- 
nel of the Regiment of Louisiana and senior mihtary 
officer of the province, assumed the military admin- 
istration of it. He died while occupying this posi- 
tion, according to his certificate of death signed by 
Fray Jose de Agostin, on the 7th of August, 1802, 
ending a good and valuable life. A voluminous 
report to the King of Spain on the condition of 
Louisiana written by him has never been trans- 
lated or published; although, beyond a doubt, of 
great interest and importance to historical students. 

After his death, his widow wrote to her niece, the 
Senora Dona Clementina de Bouligny y Pizarro 
(daughter of Juan Bouligny, the Ambassador), ask- 
ing to be facilitated in her desire to remove to 
Havana, ^'beheving that the province would form a 
component part of the Spanish Domain we have 
clung to this time, in this fond hope." This shows the 
persistent opinion maintained by the Spanish officials 
that Louisiana would never be alienated from Spain. 

Francisco left four children: one daughter, Marie 
Louise Josephine, who married the Chevaher de la 
Roche, an officer in the militia; and three sons, 
Dominique Charles, Frangois Ursin, and Louis. 
Louis married Isabelle Virginie d'Hauterive, of the 
old and distinguished Louisiana family of that name. 
Dominique served in his father's regiment and with 
it passed over to France and later to the government 



BOULIGNY 299 

of the United States. He married Anne Le Blanc. 
He was one of the prominent Creoles selected to serve 
in the Legislative Council of the Territory by the 
House of Representatives on Governor Claiborne^s 
recommendation that he was a ^ 'young man of sense 
and supports a good character.'' It is always 
mentioned of him, and it was a distinction at the 
time, that he was educated in the public schools of 
the city. 

Dominique served on the Committee for Public 
Defense during the British invasion of 1812. He 
served also as the United States Senator for Louisiana 
from 1824 to 1829. He died in 1833. Six sons and 
six daughters survived him to follow out, as he had 
done, the admonition that Don Francisco's father 
wrote to him from Spain: after describing the 
escutcheon of the family, he says, ''the principle 
nobility is to be 'hombre de bien,' of deeds without 
reproach, to live in the fear of God, obeying His 
commands." 

The sons of Dominique were Ursin, Gustave, 
Edouard, Henri, Alfred, Dominique. Both sons and 
daughters married as beseemed their high family and 
social station, founding families that have spread 
like a fruitful vine over the society of New Orleans, 
enriching it and garlanding it with beauty. To 
unwind the thread of their marriages is to untwist 
the tendrils of the vine; all branches ascend to or 
descend from the great patriarch Dominique, the 
son of Don Francisco and Louise d'Auberville. 

The men seek not brilliant positions or political 
distinctions, but though always found in the line of 
pubhc duty, live and thrive each one in his own 
home spot, in quiet soUtude. Nevertheless, two or 



300 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

three names have burst the narrow confines of home. 
Among them is that of John Edouard Bouligny, 
born in New Orleans in 1824, a nephew of Dominique, 
and like him a lawyer and educated in the pubUc 
school; was elected to the thirty-sixth Congress 
from Louisiana, serving in 1861. He was the only 
representative from the seceding States who, at that 
time, did not leave his seat. He died in Washington 
in 1864. 

Ever to be remembered with gratitude by Louis- 
iana historical students is the name of Arthemise 
Bouligny, the daughter of Gustave and Octavie 
Fortier (daughter of Edmond Fortier and grand- 
daughter of Colonel Michel Fortier, who was an 
officer in the regiment of Don Francisco). She 
married one of the great American financiers and 
merchants of New Orleans, Albert Baldwin, and for 
years reigned as a leader in the social world by virtue 
of her great beauty and vivacious mind. She it 
was who collected from the many treasuries of her 
large and scattered family the numerous docu- 
ments and letters that form the imposing genea- 
logical record of her family. She had them tran- 
scribed and opened them to the Louisiana Historical 
Society, of which her cousin, Alcee Fortier, was 
President. The collection descended by inheritance 
at her death to her son, Henry F. Baldwin, and are 
now in the possession of his widow (born a Vainin).* 

* By a curious historical coincidence, the Vairin family trace 
their ancestral line back to the same Claude de Coulange, Seigneur 
de Bustance, who married into the family of the great Chancellor 
d' Aguesseau, and was therefore a connection of Madame de S6vign6. 
The history of this interesting (Vairin) family, although not relating 
to Louisiana, is omitted here with sincere regret and only for the 
reason that the prescribed limits of the book do not permit its insertion. 



BOULIGNY 301 

Two other names are inscribed in memory to the 
credit of the family — not in its historical annals but 
soaring above in the blue sky of art: Corinne, the 
exquisite Spanish brunette, perfect in witchery and 
grace, who conferred upon the city the joy of a 
voice that it might well glory in and that it did 
glory in. Such was its transcendant beauty and gift 
of exhilaration that, in her day, it was said as a 
truth and so believed, that those who heard her 
forgot life itself. Before her notes, sorrow took 
flight and mourning dropped its black. She was the 
daughter of Alfred who, it may be recalled, was 
mortally injured in the tragic accident that befell 
the old Orleans Opera House, when on a gala night 
the crowded balcony fell, crushing all who were 
seated beneath. Her mother was a Pitot; she had, 
therefore, the best parentage for talent and beauty 
the city afforded. She married, in the height of her 
youth and fame, James Nott, who died before 
either had faded. She has moved from her native 
city to live with her son in the State of Georgia. 

As if to prove the richness of the vintage of the 
good family vine, there soared almost simultaneously 
in the blue above another songster, another 
Bouligny — ''Lucie.'' She was grave, fair and 
blonde, ethereal, with a smile of angelic sweetness, 
like de Musset's ^'Lucie'' (to those who knew their 
de Musset) : 

". . . . Elle etait pale et blonde 

Jamais deux yeux plus doux n'ont du ciel le plus pur 

Sond^ la profondeur et reflechi I'azur." 

She had a voice, in truth, such as the poet called 
for, ''that sounded like enchanted wine loosening 



302 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

her notes in a silver shower/^ a voice that came not 
down to earth or mortality but lifted the hearer 
above to heaven and immortality. Her art came 
from Italy who received it, as we know, from 
heaven. It was given her by the matchless artist 
who in the last century was sent to the music-loving 
city by a music-loving providence. Calve, she 
was called in her youth, when she was the pupil 
and friend of Rossini and the ''first prize'' of the 
Paris Conservatoire. For a lifetime, to the verge 
of her old age, she was loved, honored and almost 
worshipped in New Orleans as a very goddess of 
lyric music. To Lucie, one of her favorite pupils, 
she gave of what she had received in good measure, 
pressed down and running over, and the good 
scholar has passed on the good measure of art 
to her own pupils, maintaining the standard of 
perfect singing among the Creoles with the same 
devotion that the standard of old customs and 
manners is maintained. 

Lucie was the daughter of Dominique and of 
his wife, Celestine Conway. There were seven 
daughters, all beautiful and talented: Lucie, 
Anna, Lizette, Jeanne, Lea, Angele, Marie, all 
educated with finished care and moving with 
dignity through the life before them — a life from 
which their father had departed, shorn of the 
fortune which had been his of right and which should 
have been his daughters. Jeanne married Oscar 
Crosby — recently a member of the diplomatic 
family of President Wilson. His beautiful daughter 
is now the wife of Count Caracciolo. Lucie married 
Louis Arnauld, a young lawyer of prominence, who 
could have boasted, but never did, of his descent 



BOULIGNY 303 

from the great Arnauld of France. He died in the 
full career of his professional and domestic happiness, 
leaving his young children to the care of his wife. 

Madame Arnauld 's beautiful voice faded and 
passed away, but the artist remained and the woman 
and the mother ; a sample through the fading, w^earing 
years of the fadeless brocade of which old court 
dresses and Creole families were made. In her Httle 
home that, despite its American neighborhood and 
American building, recalls vaguely the little homes 
that were first built in the city, w^here the front door 
opens without ceremony into the little garden and 
that into the street; where the front room is the 
salon — such a salon as Don Francisco must have 
glanced into as he hurried through the streets of 
h^ew Orleans for the first time, bearing despatches 
to Aubry from O'Reilly; when his glowing eyes 
sought through the open windows a sight of the 
lovely Creole faces awaiting with anxiety the news 
that he was bringing. The sight of just the same 
lovely faces would be granted him now through 
the open window of his great-great-granddaughter. 
There was no music in the houses then, but now he 
could have heard voices and music of the kind that 
vibrates in the heart and memory ever afterwards. 
No soft-footed black slaves bear around silver 
salvers of refreshing drinks; but the traditional 
anisette is passed, nevertheless, in their minute 
glasses, in the true old Creole fashion. 

And could Don Francisco but have peeped in one 
December night of the year 1918! Could Louise 
d'Auberville but have looked with him on the little 
salon, when the gay French conversation suddenly 
stopped, and the singing, while through the door 



304 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

from the street entered a young soldier in uniform, 
wearing the ^^fourragere," handsome of face, perfect 
of figure, his breast covered with decorations, blush- 
ing, and childishly shy of meeting strangers after four 
years of war — Edgar! Edgar Bouligny! Ah, 
he had made his city and his people proud! The 
first American to enlist in the Foreign Legion, the 
hero of its heroes, his picture and his record in all 
newspapers! Covered with wounds as with decora- 
tions, and not yet twenty-three! It was a moment 
of triumph for the Bouhgny family. The banners of 
France and America waved then in all hearts in that 
little salon, and down the generations leading back 
to Spain, Spanish banners must have been waving, 
too, in salute to Edgar Bouligny. 

He is the son of the Edgar who was the only 
brother of Lucie Arnauld who married Lucie Delery 
des Islets, of the great family of Chauvin who gave 
the hero, Nicholas de Lafreniere, to Louisiana. The 
heart wishes that he, too, could have stood with Don 
Francisco and Louise d'Auberville to see their 
descendant ! 



CHAPTER XIX 
ALMONASTER 

DON ANDRES ALMONASTER Y ROXASwas 
a native of Mayrena in Andalusia, Spain. His 
parents were Don Miguel Jose Almonaster and 
Donna Maria Joanna de Estrada y Roxas, both of 
noble birth and ancient lineage. He came to Louis- 
iana in the suite of O'Reilly and was made Colonel 
of the Provincial troops; and he was afterwards 
appointed King's Notary, or Notary Public. 

In 1769, when the new Spanish Government w^as 
inaugurated by O'Reilly, he was given the office of 
Alferez Real or Royal Standard Bearer, a merely 
honorary office with no other function assigned to 
it but the bearing of the royal standard by the 
incumbent in great public ceremonies. He was 
afterwards invested with the royal and distinguished 
Order of Carlos III (as described in Pontalba's 
letter to his wife). A full-length portrait of him is 
shown to-day in the Cabildo at the head of the great 
stairway. A sturdy, strong personality it repre- 
sents: shrewd of face; standing erect as a royal 
standard bearer should, with his cocked hat under 
his arm and knightly sword in his hand; in court 
dress, with the Royal Order on his breast; a per- 
sonage to command respect; self-important and self- 
sufficient. He was, nevertheless, not more important 
to himself than he became to the city of his adoption. 
He was the princely benefactor of New Orleans 

305 



306 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

during its colonial period and, in truth, has reaped a 
reward in the shape of immortality that other and 
even more princely benefactors of greater cities 
might envy. 

The beginning of the making of his great fortune 
has never been made clear, although suspicion has 
not been idle in presenting many origins for it. 
What is really known is that O'Reilly granted to 
the city in the King's name the ground on both 
sides of the Place d'Armes, from the Levee to 
Chartres Street, having a frontage of three hundred 
and thirty-six feet on the Place and a depth of eighty- 
four feet, and that Almonaster erected upon this 
ground a row of brick buildings that he rented most 
profitably for stores with residences above. He 
became also the owner of a large brickyard which he 
worked with his own slaves, and he soon was known 
as possessing great wealth. When in 1779 a terrible 
hurricane swept away the humble hospital building, 
which the sailor, Jean Louis, had founded in 1737, 
Almonaster had another one erected with a chapel 
at the large cost (for that day) of one hundred and 
fourteen thousand dollars; and in 1787 he donated a 
chapel to the Ursuline Convent, 

In 1788, when the greatest conflagration the city 
has ever suffered destroyed the parish church, 
built in 1724, Don Andres made an offer to the 
Cabildo to rebuild it on a grander scale at his own 
expense. Such an offer meets only one answer. The 
reconstruction was at once begun, and in two years 
the Cathedral was completed, such as it stands 
to-day, or would stand had not the rude hands of 
ignorant architects in 1850 sought to improve and 
embellish it. On Christmas of 1794, the new 



ALMONASTER 307 

Cathedral was dedicated with great pomp, according 
to the description of the ceremonies left by Don 
Joaquin de Portillo, the rector of the parish, who 
records that it owes its existence to the zeal and 
piety of Don Andres Almonaster. 'Vho is almost 
without an equal. '^ 

''At the opening of the ceremony,'' so proceeds 
our record, ''our illustrious benefactor presented the 
keys of the church to the Governor (Carondelet) 
who then handed them over to me.'' The fame of 
Almonaster, says the latest historian of the Cathe- 
dral, Chambon, did not fail to give offense to some 
less fortunate or less generous than he, who misrepre- 
sented his intentions and suspected him of ambition. 
But former Governor Miro, his friend, then in 
Spain, referred the matter to the King, who speedily 
put an end to such talk and rewarded the generosity 
of Almonaster as became his merit. The King wrote, 
"He is authorized to occupy the most prominent seat 
in the church, second only to the royal Vice patron,' 
and to receive the kiss of peace during the celebration 
of Mass . . . he is to be given loyal support and 
aid in whatever he may undertake, is to be treated 
in future with deferential regard as one who has 
found grace near my royal person {grato a me real 
persona), by the achievement of great works, 
generously drawing upon his own resources for the 
construction of the parochial church, the Ursuline 
convent, the charity hospital and the government 
buildings of New Orleans;" signed: "El ReyJ^ 

The government buildings referred to by the King 

Note. — "In and Around the Old St. Louis Cathedral," by the 
Rev. M. Chambon. New Orleans, 1908. 



308 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

are the Presbytere on the left of the Cathedral, now 
used as a part of the State Museum, and on the 
right of the Cathedral the Town Hall and Jail, 
now given over to the use of the Louisiana Historical 
Society, whose monthly meetings are held in the 
great Sala Capitular of the old Spanish Cabildo, the 
venerable and venerated room in which the ceremony 
of both the transfers of the colony took place and 
its final cession by France to the United States. 
It has suffered less at the hands of restorers than 
has the Cabildo, and is a better example of the fine 
architectural taste and skill of its builder. Don 
Almonaster's own slaves constructed it under his 
supervision. They prepared the timber for it and 
forged the iron work used in it, but his was the plan 
and his the genius for its execution. All honor be 
to him! 

At sixty, Don Andres was in station the highest 
individual in the city and, indeed, in the province, by 
virtue of his great wealth and wonderful fame as 
a benefactor. But he was not married. This he 
accompUshed also, satisfying, as in his buildings, no 
mean ambition. He sought and obtained the hand 
of the beautiful sixteen-year-old Louise de la Ronde, 
the daughter of the Marquis de la Ronde, a spoiled 
and petted belle. Society smiled and even laughed 
and in fact never ceased to play with its wits upon 
the (to society) ill-assorted couple. But he laughs 
best who laughs last, and Louise de la Ronde, the 
richest woman in the city and the foremost by virtue 
of the official dignity and solid worth of her good 
husband, could smile and laugh long after it at the 
best of her critics. 

De Pontalba sent to his wife in Spain many a 



ALMONASTER 309 

sarcastic reference to her and to her entertainments; 
nevertheless he was pleased to marry his son to the 
daughter that blessed the Almonaster marriage, and 
though he squabbled with the old Spaniard over 
bargains about brick and building contracts, still 
he indulged in no feehng of estrangement from him. 
The benefactor of the city died three years after the 
completion of his Cathedral and its pompous conse- 
cration, in the seventy-third year of his age, while 
his adored daughter, Micaela, was still in infancy. 
The tragedy of his life was that he died so suddenly 
that it was impossible to administer to him the last 
sacraments of the church. His tomb had been pre- 
pared for him by his grateful beneficiaries at the 
foot of the altar of the Sacred Heart in the Cathedral, 
but, according to a tradition full of pathos, he left 
instructions to place his body in the cemetery outside, 
as he felt unworthy of the honor intended for him 
and felt that he deserved no more than the humblest 
Christian in the parish. It was done as he prayed, 
and only after a probationary period, as it were, 
outside, was he conveyed inside the Cathedral to 
the vault covered by the slab that to-day bears his 
coat of arms and the record of his life, titles and 
services. The carved letters, though almost effaced 
by the tread of many generations, are still visible. 
His epitaph is written in Spanish, which, translated, 
is as follows: 

Here lie the remains 

of 

Don Andres Almonaster y Roxas 

A Native of Mayrena 

In the Kingdom of Andalusia 

He died in the City of New Orleans 

On the 26th day of April, 1798 



310 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Being 73 years of age 
A Knight of the Royal and Distinguished 

Order of Charles III 

Colonel of the MiHtia of this department 

Alderman and Royal Lieutenant of this Corporation 

Founder and Donor of this Holy Cathedral 

Founder of the Royal Hospital of 

St. Charles and of its Church 

Founder of the Hospital for Lepers 

Founder of the Ursuhne Convent 

Founder of the School for the Education of Girls 

Founder of the Court House 

All of which he had built at his own expense 

In this City 

Requiescat in Pace 

His wife and daughter inherited his great fortune 
which measured above any fortune hitherto known 
in the city, but it brought them only the enjoyment 
of wealth, not happiness. Micaela, when seventeen, 
was married to the young Celestin de Pontalba, son 
of the distinguished and aristocratic Baron de 
Pontalba. The match was considered a perfect one 
at the time; and was called the most important 
marriage that ever took place in New Orleans. It 
turned out, however, calamitous for both parties 
to it. 

Madame Almonaster, after her daughter's mar- 
riage, bestowed herself and her fortune upon the 
young French Consul stationed in the city, M. 
Castillon, a man much younger than she; for which 
infringement of good taste, as it was considered, 
she was made the victim of a charivari greater than 
ever known before in the city, and the like of which 
has never been attempted since. For three days 
the unfortunate couple were chased by the truly 
infernal racket of bells, horns, drums and every 



ALMON ASTER 311 

noise-producing instrument available. They tried 
every avenue of escape in vain. A stranger, arriving 
in the city at the time, describes the wild excitement 
that prevailed; the streets were blocked, all traffic 
was suspended and, in short, the life of the populace 
was given over to tormenting Madame Castillon 
until she capitulated and paid the ransom exacted 
for her marriage. 

Even the sedate Governor Claiborne pauses in a 
letter to President Monroe, March, 1804, to mention 
it. 

". , . The young and giddy were engaged in a charivari at 
the expense of an old widow" (she could not have passed her mid- 
forties) "who has lately married a young man ... a Madame 
Don Andres Almonaster, whose annual income is about forty 
thousand dollars. The young men are determined to persecute the 
married pair until they agree to give a splendid fete to the genteel 
part of society and one thousand dollars to the poor of the city. 
It is expected that these terms will be agreed to." 

A passing stranger describes what he witnessed: 

". . . Charivaries are still practised. They consist in mob- 
bing the house of a widow when she marries, and they (the mob) 
demand a public donation as a gift. When Mme. Don Andre was 
married she had to compromise by giving three thousand dollars 
in solid coin. On such occasions the mob are ludicrously disguised. 
In her case there were effigies of her late and present husbands in 
the exhibition drawn in a cart . . . the former husband in a 
coffin, the widow represented by a living person . . . sits near 
it. The house . . . mobbed by the people of the town vocifera- 
ting and shouting . . . hundreds on horseback; many in disguises 
and masks, and all with some kind of discordant and loud music 
such as old kettles, shovels and tongs and clanging metals can 
strike out. Everybody looks waggish, merry and pleased. Very 
genteel men can be recognized in the melee; all civil authority and 
rule seems laid aside. . . . This affair, as an extreme case, lasted 
three days, and brought in crowds from the country. It was made 



312 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

extreme because the second husband was an unpopular man of 
humble name, and she was supposed to have done unworthily. 
. . . The whole sum was honorably given to the orphans of 
the place. ... At a later period, the great la^vyer Edward 
Livingstone (who married the beautiful Louise Moreau de Lassy 
tiee d'Avezac de Castera) received a charivari, but on this occa- 
sion the married pair came out promptly to the balcony and thanked 
the populace for their attention, and asked them to walk into the 
courtyard and partake of the good cheer provided. The compli- 
ment was received with acclamations and good wishes in return 
were made for many years of happiness to the married pair, and 
the throng dispersed in a good humor." Note — Diary of John F. 
Watkins, quoted in "History of Louisiana," by A\c6e Fortier. 

Madame Castillon, with her husband, shortly 
afterwards took her departure for France, where 
she joined her daughter. She died in France in 
1827 and was buried there. 



CHAPTER XX 
DE LA RONDE 

PIERRE DENIS DE LA RONDE, the father of 
Madame Ahiionaster, was born and baptized in 
Quebec in 1726. He was the son of Louis Denis, 
Sieur de la Ronde, Captain of a company in the 
Marine, and ChevaHer of the Order of St. Louis. 
His mother was Dame Louise Cartier de Lotbiniere; 
his godfather was Pierre de Rigaud de Vaudreuil, 
who afterwards became Governor of Louisiana. 

The line of the family descends from Simon Denis, 
Seigneur de la Trinity, grandson of Mathurin Denis, 
who was married twice, his first wife being Jeanne 
du Breuille, sister of the Procureur du Roi in Tours 
in 1661. From them descend the Louisiana branch 
of the family, headed by Pierre Denis de la Ronde. 

By his second wife, Frangoise du Tertre, he had 
twelve children, all living at his death. They, 
according to the family genealogy copied from cer- 
tified documents, filled important positions in Tours, 
where they married into the families of nobility. 
Their arms are still to be seen on a great house in 
old Tours facing the public square: they consist of 
a bunch of grapes on a field ^ 'gules'^ supported by 
two stags, and they are also carved in the nave of a 
little chapel near one of the gates of the city. Their 
tomb is near the altar of the Virgin; it is of stone 
with the arms of the family applied in brass. Their 
patent of nobility was accorded the family in Quebec, 
in 1691. 

313 



314 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

When Pierre Denis de la Ronde came to Louisiana 
is not definitely known. The first mention of his 
name occurs among the officers under Bienville 
during the early days of the settlement of the 
colony. In 1769, the Chevalier de la Ronde, retired 
Lieutenant of Infantry, signed the petition addressed 
to the Superior Council asking the expulsion of the 
Spanish frigate that, Bince the retirement of Ulloa, 
had remained stationed in the river, ''a constant 
menace and source of vexation to the inhabitants 
of the city." 

He married Madeleine Broutin about 1727. She 
was the daughter of the royal engineer under Bien- 
ville who was connected by marriage with the great 
families of Marigny and de Pontalba. She was also 
the widow (the second wife) of de Lino de Chalmette. 
Their home, undoubtedly the most beautiful planta- 
tion home in Louisiana at that day, was called 
Versailles. It lay below the city at the distance of a 
pleasant drive. Its picturesque ruins can be seen 
to-day. They recall vividly what the place must 
have been in the past, and speak eloquently of the 
refinement and elegance of the family who built it 
and lived there. 

The beautiful Louise de la Ronde, who became 
the wife of Almonaster, was born there, and as a 
child played under the shade of the magnificent 
avenue of oaks which still defy the aging of time. 
When the famous invasion of Louisiana by the 
English took place and New Orleans was threatened 
with conquest, de la Ronde was a Colonel in the 
Louisiana Militia and, as such, in the forefront of 
all the measures of defense. When the English 



DE LA RONDE 315 

effected a landing from the lake in the rear of the 
city and stole up a little bayou that brought them to 
the plantation canal, and so to the Viller6 place, the 
de la Ronde plantation was one of the five planta- 
tions that lay in the way of their advance to the city. 
When Gabriel Viller6, as may be remembered, made 
his dashing escape from his British guards, he sped 
to the next plantation, de la Ronde's, and there 
found Colonel de la Ronde, who himself had just 
rushed in from his command at Chef Menteur on 
the lake with the news of the British landing. The 
two officials jumped in a skiff at the river bank, 
crossed the stream and, seizing horses on the other 
side, spurred to the city where, covered with mud 
and breathless from their ride, they made their 
report to General Jackson, surrounded by his 
aides, that ''the British were encamped on the soil 
of Louisiana"! To repeat the old, old anecdote 
which can never be too often repeated in the estima- 
tion of Louisianians — at the close of the report, 
the General drew up his figure to its full height and 
with an eye of fire and an emphatic blow with his 
clenched fist upon the table, swore his oath: ''By 
the Eternal, they shall not sleep on our soil;" and 
turning to his aides, "Gentlemen, the British are 
below; we must fight them to-night." 

The Chalmette plantation has gained the honor 
of naming the great victory, but the attack and the 
retreat were made through the de la Ronde place; 
and many a gallant British officer and soldier 
breathed his last under the soft shade of the old 
oaks whose great trunks still carry the scars of 
cannon balls and even the balls themselves. De la 



316 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Ronde fought at the side of General Coffee on his 
own land. There is a tradition* in the family that 
it was de la Ronde who overheard the British officers 
giving the password for the night, ^'Beauty and 
Booty/' and that he conveyed it to the American 
Army, thus furnishing them with the deadliest motive 
that fired their fury against the invaders. 

The son of Colonel de la Ronde, Pierre Denis de la 
Ronde, was born in New Orleans in 1762, married 
Eulalie Guerbois, daughter of Louis Alexandre 
Guerbois and EHzabeth Trepagnier: he died at 
Versailles plantation in 1824. He had one son, who 
had no children; the name is therefore extinct. 
The nine daughters all married and have left children. 
Eulalie married a Hoa. Celeste and Heloise became 
the first and second wives of Maunsell White of 
Kentucky. Felicie married a Jorda. Amelie mar- 
ried a Forestier. Other daughters married into the 
Ducros and the Viller6 families; and another one 
became the wife of General Lacoste, whose planta- 
tion adjoined Versailles. Eliza White, the daughter 
of Celeste de la Ronde, the first wife of Maunsell 
White, was the mother of the Hon. Cuthbert Bullitt 
of Louisville, Kentucky. Heloise de la Ronde, the 
second wife of Maunsell White, had three children; 
Clara, Maunsell and Annie. Clara married the late 
Carl Kohn of New Orleans and had one child, 
Eveline, who married the well-known merchant of 
New Orleans, Victor Meyer. They had six daughters : 
Hilda, Clara (Mrs. McCaleb), Eveline, Mildred, 
Lenore (Mrs. John Hickey), Virginia. Two sons 
died in infancy. Maunsell White, Jr., married Eliza- 

* Affirmed also by Vincent Nolte in his "Fifty Years in Both 
Hemispheres." 



DE LA RONDE 317 

beth Porter Bradford ; their children are : Lucy (Mrs. 
C. P. Wilkinson); Mary (Mrs. A. R. Brousseau); 
Carl White married Mary Mitchell of Cincinnati 
(seven children) ; Sidney Johnson, married to Ellen 
Tobin of New Orleans ; EUzabeth, married to Edwin 
Rodd of New Orleans ; Anna, married to Thomas H. 
Anderson of New Orleans; Annie White, married to 
Hugh Kennedy, 



CHAPTER XXI 

CHALMETTE 

T^HE ancestry of Chalmette, a name of glorious 
-*- memories in New Orleans, has been traced as 
follows: Claude Martin Sieur de Lino; married 
Antoinette Chalmette of St. Nazaire. She died and 
was buried in Quebec in 1731. Their son, Mathurin 
Frangois Martin, Sieur de Lino, a Councillor of the 
Sovereign Council of Quebec, was born and baptized 
in Quebec in 1657, and married Catherine Noland, 
daughter of the Chevalier Pierre Noland and 
Catherine Houart. Their son, Frangois Martin 
de Lino, Attorney-General of the King, married, in 
1712, Angehque Chartier de Lotbiniere, daughter of 
Ren6 Louis Chartier de Lotbiniere, Councillor and 
Lieutenant-General in Canada. 

The Chartier de Lotbniere family, it would be 
inexcusable not to mention it, belonged to the old 
French family which bore the famous poet, Alain 
Chartier, famous not only for his poetry but for the 
pretty anecdote about him which has survived and 
which outshines his poetry. It is said that he was 
kissed by a Queen of France while asleep (Marguerite 
of Scotland, wife of the Dauphin, afterwards Louis 
XI; one of the ^^ three Marguerites" of French his- 
tory.) Her attendant ladies remarking to her that 
he was the ugliest man in France, '^I am not kissing 
the man," she answered, ''but the lips from which so 
many beautiful words have come." 

Frangois de Lino died in 1721 and was buried in 
the church in Quebec. His widow remarried. Her 

318 



CHALMETTE 319 

children from her marriage with de Lino were: 
Marie Angelique, Ignace Frangois Pierre and Louis 
Xavier, de Lino de Chahnette, who was born and 
baptized in Quebec in 1720. He became an officer 
in the troops of the Marine and was commandant 
in the Arkansas country in 1751. He is mentioned 
by Michel de la RouvilHere, the commissary under 
Vaudreuil, in an official communication as ^'M. 
de Lino, Lieutenant, a relative of M. de Vaudreuil," 
who had left his post without permission and had 
come to New Orleans, but who was sent back at 
once by M. de Vaudreuil who, however, did not 
inflict any punishment upon him, ' 'because there 
is no disciphne here." He married, in New Orleans, 
Madeleine Marguerite Broutin, daughter of Ignace 
Frangois Broutin, a Captain of Engineers in Louis- 
iana and commandant of the post at Natchez. 
Her mother was Marie Madeleine Lemaire, the 
widow of Philippe de Marigny. When Louis 
Xavier de Lino died in 1755 his widow married, the 
following year, Pierre Denis de la Ronde, a Chevalier 
of the Order of St. Louis, and son of Louise Chartier 
de Lotbiniere. From this marriage there issued 
Louise de la Ronde, who married Don Andres 
Almonaster, and Pierre Denis de la Ronde, who 
married Eulalie Guerbois. 

Madeleine Josephine de Lino de Chalmette, the 
daughter of Louis Xavier de Lino and Madeleine 
Broutin, born in New Orleans in 1752. She was 
married, in 1777, to Frangois de Verges de St. 
Sauveur, a retired officer, the son of Bernard de 
Verges, Chevaher of St. Louis and of Dame Marie 
Therese Pinot. She died in New Orleans in 1722. 

Louis Xavier de Lino de Chalmette, son of Louis 



320 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Xavier de Lino and Madeleine Broutin, born in 
1753, married in New Orleans Adelaide Fazende, the 
daughter of Gabriel Fazende and Charlotte de 
Verges. Ignace de Lino de Chalmette, on whose 
plantation the Battle of New Orleans was fought, 
was the posthumous son of Louis Xavier de Lino 
and Madeleine Broutin. He married Victoire de 
Vaugines, daughter of the Marquis Etienne de 
Vaugines, Lieutenant-Colonel in a regiment of the 
line and a Chevalier of St. Louis and of Dame 
Antoinette P^lagie Petit de Livilliers. He died in 
1815; his widow in 1836. 

Chalmette figures in de Pontalba^s letters to his 
wife, it may be remembered, as returning from his 
post in the West with a large fortune which de 
Pontalba looked upon with suspicion until he found 
out that it was real and legitimately acquired. He 
came to New Orleans with a large family; among 
them two young lady daughters, Victoire and 
Azelie, very gay and charming, but needing the 
accomplishments to be acquired in the city.* 

* A delicate note on miniature paper bordered with roses has 
carried down the past century the following gallant trite souvenir 
of Azelie when a young lady. 
"To Mademoiselle Chalmet, at her Mother's, 

Royal Street between Contti and Bienville: 

"The Domino of yesterday evening presents his compliments to 
Melle. Azelie Chalmet, and begs her to have no feeling against him if 
he does not make himself known. Circumstances force him to 
this. Nevertheless, if she is going to the ball next Saturday, she 
will be teased again by a 'rabbit head,' who will be the same person 
as last night. It is useless for her to seek to know him by means 
of this note, for he has changed his handwriting. 

"He wishes her all happiness, and will be the first to kiss her 
hand when she steps aboard Hymen's bark. 

"Her devoted servant." 

Kindness of the late J. W. Cruzat, who holds the original. 



CHALMETTE 321 

Chalmette, looking for an investment for his 
money, was persuaded by Philippe de Marigny, his 
relative by marriage, to buy a plantation below the 
city, presumably the very plantation upon which 
the battle w^as fought. De Pontalba advised against 
the purchase and confided to his wife that he thought 
Philippe de Marigny was unloading on Chalmette an 
unprofitable piece of property; but this suspicion 
did not dawn upon the gallant Chalmette, although 
the plantation never proved a profitable investment. 

When Marigny died he made Chalmette the 
guardian of his young son, Bernard, who, as he had 
found out, needed a strong hand to guide him. 
Chalmette's conscientious interpretation of this 
responsibility and his serious efforts to convert the 
monumental spendthrift of Louisiana (as he turned 
out to be) into a thrifty, sedate young gentleman 
have been detailed in the life of Bernard Marigny. 
Chalmette used to repeat to his pupil: *^Get educa- 
tion — a man without education is only half a man.'* 

Until he died, his life was that of an easy-tempered, 
pleasure-loving sugar planter, possessed of ample 
means to gratify his social tastes. In the Museum 
of the Historical Society in the Cabildo is shown a 
silver trophy w^on by Chalmette in a shooting contest 
in 1812, a ^'Papegai^^ (so named from the target, a 
gaily painted bird, perched on a post), one of the 
popular sports of the city. He was a noted shot and 
could hit a mark, firing back over his shoulder. In 
the same case with the trophy is a collection of 
pretty feminine trifles: black lace veils, fans and 
bits of jewelry, collected from the ladies of the 
family to whom they had descended; trinkets at 
which the eye smiles through tears. They had 



322 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

belonged to Madame Chalmette, and as pretty as her 
trinkets are, so is the praise of her husband, that 
although a man loving pleasure and the ladies, he 
never forgot his love for his wife. 

When the British Army made its appearance 
below the city, the Chalmettes abandoned their 
home and sought shelter in a small house on Royal 
Street between Conti and Bienville Streets, a little 
house that they kept in the city as a ^'pied a terre^^ 
when in town attending the opera or balls. One 
week after the battle, Chalmette mounted his 
horse and rode to his plantation. Nothing remained 
of his home but blackened ruins. Even the oak 
trees that surrounded the house were annihilated. 
It is said in the family that the rocket that set fire 
to the house and buildings to destroy them, for 
mihtary reasons, by Jackson's orders, was sent off 
by a young man of the connection. To make his 
ruin the more complete, Chalmette had just bought 
the plantation adjoining his intending to cultivate it. 
Without hope of ever retrieving his fortune, he turned 
his horse homeward. Three weeks after the battle, 
two weeks after his visit to the scene of it, he died, 
and was buried in the St. Louis Cemetery. 



CHAPTER XXII 

CRUZAT 

T^RACING a good family to its genealogical 
-*- source is like following a path up a mountain 
to its summit — sure of the prospect to be enjoyed. 

Fray Garcia de Engui,* in his manuscript history 
of Navarre, affirms that the family of Cruzat is one 
of the most ancient and illustrious of that kingdom ; 
and Lope de Vega, in his ^'Conquest of Jerusalem,'' 
makes mention of Don Pedro Cruzat fighting with 
Don Ramire, King of Navarre, and Godefroi de 
Bouileon when the holy city was captured. He 
gained great fame for himself, which he extended 
by his further exploits on the Euxine Sea and the 
Indian Ocean. 

A worthy descendant of Don Pedro was Don 
Aymar de Cruzat who, in the thirteenth century, 
acquired lordship over many cities of Navarre. 
With noble and knightly valor, he defended Pam- 
peluna against the Navarrese, receiving an arrow 
wound in the face, for which he was rewarded by 
King Philip in the year 1279. 

He had married Madeleine de Marigny, of a 
noble French family. His one son, Raoul Cruzat, 
married his first cousin, Blanche Almoravid, daughter 

* Taken, with the kind permission of Mrs. J. W. Cruzat, from 
the compilation made by her late husband from the authentic docu- 
ments in the family archives of the Marquis de Feria, all of which 
have been legally attested. 

323 



324 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

of Garcia Almoravid and Violante Marigny, in an 
effort to unite the rival houses of Cruzat and 
Almoravid and stay their bloody encounters. Their 
sons, Berenger I, II, and III, maintained the fame 
of the family as fighters and, during the following 
century, the family rose to important positions in 
Spain, enjoying the steady favor of the King, who 
conferred on them the highest decorations of 
chivalry and accorded the family the privilege of 
representing the nobihty of Navarre and voting in 
the Cortes. 

By the end of the fifteenth century the elder 
branch became extinct and the name of Cruzat was 
merged into that of Gongorra, the name of the 
marquisat conferred on Jean Cruzat in 1695. To 
the elder branch belong Don Luis, who became Grand 
Prior to the Order of St. lago; Michel, a General in 
the Spanish Army and a Knight of Calatrava, who 
died in Havana fighting against the Dutch; and 
Fray Martin, Grand Master of St. lago, who was 
Governor of Galicia and Viceroy of Sicily. The 
younger branch of the family, known as Espeleta, 
gave to Louisiana the family known in New Orleans 
to-day. 

Francisco Cruzat, the first of the name in Louisiana 
and the son of Balthasar, w^as born in Tafala, Spain, 
in 1739. He became a Captain of Grenadiers and 
came to Louisiana in the troops of O'Reilly. Unzaga, 
the first Spanish Governor after O'Reilly, appointed 
him to be Lieutenant-Governor of Upper Louisiana 
(the Illinois country), in 1780. He was promoted to 
Lieutenant-Colonel by Galvez for services rendered 
in his campaign against the English, and reap- 
pointed to the position of Lieutenant-Governor of 



CRUZAT 325 

Upper Louisiana, one of the most important positions 
in the Spanish colony in the critical period of its 
history when French, English and Indians were all 
intriguing against it. 

Cruzat married a countrywoman, Nicanora Ramos 
y Tibaldo of Cartagena, Spain. Their home was in 
St. Louis. She was the heroine of an adventure 
that made a commotion in the Spanish colony and 
came near bringing on active hostilities between 
the British and Spaniards. With her two little 
sons, she was making the return voyage from New 
Orleans to St. Louis (to join her husband after a visit 
to the city) when her boat was attacked at the 
St. Francis River. According to the report she made 
of the occurrence, as her boat was passing they were 
hailed in French by a man who told them that he 
had letters from Don Francisco Cruzat for his wife. 
BeHeving this deceitful pretext, her captain ordered 
the boat to be stopped so as to get the letters. As 
soon as they were near the strange boat a rope was 
fastened to them and they were summoned to sur- 
render as prisoners of the King of Great Britain. 
About the same time there came rushing out of the 
bushes about forty Englishmen, who took posses- 
sion of the boat and tied the passengers and rowers. 
While they were tying the rest, Jayme Colbert, 
a Frenchman in command of the Englishmen, 
claimed her. He told her to be calm, that she 
would not receive the slightest offense and that he 
would conduct her in safety to her husband in 
Illinois. He had the boat brought alongside and all 
entered it. When they had gone about a quarter of 
a league the boat was stopped and all were taken to 
a prison made of logs, with no opening except a 



326 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

wicket gate and a hole on top for air. She was well 
treated in prison. Finally, a few days later, the 
alarm came that some pirogues of Americans were 
approaching. Colbert took away the other prisoners, 
leaving her alone, and telling her to keep her sons 
quiet. He returned soon to put her and her sons 
on their boat. She told him that she knew nothing 
of the region and asked that the owner of the 
boat be released from prison. This was done. They 
went on foot through a thick wood of sassafras and 
after having crossed rivulets and brooks arrived 
at the place where a boat was moored. She did not 
know how far she was from the Indian (Chickasaw) 
village, but heard it was about eight days' journey. 
A Chickasaw chief (a son of Colbert), advised her to 
ask to be sent to New Orleans instead of to the Illinois 
Post. After many entreaties, her captors were 
induced to ransom her for the sum of four hundred 
pesos. She said the intention of Colbert had been 
to hold her in the Chickasaw region until they were 
exchanged for the EngHshmen captured at Natchez. 
She died and was buried in St. Louis in 1796. 
Her husband, promoted to a command in the Regi- 
ment of Louisiana, came to New Orleans in 1788 
and from thence went to Pensacola with his battalion 
and there he died. Their son, Joseph Cruzat y Ramos, 
served as captain in the Louisiana Regiment. He 
married Dofia Maria Palao and died in Havana. Of 
his four children, all but one married. Joseph, his 
son, married Alix Coulon de VilHers, the daughter 
of Marc Coulon de Villiers, who was the son of 
the great Villiers, as Louisianians call him for 
the distinction he won in his celebrated encounter 
with Washington in 1756. One daughter, EulaUe, 



CRUZ AT 327 

married Pedro Sedano. Their son became the 
first Count of Casa Sedano. He became also a 
Councillor of State, Deputy in the Cortes, and 
Gentleman-in-Waiting to the King. He wore the 
Grand Cross of Isabella the Catholic, was a Chevalier 
of the Order of Carlos HI, was given the Grand Cross 
of Medjidie and was made Commander of the 
Legion of Honor of France. He was also a member 
of many literary and artistic societies and became 
associated with Castillo in the Liberal government of 
Spain. The other daughter, Malvina, married 
Nicolas Heredia, an officer of Public Instruction and 
Professor of Literature in the University of Havana. 

To descend to the plainer and simpler folk of our 
New Orleans narrative, Antoine Cruzat, the son of 
the Governor of Illinois and Nicanora Ramos, was 
born in St. Louis and came to New Orleans in 
1795. In the same year he entered the service of 
Spain as cadet in the Regiment of Louisiana, con- 
tinuing in this service until the cession of the colony 
to the United States. He then retired from miUtary 
service with the rank of Captain. 

He had married, in 1796, Victoire de Lino de Chal- 
mette, or, according to the Spanish record of it, 
Victoria Morenciano de Chalmette. His marriage 
was a long and happy one, being blessed with 
fifteen children. He was staid and dignified; his 
wife sparkling with fun and wit. Many amusing 
stories are related of them. She was devoted to balls 
and never missed one ; he was too serious to care for 
them. One night after she was dressed in full 
ball costume, with her hair piled up in puft's and 
curls, topped with a feather, awaiting the time to 
start, he felt a twinge of rheumatism and decided 



328 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

that he could not expose himself by going out. 
She protested. He was stolid. 'To bed then," 
she said with a shrug of the shoulders and bundled 
him off to his couch. Dressed as she was, she 
covered herself up in hers. As she lay there, regret- 
ting the pleasure she had missed (he, well satisfied, 
went to sleep at once), she heard whispering and 
laughing outside her door and her name called. 
''Come to the ball! Come! Come! We cannot get 
along without you ! Everybody is asking for you ! It 
is not a ball without you!" And so they went on. 
She stood it as long as she could; then with a bound 
she was out of the bed. "I am coming! I am com- 
ing!" She shook out her skirts quickly. "Bonne 
nuit, Don Antonio ; I hope your rheumatism will get 
better with sleep." She opened the door to the 
street. (It was one of the little houses of early 
New Orleans architecture.) "Ah, how good it was 
I did not take down my hair!" (putting her hands up 
to feel her puffs and feathers) was all she said to her 
friends. 

When the colony became American, Antoine 
Cruzat became an American citizen, though he was 
the only one of the family to do so. His eldest son, 
Manuel, born in 1798, fought at the Battle of New 
Orleans and doubtless witnessed the destruction of 
his grandfather's home and plantation. He married 
Malvina de Verges, daughter of Pierre de Verges 
and Heloise Chalmette, and died in 1848. His 
children were Malvina, who married Denis Villere, 
the son of Gabriel Viller6; and Odile, who married 
Edmond Villere, brother-in-law of her sister. Each 
daughter left five children. 

In 1814, Antoine Cruzat was chosen by the Pohce 



CRUZAT 331 

Jury of the Parish of Orleans as Treasurer of the 
Parish. He served also as Secretary of the Jury until 
it was abolished in 1848. For thirty years, also, he 
was Warden of the St. Louis Cathedral, a position 
of the highest local distinction and filled only by 
men of irreproachable reputation. 

He died in New Orleans in 1854 — a man of dignity 
and personal importance; of unquestioned honor and 
judgment; and an infallible authority on the events 
and men of the Spanish Domination to whom 
recourse was ever had when such information was 
needed. The long list of his children is as follows: 
Armand, Manuel, Nisida, Luisa, Ignace, Zoe, Laure, 
Victoire, Gustave, Celestine, Mathilde, Eulalie, 
William, Charles and Edmond (twins). 

Nisida married, in 1819, Laurent Rousseau, the 
son of Pierre Rousseau, Captain in the United States 
Navy, later Commodore in the Navy of the Confed- 
erate States. Luisa married Gustave Laferanderie 
of St. Domingo. Zoe married Stanislas Nelson 
Peychaud, born in Kingston, Jamaica, but one of 
the youngest of Louisiana volunteers in the Battle 
of New Orleans. She was born in 1803 and lived 
until 1896. She was twelve years old at the Battle of 
New Orleans and up to the time she died loved to 
relate what she remembered of it and of the great 
men of that time. Like her mother and, indeed, like 
all her sisters, she was fond of society and shone in 
light conversation, consequently was very attractive 
to the old beaux who had the same taste as she. 
It is one of the pleasant recollections of her that, 
when she was past eighty, she would always be 
found of an afternoon in her salon, dressed with 
care, sitting in her armchair, awaiting the visitors, 



332 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

who never failed to make an appearance. Her maid 
Annette once asked what colored dress she would 
put on that afternoon: ''Ah, bah! Pink, blue, green, 
yellow! What difference does it make? At eighty 
one can wear anything. '^ And it is true, no matter 
what she wore, she was charming. 

When she died she seemed to take away a part of 
the city with her. New Orleans has never been the 
same without her. She was the type of lady that 
made the society of the city delightful a century 
ago. The garden conditions were more favorable to 
such productions then than they are to-day and, 
like the fairies, such old ladies have passed away. 
Independence of spirit, sure-footed reliance on the 
stability of fortune, confidence in the divine right of 
women, made the charm which is lacking in our old 
ladies of to-day, born into a different world, at a 
different time, to play on different guitars. 

Zoe's sister, Celestine, married also a Peychaud, 
but not of the same family. Amed^e Peychaud, her 
husband, was born in St. Domingo of French parents. 
He and his sister, Lasthemie, were saved from 
massacre in the insurrection of the slaves by their 
nurse, but in the panic of the moment the chil- 
dren became separated and the boy was brought to 
New Orleans alone. As he grew to manhood he never 
ceased to long for his sister and to search for her. 
At last he heard that she was living in Paris ; he sent 
for her and had her brought to New Orleans. As 
the ship came up the river he stood on the levee 
waiting for her. She was the first passenger to step 
on the plank and walk to the shore. As she did so, 
a gust of wind blew aside her skirts and revealed the 
most beautiful foot and ankle in the world — at 



CRUZAT 333 

least so thought a young man standing in the crowd 
to watch the ship arrive. He sought her acquaint- 
ance (gentlemen at that time acted on such im- 
pulses) , found her face as beautiful as her foot, and 
then he sought her in marriage (as a gentleman of 
Uiat time would do), and he did not seek in vain. 
Lasth6mie became his wife and he, in time, became 
a distinguished Judge. She died after the birth of 
her only son, Charles Amedee, who was reared by his 
Aunt Zoe. He, to carry the story a generation 
further, married, in 1862, Marie Meffre Rouzan, the 
daughter of Julien Meffre Rouzan, the wealthy 
merchant and bon vivant of his day, and of Alice 
Olivier de Vezin. The Rouzan home on Esplanade 
Street was, in its day, the ne plus ultra of French 
luxury, and the entertainments in it were royal 
events in society. 

Mathilde Cruzat married Dr. Edward B. Harris. 
Like her sister Zo6, she lived to a great old age, dying 
in her eighty-ninth year, vivacious and entertaining 
to the last. She outlived her three children, and her 
grandchildren, too, have all passed away. Eulalie, 
the last of the Cruzat daughters, who was born in 
1817 and died in 1906, married Edouard Gardere 
in 1841. He was the son of Frangois Gardere, 
Treasurer for the State of Louisiana, and of Elisa 
Riviere, the daughter of the brilliant Madame 
Riviere, who was the life of the social circle of 
Governor Carondelet. The Garderes lived on a 
great plantation opposite the city, which is still in 
their possession and where they, despite the cruel 
changes wrought by time to plantation owners, 
still maintain a kind of seigneurie over the region. 
The seclusion of their home and their own dignified 



334 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

lOve of retirement have, as it were, sealed their 
family archives from the public. 

The children of Edouard Gardere and Eulalie 
Cruzat are Louise, who married George Olivier; 
Arthur; Edouard; William; Corinne; Gustave; and 
Ahce, who married, in 1889, William O'Connor. 

WilUam Cruzat, the thirteenth child of Don 
Antoine Cruzat and Victoire de Lino de Chalmette, 
was born in 1819, and died in 1900, attaining the 
good old age that seemed a hereditary right of the 
family. He married his cousin, Josephine Ohvia 
Cruzat, daughter of Joseph Ignace Cruzat, Spanish 
Consul at Mobile, and Alix Suzanne Coulon de 
ViUiers. His long life was devoted, not to material 
but to historical interests. 

He left one daughter, Modeste, and a son, John 
William, born in 1858, whose life, therefore, is 
still too fresh in memory for a review of it as history, 
and yet no man, in truth, ever served history better 
or more faithfully. Into his soul had been breathed, 
as it were, the breath of the finer life of the past of 
his State; and the inspiration elevated him above the 
sordid views of the present. To his fellow citizens he 
appeared, doubtless, merely a steady-going, hard- 
working bank official, with a brain intent only on 
its treadmill duties, whose handsome face was ever 
clouded with the shade of portentous responsibilities. 
To the eyes of a few friends, however, he revealed his 
real identity — that of a secret, ardent student of 
history, a passionate collector of documents and 
facts to serve, as he knew they would serve, to make 
the path straighter for other students and to build 
up reputations that would overshadow his own 
modest worth. He was a recluse, shy of outside 



CRUZAT 335 

intercourse, sparing of words, self-effacing to the 
utmost limit, yet outspoken and bold in historical 
interests. 

A good friend of the Louisiana State Historical 
Society, he served as its treasurer in the hard years 
of its rehabiUtation after its seeming final bank- 
ruptcy caused by the Civil War, taking upon himself 
a burden shunned of others. In his hands meager 
financial reports lost their depressing influence; and 
the members of the society were sustained by the 
sense of carrying on a noble work in the intellectual 
progress of the State. He drew upon the casket of 
his memory, in which were stored the historical 
relations of his father and grandfather, to supply 
papers needed for an evening's programme. What 
he wrote has been proved authoritative on the sub- 
ject of the Spanish Domination, and the historical 
importance to the colony of the men contributed by 
Spain to its population. He generously opened, 
when they w^ere needed for an exhibit by the society, 
his precious and unique store of family medals, 
medalUons, miniatures and decorations, and placed 
them on view. In short, as a member expressed it, 
''Cruzat was not only the treasurer but the treasure 
also of The Historical Society. '^ 

111 health forced his retirement from the Bank 
but not from his good historical work. His corre- 
spondence during his last years with his relative. 
Baron de Pontalba of Paris, resulted in obtaining 
the invaluable collection of the Pontalba letters to 
which due honor has already been paid in this 
volume. He obtained also from the Baron the 
letters and secret despatches of Governor Miro that 
throw the light of day into a very obscure corner of 



336 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

international history — a collection of documents 
that interest not only Louisiana but the whole 
continent. His carefully traced genealogical records 
are and must remain the foundation of such research 
work. He died in 1913, leaving behind him his 
study, filled with books, notes and documents, a 
mass of material that is still to be properly inven- 
toried, that can never be rightly appraised. 

Cruzat married, in 1883, Heloise Hulse, the 
daughter of Albert Hulse (of an old Welsh family), 
and of Mathilde Chauvin de Lery (that sure and 
well-certified historical family). His wife proved an 
able coadjutor in his historical work and, since his 
death, the ardent executor of his rich historical 
estate. Their three children are : Joseph de VilHers, 
Marie Josephine (Mrs. James E. Strawbridge), and 
William. 

Note. — Heloise Cruzat is at present Assistant Secretary of the 
Louisiana Historical Society and a most indefatigable worker for 
it. Her essays on Louisiana history and her translations from old 
Spanish and French documents place her in the first rank of present 
day historical writers. Like her husband, she learned three languages 
perfectly — EngUsh, French and Spanish. 



CHAPTER XXIII 
JUMONVILLE DE VILLIERS 

THIS name is considered a feather in the cap of 
Louisiana, stuck there in honor of a celebrated 
episode that preceded the War for Independence 
which linked the name with that of Washington. 

The incident is ancient now, but in its day of 
youth and freshness found a place in every American 
history. As it was then related: In 1753 the French 
and English in America were at peace by virtue of 
the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, but both sides were 
secretly on the alert for the renewal of hostihties 
which soon was to follow as the Seven Years' War. 
Their traders clashed over every boundary line and 
advanced post. The poUcy of France, as we know, 
was to unite Canada with Louisiana by means of a 
chain of fortified posts, which would insure her the 
possession of the great waterways of the country, 
and crowd England between the AUeghanies and the 
Atlantic Ocean. 

Midway between Canada and Louisiana lay the 
Ohio Valley. Should the EngUsh gain possession of 
it, they would cut in two the French hne of fortifica- 
tions and sever the territory of Louisiana from the 
French. This the English were determined to do. 
They sent their men out from Virginia and estab- 
hshed trading posts along the banks of the Ohio 
and its branches, and their traders were soon deftly 
winning the Indians to aUies. The French, no whit 

337 



338 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

behind the EngUsh in enterprise, descended through 
Lake Erie, drove the English away, and built three 
forts to guard their position. One of these, and the 
most important, was Fort Duquesne, situated at 
the fork of the Monongahela and Alleghany Rivers 
(the present site of Pittsburgh). 

George Washington, then a young lieutenant- 
colonel in the Colonial army, was sent by the Gover- 
nor of Virginia to make a protest to the French 
against their encroachments. 

The protest proving unavaiUng, he was sent the 
following year with a mihtary force against the new 
fort. He marched in advance of the troops at the 
head of a detachment to clear the way and make a 
road for the advance of the rest of the army. 

While he was thus engaged, Indian spies and scouts 
brought him warning that a French force was advanc- 
ing against him, hoping to surprise him. To pre- 
vent this, he advanced his troops, maneuvering to 
surprise the French. He succeeded. The French 
saw him in time only to rush to their arms. A 
spirited fight ensued, during which Jumonville de 
Villiers, the young commander of the French, about 
the same age as Washington, was killed, after which 
his troops surrendered and were sent prisoners to 
Virginia. 

When the news of the disaster reached the French 
in Louisiana, passions flamed up in wild fury, with 
clamoring for vengeance against the EngUsh. Cou- 
lon de ViUiers, a brother of Jumonville, stationed in 
the Illinois country, obtained permission from Gover- 
nor Kerlerec to leave his post and proceed at once to 
avenge his brother's death and wipe out the dis- 
grace to French arms. For this purpose he raised a 



JUMONVILLE DE VILLIERS 339 

force of five hundred Frenchmen to which were 
added several hundred Indians. He hastened to 
Fort Duquesne and found Washington entrenched 
in a rude fortification called Fort Necessity, not far 
from the scene of his first engagement. Coulon de 
Villiers and his Canadians attacked with such fire 
that the English soon showed signs of yielding and 
agreed to a capitulation. Washington, who did not 
understand French, was obhged to use an interpreter, 
a man of great ignorance and, as it turned out, un- 
trustworthy. Coulon's terms contained a clause 
whereby Washington acknowledged that Jumon- 
viUe de VilUers had been assassinated by the British, 
who fired upon him without warning when he was, 
as the French claimed, merely a peaceful envoy to 
the British. The word ''assassination" had by the 
ignorant interpreter been rendered ''killed" in the 
articles that Washington signed, as was fully 
explained afterward. However, the surrender of the 
British took place to Coulon de Vilhers on the 
4th of July, 1754, and the Father of his country had 
to withdraw before him! 

The incident created a reverberating excitement 
in France, and the vile epithet of assassin was hurled 
at Washington in all pubhc assembhes and speeches, 
and as such he was denounced in all the newspapers 
and journals. Thomas, a distinguished member of 
the Academy, wrote an epic in four cantos entitled 
"Jumonville," expressing the utmost violence of 
abhorrence for the dastardly way in which he had 
been assassinated. 

Coulon de Villiers won a promotion for his victory ^ 
and was made Chevalier of the Order of St. Louis. 
On the surrender of Canada to the English, he with / 



340 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

his two sons came to Louisiana and settled in the 
Opelousas country. The eldest son was in the serv- 
ice of Spain when the cession to the United States 
took place. He took the title of chevaher after the 
death of his father, and died in Opelousas, leaving a 
large family whose descendants write their name 
to-day DevilHers. 

The second son, Coulon, likewise served in the 
Spanish Army, and after the cession went to Havana 
to live, and he died there. 

The ^'old chevaher," as he was affectionately 
called, married a second time, uniting himself in 
New Orleans with Marie Frangoise Beaumont de 
Livaudais. He hved to an advanced age, dying in 
New Orleans in 1803. The only child by his second 
marriage, Charles, became a planter; he married 
Marie Louise d'Acosta, and died in the parish of St. 
Bernard in 1833. He was buried in the old St. Louis 
Cemetery, where may be read the epitaph on his 
tomb: 

"Ci-git 

Charles Jumonville Coulon de Villiers, 

Rejeton d'une illustre race 

Sans cesse aux coups du sort opposant son grand cceur 

Dans Vetroit sentier de Vhonneury 

De ses ayeux toujours il a suivi les traces.''^ 

During the British invasion in 1814, some of his 
property was expropriated by General Jackson for 
the public defense, and his fortune was thereby 
considerably damaged; in token of which may be 
cited the following anecdote, one of the best known 
in the repertory of the rare raconteurs of the time. 

Some years after the event, Bernard Marigny 
introduced a bill in the legislature for the rehef of 



JUMONVILLE DE VILLIERS 341 

Charles Jumonville de Villiers, and in the course of 
an eloquent speech gave the French version of the 
death of the Sieur Jumonville de Villiers, and was 
understood to hint that France and the French had 
first made Washington a hero. 

Larry Moore, the well-known senator from St. 
Helena, shouted in a voice of thunder: ''Not a word 
of truth in it! Not a word of truth in it! God 
Ahnighty made George Washington a hero!" 

The Senate was thrown into confusion. Marigny 
looked daggers. Old Larry frowned defiance. Mar- 
igny glowed with the blood of his chivalrous race. 
Moore was the type of a frontiersman: shrewd, 
prompt, brave as a gamecock. Friends interposed; 
explanations ensued; neither gentleman understood 
perfectly the language used by the other. Marigny 
had been too strongly construed. Larry meant 
not a personal, but a historic, he. 

Enthusiasts have sought to connect the family of 
the de ViUiers mth the one from which sprang the 
celebrated Duke of Buckingham; but the family in 
Louisiana seems to cherish no such claim, looking 
to no higher or better source of origin than Nicolas 
Antoine, Sieur de Vilhers, a captain in the army of 
Canada and his good wife Angelique Jarret de 
Vercheres, who was the granddaughter of the Baron 
de Longueil, and therefore a Lemoyne; hence a 
cousin of Bienville. She bore her husband seven 
sons; all of them served in the army of France. 

Aubert de Gaspe, in his fascinating volume, ''Les 
Anciens Canadiens,"* gives a tradition of the 
''Dames de Vercheres," which is also current in the 
Louisiana family; that in 1690, being attacked by 

♦Published in Quebec, 1864. 



342 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Indians in a fort, when all the men were absent, 
they put on men's clothes and, seizing guns, marched 
around the fort beating a drum so loud and lustily 
that the Indians were deluded into the behef that a 
strong garrison was inside and retired. 

De Gaspe's grandmother was a Jarret de Ver- 
cheres, and as the grandnephew of Coulon de Vil- 
liers, he gives the family account of the Fort Neces- 
city surrender which accentuates the bad faith of 
Washington, but he adds frankly that Guizot, after 
examining all the proof furnished by the French, put 
no credence in their version but adhered firmly to the 
truth of Washington's report of the affair. 

Gayarr^, in an article on the surrender of Fort 
Necessity, published in the Magazine of American 
History^ gives a print of a portrait of Coulon de 
Villiers. He is represented with a face of noble 
beauty and expression; of manly strength and firm- 
ness, tempered with courtesy and gentleness. 



CHAPTER XXIV 
LAVILLEBEUVRE 

JEAN LOUIS FIDEL FARAULT DE LAVIL- 
LEBEUVRE, Chevalier de Garrois, lives in the 
annals of Louisiana history as one of the most 
eminent of pubhc officials under the Spanish Domina- 
tion. He served as Indian Agent, or, as we would 
call it to-day, Commissioner, from 1780 to 1797. 

Lavillebeuvre was born in Rennes, the capital of 
Basse Bretagne, in 1731, and was the son of Baron 
Louis Frangois de Lavillebeuvre and Dame Jeanne 
de Beaumont. About 1754, he came to Louisiana 
to join his uncle, Baron de Kerlerec, who was at 
that time Governor of Louisiana, his father having 
been induced by the Baron to grant the young man 
permission to come to the colony. Here he was 
commissioned Ensign of Infantry by Louis XV 
in 1762, and the following year a letter of conmienda- 
tion was ^vritten to him for his good services to 
France, by order of the King.* 

In New Orleans, in 1764, he married Demoiselle 
Jeanne d'Arby, daughter of Jonathas d'Arby, an 
officer of Militia, the wedding taking place upon the 
d'Arby plantation near the city. 

The transfer of the colony to Spain being effected, 
de Lavillebeuvre passed from the services of France 
to those of the new government; and as Don Juan 

* Originals of commission and letter in the possession of Mrs. 
Anna Lavilletbeuvre Hyman, of New Orleans. 

343 



344 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

de Lavillebeuvre he was commissioned as Captain 
in the Louisiana Regiment of Infantry by Spain and 
was placed in command of Fort Panmure, one of the 
Natchez forts captured recently by Galvez from the 
British. Ricciardi, the only historical student, so 
far, who has made a special study of de Laville- 
beuvre's services in the Louisiana colony, complains 
very justly that although he hved in a very critical 
period in the history of the colony, and rendered 
services unique in their value and scope, there is no 
mention of him in any of the histories of Louisiana, 
with the exception of the one written by Professor 
Alcee Fortier of Tulane University. Ricciardi, him- 
self, has handsomely atoned for this sin of omission 
in others by his own diligent researches, delving for 
his information into the mines of the American 
State papers and sifting the Carondelet docmnents.* 

The Baron de Carondelet, by order of the King, 
conamissioned Don Juan de Lavillebeuvre to reside 
in the Choctaw Nation, whence the interesting letter 
of 1792, quoted by Ricciardi, is dated, giving an 
account of an assembly that Lavillebeuvre had held 
of that Nation, and of the speech he had made urging 
them to unite with the Chickasaws, Talapouches 
and Cherokees, to prevent ^^other white men (Eng- 
lish, French and Americans) from seizing their 
land/^ 

As Ricciardi says, the Indian trade was what both 
the Spaniards and Americans sought. In their 
competition to obtain its monopoly they made use 
of any intrigue or stratagem that cupidity could 
suggest — the favorite and easiest being to seduce 

* "The Services of Jean Louis Fidel Farault de Lavillebeuvre de 
Garrois." Nicholas A. Ricciardi. May, 1908. 



LA VILLEBEUVRE 345 

the Indian chiefs from their loyalty to sworn agree- 
ments. This was done, of course, by bribery in 
giving medals, gifts or assistance in their intertribal 
wars. The traders who were commissioned by the 
hostile outposts were unscrupulous agitators, who 
had no interest to serve but their private gain. 

De Levill6beuvre lived in this hard command for 
five years, stoHdly and faithfully serving his govern- 
ment, but maintaining, in what later generations 
have learned to know as the Lavillebeuvre way, his 
own honest principles, and not sacrificing them, as 
his predecessors had but too often done, to expedi- 
ency. This is most apparent in his official letters 
and in the letters of others about him. He writes 
with dignity and courtesy of the great Indian chiefs 
with whom he was thrown in contact and gives what 
is strikingly absent from the letters of other Indian 
Commissioners, due consideration to their problems 
and diflSculties, as well as to those of Spain. The 
acute condition arising from the marauding bands 
of vagrant Indians, deserters from their tribes, 
roaming the country, led for the most part by white 
men of bad character, in search of opportunities to 
conamit depredations, producing friction among the 
tribes and arousing retaliating vengeance from the 
white inhabitants. 

Carondelet, on his part, writes to de Lavillebeuvre 
with the utmost frankness, expressing full confidence 
in his capacity to bring about an intelligent settle- 
ment of the question upon which, in truth, depended 
the stabihty of the Spanish Domination over the 
colony. And de Lavillebeuvre was in fact reaching 
the consummation so much desired by the Governor; 
peace among the tribes and their submission to 



346 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Spain, when, his health faihng, he asked permission 
to go to Pensacola for medical treatment. Unfor- 
tunately he died on the way, at Mobile, in 1797. 

His son Juan, who had married Mademoiselle 
Eulahe de Trepagner, survived him to pass with the 
colony back into the possession of France, and from 
France to the American Government. He fought in 
the Battle of New Orleans, in token of which his 
sword is still preserved by his descendants, although 
the record of his rank in the army has not been so 
carefully preserved. 

But a little story is transmitted that is evidently 
considered of more importance. The day after he 
had bidden good-by to his wife and little son, with 
what apprehension only the young husbands of that 
date can appreciate, he went into camp. When the 
next morn had dawned on the desolate household, 
and none but the young wives of that date can appre- 
ciate what the desolation was, his little son Elie was 
discovered to be missing. For a few hours, the 
EngHsh, General Jackson, the absent husband, all 
were forgotten in the household, while a frantic 
search was made for little Elie. He could not be 
found and despair — the black despair of a mother 
who fears the worst for a child, settled down upon 
the once happy home. At last came a shout after 
an interval of anguish that seemed an eternity. The 
child had been found ! Had been picked up trudging 
on his little legs determinedly down the highroad 
along the bank of the river toward the camp at 
Chalmette, going, like his father, to take part in the 
battle. He was at the time only five, some say four 
years old, and according to one version he was, 
when found, actually stumbling into the trenches. 



LAVILLEBEUVRE 347 

Little Elie lived to be an old man, but he never denied 
that he had run away to the battle. 

Jean (as Juan was now called) Ursin had the 
reputation, in his day, of being a great hunter and a 
great lover of what used to be called fine living. 
He lived in the country above New Orleans, on 
a vast tract of land that stretched from the river 
across St. Charles Street to the woods bordering the 
lake. It is now called Rosa Park — a spot of excep- 
tional beauty and much sought after by seekers 
of residential sites who love the, as the French 
call it, ^'je ne sais quoi,'' quality that gives it dis- 
tinction above other similar sections. The dis- 
tinction is a heritage from its original owner who 
has endowed it with the charming tradition that he 
gave entertainments in his handsome home to every 
man of note who visited New Orleans in his day. 
The portrait of his grandfather, the Indian Commis- 
sioner, in Spanish uniform, hung in the place of 
honor in the dining-room, and under it w^as the 
glorious sword of Chalmette. 

Lafayette dined in this room in 1825. The 
mahogany dining table, like the glorious sword, can 
be still shown in evidence — a real mahogany table 
with leaves to match that could be extended to 
accommodate fifty places (and it did accommodate 
them for the Lafayette dinner). With the table can 
be seen the tablecloth that covered it of fine Hnen 
damask, like satin, such as could not be found to-day, 
with the fifty napkins to match, as large themselves 
as small tablecloths, woven according to a pretty 
fancy with a corbeille of flowers in the center sur- 
rounded by a garland of flowers. They were well 
worthy a festal board set in honor of so great a hero 



348 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

as Lafayette! Tradition, that seldom keeps within 
bounds when it is set talking, says that Chateau- 
briand was also entertained here by Lavillebeuvre, 
but, unfortunately for Chateaubriand, this is 
manifestly impossible. 

The great hunter was evidently a great lover of 
beautiful things, and a generous spender of money 
to procure them, for he left behind him a trail of 
reUcs to beautify the homes of his descendants. His 
daily table service was of silver according to the 
fashion of the rich men of his day. His crystal and 
silver epergne, with candelabra to match, silver 
dolphins supporting the crystal (also used at the 
Lafayette dinner), are still the handsomest of their 
kind in the city, which is celebrated for such bric-a- 
brac. A mammoth silver salver, that in old times 
was filled on fete days and anniversaries with 
cornucopias of bonbons for all the children of the 
family and all their friends, is still kept waiting in 
refuge in the house of a great-granddaughter, for 
the day when it will once again be refilled. Near it 
is the old carved mahogany mantelpiece that stood 
over the fireplace in the home of Jean Ursin — and 
still doing duty as a timepiece is the tall mahogany- 
cased clock that ticked the births and deaths during 
two centuries of the Lavillebeuvre family. There, 
too, is the round, gilt-framed convex mirror that, for 
all we know, may have once reflected the proud 
features of the great Lafayette. 

The old father, son of the Indian Commissioner, 
had lived with his son Ursin through all the years 
that led from the cession of the colony to the 
Civil War, and through the Civil War into the 
ruin and sorrow beyond. At eighty-five his eye- 



LAVILLEBEUVRE 349 

sight was unimpaired, and his wits, for he was 
ever a witty and refined ''joker." His devoted com- 
panion (a quaint memo y) was a goose who followed 
him about all day, and slept at his door at night. 
He died in 1863, four generations following him to 
the grave. His old servants remained faithful to 
him; Frangoise the cook, cooked his last dinner, for 
she had persisted in remaining a cook even after her 
husband attained the dignity of State Senator. 

Ehe Lavillebeuvre, the son of Jean Ursin, married 
Mademoiselle Jeanne Roman, the daughter of 
Governor Roman. After the death of his father he 
returned to the old square of the city and Hved on 
Dumaine Street between Bourbon and Royal Streets, 
in a house that was always cited as a typical Creole 
home, with a handsome courtyard and great drawing- 
rooms on the second floor, with Louis XVI furniture. 
Here were given from time to time receptions that 
united the best society from the old and the American 
population, Elie Lavillebeuvre and his wife always 
receiving the guests and presiding over the dances. 

The name is extinct. Charles, the only son of 
Ehe, died without children. Of his two daughters, 
one, Anna, married Thomas McCabe Hyman, son 
of a late Judge of the Supreme Court of Louisiana; 
the other, Ida, is married to Monsieur Lezin Becnel. 



CHAPTER XXV 
GRIMA 

THERE is no name more at home, so to speak, in 
the city of New Orleans than that of Grima. 
The first bearer of it in Louisiana was Frangois 
Albert Xavier Grima who came into the colony 
about 1780, bearing, if the crudity of the expression 
be permitted, his patents of nobility not with him 
but in him. 

Albert was the son of Jean Marie Grima, from the 
Island of Malta, and nothing, practically, is known 
of his history there. He enters Louisiana history 
through his marriage with Marie Anne Filiosa, 
daughter of Sylvain Filiosa, the hero of one of its 
pretty stories. 

A gentleman of Paris, Sylvain Fihosa, came into 
the colony as a soldier in a troop of French cavalry, 
which was stationed at the Natchez settlement, 
and was there in 1727 at the time of the celebrated 
massacre of the French by the Indians. The massa- 
cre was so well plotted and carried out that the sur- 
prise of the French was complete, and their defense 
useless against the great horde of savages that had 
been assembled against them. Fihosa, with his 
troop, was cut off and surrounded; and their annihila- 
tion seemed inevitable when he, on the inspiration 
of the moment, seized a pair of cjonbals and, jump- 
ing on his horse, beat them ; leading a charge against 
the howling, blood-drunken, attacking pack. In 
fact, he played upon the cymbals so masterfully, 

35Q 



GRIMA 351 

that the Indians stopped short to gaze, fearfully, 
terrified at the new weapon used against them. * 

The savages retired in dismay and thus the 
command was saved by ^'le fort Timballier/^ or 
^'le beau TimbaUier/' or ^'le vaillant Timballier/' as 
he is called in the various accounts of the affair. 
Louis XV, to whom it was reported, with his ready 
politeness always spoke of Fihosa as ''Le Sieur 
Timballier/' 

The Frenchmen were all slaughtered, but the 
women and children w^ere captured alive, to be 
reserved for worse torture and slavery. The family 
of the Sieur de Foucault were destroyed, with the 
exception of one young girl who one would like to 
think was saved by ''le beau Timballier,'' but truth 
compels the admission that she was rescued by that 
middle-aged pioneer, Le Sueur, who, as we know, at 
the first cry of alarm from the Natchez settlement, 
hastened to the relief of the French with a great 
force of Choctaws, and he it was who delivered the 
captive women and children from the hands of the 
Indians, and took them to New Orleans. There 
the orphan children and the young girls were 
received by the good-hearted Ursuline nuns and 
given a home in their convent. Marie Anne Fou- 
cault lived vdth them and was educated by them, 
until she was given in marriage to Sylvain Filiosa. 

Later in life, ''le Beau Timballier'' followed the 
peaceful avocation of farming on one of the islands 
of the Gulf of Mexico lying about the mouth of the 

* From the family notes kindly furnished by Alfred Grima, Esq.j 
grandson of Felix Grima. The dictionary gh^es Kettledrum as tho 
proper translation of "timballe" and Filiosa may have used a kettle- 
drum, which would have been just effective against the Indians, 



352 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Mississippi. According to tradition, it was given to 
him by the French Government in concession. All 
that is certain is that he hved there and that the 
island is still called TimbaUier after him. 

In 1785, Albert Grima bought the corner of Tou- 
louse and Bourbon Streets, a part of the ground 
upon which the French Opera House stood until it 
was biu-ned recently. In 1795, he bought the adjoin- 
ing lot on Toulouse Street, where the family Hved 
until about 1840, when Felix Grima purchased the 
house on St. Louis Street. For three generations 
that has been the home of the family. 

Albert had two sons: Bartolomeo, who settled in 
Mexico; and Felix, who remained to found the New 
Orleans family. Felix was born in New Orleans in 
1798. He was taught, as was Gayarre a few years 
later, in the school kept by Lefort, whom Gayarre 
has rescued from oblivion in the reminiscences of his 
childhood. Like Gayarr^, his great contemporary, 
Grima attended the College d'Orleans, then in its 
brilliant first days. He studied law in the office of 
the great jurist of the old Louisiana Bar, Etienne 
Mazureau, and was admitted to the Bar in 1819. 
Mazureau, who was Attorney-General, appointed 
him Deputy Attorney-General; and, in 1828, he was 
commissioned by Governor Henry Johnson, Judge 
of the Criminal Court of New Orleans. He married, 
in 1831, Adelaide Montegut, the daughter of Joseph 
Montegut ''fils'' and Gabrielle Hose Nicolas de St. 
Ceran, a member of one of the fine old St. Domingo 
families, who, to the enormous benefit of the city, 
emigrated thence to New Orleans during the Revolu- 
tion. Her father was a Judge at Port au Prince on 
the island: her mother, Genevieve de Linois, belonged 



GRIMA 353 

to a Breton family, which g;ave several captains and 
one admiral to the French Navy. She was married to 
Montegut ^'fils" in 1805, on the same day and at 
the same ceremony which united her first cousin, the 
beautiful JNIadame Morcau, to the great lawyer and 
patriot, Edward Livingston. 

Montegut, who was at one time an officer in the 
Spanish service, became afterwards a planter and 
died quite young in 1815. Montegut ^^pere^' was a 
native of Rocos Armagnac, France, and was the son 
of Rajmiond de Montegut. He came to Louisiana 
about 1760, and after the Spanish transfer became 
an intimate friend of Galvez. He was the chief 
surgeon of the Charity Hospital as early as 1775; 
and in 1800, under Claiborne's administration, 
became Secretary of the Treasury of Louisiana. 
His wife was Frangoise de Lille Dupart, the grand- 
daughter of Pierre de Lille Dupart, who owned a 
great concession on the outskirts of New Orleans. 
One of the ancestral Duparts was burned at the 
stake by the Indians during the Natchez war. 
Pierre de Lille Dupart left liberal bequests to the 
Charity Hospital in his will, which is still extant, 
dated 1775. 

One of the daughters of Montegut ^^pere,'' Soli- 
delle, married Joseph de Roffignac, son of the famous 
Mayor of New Orleans; another daughter of de 
Lille Dupart married Mandeville de Marigny; a 
third married Don Bartolomeo MacNamara; a 
fourth, Don Juan Arnoult. Her father dying young, 
Frangoise de Lille Dupart was reared by her aunt, 
Madame Mandeville de Marigny. A very interest- 
ing painting, in the Museum of the Historical 



354 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Society at the Cabildo, represents Dr. Montegut 
and his family, including Madame de Marigny. 

Grima's learning, abihty and conscientious work 
procured for him influential clients and he became 
attorney for mmierous prominent banks and busi- 
ness firms. He was in full course of a lucrative pro- 
fessional career when the Civil War, Hke a cataclysm, 
overturned the peace and prosperity of the country. 
His devotion to the State and to the principles of 
secession exposed him to the rigors of General But- 
ler's administration, and he was menaced with 
expulsion from the city, but he was saved by the 
influence of a devoted friend in the opposite political 
camp. 

This influence, however, was unsuccessful under 
General Banks, the successor of General Butler; 
and Grima was banished on a twenty-four hours^ 
notice. He went with his family to Augusta, 
Georgia, and maintained himself during his exile by 
teaching school and giving private lessons. In 1865, 
he returned to his home and from the ruins of his 
profession estabhshed anew his practice which 
netted him again a large fortune. 

He was a sound scholar, a linguist and a lover of 
good literature — and from time to time he made 
contributions to the French pubHcations of the city, 
one of which, '^Les Souvenirs d^un ExiW^ is still 
cited with interest and pleasure by lovers of native 
Louisiana literature. He was noted for his social 
relations with his professional brethren, particularly 
for his long friendship and intimacy with Frangois 
Xavier Martin, the great Chief Justice of Louisiana. 
The chaste and imposing monument erected over 
Martin in the St. Louis Cemetery No. 2 (on Clai- 
borne Street) was made from the design selected by 



GRIMA 355 

Grima. The Grima house on St. Louis Street is for- 
lorn now in its old aristocratic neighborhood; its 
neighbors have deserted it, forced to retreat before 
the contaminating advance of lower society. The 
fine old street with its saintly and kingly name is, sad 
to say, retrograding into a decadent quarter, but the 
house stands like a dowager of the old nobihty, 
dignified and self-possessed in her handsome middle 
age, before the encroachments of undesirable intru- 
ders. The most careless passer-by could hardly fail 
to notice and admire it, a typical sample of architec- 
ture produced by the blending of French and Spanish 
taste. The windows are wdde, the front door is sur- 
mounted by an elliptical arch with fanlights, with 
slender columns on each side. It opens with a 
generous sweep into a great hall that runs the length 
of the house. From the hall rises majestically a 
stately, curving stairway, whose newel posts are of 
brass. On each side of the hall are the four great 
gala rooms, de rigueur in colonial days, with w^alls 
frescoed on canvas — where, so the memory of 
it runs, were given the most beautiful balls of 
their day in the city; and beautiful they must 
have been to be worthy of their setting. To one 
side is the garden, as broad as the front of the 
house — so sheltered behind a tall brick wall that 
from the outside only the tops of trees and shrub- 
bery are visible; but on the inside filled with pretty 
conceits, walks and parterres, where still grow the 
bright, variegated, old-fashioned flowers of a half 
century ago. It is the kind of garden that used 
to be planted and tended by the knowing hands of an 
old slave gardener under the eye of a flower-loving 
mistress. 

For the first time in eighty years the noble old 



356 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

house is empty and deserted; its hospitable rooms as 
useless as withered breasts. Its young families 
moved away from it. The ^'Silent Chariot" bore 
away others. The last of its daughters, Adelaide, 
was carried out of the old portals only a few months 
ago to a last station in the Cathedral, and then 
to her last resting place in the cemetery. She 
was charming and well beloved, the very incarna- 
tion of the grace and spirit of old New Orleans. 
Heaven had endowed her with its choice blessing, 
a beautiful voice, that ministered to the dehght of 
society. But while it was still fresh and in its full 
beauty, she withdrew it from the world and conse- 
crated it to the service of the church — to gaunt old 
bare St. Augustin. It is pleasant to remember that 
the poorest and not the richest church, the humblest 
and not the proudest congregation in the city was 
chosen by Adelaide. 
Sweet singer, dear friend, Requiescat in Pace. 



A. 




&* Tv c. o li vj a. X O 



Vestibule of Grinia House — Newel Posts of Brass, 
Balustrade of Mahogany. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
FORSTALL 

THE Forstalls lie like a stratum of rich ore under 
the soil of New Orleans society. Scratch the sur- 
face under any prominent name, and you tap a 
Forstall. The vein is pure and true, and it has 
yielded in the past a good profit to the city. 

The record* of the family leads back, not to 
France, but to England, the name being originally 
Forestier, Forster, Forestall. A William de Fores- 
tier, a Norman knight, crossed the Channel with 
WilUam the Conqueror in 1066. Among the great 
Anglo-Norman famihes which became established 
in Ireland in the twelfth century was that of Forestier, 
or Forestall, which possessed a great estate in Kil- 
kenny. The first of the name in Ireland was 
Lawrence le Forestier, one of the companions of 
*'Strongbow," Earl of Pembroke, when he invaded 
the country in 1169. According to the register in 

* Taken from the papers kindly loaned by Rathbone de Buys, 
Esq. The documents and the genealogical record that accompanies 
them, proving the descent of the family as narrated, are attested 
"as in every respect true and genuine by the Archbishop and Primate 
of Ireland, the Archbishop of Juam, the Bishop of Waterford and 
Lismore, the Bishop of Cloin and Ross, in Dublin, October 12th, 
1758." The attestation is further guaranteed by the Apostolick 
Prothonotary, who certifies that "the antecedent lodges and arms of 
the Forstalls are true and genuine, as recited in the antecedent 
Genealogy: Signed by Fr. Thomas de Burgos, doctor in divinity 
and prothonotary Apostolick. 9th of November. 1758." 

357 



358 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

the office of Ulster King of Arms in Dublin Castle, 
the Forstalls of Louisiana descend from Peter 
Forstall, Esq., one of the descendants of this 
Lawrence, and are entitled to the same armorial 
devices — the three broad arrowheads on a shield. 

Peter Forstall, whose will was proved in 1683, 
married Mary, daughter of Nicholas Aylward, 
Esq,, of Shankill. He left several children. His 
eldest son was Edmond Forstall (the name so well 
known in New Orleans), who married Eleanor 
Butler of Dangan, of the noble house of Ormond. 
All of his three sons became Knights of Jerusalem. 

Edmond Forstall entered the mihtary service of 
France and became Captain of Dragoons under 
Louis XIV. He married, in Ireland, Ehzabeth, 
daughter of Henry Mead, Esq., of Kilkenny. Their 
eldest son, Nicholas, emigrated from France to 
Martinique, taking up his residence in the town of 
St. Pierre, where he married, in 1725, Jane, daughter 
of John Barry, K.C. Their eldest son, Michel 
Edmond Forstall, born in Martinique in 1727, 
removed to New Orleans and estabhshed himself in 
business there; and in 1761 married Pelagie de la 
Chaise, granddaughter of the Chevalier d'Arens- 
bourg, of the Cote des Allemands. In the Cathedral 
records Forstall is registered simply as "a. merchant 
of this city.'^ 

Two years before, P^lagie's sister, Louise, had 
married Joseph Roy Villere, the patriot who was 
killed by the Spaniards in 1769. Forstall took no 
active part in the rebellion against the Spaniards, 
but it is stated authoritatively that he used his 
influence with O'Reilly, whom his family had known 
in Spain, to save the life of his father-in-law, the 



FORSTALL 359 

old Chevalier d^Arensbourg who, heart and soul, 
despite his age had taken part with the revolutionists, 
and therefore had been hsted by O'Reilly for punish- 
ment with Lafr6niere and Villere. 

When the Spanish Government was organized' 
Nicholas Forstall was chosen Alcalde for several 
succeeding terms and was in office when the French 
took possession of the colony in 1803. He had five 
children by his marriage with Pelagie de la Chaise: 
Edmond Pierre Charles; Felix Edmond; Fehx 
Martin; Elizabeth Louise, who married J. B. 
Poeyfarre, in his day a noted planter and citi- 
zen whose name is preserved on a street that runs 
through the site of their old plantation. Their 
old plantation house is still standing on the street, 
a venerable reminder of a past day. They left no 
descendants. Emerante, the youngest daughter, 
married Jacques de Lery, one of the noteworthy 
Chauvin family and a first cousin of the famous 
Lafreniere. 

Edouard Pierre Charles Forstall married Celeste 
Lavillebeuvre, the daughter of Jean Louis Verrault 
de Lavillebeuvre, Chevalier de Garrois. The six 
children born of the marriage formed what may be 
called the Forstall dynasty, that reigned over the 
social and financial world of New Orleans for a half 
century. Edmond Jean married Clara Durel. Pla- 
cide married Marie Borgia Delphine Lopez y Angulla 
de la Candelaria, the daughter of Don Ramon Lopez 
y Angullo, an officer holding high rank in the service 
of Spain, and of his wife Delphine Macarty, who 
was a woman of such great beauty that when she 
went to Spain to solicit the protection of the Queen 
of Spain for her husband, who had incurred a mill- 



360 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

tary punishment, she did no more than kneel in a 
garden where the Queen took her morning walk. 
Her long black hair was unbound and hanging about 
her shoulders, her lovely eyes raised in supplication. 
The Queen stopped at sight of her, so young and so 
beautiful, and approached her with the words: 
*^Your petition, whatever it is, is granted, you are so 
beautiful !'' It may be said also of her that her 
daughters and granddaughters to the third and 
fourth generation merit the same tribute of admira- 
tion for their remarkable beauty. The daughter of 
Delphine Macarty, Delphine Lopez y Angulla, was 
born on board the ship on the young mother's 
voyage from Spain, to which circumstance the child 
owed the nickname of ''Borquite" (from hord), 
which she bears even in the memory of the present 
generation. 

The other children of Charles Edouard Forstall 
and Celeste de Lavillebeuvre were Felix Jean, who 
married Heloise de Jan, and Louis Edouard, who 
married Mathilde Plauch^, the daughter of General 
J. B. Blanche, who distinguished himself at the 
Battle of New Orleans. 

It is of tradition in New Orleans that the two 
young sons of Nicholas Forstall were put in the 
office of Panton, the great merchant, to learn busi- 
ness methods. It may be remembered that De Lino 
de Chalmette wished to do the same thing with his 
charge, Bernard Marigny, and thereby rather harmed 
than benefited him. The story is different about the 
two Forstalls. Panton's clerks, according to the 
rule of the house, lived with him, but had a separate 
table assigned them for their meals. The great head 
of the firm, however, noticing that the young For- 



FORSTALL 361 

stalls were superior in station and manner to the 
other clerks, had places for them at his own table, 
at which they thenceforth always had their meals. 
This apprenticeship was the foundation of the busi- 
ness development of the Forstall brothers and, it may 
be said, of New Orleans. The history of the house 
of Panton Leslie is yet to be written. Its rise to the 
ascendancy it acquired over the entire commerce 
of the Louisiana colony, holding in subjection as a 
collateral the trade of the great Indian tribes that 
still belonged to it, has but been glanced at by 
Gayarr6 and other historians, and the character of 
Panton himself only hinted at. He did more than 
any political power of his time to hold the vast 
country together in a common interest of trade, and 
he ranked with the Spanish Governors as a dominat- 
ing influence. Panton impressed his type upon the 
Forstalls, and they transmitted it to the generation 
beyond them — the type of the great financier who 
accumulated great wealth while maintaining the 
ideals of a grand seigneur. 

It does not take the memory of an octogenarian 
to-day to recall the type of the merchant prince of 
New Orleans — the patron of opera and theatre, dis- 
tinguished by perfect courtesy of manner, not only 
in the world of society, but also in his business office : 
a dilettante of the fine arts, a linguist, speaking with 
ease, French, Spanish and English, a man who used 
his wealth as musicians do their instruments to 
produce results of art, who traveled to London and 
Paris as their successors to-day to New York and 
Chicago, bringing back with them the standards of 
Paris and London to apply to their own life. 

Nine children were born of the marriage of Placide 



362 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Forstall with Delphine Lopez. To belong to good 
society in New Orleans is to know them and their 
connections. Anatole married Pauline Gelpi Oc- 
tave, Louise Forstall, his cousin. It was the daugh- 
ters of the family, however, who carried its prestige 
in the nineteenth century. Women they were 
of such beauty that they became a proverb, and 
of such charm that its memory outlasts even the 
financial reputation of the men of the family. 
Celeste became the wife of Henry Alanson Rathbone ; 
Emma married Emile de Buys; Pauline, Eugene 
Peychaud; Laure, Felix Ducros; Julia, Robert J. 
Taney, grandson of the Chief Justice of the United 
States; Delzire married Z. B. Canonge; Delphine 
never married but reigned a belle, even in her aged 
spinsterhood, not only in her native city but in 
Paris. 

Henry Alanson Rathbone, who married Celeste 
Forstall, was the son of Samuel Rathbone of Stoning- 
ton, Connecticut. John Rathbone, his ancestor, was 
one of the original purchasers of Block Island from 
Governor Endicott in 1660, and had a seat later in the 
Rhode Island General Assembly as representative of 
Block Island. Henry Alanson Rathbone came to New 
Orleans after the close of the War of 1812, and he is 
commemorated in social chronicles as one of the few 
Americans who was received with distinction in 
Creole society. He was a man of fine intellectual 
attainments, charming manners and brilliant con- 
versation. His wife, Celeste Forstall, retained her 
beauty to old age. Her stately home on Esplanade 
Avenue, surrounded by a great garden, maintained 
its standard of old-fashioned elegance and its luxu- 
rious appointments long after the Civil War, which 



FORSTALL 363 

ended the old standards of living as well as the old 
regime in New Orleans. She left only daughters: 
Emma, who married John B. de Lallande de Fer- 
rieres; Pauline, who married Peter Labouisse, Esq.; 
Stella, who became the wife of James Gaspard de 
Buys;* AUce, who married WiUiam Phelps Eno of 
New York; Bita, who married Edgar de Poincy. 
Edmond, the eldest of the four sons of Edouard 
Forstall and C(^leste Lavillebeuvre, is the one whose 
name is most often repeated when the family is 
recalled. From 1832 until 1872, when he died, he 
held the agency for New Orleans of the Baring 
Brothers of London, and Hope and Company of 
Amsterdam, from whom at one time he negotiated 
the sale of bonds issued by the State in favor of the 
Citizens Bank, amounting to one million dollars. 
He was also instrumental in framing the law for the 
incorporation of free banks in Louisiana. In short, 
to quote the current account of him in the news- 
papers when he died, he was the leading spirit in all 
financial banking and insurance companies in New 
Orleans for half a century. And it must never be 
omitted from his history that he fought in the Battle 
of New Orleans, as corporal of the celebrated (or 
once celebrated) Battalion d'Orl^ans. This was 
Blanche's battalion, which ran the whole distance 
from Bayou St. Jean to Chalmette to join the 
column of attack. Many of the battalion were deli- 
cate young Creole boys, yet they bore their heavy 
muskets and knapsacks with as much ease as prac- 
tised veterans. As Alexander Walker, the laureate 
historian of the battle, says to them: ^'With their gay 

*RathbDne dc Buys, Esq., the eminent architect of New Orleans 
13 their son. 



364 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

and varied uniforms, characterized by that good 
taste and regard for proportion and effect which 
distinguished the French race, with their bold, 
handsome countenances and uniform size, the 
Orleans battalion was certainly a corps of which any 
conunander might be proud." 

Forstall also owned and cultivated a large sugar 
plantation in the parish of St. James, a plantation 
that is still cited as one of the great plantations of the 
State in ante-bellum days when sugar plantations 
were, so to speak, in their glory. Upon it he adopted 
— one of the first Louisiana planters to do so — the 
advanced scientific discovery of the vacuum process 
of making sugar. It was a costly experiment and it 
needed the daring of independent wealth to carry it 
through satisfactorily, as Forstall did, thereby prov- 
ing himself to be, like Bor^, one of the great benefac- 
tors of the sugar interests of the State. 

He proved himself, too, a benefactor in other 
interests not profitable financially. As has been said 
in the life of Charles Gayarr^, Edmond Forstall made 
a valuable contribution to the Historical Society 
at the time when Gayarr^ revived it and inspired 
it by his own brilliant example. When Frangois 
Xavier Martin, the historian, was elected president 
of the society, Gayarr^ headed the Executive Com- 
mittee. Under him were, besides Forstall, de Bow, 
the owner and pubhsher of the best of all magazines 
ever attempted in the southern country,* J. B. 
French, the publisher of ^Trench Historical Collec- 
tions," and John Perkins, that rich lover of Louisiana 
history, to whom primarily historical students are 
indebted for the superb work of Pierre Margry, 

*De Bow's Review, afterwards the Southern Quarterly Review. 



FORSTALL 3G5 

published in the United States by act of Con- 
gress. 

Never has such a brilhant group of workers in the 
historical field ever been gathered in the fold of the 
society, and never, it is to be feared, can there ever 
be such a group gathered in the future. It was 
Forstall who caused to be made the first and, in fact, 
the only analytical index of the whole of the pubhc 
documents relative to Louisiana deposited in the 
archives of the ''departement de la Marine et col- 
onies'^ and ^'Bibliotheque du Roi," at Paris. An 
amazing piece of work as we see it to-day, accom- 
pHshed in full perfection of form and detail! The 
index was published in the proceedings of the society 
by J. B. French in his Historical Collections, and 
were afterwards reprinted in De Bow^s Review (Vols. 
I and II). In addition, Forstall contributed many 
interesting articles on agricultural and commercial 
subjects to the Review. 

By his marriage with "the beautiful Clara Durel,'' 
to give her her proper local title, he had four sons 
and five daughters: Eugene, married to Lize Can- 
trelle; Victoria, to de Lavillebeuvre ; Henri, to 
Mathilde Plauche; Ernest, to Mathilde Taney; 
Oscar, to a Demoiselle St. Maurice Berault. Desir^e, 
the eldest daughter, became Madame Charles 
Roman ; Eugenie, Madame Valerien Chopin ; Helena, 
Madame Adolphe Shreiber; Leda, Madame Charles 
Ohvier; Anna, Mrs. Arthur Polk. 

The old home on St. Louis Street was built for a 
large family with its numerous attendants : a princely 
estabhshment, it was called, in the language of visit- 
ing strangers who traveled to the Creole city to 
enjoy its foreign aspect and pleasures. The simple. 



366 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

plain exterior was the ideal of the architect of the 
time, an ideal that enjoined the contrast of a severe 
external appearance with great interior luxury: an 
ideal that no one better than Edmond Forstall 
knew how to flatter, with his great library of hand- 
some books, his bronzes and pictures. No article, 
no piece of furniture that was not fine and of per- 
fect taste, could pass his portal. 

He weathered, like a well-built hip, the storm of 
the Civil War, and by an honest seamanship that 
has never been questioned brought his large fortune 
through intact. Four sons volunteered for active 
service. Eugene was compelled by illness to resign 
from it; he died during the war. Henry also was 
forced to resign on account of ill health; he died on 
the day of the Battle of Shiloh. Ernest, more 
fortunate, fought during the four years and was 
twice wounded. Oscar fought during the duration of 
the war. 

Note. — Taken from the published record of the Forstall family, 
written by Charles Patton Dimitry. 

From the marriage of Jean Felix Forstall (fourth son of Edouard 
Pierre Charles and H^loise de Jan) were born : Arthur, Paul William 
Suzanne (Mrs. Duplantier), Ang^le (Mrs. Emile Duplantier), and 
Mrs. Octave Forstall. 

Delzire Forstall (Mrs. Z. B. Canonge) left: Rosa (Mrs. George 
Binder), residing in France, and Cora. 

Eliza Forstall (Mrs. Delphine Viller6) left two children: Edouard, 
who married Marie Bouhgny, and Placide Villere, who married Miss 
Cantrelle. 

Felix Edmond Forstall married Marie Adelaide Josephine de 
Morant, daughter of Charles de Morant and Catherine Amelot. 
Their children were: Coralie (Mrs. Gustavo Durel), Helmina (Mrs. 
Anatole Viller6). 

FeUx Martin Forstall married Marie Celeste d'Aunoy, daughter 



FORSTALL 367 

of Charles Favre d'Aunoy and Catherine Macarty. Their children 
were: Charles Edouard, who married Mailomoiselle de Poincy, 
daughter of Rossignol de Poincy. Their only son, Charles Oscar 
Eugene Forstall, resides in Paris. 

The wife of Comte Seminiatclli, of Italy, belongs to the de 
Poincy branch of the Forstall family; her mother was Madame 
Edouard Le Beau. 

Anatole Forstall, his cousins, William Forstall (son of Felix,) and 
Placide (son of Octave), Victor Ernest and Adolphe Forstall resided 
till their death in New Orleans. 

Eugene Forstall, the son of Charles Edouard, lived in France, 
where he was in the employ of the French Government. 

Theobald was the son of Alfred Forstall, a graduate of Yale. 
He inherited the intelligence and executive qualities of his family 
and was noted for his administrative ability. After occupying the 
position of Superintendent of the New Orleans Gas Company for 
several years, he was offered the same position in Chicago and 
accepted it, He died there in 1901, leaving several children. 



1 

CHAPTER XXVII j 

MACARTY I 

THE good old Creole name of Macarty has become 
only a memory in New Orleans. The male mem-j 
bers of the family are extinct, but the female members 
have carried the Macarty traits and qualities into . 
the other old families until there is hardly one thatrl 
does not bear a representative in their genealogical' 
record. 

The family (originally Macarthey-Mactaig) was'? 
a noted one among the great Irish families, whof 
preferred exile to the religious and political tyranny 
of their EngUsh conquerors. In the seventeenth 
century Bartholomew Macarty, of the Albemarle 
Regiment, sought refuge in France, where he gained 
promotion in the navy and died a Chevalier of St. 
Louis and Major-General of Division in the depart-, 
ment of Rochefort. His two sons, Jean Jacques?' 
and Barthelmy, came to Louisiana in 1730, the^ 
former as commander of a marine detachment, the^ 
latter as a lieutenant in the same command underr' 
him. 

Jean Jacques married Dame Frangoise de Tr^-i 
pagnier, and his two sons returned to France, wherei 
they took service in the royal army: the one in the 
marine, the other in the Mousquetaires or household I 
troops of the King. The latter married in New.' 
Orleans Jeanne Chauvin, and at her death passedl 
again into the service of France and became aide to:| 

368 



MACARTY 369 

Count d'Estaing on board the "Fendant.'^ He died 
in New Orleans in 1793. Both brothers were made 
Chevahers of St. Louis. 

Barthehny de Macarty (as he was called) cast 
his hfe in New Orleans, where he married Dame 
Frangoise H^lene Pellerin, who bore him eight chil- 
dren. From a lieutenant he rose to a captaincy in 
1732, and four years later filled the responsible posi- 
tion of Aide Major of the city. 

The Natchez massacre of 1727 had put an end 
to the old easy-going days; the Company of the 
West under the threat of the impending destruction 
of the prosperity of the colony by an Indian war, 
hastily remitted their charter to the royal govern- 
ment, and Louisiana returned to the wardship of the 
King. Governor Perier was at once recalled and 
Bienville put in power again, as the only man avail- 
able to cope with so serious a situation. He imme- 
diately set out to punish the Natchez and their 
aUies, the Chickasaws and Choctaws, using what 
miHtary force the colony furnished, and calHng on 
the home government for reinforcements. Macarty 
accompanied him on his first futile effort to bring the 
Natchez tribe to submission and later took part in 
the fatal expedition against the Chickasaws in their 
village in upper Alabama, which resulted in the 
bloody defeat of the French and the final and lasting 
disgrace of Bienville in the eyes of the French 
Government and his recall from Louisiana. 

He included Macarty in the list of officers serving 
under him: '^Chevalier de Macarty came into 
colony in 1752, Aide Major of New Orleans. Con- 
duct good. Understands detail and discipHne 
Attached to the service and doing well." 



370 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Vaudreuil succeeded to Bienville. He also led 
an army against the Chickasaws and was no more 
successful than his predecessor had been. War 
having been rehghted in Europe between the English 
and French, the colonies of the rivals sprang also to 
arms in America. Travehng along the Mississippi 
became a perilous adventure and hfe in the river 
settlements most insecure. 

Vaudreuil was made Governor of Canada and 
Kerlerec sent to Louisiana to replace him. Macarty 
was put on duty as commander of Fort Chartres on 
the Mississippi, above the Ohio, the chief seat of 
the French influence among the Indians. Here he 
remained until the final triumph of the English. 
The historian, Villiers du Terrage, quotes a spirit^^d 
letter from him to Kerlerec in which he gives the 
account of the capture of Fort Niagara by the 
English. Du Terrage praises his clear and accurate 
judgment and exclaims sadly: ''It is a pity for 
France that this brave and efficient officer was not 
given more opportunity for displaying his capacity." 

Macarty's presage of defeat was confirmed during 
the summer following, when the news came of the 
surrender by France of all her American possessions, 
except the Orleans territory, to the English. Macarty 
returned to the one French post remaining, and died 
in New Orleans about the time the news came of its 
transfer to the Spanish. He left four sons and four 
daughters. They were not the only bearers of the 
name in Louisiana. The Chevalier Jean Jacques 
de Macarty, his elder brother, who had married 
Dame Frangoise de Trdpagnier, left two sons and 
three daughters, all born in New Orleans. Only 
one son, however, Augustin Guillaume of the 




Empire Work Table of St. Domingo Mahogany and Brass. 



MACARTY 373 

Mousquetaires du Roi, who married Jeanne Chau- 
vin, left descendants. 

The sons of the ChevaHer Barthehny Macarty, 
who married Frangoise H^lene Pellerin, were as 
follows: Jean Baptiste Frangois, who married 
Helene Charlotte Fazende (daughter of R6n6 Gabriel 
Fazende and Charlotte Dreux, daughter of Mathurin 
Druex). Barthelmy Louis, the second son, married 
the Widow Lecomte; his daughter was the beauti- 
ful Delphine Macarty, who married Don Ramon 
Lopez y Angullo and became the mother of the no 
less beautiful Marie Frangoise de Borja de Lopez y 
Angullo ("Borquite")j who married Placide Forstall 
and became the mother of twelve children from whom 
descend the great New Orleans families of Forstall 
and Rathbone. 

Augustin Macarty, the son of Augustin Guillaume 
and Jeanne Chauvin, became, under the American 
Domination, Mayor of New Orleans for several 
terms. Gayarre has left a description of him that 
obtrudes itself whenever his name is mentioned 

"Macarty is of an ancient and high-toned family. He has 
served several times as Mayor of the city and is uncompromisingly 
conservative in all his views and feelings — the embodiment of the 
old regime. It was he who, in his official capacity as reporter, and 
backed by public opinion, caused the first cargo of ice brought 
to New Orleans to be thrown into the river as a measure of public 
safety, because cold drinks in summer would affect throats and lungs 
and would make the whole population consumptive." 

His first cousin, Jean Baptiste Macarty, always 
a supporter of the American Domination, became 
colonel of a regiment of militia and a member of the 
Legislative Council, and served under Claiborne as 
Secretary of State. He died in 1808 and was buried 



374 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

with military honors, "an excellent citizen and faith- 
ful officer," writes Governor Claiborne to the com- 
mander of the war vessel in port, asking that minute 
guns be fired by the vessels of war in port during the 
funeral ceremony. 

It was not the men of the family, however, but 
the ladies who, as we may say, irradiate the pages of 
the chronicles of New Orleans; the daughters of the 
Chevalier Barthelmy Macarty and Frangoise H^lene 
Pellerin. They were: Frangoise Brigitte, Marie, 
Catherine, Adelaide, Celeste Eleonore, Louis El^o- 
nore, and Marie Marthe. 

Frangoise Brigitte was the Madame Nicolas 
d'Aunoy whom the Baron de Pontalba celebrates 
as the most charming of all the charming aunts of 
his wife. She lived in the city in a large house facing 
the river and was the center of Hfe and gayety of 
the family. Marie Catherine Adelaide became 
Madame la Coihtesse Fabre de la Jonchere, whose 
plantation opposite the city was the stage for innu- 
merable gay social functions in the time of Governor 
Carondelet. 

Jeanne Frangoise, according to the Cathedral 
register, was married to "Messire Jean Baptiste 
Cesaire le Breton, son of Messire Cesaire le Breton, 
ecuyer et Seigneur de Boussou, Charmeau et autres 
lieux, conseiller de la cour Souvereigne de Paris, 
and of Dame Marguerite Chauvin de Lafr^niere." 
(It may be recalled here that the first husband of 
Marguerite de Lafreniere was Noyan de Bienville, 
executed by the Spaniards). The daughter of 
Cesaire le Breton and Frangoise de Macarty became 
the wife of Baron Delfau de Pontalba. 

But the most brilHant marriage of the family was 



MACARTY 377 

that of Celeste El^onore Elizabeth with Governor 
Miro, the successor of Galvez. She it was, more 
than her worthy husband, who reconciled Louisian- 
ians to the Spanish Government. She was young, 
beautiful and all Irish by her quick wit. Passion- 
ately fond of theatricals, she played the principal 
roles herself in the little dramas given in her hotel 
to which she invited all the ^Ute of the population, 
and she was indefatigable in her bright stratagems 
to while away the dull cares that oppressed the 
minds and made heavy the hours of the Spanish 
officials. New Orleans had never been so gay as 
under her husband's or rather her administration 
with the opera, theatre, balls, card parties and 
pleasure jaunts to the suburb of Bayou St. Jean 
or across the river to the plantation of her aunt, 
Madame Jonchere. She knew as a good society 
woman how to turn it all to such good account 
that New Orleans began to be known all over 
the American continent as the city upon it most 
w^orth living in by pleasure seekers. The great 
conflagration that had apparently wrought only 
ruin and desolation during her husband's administra- 
tion proved a blessing in disguise, as the small, 
homely French buildings were soon replaced by 
stately edifices of Spanish architecture; the Cabildo, 
the market, the Cathedral, the large courtyard houses 
with their cool alleys, great stairways and spacious 
living rooms, their decorative knockers and grill 
work enclosing their galleries. When Miro obtained 
at last his permission to retire to Spain, he left 
Louisiana not only reconciled to Spain, but even 
endeared to it and beautified by its domination. 
Madame Miro accompanied her husband to 



378 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Spain in 1791, and when he died she was so broken- 
hearted that her niece, Madame de Pontalba, has- 
tened to her and remained with her until de Pontalba 
could join them, when they journeyed to France. 
Madame Miro did not separate again from the 
Pontalbas but accompanied them to France and 
passed the rest of her Ufe with them at Mont 
I'Eveque, near Senlis. A sister, Frangoise, also 
joined her and remained with her until death, which 
came to her in her eighty-eighth year. Madame 
Miro survived Frangoise but a few years. Both are 
buried in the parochial church of Senlis. 

Which of the Macarty sisters it was who gave the 
rebuke to O'Reilly we do not know. Gayarre 
relates it, not mentioning her name, but we can 
identify her by the fact of her living on a plantation 
up the river, as the same lady whom he describes 
as a friend of his grandmother. He says that 
O'Reilly's carriage, escorted by a few dragoons, was 
frequently seen driving at a rapid pace up the coast, 
where he used in his moments of leisure to visit ""a 
family residing a few miles from town, in which he 
found himself in an atmosphere reminding him of the 
best European society. One day when according 
to his habit he had provoked a keen encounter of wits 
with the lady of the manor, being stung by a sharp 
repartee, his hasty temper betrayed him and he for- 
got himself so far as to say, with a tone of command, 
''Madame, do you forget who I am?" ''No, sir," 
answered the lady with a low bow, "but I have 
associated with those who were higher than you are, 
and who took care never to forget what was due to 
others; hence they never found it necessary to put 
any one in mind of what they were." Nettled, 



MACARTY 379 

O'Reilly departed instantly but returned the next 
day with a good-humored smile and apology. 

Speaking of his grandmother's friend, Gayarrd 
introduces her thus: 

"The plantation above the de Bor6s', which extended over 
Audubon Park, belonged to Pierre Foucher (de Bor6's son-in-law) ; 
the next place belonged to the unfortunate Lafr6niere. It was at 
that time the property of Mademoiselle Macarty, who was Madame 
de Bora's intimate friend as well as neighbor, and who, like her, had 
been educated at St. Cyr." 

It was one of the great pleasures of Gayarr^^s 
friends to hear Mademoiselle Macarty described by 
the historian, then in his nineties, and see one of her 
visits to his grandmother, three quarters of a cen- 
tury before, acted. Her carriage, a curiosity unique 
in the colony, was called a chaise ; it was like a modern 
coupe but smaller, with sides and front of glass. 
There was no coachman ; a postillion rode one of the 
spirited horses, a little black rascal of a postillion who 
always rode so fast and so wildly that his tiny cape 
stood straight out behind Hke wings. When in a 
cloud of dust the vehicle turned into the Pecan 
Avenue the little darkies stationed there to look out 
would shriek in loud excitement to get the announce- 
ment to the great gates ahead of the horses: ^'Mam- 
selle Macarty a pe vini." And there would be a 
rush inside to throw open the gates in time. With 
his cape flying more wildly than ever, his elbows 
beating the air more furiously, the postillion would 
gallop his horses in a sweeping circle through the 
great courtyard and bring them panting to a brilliant 
finale before the carriage step. M. de Bore would 
be standing there ready with his lowest bow to open 
the carriage door and hand the fair one out and lead 



380 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

her at arm's length with a stately minuet step up the 
broad brick stairs and through the hall to the door 
of the salon, where they would face each other and 
he would again bow and she would drop a curtsy 
into the very hem of her gown — her Louis XIV 
gown — for from head to foot she always dressed in 
an exact copy of the costume of Madame de Mainte- 
non; that is, with the exception of her arms, which 
were in Mademoiselle Macarty's youth so extremely 
beautiful that she never overcame the habit, even 
in extreme cold weather and old age, of exhibiting 
them bare to the shoulder. The mystery of why 
with her great wealth and great beauty she had never 
married remained a vivid one — even when old age 
had effaced everything except the fame of her radiant 
beauty.* 

/ Gayarr^, who always looked at the history of 
J Louisiana with romantic eyes, looked also at the 
romance of Louisiana with historical eyes. We are 
not surprised, therefore, to find in the pages of an 
old number of Harper's Magazine a little story in 
which he gives an authentic account of the Macartys 
in the early years of the last century, t 

"Mademoiselle Macarty lived near the de la Chaise plantation, 
once well known on account of its brickyard, but now divided 
into streets and lots that have become a part of New Orleans. 
She was in affluent circumstances, possessed houses in the city and 
owned a number of slaves. She had a beautiful and productive 
garden of which she was very proud, superb orange trees and a 
well cultivated orchard, and acquired considerable reputation for 
the skill with which she manufactured all sorts of condiments, 
sweetmeats and other dehcacies. In this she was assisted by a 
dame de compagnie. 

* "New Orleans: the Place and the People." Grace King, 
t Barthelmy Macarty's Revenge." Harper^s Magazine, 1887. 



MACARTY 381 

"Mademoiselle Macarty left all her fortune to her nephew, 
Augustin Macarty, who subsequently became Mayor of New Orleans 
and died childless. She had another and more distant relative 
called Barthelmy do Macarty. . . . His son, Barthelmy, had 
been thoroughly educated and gave promise of a brilliant career. 
When still very young he had been selected by Governor Claiborne 
for his Secretary of State. Handsome, possessed of those clean- 
cut features which characterize the patrician of long descent, rich 
and distinguished in every way, the youthful secretary was a 
cynosure of society. 

The two brothers, Augustin and Barthelmy, are 
mentioned prominently in the reports of the Battle 
of New Orleans, and in the measures taken to pre- 
pare the city against the English. Augustin was 
appointed on the Committee for Public Defense 
and was among the citizens who subscribed ten 
thousand dollars toward securing it. The Macarty 
plantation shares with the Chalmette and the de la 
Ronde places the hoiior of furnishing the field for 
the glorious battle. Jackson estabUshed his head- 
quarters in the Macarty house, a handsome house 
built in the new, at that time, chateau style with 
galleries extending all around it, supported on brick 
pillars. The trees and foHage of the garden screened 
it from the road, and it was from the gallery of the 
old mansion, whose garden lay just within the 
American line of entrenchment, that he on the after- 
noon of January 7th, 1815, observed the movements 
in the British camp, two miles down the river, and 
came to the conclusion that they were preparing to 
attack him. About one o'clock that night an aide. 
Bent to make a report to the General, found him 
sleeping on a sofa in one of the front rooms ; his staff 
were stretched out on the floor about him. Having 
heard the report, he looked at his watch and 



382 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

exclaimed: '^Gentlemen, we have slept enough. 
Arise. The enemy will soon be upon us.'' All 
immediately left the house for the camp. They had 
hardly done so when a cannon ball, fired from the 
British lines, crashed into the room where Jhey had 
been sleeping. 

A last memorable scene connected with the old 
house must not be omitted. On the morning of 
the 19th, and when the armistice had drawn to its end 
the exchange of prisoners had been effected and 
speculation was rife as to what the British Army 
would do further; a rumor circulated through the 
American camp that it had retreated. Officers 
and men collected in groups to survey the enemy's 
camp, and much discussion arose as to whether the 
army had really gone or was only lying in wait to 
entice the Americans from their entrenchments. 
General Jackson and his staff, stationed in the win- 
dow of Macarty's house, gazed at the camp through 
powerful telescopes. It presented the same appear- 
ance as usual; flags were flying, sentinels posted. 
The General was not satisfied that they had gone. 
His aides thought as he did. At last the French 
General, Humbert, standing near, was called upon 
for his opinion. Napoleon's veteran took one look 
through the telescope and immediately exclaimed: 
''They are gone." When asked for his reason he 
pointed to a crow flying near one of the sentinels 
which showed that they were stuffed dummies. 
The British had stolen away during the night. 

A pretty pubhc square in the old part of the city, 
called Macarty Square now, commemorates the 
upper lines of the Macarty plantation. In it has 
been erected a handsome memorial arch to the 
heroes of the late war. 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
DE BUYS 

THERE is a tradition that this good old typical 
Creole family was among the early French 
settlers of the colony, and that its head was present 
with Bienville at the laying out of the city of New 
Orleans. 

The first de Buys known in the records of New 
Orleans, Gaspard Melchior Balthazar, the son of 
Pedro de Buys and Micaela Lion (in the Spanish of 
the Cathedral records), was born in Dunkirk in 1789. 
His forebears were seafaring folk who had sailed their 
ships under letters of marque from Louis XIV and 
fought as privateersmen in the wars against England. 
Gaspard, so the story goes, was captain of a man-of- 
war under the Count de Grasse during the war for 
American Independence but, having caught the 
yellow fever in the West Indies, he resigned from 
the navy and came to New Orleans, then in the 
peaceful days of the Spanish Domination. Here he 
shortly afterward married Eulalie de Jean or de Jan, 
daughter of Antoine de Jan of Bordeaux and Angele 
Monzey de Mont jean, a native of New Orleans. 

The mother of Angele de Mont jean, according to 
the family record kindly furnished by Mrs. Lucien de 
Buys of New Orleans, was saved from the Natchez 
massacre by her nurse, a young Indian girl, who 
bravely tramped her way through forests and Indians 
and brought the infant in safety to New Orleans. 

383 



384 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

She grew up in the city and married Claude de Jan 
about 1750. He had been established in business 
in New Orleans for some years. They had six 
children : Eulahe, Antoinette, Marie Frangoise, Man- 
ette, Jean Baptiste and Claude. 

Madame Mont jean lived, says the record, to be 
over one hundred years old, and was visited in her 
home at Santiago, Cuba, by one of her great-grand- 
daughters of New Orleans. The de Jan children 
married in New Orleans and ramified in France and 
in England, where many of their descendants still 
live. 

Gaspard de Buys seems to have been among the 
Creoles of his day who viewed with indifference the 
passing of the colony from Spain to France and 
from France to the United States. His name does 
not appear in any of the reports of the proceedings 
attending the ceremonies involved in the raising and 
lowering and raising again of the different flags. 
And he did not, apparently, take part in any of the 
demonstrations of violent discontent that followed, 
when Congress decreed that the new possessions 
should be governed as a territory, and not given the 
sovereign rights of a State, as had been stipulated 
in the Act of Cession. His name, however, does 
appear in the first Legislative Council named by the 
President in the inauguration of the new government. 
Although historians are strangely uncommunicative 
about them, perhaps no body of men in the history 
of Louisiana has ever had so many and such impor- 
tant political problems to solve as that first Legisla- 
tive Council of Louisiana, and none have ever 
received so little recognition of the value of the 
services they rendered. 



DE BUYS 385 

Gaspard Melchior de Buys and Eulalie de Jan had 
four children: Pierre Gaspard, WilHam, Manette 
and Adele. Pierre Gaspard, born in 1790, married, 
in 1811, Jeanne Clemence, daughter of Jean Antoine 
Viel and of Jeanne Rosa Dupuy. The Viel family, 
like that of the Mont jean, barely escaped extermina- 
tion by massacre. They came originally from Lor- 
raine to St. Domingo, where Jean Antoine became 
a large landowner. Having always been a good 
master to his slaves he did not fear the revolution, 
and refused to flee when urged to seek refuge in a 
vessel about to sail to France. He, his mother and 
son were massacred; his wife and daughters were 
saved, the youngest one, a baby, being safely hidden 
by her nurse in a well. They found a refuge among 
relatives in Santiago. 

Pierre Gaspard was so exuberantly republican in 
his feelings that he indulged in an exhibition of them 
that is carefully transcribed in the family record. 
When his eldest son Pierre was born he gave him a 
pohtical as well as a religious christening feast, 
inviting all of his friends to it, and requesting them 
to bring with them their patents of nobility (for, 
as we have seen, the good French families emigrated 
to Louisiana with their patents of nobility carefully 
packed in their boxes). On the festal board stood a 
large silver chafing dish; the patents of nobility were 
placed upon it, fire lighted underneath, and the 
infant Pierre was passed over the smoke of the burn- 
ing titles amid cheers and plaudits. 

The other children — Marie EHzabeth Eugenie, 
Paul, Emile, Marie Antoinette Odile, Eugene, 
Lucien, Napoleon — showed in their names at least a 
broadening catholicity of pohtical convictions. De 



386 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Buys served on the staff of General Jackson at the 
Battle of New Orleans, and it is one of the pretty 
memories preserved faithfully in the family that at 
the grand ball given by the Governor to celebrate 
the victory, the General, whose eye was never dull to 
heSiVLty or to politics, asked his aide-de-camp, de 
Buys, who a certain very beautiful lady was. He 
answered that she was his T\dfe, who, though still so 
young, was the mother of two children. Her sister, 
it is said, was also a noted beauty in New Orleans, 
and the same reputation was inherited by her daugh- 
ter Eugenie. 

In the resolutions passed by the Legislature after 
the victory in 1815, there is this handsome compli- 
ment to his father: 

"Whilst our gallant militia were employed in the defense of the 
country, at the several posts assigned to them, the citizens more 
advanced in years, having voluntarily formed themselves into com- 
panies of veterans, attended to the preservation of police and civil 
order in town. They greatly contributed by their good countenance 
to dissipate the alarm created by the approach of the enemy and by 
their unwearied exertions they insured the speedy and faithful 
conveyance to camp of such articles as were to be sent there. They 
were also usefully employed in seeing that the many donations made 
by our fellow citizens should be both applied and without confusion. 
At the head of these veterans appeared M. de Buys, their captain." 

After the War of 1812, WiUiam de Buys, with other 
ambitious spirits, had to be content with civic 
ambitions. He was elected to the Legislature and 
became Speaker of the House in 1846. He was^ 
pushed forward by his party as candidate forr 
governor to succeed Governor Roman, and he proved! 
a sharp competitor for Isaac Johnson, who was: 
elected. 

He lives in memory, however, still more vividly/ 



DE BUYS 387 

perhaps as commander or general of the Louisiana 
Legion. This was, as should be explained to readers 
foreign to New Orleans, a famous military organiza- 
tion that for a score of years nourished the popular 
craving for military glory that has always been 
endemic in the place. Its germ was the Batallion 
d'Orl^ans,* that corps d'^Ute of young Creoles 
recruited only from the Creoles or Frenchmen who 
had seen active service. They were perfect in every 
detail and always ready for immediate service. 
"When the call to arms came in 1814, the Bataillon 
d 'Orleans stepped into the field of action fully armed 
and equipped and proved themselves trained veter- 
ans under fire — Jackson himself praising their 
prowess and efficiency. 

After the war, the battalion increased in strength 
and stabihty so rapidly that it was necessary to 
incorporate it into a Legion, which was conmianded 
in succession by such generals, in repute, as Augustin 
CuvelHer, de Buys and Lewis. Its ranks were 
opened to every nationality — the companies bearing 
the names of Jaeger, Cazadores, Cuirassiers, Lan- 
ciers, Emmett Guards, Sappers and Miners. There 
was among them even a company of mounted 
Mamelukes. They paraded on the Fourth of July 
and other patriotic dates, and were reviewed by the 
Governor on state occasions, but it was on the 
Feast of Ste. Barbe that they shone in their full 
glory, when they turned out in splendid array 
and marched through the crowded streets, with 
bouquets stuck in their muskets, to the Cathedral 
to hear mass and be blessed by the Bishop (when 
they took up a collection for the asylums of the 

*New Orleans As It Was." Castcllanos. 



388 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

city). Their banner was presented to them by 
the Governor in the Cathedral after being blessed. 
When the war with Mexico was declared and 
volunteers were called for by General Taylor to 
go at once to the Rio Grande, the Legion answered 
within twenty-four hours, readily furnishing the 
contingent required; and the daily papers noticed 
on this occasion that William de Buys (having 
been succeeded in his command) walked in the 
ranks, a musket on his shoulder, beside his two sons. 

He retired in his old age to his beautiful home at 
Biloxi on the lake shore, where he passed his time 
fishing and hunting and painting in water colors. 
He invented a fishhook for deep-sea fishing that is 
still in use by fishermen of the Gulf. He died there 
in 1774. By his wife, Corinne Andry, he had four 
children: Felicie, Gaspard, Ovide and Hortaire. 
John de Buys, the noted duelist, was an adopted son 
taken from his Irish mother's arms when she died of 
cholera. 

To return to the head source of the family, Gas- 
pard Melchior de Buys and Eulahe de Jan, their 
eldest daughter Manette married Pierre Victor 
Amedee Longer of Rouen. She is ever cited in 
New Orleans as a woman of wonderful accompHsh- 
ments; a perfect wife, a model housekeeper, an 
exemplary society woman; grave, serious, dignified, 
and although beautiful above her associates, never 
condescending to be a belle. She was left a widow 
with eight daughters still in childhood. They grew 
up beautiful, with all the good quahties of the 
mother, and noted more than she had been for charm 
of conversation and manner. It is of tradition that 
every eligible man in the city offered himself to 



DE BUYS 389 

one or the other of them. Their choice was decided 
by the mother's sagacity. All were married well to 
men of standing in the community and all were 
happy in their marriages and were blessed by chil- 
dren worthy of them. Not to know the names of 
the married Longer ladies is regarded in the Creole 
city as proof of unpardonable social ignorance. 
Eulahe became Mrs. Samuel Bell; Adele married 
Florian Hermann; Odile, Michel Musson; Armide 
married Amed^e de Saules; Am^lie, James Behn; 
Angele, Evan Jones McCall; Heda, Charles Kock; 
Helena, Charles Luhng. Mrs. Luling's daughter 
is Lady Alice Ben, wife of Sir Arthur Ben, M.P., 
London. 

Gaspard de Buys died in 1827; his daughter, 
IVIadame Longer survived him a half century, a 
cherished relic of other and far different days, 
respected and revered by all, served by her old 
servants, reUcs as she was of older times. Children 
and grandchildren and great-grandchildren came to 
her from their distant homes in England, France and 
the United States. She passed away in the home of 
her daughter, Mrs. James Behn, on South Rampart 
Street. No statelier procession of mourners than that 
which followed her up the aisle of the church to .her 
grave in the old St. Louis Cemetery has ever assem- 
bled in New Orleans. 

General de Buys' eldest daughter, Felicie, married 
A. J. Mummy, Esq., of France. She had two 
daughters. One married M. Schroeder, Consul- 
General for Germany in France; the other married 
M. le Comte de la Guerronniere, of Haute Vienne, 
France. 
The General's sisters and brothers, the children 



390 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

of Pierre Gaspard de Buys and Elizabeth Viel, were : 
Marie Elizabeth, who married twice, her first hus- 
band being Hypolite Tricou, her second one, Samuel 
Herman. Estelle Tricou, the daughter of the first 
husband, married Bernard Peyton of Virginia (their 
son, William Charles, married Anne Dupont). 
Samuel Herman's daughter, Alice, married Henry 
Palmer, and their daughter May became the first 
wife of the Hon. Chauncey Depew. Louise, the 
second daughter of Samuel Herman, married Hall 
McAhster of Georgia. 

Paul Emile, the son of Pierre Gaspard and Eliza- 
beth Viel, married Emma, the daughter of Placide 
Forstall of New Orleans. Their son, Gaspard James, 
married Stella Rathbone, and from them descend 
the four well-known brothers who bear the de Buys 
name at present in New Orleans : Rathbone, the dis- 
tinguished architect and archivist of his family; 
Lawrence, an eminent physician; Walter and James. 

Marie Antoinette Odile de Buys was married 
twice; first to Joaquin de Vignier of Havana; after- 
wards to Foster Elliot of New York. Children and 
grandchildren of both husbands survive. ' Pierre 
Victor Amedee married Cecile Denis, daughter of 
Henri Denis of New Orleans. They had two chil- 
dren: Alfred, who lives in New York, and Am^Ue, 
who married the late George C. Pr^ot of New Orleans, 
a distinguished Htt6rateur and educationalist. 

Lucien Napoleon Eugene de Buys married Lucile 
Elizabeth Enoul Dugue de Livaudais, the descendant 
of the two old and distinguished families of Livaudais 
and Dreux. She and her husband, during their long 
married life, brilliantly maintained the prestige of 
their name and blood in their home and society 



DE BUYS 391 

and were always proudly cited as examples of what 
the good old Creole families really were. They were 
blessed with fifteen children, twelve of them 
daughters. 

To Madame Lucien de Buys, who since her hus- 
band's death has gathered together the dates and 
documents relating to his family for the use of future 
generations, is due the sincere acknowledgments of 
the present writer. 



CHAPTER XXIX 
CANONGE 

THE great heroic and historic days of New Orleans 
passed away and the chronicles of the city, 
once set to the accompaniment of martial music, 
now move along to the soft and somewhat monotonous 
strains of domestic and social life. The city, in 
short, is like a lady who, having passed through a 
youth of anxious experiences and arrived at a middle 
age of ease of mind and comfort of body, can tolerate 
in her journal only pleasant and ornamental entries. 
And pleasant and ornamental in the journal of the 
city is the good name of Canonge. 

Mrs. Emma Canonge Nott has left her intimate 
notes written for family use, to which access, in the 
present instance, has been graciously granted. 

^'The maternal grandmother of my father," she 
writes, ^'wsls the Marquise de Jusseau. Her hus- 
band was in the service of France under Louis XV, 
and we still possess his commission signed by the 
King. The only daughter of the Marquise de Jus- 
seau, Elizabeth Ren^e, was seventeen when she 
married my grandfather, twenty years older than 
she. 

^'The marriage was a happy one and was blessed 
with eight children born in St. Domingo. When the 
revolution broke out upon the island, my grand- 

392 



CANONGE 393 

mother, who was a widow for the second time, having 
married her cousin, M. de Montag6, left St. Domingo 
and went to St. lago, Cuba, leaving her wealth 
behind her, invested in a sugar and a coffee plan- 
tation. Thirty devoted slaves followed her. My 
father (J. F. Canonge) was reared in Marseilles 
by his uncle. Major Canonge, a ChevaHer of St. 
Louis. He was an officer of distinction in the 
French Army, whose devotion to the Royalists^ cause 
was to cost him dearly." 

Recalled by his family, young Canonge left Mar- 
seilles and returned to St. Domingo, but was driven 
away again by the insurrection of slaves and took 
refuge in St. lago. While there he was fired with 
the idea of gaining the island of Cuba and turning 
it over to Napoleon, thinking that the very sound 
of this great name would smooth away all resistance. 
But his plot was discovered and a price put upon his 
head. He made his escape and joined his two 
brothers in Philadelphia. His French education 
proving a hindrance to a conmiercial career, he 
turned to the law and studied under the celebrated 
jurist Duponceau. 

After receiving his diploma, he naturally gravi- 
tated toward New Orleans, where the French element 
was still the predominating one in social and pro- 
fessional Hfe. There he took his position at once 
among the group of men still considered the most 
distinguished in the history of the Bar. 

In New Orleans he married the young widow 
Amelung, born Mercier, a cousin of the Mademoi 
selle Clary, who married Bernadotte, afterwards 
King of Sweden. ''My grandmother, Mercier," 
continues the little manuscript, ''was a Demoiselle 



394 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Fontenelle, of the same family as 'le grand Fonten- 
elle/ who was related to Corneille. The home of 
my father and mother was a most hospitable one, 
all visitors of distinction were presented in it; the 
Prince of Wagram, Lafayette and General Desnou- 
ettes; who gave to my mother the precious souvenir 
of five letters of Napoleon written (still in existence) 
to him/' 

At the time of his arrival, French and EngHsh 
were both used on the floor of the House of Repre- 
sentatives. Canonge filled the position of clerk of 
the House for several sessions. Possessed of an 
incomparable memory, he took no notes of discus- 
sions and debates, and although it frequently 
occurred that in the official proceedings translations 
were required from one language to the other, he 
made them without omitting any important feature 
and frequently reporting the words hterally. He 
made a name as orator, linguist and improvisator, 
speaking impromptu in French, Spanish or English. 
He was called in his day — oh, golden day of social 
intercourse ! — an accomplished conversationaHst, and 
when he talked men gathered around him to Hsten; 
he was also a ready rhymester and astonished, on two 
occasions, his audience by delivering addresses in 
verse. And to add to his accomphshments, he 
translated the Georgics of Virgil into St. Domingo 
Creole patois. 

His success at the Bar secured for him the appoint- 
ment of Judge of the Criminal Court by Governor 
Roman. At that time the Criminal Court was 
unique in its character ; from it there was no appeal. 
He filled this position for ten or twelve years, dis- 
tinguishing himself by his enlightened legal views 



CANONGE 395 

and by the impartiality of his charges to the jury. 
A legal incident in his career is mentioned by his 
biographer.* On one occasion the celebrated Judge 
Xavier Martin, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, 
intimated to Judge Canonge that in a certain case 
he should accord a new trial; Canonge refused to 
comply, and although the Supreme Court persisted 
in its demands, the Criminal Judge, alleging that 
there was no appeal against the decisions of his 
court, continued firm in his position. The result 
was that the Supreme Court issued an order for his 
arrest for contempt of court, which was met by 
Judge Canonge ordering the arrest of five judges of 
the Supreme Court for the same offense. The 
operations of the two courts were suspended in 
consequence of their antagonism, but the matter 
was finally settled by the acknowledgment of the 
Supreme Court of the legality of Canonge^s position. 

Judge Canonge's wife died in Paris in 1830. From 
the marriage were born four sons; Alphonse, Hypo- 
lite, Placide and Ernest. All were educated in Paris 
at the College Louis le Grand. Alphonse, following 
in the footsteps of his father, became an eminent 
laTsyer and was prominent as the Superintendent of 
Pubhc Schools. Hypolite Canonge, also a brilhant 
scholar, died at the beginning of his career. Placide, 
who married Miss Forstall, is remembered by his 
son, Placide, who for half a century was the bright 
light of literature in New Orleans. He was the 
brilliant collaborator in the ''Abeille," the only 
French newspaper in Louisiana, and infused into it a 
vitality that it lost at his death. He was also the 
hero of his time in the gay world of society. He 

* Charles Palton Dimitry. 



396 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

wrote light comedies and proverbs in prose and in 
verse, which under his direction were acted in the 
private and exclusive salons of the society leaders, 
the roles being filled by the beaux and belles of the 
''beau monde/' 

"Qui perd, gagne," a comedy in one act in prose, is remembered 
as one of the most successful. 

''Le comte de Carmagnola," a drama of five acts, appeared in 
1849, and was dedicated to Alfted de Musset; it was acted several 
times with great success in New Orleans. 

Emma Canonge, married to Mr. George William 
Nott, lived to a great old age, surviving her husband 
so long that she was known only as the mother of 
her son, George William Nott. She was educated at 
a celebrated boarding school in Paris, where she was 
noted among her fellow pupils for her accomplish- 
ments. Like her brother, she possessed a mind of 
superior quality that never lost its Paris polish and 
finish. She remained a prominent member of 
society to her last years, preserving her beauty of 
face and distinction of manner, without a concession 
to time. In her loge at the opera, always in company 
with her son, her beautiful daughter-in-law, and her 
granddaughters, she was ever one of the distinctive 
features of the audience. It was in regard to her 
that a saying of Brunetiere's was distorted from 
''what is not clear is not French," into "what is not 
charming is not Canonge." 



CHAPTER XXX 

DUBOURG 

DuBOURG — Charest de Lauzon — Bringier 

TUREAUD 

NOT four families but four names; four strands, 
as it were, forming a single cord. We begin, 
as is due, with the most prominent one historically — 
Dubourg. 

The ancestral line of the Dubourgs is set forth in a 
''maintenance de noblesse," dating from 1623, which 
was deposited in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, 
in the eighteenth century by Pierre Frangois 
Dubourg, ''on the point of undertaking a long 
journey." The maintenance was discovered two 
centuries later by Henri Dubourg, an ex-officer of 
Hussars, who had been devoting many years to the 
study of his family. He and his younger brother 
Joseph (known later as the devoted adherent of the 
Comte de Chambord), belong to the Chateau de 
Morville branch of the family, the Seigneurs de 
Rochemont, near la Louvere, whence arises the 
Louisiana branch of the family. 

The parent Une runs back to the celebrated Anne 
Dubourg, Chancellor of Francis II, who was burned 
at the stake for favoring the Protestants in the six- 
eenth century, and from him to a great-grandfather, 
Hugues Dubourg, who lived in 1396. The Louisiana 
line begins with "M. Pierre Frangois Dubourg, 

397 



398 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

ecuyer et Capitaine de Navire," the husband of 
Marguerite Vogluzan, who filed his ''maintenance de 
noblesse'' in Paris, before undertaking a long 
voyage. This was to St. Domingo, where he settled 
at Cap Frangois and became proprietor of the great 
estate of Ste. Colombe. 

Here, in 1766, was born his eldest son, the great 
Archbishop Dubourg — the first American Bishop, as 
he is called, of New Orleans. Pierre Frangois 
Dubourg, known as the "Chevalier de Ste. Colombe,'' 
was born the following year and succeeded his 
father as proprietor of Ste. Colombe. He was 
educated in France and England. His estate being 
ruined and his home destroyed in the revolt of the 
slaves in 1793, he escaped to Jamaica, and there in 
1797 married Demoiselle Elizabeth Etienne Charest 
de Lauzon, daughter of M. Frangois Charest de 
Lauzon and of Demoiselle Perrine Therese de 
Goarnay, his wife, who was the daughter of Michel 
Isaac de Gournay, Chevalier of St. Louis. All of 
them were described in the marriage contract as 
residents of the Quartier de la Marmelade, Island of 
St. Domingo, and now, by reason of the misfortunes 
of that colony, refugees in the town of Kingston, 
Jamaica. 

The married pair came to the United States and 
after passing through New Orleans visited the elder 
brother. Abbe Dubourg, who lived in Baltimore, 
taking with them their Httle daughter Agla^, then 
about nine years old. Leaving the child in Baltimore 
to be educated under the supervision of her uncle, 
the abb^, Pierre Frangois Dubourg and his wife 
returned to New Orleans about 1800, and there 



DUBOURG 399 

made their home with the Chevalier Charest de 
Lauzon and his wife on Dumaine Street. 

In New Orleans, Dubourg became, three years 
later, an American citizen and, profiting by the 
undeniable commercial advantages resulting to the 
city from its transfer to the United States, he set 
himself to the work of repairing his shattered for- 
tunes. He succeeded in this to the full measure of 
his best hopes as a merchant; and he rose to high 
position in the social as well as in the commercial 
world. 

He attained the rank of Major in the Louisiana 
Volunteers, the most distinguished corps of the 
militia, and in the records of the Cathedral is 
described as Collector of the Port of New Orleans, 
though there seems to be no official confirmation of 
such an appointment. He acted as Consul of the 
Kingdom of Sardinia, and filled the lucrative posi- 
tion of agent for his rich son-in-law, Bringier, and 
for many other of the wealthy sugar planters. 

Although a good and practising Catholic, like 
many other men of his church at this time in New 
Orleans, Dubourg was a Mason and was elected 
Worshipful Grand Master of the Perfect Union 
Lodge, the oldest in the State, which in 1812 he 
formed into a grand lodge combining all the others, 
including the Polar Star Lodge to which Carlos 
Gayarr^, the father of the historian, belonged. 
Dubourg was re-elected Grand Master in 1813 and 
1814. 

Dubourg acquired a large estate just above the 
city, 'Tlaisance," it was called, which is the origin 
of the name of the Pleasant Street of to-day. Louis- 



400 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

iana Avenue, the handsome boulevard just above 
Pleasant Street, runs through what was once the 
center of the Dubourg property. 

He died in New Orleans in 1830, leaving five 
daughters. His eldest daughter, Aglae, educated 
in Baltimore under the supervision of Mrs. Seton, 
the founder of the College at Emettsburg, was 
married to Doradou Bringier. His four other i 
daughters were reared in the family home on 
Dumaine Street. No^mie married General Horatio 
Davis* of the Delaware family. EHza married 
Seaman Field, Captain of the Thirty-second United 
States Infantry, of which regiment his father was 
Colonel. He became Colonel of the Louisiana 
Volunteers in the Mexican War and later Adjutant- 
General of the State of Louisiana. Their daughter 
married Bailly Blanchard, of New Orleans, long 
connected with the American Legation in Paris; 
his son was a Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. His 
daughter, the Vicomtesse Henri Perrot, resides in 
France. Victoire married James Harvey Field, 
nephew of Seaman Field. Their descendants have 
moved away from New Orleans. Adele married her 
cousin, John Thibaut. They have many descendants 
in Louisiana. 

But the glory of the family, as has been stated, 
was the Archbishop, Louis Guillaume Valentin. He 
was sent to France when but two years old to be 

* General Horatio Davis, born in 1761, was made Colonel for 
his gallant defense of Lewes during the War of 1812. He was at 
one time Captain of the Port of New Orleans, and resided at "la 
Corderie," the famous old "Rope Walk" of early American New 
Orleans, just above the canal which was filled and turned into the 
handsome street called Canal, the shopping center of the city for half 
a century. 



DUBOURG 401 

educated for the church. At the time of the Revolu- 
tion he was at the head of a Sulpician school at 
Issy, near Paris. He escaped from it, in disguise, to 
Paris, going to the superior branch of the school, rue 
Cassette, where it is still recalled that his disguise 
caused great amusement. The day of his arrival 
there, the revolutionists invaded the comnmnity 
on the rue Cassette and, seizing the head of it, flung 
him into prison and executed him shortly after. 
Dubourg was in hiding at a friend's when the dread- 
ful massacres took place. Again fleeing in disguise, 
he made his w^ay out of Paris and proceeded to 
Bordeaux, where he found his family; but being 
doubly odious in the eyes of the revolutionists as a 
cleric and as an aristocrat he fled again, this time to 
Spain. He sailed to America and landed in Balti- 
more in 1794, about the time when the negro revolt 
in St. Domingo was driving his family to America 
and destroying their fortune. Two years after his 
arrival in Baltimore, he became President of the 
Georgetown College. He gained for it a brilliant 
reputation among the universities of the United 
States. George Washington honored it during 
Dubourg's term with a formal visit. 

The abbe founded St. Mary's College and had it 
raised by the Legislature of Maryland to the grade 
of university. As spiritual director of the famous 
Mrs. Seton, he assisted her in the founding of the 
Order of Sisters of St. Joseph (popularly known as 
the Sisters of Charity). He entered the ecclesiastical 
history of Louisiana in 1803, when the colony was 
separated from the spiritual jurisdiction of Havana 
and placed under that of the diocese of Maryland, 
then under Archbishop Carroll, who finally, after 



402 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

several years of troublous, unsuccessful efforts, 
selected the brilliant, energetic Abbe Dubourg as the 
Administrator Apostolic of the so-called (in ecclesi- 
astical histories) "unhappy diocese'^ of Louisiana. 

This opens the chapter famous in Louisiana his- 
tory of the controversy between the administrator 
apostolic, the duly appointed ecclesiastical spiritual 
authority over the St. Louis Cathedral, and Pere 
Antoine de Sedilla, the beloved and revered author- 
ity de facto over the hearts of the congregation. 
The episode is one of the most interesting in the 
history of Louisiana and has been made the subject 
of special study by a number of brilliant writers. 
Suffice it to say that as time passes and the brilliant 
students pass with it, Archbishop Dubourg emerges 
from the vexatious conflict with his indomitable 
antagonist, preserving his dignity and the undimin- 
ished respect of his flock, although Pere Antoine still, 
in history, reigns supreme over their hearts. - 

Dubourg became the spiritual guide of the Ursu- 
line Nuns while in New Orleans and, as he had 
assisted Mrs. Seton in her work in Baltimore, he 
helped them to estabhsh their convent below the city. 

At the time of the British invasion in 1812, he 
rendered such services to the people as to win their 
admiration and gratitude, despite even the antagonis- 
tic influence of Pere Antoine de Sedilla. 

On the day of the battle, in the chapel of the 
Ursulines before a congregation of frightened nuns 
and civilians, he celebrated a solemn mass, of 
supplication for the Almighty's protection and aid, 
the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor being 
displayed on the altar. The guns of Chalmette 
could be heard above the chanting of the holy office. 



DUBOURG 403 

At the moment of the elevation of the Host, when 
all hearts and eyes were bowed in devotion, a courier 
from the battlefield, rushing into the church, pro- 
claimed in a loud voice 'Hhat the Americans were 
victorious." 

In commemoration of this, by privilege granted 
by Pope Pius IX, an annual mass of thanksgiving is 
celebrated at the Ursuline Chapel. The Superior of 
the Convent of the Ursuhnes at the time of the Battle 
of New Orleans was, in the world, Victoire Olivier de 
Vezin, a direct descendant of the union of the Du- 
verge and Olivier families, among the very oldest in 
Louisiana. 

The Mother Superior not only made a solemn 
vow to commemorate within the convent walls the 
God-given victory, but with her own hands minis- 
tered to the wounded on both sides. She turned 
the convent into a hospital, and with the other 
sisters tore up the convent linen for bandages for 
the wounded Kentuckians. The Kentuckians, as a 
token of their gratitude to her for the succor their 
wounded had received, wxre wont for many years 
afterward to send baskets of fruit to the convent 
on the anniversary of the battle. 

When, a week later, the city held its official cere- 
mony of celebration for the victory. Bishop Dubourg 
— robed in his vestments and followed by the priests 
and altar boys of the Cathedral — appeared at the 
great portal while from the choir inside resounded a 
great hymn of praise, and presented General Jackson 
with a laurel wreath, pronouncing an address that was 
then and is still considered a classic of history. In 
response. General Jackson, for all that he was a plain 
Methodist, made, in words that are also considered 



404 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 1 

I 

classical in their chaste eloquence, a pious return of ; 
the compliment, waiving reverentially all claim to the i 
victory, ascribing it to divine Providence. ! 

While in Rome in 1815 Dubourg was consecrated ' 
Bishop of New Orleans, the first Bishop of American ; 
New Orleans, and in France he estabhshed the i 
Society for the Propagation of the Faith. Louis j 
XVIII placing a vessel at his disposal, he returned to 
America, and proceeded to St. Louis, where he 
founded a college and ecclesiastical seminary at I 
the Barrens on the Missouri. In 1818 he began I 
the erection of the Cathedral of St. Louis and opened ' 
the St. Louis College in 1819. He also founded the 
St. Louis Latin Academy. i 

In St. Louis he spent much of his time in the j 
sparsely inhabited frontiers and in the wilds of the ; 
Indian settlements. It was said of him that he was I 
as much at home with the Indians in their forest life ' 
as he was in the archepiscopal palaces of Europe. I 

Visiting Washington thereafter, he prevailed on i 
the government to co-operate financially vdth him 
in ameliorating the condition of the Indians in his 
diocese. 

On his return to New Orleans about 1823, the 
Ursulines gave him their convent for his official 
residence, and he remained with them until he went 
to France in 1826, w^here he was successively made 
Bishop of Montauban and Archbishop of Besangon. 
He died in France. 

According to his directions his heart was sent to 
the Ursuline Sisters of New Orleans. It is still 
piously preserved in its receptacle in a niche in their : 
chapel. 

A third son of Francois Pierre Dubourg and 

I 



DUBOURG 405 

Marguerite Vogliizan, Joseph, known as ''le beau 
Dubourg," came to America and visited New 
Orleans, but did not remain there. The fourth and 
last son, Thomas Patrice Dubourg, had two daugh- 
ters, who were married in Jamaica, and one son, 
Arnould Dubourg, who, after being educated by his 
uncle in Baltimore, came to New Orleans to live. 
He studied law and was appointed judge in Plaque- 
mines Parish in 1815. Later, he held one of the 
judgeships of the city. The only souvenir of him is 
a stray number of an old paper dated May 6th, 
1820, preserved as a curiosity in the Museum of the 
Cabildo, ^TAmi des Louis, the Friend of the Law — 
printed in English and French, according to the 
ascription, by A. Dubourg and Louis Cherbonnier." 
The first number of the paper must have dated back 
to 1809, as the copy in the Museum is number 2514, 
Vol. XL How long Arnould Dubourg was joint 
proprietor of the paper is not known. He died 
unmarried in New Orleans in 1829. 



CHAPTER XXXI 
CHAREST DE LAUZON 

FRANCOIS CHAREST DE LAUZON, of New 
Orleans, was the son of the last Seigneur de 
Lauzon. His father was the proprietor of the great 
Seigneurie de Lauzon in Canada, which embraced a 
lordly territory on the St. Lawrence River opposite 
Quebec. He was a young man at the time of the 
English-French War in America, and his home at 
Point Levis was a storm center during the fierce 
struggle. 

The British occupied the Seigneurie and erected 
batteries at various points to bombard Quebec. 
Those who were living there at the time witnessed 
across the river the battle waged in the vast amphi- 
theatre of the Plains of Abraham, where Wolfe's 
army achieved the victory that gave Quebec to the 
EngHsh. According to the tradition of the family, 
Wolfe's body, after the fight, was brought across the 
St. Lawrence and laid in the home of the Charests to 
await its shipment to England for final burial. 

The Seigneur de Lauzon who, with others of his 
family, had borne an honorable part in the struggle, 
determined not to live under British rule. He sold 
the Seigneurie to the new British Governor of Que- 
bec, James Murray, in 1765, and with his family 
proceeded to France, where he received high honors 
from the King in recognition of his services. He 
established a new home at Loches in Touraine. 
Three of his sons, Etienne, Frangois and Philippe, 

406 



CHAREST DE LAUZON 407 

went to St. Domingo and bought estates there. 
The estate of Etienne was called Charest; that of 
Frangois, Lauzon; hence one brother was knoA\Ti as 
Charest de Charest, the other as Charest de Lauzon. 
Philippe was called Charest de Levis. 

In Louisiana the family of Frangios was known 
exclusively as de Lauzon, but this was considered 
merely as "si nom de terre," apparently, for the 
epitaph of his wife, in the old St. Louis Cemetery, 
bears only the family name as follows: ''Ci-Git 
Elizabeth du Buisson, veuve de Charest, N^e au Cap 
Frangois (Isle de St. Domingo) le 30 Aout, 1730. 
Deced^e le 13 Novembre, 1816.'' 

Charest, the eldest brother, was slain in the mas- 
sacre of the whites by the negroes during the revolt 
at St. Domingo. Frangois Charest de Lauzon and 
his family escaped to Jamaica, his youngest child, 
]\Iarie Antoinette, usually called Adele, being smug- 
gled out of the house in a hogshead. 

Frangois Charest de Lauzon married Perrine de 
Gournay, the eldest daughter of Chevalier Michel 
Isaac de Gournay who, according to his burial 
certificate, was born in Brittany in 1728, and was 
descended from the ancient baronial house of de 
Gournay of Normandy (a branch of which was estab- 
hshed in England in the time of William the Con- 
queror) . Although he lost a part of his fortune in the 
insurrection, he yet preserved abundant means to 
take with him to Jamaica. His youngest daughter, 
PauUne, married ''le Comte Roland Onfroy de 
Verres." The marriage contract, preserved in the 
archives of Jamaica, contains a page of titles and 
nobihty ascriptions on both sides. Many of de 
Gournay's slaves followed him to Jamaica. He died 



408 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

there in 1813, and was buried in Holy Trinity Cathe- 
dral, Kingston, Jamaica. 

Frangois de Gournay, the son of Isaac, came to 
New Orleans and settled there. He married and 
had a large family, and his blood is represented in 
many branches in New Orleans. His granddaughter, 
the daughter of Charest de Lauzon, married Michel 
Dubourg de Ste. Colombe in Jamaica, who came 
also to New Orleans and lived with his father-in-law 
in the house on Dumaine Street. 

The house is still standing, but it is indistinguish- 
able from the others erected about the same time. 
Dumaine Street at that time was the aristocratic 
center of life in the city, as Orleans Street became 
later. Of all the streets of the ^Tieu Carre,'' 
Dumaine has best preserved its original appearance. 
A stroll along its "banquettes" from Eoyal to Dau- 
phine Street is like reading a page from an original 
manuscript written during the last days of the 
Spanish Domination and the first days of the 
American. If ghosts ever haunted the old dwelKngs 
of a city, they would hover around Dumaine Street, 
but straining eyes discover naught but the reaUty 
of to-day — the tenements and shops of Italians and 
Spaniards, who are camping, as it were, amid the 
tombs of an ancient cemetery. 

Frangois de Charest de Lauzon lived until 1819 
and was buried in the old St. Louis Cemetery: 
'^Ci-git Frangois de Charest de Lauzon nee a Quebec 
au Canada le 12 d^cembre, 1744; deced6 le ler. 
f^vrier, 1819." 

His death, as related in the family, was a pathetic 
one. Of his three children who had accompanied 
him to Louisiana not one was with him. His eldest 



CHAREST DE LAUZON 409 

daughter, Etiennette, who had married du Bourg, 
had died in 1811; his only son, Bien Aim6, had 
been killed in a duel ; and now his youngest daughter, 
Marie Antoinette, or ''Adele," had gone to join her 
husband, Jean Baptiste Thibaut, in Cuba. 

The ship on which Madame Thibaut and her chil- 
dren had sailed was detained at the mouth of the 
river by unfavorable winds for so long a time that tlic 
journey was at last abandoned and it returned to 
the cit}^ There were no conveniences, then, of 
telephone or telegraph, and Adele had no thought 
but to reach home and her father as quickly as 
possible. He was seated in his armchair in the 
courtyard of his home in Dumaine Street, when she 
suddenly appeared before him. He struggled to his 
feet to embrace her — his face, his whole demeanor, 
expressed overwhelming joy, and then he fell back 
in his chair — dead. Adele set out for Cuba again 
and reached her plantation near Santiago just in 
time to see her husband expire. After residing 
there a short while, she returned to New Orleans, 
leaving her plantation under the management of her 
uncle, Frangois de Gournay. 

Bien Aim6 de Lauzon was born in St. Domingo 
and was brought by his parents to New Orleans and 
Uved with them in Dumaine Street. He has unfor- 
tunately left but one record of himself in history — 
the duel in which he lost his life. He had taken his 
sister to a ball at the old Salle d'Orl^ans, where the 
briUiant society balls of a century ago took place, 
The room was crowded, and to procure a chair for his 
sister (the ladies after each dance returned to their 
places in a row of chairs extending round three sides 
of the room), Bien Amie seized one a few paces 



410 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

away, and passed it over the head of a young lady 
sitting there. She, starting up, affected great nerv- 
ousness and alarm (the ladies of Bien Aim^'s family 
insist upon the affectation, for there was no occasion 
for nervousness or alarm), and the gentleman who 
had escorted her to her place felt called upon to 
interfere. His remarks about the trifling incident 
were such that Bien Aime at once invited him to the 
balcony in front of the ballroom, where words ensued 
that were followed by the gentleman brushing Bien 
Aim6 across the face with his glove. A duel after 
this was inevitable — in fact imperative. It was 
arranged for the next day. The ladies of the family 
had, naturally, been kept in ignorance of it. On the 
next afternoon, Madame de Lauzon, the mother of 
Bien Aim^, and others of the family were seated on 
chairs placed before the house on the *' banquette,'^ 
as was the Latin custom of the day, in order to enjoy 
the fresh air. From passers-by in the street, Madame 
de Lauzon heard these words: 

^That is sad about Bien Aim6 de Lauzon.'* 

''What's the matter?'' 

''Haven't you heard? He has been killed in a duel, 
and they are bringing in his body." 

The shock almost killed the mother. No one had 
the courage to tell Adele. She was to attend a ball 
that evening, and was allowed to make her prepara- 
tions in ignorance of his fate. She actually went to 
the ball, no one daring to break the news to her. 

The Salle d'0rl6ans is still standing on Orleans 
Street. It is now a convent for colored ''Sisters." 
Little alteration has been made in the place. A 
balcony, as a century ago, runs across the front (the 



i 



CHAREST DE LA UZON 4 1 1 

balcony to which Bien Aim6 and his antagonist 
retired) . 

The act of burial of Bien Aim6 is not recorded in 
the Cathedral. Its absence is explained by the fact 
that the last rites of the church were accorded only 
to those who had received the sacraments, and Bien 
Aini6 fell dead at the first fire of his opponent. He 
was buried, however, in consecrated ground in the 
St. Louis Cemetery. Even the date of his death 
has not been preserved. But in the burial notice of 
his sister, Madame du Bourg de Saint Colombe, in 
1811, it was stated that "ses cendres ont 6te expos^es 
preiscelles de son frere." 

In the old cemetery, the frequent inscription, 
^']\Iort sur le champ d'honneur" or 'S^ictime de 
rhonneur" show that the family of those killed in 
duels considered this mode of death an honorable 
one. All that was told by the witnesses of the affair 
was that Bien Aim^ fell at the first fire, shot through 
the heart, and that he had fired wildly. The dueling 
pistols used still exist in the family. They are of the 
finest English make. They w^ere lent, it is said, for 
three different duels, with the result of death in each 
duel. After Bien Aime's death they were boxed 
and never used again. They are now the property 
of Charles Thibaut, Esq., Harvard University. 

Madame Lauzon lived after her son's death to an 
advanced age, dying when about ninety. Like her 
husband, she died in her chair. At the time she 
was the guest of her grandson, Arthur Thibaut, hav- 
ing just arrived from her daughter's plantation, the 
Hermitage. An informal entertainment was being 
given and refreshments were served. The old lady 



412 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

partook of them and, laughingly remarking as she 
held up her hands that her fingers were sticky from 
eating bonbons, retired to her room to wash them. 
Her maid accompanied her and left her while she 
went downstairs for warm water. On her return 
she found Madame Lauzon in her chair, asleep, 
as she thought. In truth she was dead. Her tomb 
also is in the old St. Louis Cemetery. 



CHAPTER XXXII 
BRINGIER 

THE Bringier family, whose name runs like a 
golden tracery over the society of New Orleans 
during the nineteenth century, came into the colony 
during the very latest years of the Spanish Domina- 
tion. 

Emmanuel Marius Pons Bringier,* of La Cadiere, 
near Aubagne, was the first to settle here. From a 
letter written by the '^Chanoine Jean Baptiste 
HypoHte Bringier," of the Marseilles Cathedral, to a 
Louisiana nephew, we learn that the Bringier family 
of Louisiana descends from Ignace Bringier, a Judge 
of Limagne (ancien pays d'Auvergne), who was the 
father of Jean Bringier. He married Marie Doura- 
don, daughter of Baron Douradon of Auvergne. 
They were the parents of Pierre Bringier, the father 
of Emmanuel Marius Pons. Pierre Bringier had an 
enormous family, which gave rise to the jeu d^esprit 
that he was the ^'father of nineteen sons and one 
canon." The canon of the Marseilles Cathedral was 
the younger brother of Emmanuel Marius Pons, and 
had been an Emigre during the French Revolution. 

Emmanuel Marius Pons left France in 1780, 
sailing in his own vessel with his young wife, Marie 

* Taken chiefly from the manuscript notes of Trist Wood, Esq.i 
a descendant of Marius Pons Bringier, who kindly loaned them to 
the author. 

413 



414 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Frangoise Durand, to Martinique, where he and his 
brother Vincent became associated in business 
on a plantation. But not agreeing well as part- 
ners, they separated. Vincent lost his life in a 
shipwreck. Marius Pons, quitting Martinique, 
embarked again in his own vessel with his wife, 
slaves and household effects, and came to Louisiana. 
He acquired a plantation in the rich Tchoupitoulas 
district above New Orleans. Abandoning the place 
shortly afterwards, on account of the crevasses, 
Bringier moved to the Parish of St. James in 1785, 
where he bought, successively, five plantations and, 
throwing them into one, formed the famous Maison 
Blanche or White Hall plantation, which according 
to all accounts must be pronounced to be incontest- 
ably the greatest plantation Louisiana ever held. 

What would be to-day a most valuable record of 
it, and a precious document in every way, has, to 
the enduring regret of local historians, been lost. 
This was the ' 'Memoir" of Augustin, one of the old 
Bringier slaves, which he dictated to one of his mis- 
tresses, Madame Aurore Trudeau, who wrote it down 
in his patois, just as he spoke it. Only a vague 
reminiscence of it exists. 

As traveling in the early days was done entirely 
upon the highroad running along the river bank, 
and no inns were in existence for the accommodation 
of wayfarers, the custom was for them to turn into 
any plantation they were passing and ask for hospi- 
taUty for the night — hospitaUty that was never 
refused. Bringier, who could not but do things 
magnificently, improved upon this custom, as 
Augustin related it. He had outhouses built for the 
accommodation of passing strangers, with beds pre- 



II 



BRING I ER 415 

pared and meals ready and slaves in attendance for 
them. Any stranger was made welcome. The rule at 
White Hall was not to ask his name or seek in any 
way to discover his identity, unless he chose to divulge 
them. He came and went as an unknown bird of 
passage might, but departed, rested and refreshed, 
his clothes cleaned and brushed, his linen washed. 
The enormous amount of provisions laid up in the 
plantation storehouses for this wholesale entertain- 
ment at Maisou Blanche became a byword among the 
negroes, whose pride in it led them to exaggerate its 
quantity until, in truth, it became laughably absurd 
in its proportions. 

The town house of the Bringiers, to which they 
came every winter, was on Canal Street; one of the 
three old houses, still remembered, built ahke with 
massive Corinthian columns in front, called ''the 
Three Sisters." One of these was subsequently 
converted into ''The Grand Opera House." The 
Audubon Row occupies now the site of it. 

^'Melpomene" was their next place of residence in 
town. It had been owned previously by Seaman 
Field, the brother-in-law of Aglae Dubourg Bringier. 
The name w^as always known as Melpomene (pro- 
nounced in French), strangely enough before the 
street received its name in the due series of the 
Muses. Carondelet at that time was Apollo Street, 
a mere road through the bare country, with but one 
or two houses built on it. "Visiting the city" was 
the term used for going to Canal Street. 

The eldest son, Michel Doradou Bringier, born 
on the plantation, was sent to Paris for his educa- 
tion. On his return to America he passed through 
Baltimore and was married to Aglae Dubourg, who. 



416 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

as we have seen, had been placed in the convent there 
under Mrs. Seton for her education, and who was but 
fourteen years old. The marriage took place in 
Baltimore, where it created a great sensation on 
account of the remarkable beauty and the extreme 
youthfulness of the bride, but it was understood that 
it had been arranged by her uncle, the abbe, during 
a visit to New Orleans, with the full agreement of 
both families. 

Doradou Bringier had never seen his bride before 
the ceremony except once, when, as a very small girl, 
she passed through New Orleans on her way to 
Baltimore. He declared then that she was the most 
beautiful child he had ever seen, and that he had 
fallen in love with her. Hermitage plantation was 
given the couple, and as a wedding present the bride 
received a beautiful doll. She remarked that she 
did not know whether it was meant for her or for her 
first baby. 

The marriage turned out to be a very happy one. 
Agla6 lived to an extreme old age, preserving her 
charm and beauty to the last. She died in 1878 in 
her town house, ' 'Melpomene," surrounded by her 
children and grandchildren. 

The eldest daughter of Agla6 and Michel Doradou 
Bringier, Rosella, married Hone Browze Trist, the 
kinsman and ward of Thomas Jefferson; he became 
first American Collector of the Port of New Orleans; 
the youngest, Myrthe, married Richard Taylor, son 
of President Zachary Taylor, who became during 
the Civil War the dashing General Dick Taylor.* 

* "Dick" Taylor, the son of Zachary Taylor, was born in 'Louisiana 
in 1826. After the Battle of Baton Rouge, in the Civil War, he was 
appointed to the command of the District of Louisiana, having 



BRINGIER 417 

Octavie married General Allen Thomas, at one time 
United States Minister to Venezuela. Louise mar- 
ried Martin Gordon, of New Orleans. 

Nanine, the third daughter, married the Hon. 
Duncan F. Kenner who, looked back upon from the 
present times, looms up among the men of his day 
as a giant in intellect and force of character. He had 
a large family, but only two daughters and one son 
reached maturity. His eldest daughter, Rosella, 
married General Joseph Brent, of Baltimore. Their 
daughter, Nanine, is the wife of Thomas Sloo, Esq., 
of New Orleans. 

One of the daughters of Marius Pons Bringier, 
Frangoise, married ^^Christophe Colomb,'' who 
claimed descent from the great discoverer. Living 
in France, he had become involved in some plot 
during the French Revolution and had made his 
escape to St. Domingo disguised as a cook. But the 
insurrection and massacre there forced him again 
to fly. He came, as all the St. Domingo refugees 
did at that time, to New Orleans, and, as Trist Woods 
describes it, gravitated to St. James Parish and to 
White Hall plantation. He there married Frangoise 
Bringier and became the proprietor of Bocage plan- 
tation, but instead of cultivating his fields, he spent, 

already served with distinction in Virginia. His campaign in Upper 
Louisiana and on Red River was one of the brilKant mihtary episodes 
of the Confederate War. After the close of the war he returned to 
New Orleans and lived with his family in the old Melpomene Street 
house. He had three daughters; one of them, Bettie, married 
Walter R. Stauffer; her sister, Myrth6, Isaac H. Stauffer— sons of 
the prominent and wealthy merchant and philanthropist, Isaac 
Stauffer, of New Orleans. The children of both sisters still proudly 
maintain the prestige of their blood and name in New Orleans. 
Louisette, the eldest daughter, died unmarried. 



418 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

we are told, the rest of his life cultivating the Muses. 
On moonlight nights he would betake himself to his 
boat or ornamental barge, ordering his men to row 
him up and down the Mississippi and, reclining on 
cushions beneath a fringed canopy, would pick his 
guitar and sing serenades to the moon. His wife, 
on the contrary, with the Bringier talent for busi- 
ness, mounting her horse at daylight, would ride 
over the plantation directing the work of the slaves. 
But husband and wife got on together famously, 
says the story — he wooing the Muses, she managing 
Bocage. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 
TUREAUD 

THE Tureaud family were originally Huguenots, 
but they became Catholics before emigrating 
from France. The first Tureaud known in Louisiana 
was Augustin Dominique, born in St. Sauveur Parish, 
la Rochelle, in 1764, the son of Jacques Tureaud, 
"courtier," and of Frangoise Guillon. He received 
a collegiate education, was dashing in conduct, 
talented and good looking, and, consequently, as we 
might say, became involved in a love scrape which 
brought about his being sent by his father to St. 
Domingo to take charge of a plantation he owned 
there. 

In the revolt of the negroes and the bloody mas- 
sacre of the whites, Tureaud was saved by the 
ingratiating quahties that distinguished him through 
hfe. His housekeeper, a mulatress, the wife of one 
of the ringleaders of the revolt, who knew therefore 
in advance what was impending, led him to the shore, 
where she had secreted a boat, and embarked in it 
with him and her two children. The cold was 
intense, the boat was an open one and all were thinly 
clad. They suffered cruelly. One of the children 
died on the second day out. The mother threw it 
overboard, and the little skiff drifted about at sea 
until it was picked up by a vessel bound for Balti- 
more. Tureaud by this time was lying unconscious 
in the boat. He always said that he had no idea 

419 



420 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

what could have influenced the mulatress to save his 
Hfe except an act of unconscious poUteness on his 
part. When he came from France, ignorant of the 
customs of Martinique, he addressed the house- 
keeper as ^'madame/' and although he does not say- 
so, he most hkely treated her with the consideration 
due a ^'madame." 

A commission house in Baltimore received the 
refugee and communicated the fact to Tureaud's 
father in France, who remitted funds for his son's 
expenses, asking the firm to keep him in America. 
The surviving child of the ringleader and mulatress, 
although free, served in the Tureaud family, and his 
children were given European educations and subse- 
quently returned to New Orleans, where they held 
good business positions. 

Tureaud, after settling in Baltimore, made a 
number of voyages. In his diary he tells of being 
shipwrecked in the Pacific and residing with the 
Baron de Cambefort at the Mole of St. Nicholas, but 
unfortunately only one section of his diary has been 
preserved, that relating to 1801 and 1802. This is full 
of the exciting adventures, love affairs, etc., that be- 
fell amateur knight-errants on the Gulf of Mexico 
at that time. Once he was captured with his vessel 
by the English, once drifting about with a crew help- 
less from yellow fever, he put in to Vera Cruz for 
relief and, being refused by the authorities there, 
he sailed for New Orleans where his greatest adven- 
ture yet awaited him, for he met Marius Pons 
Bringier, who invited him to his plantation. White 
Hall, taking him up to it in his cabriolet. There 
his visit having terminated, he was about to leave 
when a heavy rain fell flooding the roads and de-j 



TUREAUD 421 

taining him a few days longer. His host, more 
and more pleased with his agreeable guest and more 
and more reluctant to part with him, yielded at last 
to temptation and one day a propos of nothing 
offered him the hand of his daughter Fanny. Natur- 
ally, according to French customs, there were pre- 
liminary conditions connected with business to be 
arranged, but they were settled in a satisfactory way 
and the young man, duly accepting and accepted, 
was, as he wrote in his diary, raised to the seventh 
heaven of bUss over his good fortune. Fanny was 
only thirteen and, he confesses, not beautiful, but 
she was the daughter of the owner of magnificent 
White Hall! Tureaud returned to New Orleans 
where, he writes, congratulations were showered 
upon him. He went back to Baltimore and a year 
later presented himself to claim his bride. 

Fanny did not keep a diary, but her account of the 
affair has come down to us nevertheless. She was 
in her room dreaming, as girls do, of her ideal in love 
and indulging in the usual romantic visions of mar- 
riage, when her father summoned her to his presence, 
and informed her that her hand had been promised 
to Monsieur Tureaud. She went almost into a state 
of collapse, but managed to stammer out that she 
bowed to the will of her father. Then, hastening to 
her room, she gave herself up to the wildest grief and 
indignation that she was to be given away to an old, 
gray-haired man. Tureaud was then thirty-eight 
years old, but this was, of course, aged to the eyes of 
thirteen, and his hair had turned gray when he fled 
from St. Domingo. 

The marriage was celebrated at White Hall in 
1803. While preparations for the ceremony were 



422 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

being made, the rebellious little bride spent her time 
weeping in her room, but in spite of her fears the 
union turned out to be the ideal one she had dreamed 
of. 

Her father gave her ^ 'Union' ^ plantation (so 
named for the happy event) as a wedding gift. The 
Ufe spent there for both was a very happy one. 
Tureaud became a judge in the parish of St. James 
and during the Civil War served as Captain of 
Cavalry. But the bold, high-spirited daredevil of 
the diary suffered miserably in his old age from the 
effect of a wound supposed to have been received 
in a duel. He died at ''Union'' plantation in 1826. 

He had sent to France for his nephew, Jean Fran- 
gois Theodore Tureaud, to join him in Louisiana. 

Theodore, born in Rochefort in 1791, had served 
in Napoleon's army, and was in the Treasury Depart- 
ment of the Marine in 1812. He arrived in Louisiana 
in 1814, and was followed, a year or two later, by his 
mother and two sisters. He became a Notary 
Pubhc in New Orleans, and married Claire Conand, 
daughter of Dr. Joseph Conand of the same city. 
They founded a second Une of Tureauds in Louisiana. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

GARRIGUES DE FLAUGEAC— DE ROALDES 

■p^E FLAUGEAC'S name has been written in the 
J-^ history of Louisiana by the hand of General 
Jackson himself. In an order of the day after 
Chalmette, Jackson cited him particularly ''for dis- 
daining the exemption afforded by his seat in the 
Senate, and offering himself for the service of his 
country. He continued in this subordinate but 
honorable station, and by his example as well as 
exertions has rendered essential service to the 
country." 
As Gayarr^ describes it: 

"A little before daybreak, on the eighth of January, as soon as 
there was sufficient light for observation ... a congreve rocket 
went up. It was the signal for attack. The British, giving three 
cheers, formed into close column of about sixty men in front and 
advanced in splendid order, chiefly upon the battery commanded 
by Garrigues de Flaugeac, which consisted of a brass twelve- 
pounder, supported on its left by an insignificant battery with a 
small brass coronade; on the right was the artillery commanded 
by United States officers. An obhque movement was made to 
avoid the terrible fire of the Flaugeac battery, from which every 
discharge seemed to tear open the column, and sweep away whole 
files." 

The gallant Frenchman, we are told, was a born 
fighter. Before coming to Louisiana he had drawn 
his sword under RepubUc, Consulate and Directory; 
and had sheathed it and come to Louisiana only when 

423 



V 



424 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

there seemed no further prospect for its use in France. 
He settled in Opelousas, one of the most beautiful 
and fertile parishes in the State, married there and 
devoted himself to the development of a large 
plantation. This was during the halcyon days of 
Louisiana, before poHtics infested the ways of public 
life, and a man^s worth to his State was not measured 
by party balances. Thus, such a man as de Flau- 
geac was elected to the Legislature as Senator. 

The House was in session when the British effected 
their landing in Louisiana, and with their gunboats 
dominated the lake and commanded all approaches 
to the city. There was a moment of panic and 
demorahzation in the city. The Governor sent a 
message to the Legislature suggesting the expediency 
of adjourning for a specified time. The House 
considered an adjournment inexpedient and highly 
dangerous. Jackson, suspicious at this time of the 
Creoles, was anxious not only for the adjournment 
but for the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. 
The House was firm in its belief that this would be 
unsafe, and Jackson issued a general order putting 
the city of New Orleans under martial law. It was 
in this moment of tension that de Flaugeac settled 
the question for himself by resigning his seat to 
volunteer on the field of battle; commending himself, 
as we have seen, in the best way to the good opinion 
of the general in command. After the battle he 
disappeared from the city and merged his life again 
in the interests of his plantation. 

De Roaldes was his nephew, the son of his brother- 
in-law, who had been persuaded by de Flaugeac ^s 
letters to leave France for Louisiana. De Flaugeac 
had married a de Roaldes. The wife of de Roaldes 



GARRIGUES DE FLAUGEAC—DE RO AIDES 425 

was Coralie Testas de Folmont, of the Chdteau 
de Folmont, near Cahors, whose family had been 
known in France since the Crusades. 

After a short trial of country life, de Roaldes left 
Opelousas and came to New Orleans, where he prac- 
tised medicine for thirty years. His eldest son, 
Arthur, he sent to France for his medical education. 
The young man was engaged in his studies when the 
Franco-Prussian War broke out, and volunteered in 
the Sixth International Ambulance Corps. He was 
in the service of the Red Cross, in a deserted mill 
used as a hospital, near the River Meuse, and in close 
proximity to a pontoon bridge over which Mac- 
INIahon's corps was retreating before the rapid 
advance of the Prussians, who were firing across the 
bridge regardless of the hospital work in the factory, 
filled with wounded and dying men. In his official 
report, the Surgeon-in-Chief gives the best account 
of what followed : 

"Mons. de Roaldes charged himself with the perilous mission of 
planting our flag upon the roof of the house; a heroic action, which 
caused the enemy to stop firing against us, at the sight of the inter- 
national colors." 

For his gallant conduct the French Government 
offered de Roaldes the Cross of the Legion of Honor, 
but at that time it was considered to be the duty of 
Americans to wear no foreign decorations and the 
young man dechned it. 

He returned to New Orleans, equipped for his 
profession with a brilfiant record as a man of nerve 
and action. He devoted himself to the special study 
of the eye, ear, nose and throat, and soon made him- 
self known as a specialist of brilliant abilities in the 
medical world. 



426 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

De Roaldes lived in the part of the city inhabited 
principally by French, Spanish and Italian immi- 
grants, and he was brought face to face with 
their teeming families whose children and babies 
were in sore need of special treatment beyond the 
means and intelHgence of their poor, ignorant par- 
ents, with no relief possible except that offered by 
the general treatment of the overcrowded Charity 
Hospital, with its care for all the sick and wounded 
of three neighboring States. 

De Roaldes, by degrees, was turned more and more 
into the highways and byways of charity, opening 
his office, and giving his rare surgical skill and his 
great gift as a diagnostician to the helpless and 
miserable mothers who brought their children to him. 

The numbers that came or were brought to him 
soon overspread the limit of one man's time and 
attention. He associated others with him — young 
students who were glad to assist him for the oppor- 
tunity of studying under him. With his hand to 
the plow, never looking back or releasing his hold, 
he traced the furrow that led to its predestined 
stopping place — the organizing of a scientific insti- 
tution for the treatment of diseases of the eye, ear, 
nose and throat, where the poor, without pay, could 
seek and find the care and advice usually reserved 
to the rich. 

The furrow was a long one and the years were 
heavy with work and fatigue before the end appeared; 
he was forced to appeal for money to accomplish 
properly what he had in mind. The money came, 
as he knew it would come, for the heart that con- 
ceives great designs is the heart that never despairs. 
At first, it came in scant driblets. The poor about 



GARRIGUES DE FLAUGEAC—DE RO AIDES 427 

him, knowing him, brought their mites. The coun- 
try parishes responded, for they had sent their aihng 
children to him in the past. The negroes gave too — 
and it was the first time in history that they recog- 
nized their responsibihty toward maintaining civic 
institutions. By the time the rich felt the urge to 
give their large donations and legacies, the founda- 
tions were assured; that is, a building had been 
rented. A great and adequate building, with full 
surgical equipment, now stands in the heart of the 
city. 

But the story ends in the saddest of all tragedies, 
as human eyes see it. The Healer himself went 
unhealed. He who had restored the eyesight to 
countless others suffered himself years of hopeless 
blindness. At first, with his clear knowledge and 
unerring skill, he was able, as he said, to see with his 
fingers; and he still remained at his post, directing 
consultations; going to the hospital, which in truth 
was called ''his hospital" every day; working for it 
until paralysis fell upon him; and as he could no 
longer see, now he could no longer move. 

To mention family distinction after such a record 
is paltry. But although good wine needs no bush, 
a bush that produces the best of wine merits 
acknowledgment. 

The de Roaldes belong to one of the old families of 
France always known for loyalty to Church and 
King. The chateau at Cahors, the family home, 
is still the family home, but on account of its great 
historic and artistic value it has been classified by 
the government as an historic monument, and taken 
over by it for preservation. 

Frangois de Roaldes was reputed the greatest 



428 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

scholar of his time (1519-1589). His cousin and 
pupil, Frangois II de Roaldes, had so great a reputa- 
tion that colleges disputed for the honor of possessing 
him, Toulouse finally gaining the prize. In the 
''Memoires Historiques" * is preserved the following 
letter from Henry IV: 

"Mons. de Roaldes, the name whicfo you have won among men of 
letters, makes me desire to know you otherwise than by mere reputa- 
tion, and to testify to you how much pleasure it affords me to make 
known to you and all persons my good-will toward yourself. In the 
assurance of which I pray you to give faith to what the Sieur de 
Pira will say to you in my name. 

"Adieu, Mons. de Roaldes. I pray you may continue in His 
holy keeping. 

"From Pau, 20th, October, 1584. 

"Your well assured friend, 

"Henri." 

The tablet of the handsome tomb in which Arthur 
de Roaldes' mortal remains were buried holds the 
list of the many decorations and medals awarded him 
by foreign governments for his good work among 
their subjects; but in truth he needs no such decora- 
tions or medals, or even the letter of the King of 
France. His monument and enduring record is his 
hospital and the memory of him that is preserved in 
New Orleans. 

* Facsimile of Henry IV's letter is in the historical collection at the 
Cabildo. 



CHAPTER XXXV 
PITOT 

TACQUES PITOT DE BEAUJARDIERE and 
^ Joseph Roffignac, two young gentlemen of the 
nobihty, fled from France during the Reign of Terror 
and came to Louisiana, settling in New Orleans where, 
strange to say, both in time filled the high and 
honorable office of Mayor. 

They related on their arrival in the city the story 
of their last experience in their own country. Passing 
through Paris, they heard in the streets a rumble 
as of a great crowd approaching, with all the out- 
cries and vociferations of a riotous mob. They 
stopped to see the cause of it. A surging, furious 
mass of people swept by them, filling the street, 
carr3dng on a tall pike the beautiful head of the 
Princesse de Lamballe, the hair dressed in court 
coiffure. Transfixed with horror, Pitot exclaimed 
aloud involuntarily and began to give expression to 
his outraged feelings, when he was touched on the 
elbow and a low voice whispered in his ear: "Mar- 
chez, marchez, monsieur; vous vous compromettez." 
And a plain laborer, ^'un homme en blouse," glided 
quickly from his side. This was more than enough ; 
the two young men sped from the death behind 
them and disembarked from their native land the 
next day. 

On arrival in the new world, they dropped their 

429 



430 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

titles in order to conform to the republican spirit. 
Pitot was from Rouen and a thorough Norman in 
enterprise and energy. After witnessing the taking 
over of the colony by France from Spain and its 
hurried cession to the United States, he grasped the 
golden opportunities for business about him under 
the American regime, and was soon ranked with 
the prominent and wealthy merchants of the place. 
It is said that he established the first cotton press 
known in the city (on the corner of Toulouse and 
Burgundy Streets). 

Etienne de Bore, as has been related, acceding to 
de Laussat's appeal to his patriotism, had filled the 
office of Mayor of New Orleans during the short 
episode of the second French Administration, but 
he refused to continue in office under the government 
of the United States, to which he was in principle 
opposed. The city with the territory was then 
under the rule of a Legislative Council appointed by 
the President. Laussat had abohshed the Cabildo 
and established for the government of the city a 
Municipal Council, composed of a Mayor and twelve 
members. The council continued in office after the 
transfer of the colony to the United States, and it 
was re-established by Claiborne, who presided at its 
meetings, at which were present all of the original 
members with the exception of three who, with de 
Bor6, for political reasons had resigned. Pitot was 
among the nmnber chosen to replace these. On 
June 2nd, 1800, he was elected Mayor by the Council, 
with the approval of Claiborne, who afterwards 
was sworn into the office of Governor by Pitot. 

New Orleans in her career has been honored or 




Toulouse Street, Near ''Old Levee" Street 



PITOT 433 

dishonored by many kinds of Mayors. But the 
example of Pitot could produce only the Mayor that 
honored the city. Claiborne in his voluminous 
correspondence never lets his pen run over his name 
without a commendation of him. 

The duties of the office of Mayor at that period 
were not Hght or easy. The citizens were in an ugly 
mood over the scamping, as they saw it, by the 
United States of the treaty with Napoleon, and 
they were in a state of constant ferment and indigna- 
tion against the injustice put upon them by Congress. 
Public meetings were held, with violent orators 
denouncing the United States and clamoring for the 
rights of Louisiana. Pitot himself presided at one 
of these meetings and was on the committee that 
drew up the protest that was presented by a delega- 
tion to Congress. He presented the paper himself 
to Claiborne. Claiborne, always timid before the 
irrepressible nature of the Creoles, seemed never 
quite sure that they did not meditate some such 
coup d'etat as they engineered against Spain; but in 
a letter to the Secretary of State, Madison, he writes:* 

"I place much confidence in the good intentions and prudent 
conduct of Mr. Pitot, the Mayor of the city, whose influence is 
considerable, and who assures me that the peace of the city shall not 
be disturbed." 

He added: 

"The Louisianians are a zealous people and their lively support 
of measures, nay, their enthusiasm, may be easily excited; but I 
find they readily listen to good advice and are generally pacific and 
well disposed again." 

* "Official Letter Books of W. C. C. Claiborne." Vol. II, pp. 
137-9. 



434 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

It was to the Mayor that the good Protestant 
Governor referred the complaint of the Lady Abbess 
of the UrsuHne convent that a play was being pro- 
duced at the theatre that cast ridicule on her con- 
vent. The play was withdrawn. 

It is significant of the esteem in which Pitot was 
held in that he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of 
the University of Orleans, as the parent of the old 
College d'Orleans was grandiloquently called at its 
foundation— one of the first effects of the enhghten- 
ment of the American Domination. 

Pitot resigned the office of Mayor in the summer of 
1805 and was appointed by Claiborne Judge of the 
Probate Court of the Parish of Orleans, whose 
jurisdiction extended from the Balize to Baton 
Rouge. 

Armand Pitot, his son, was a distinguished lawyer 
of the Louisiana Bar, and became clerk of the 
Supreme Court. He married a daughter of Monte- 
gut ^^fils/^ sister of the wife of Felix Grima. Mr. 
Gustave Pitot, the third generation of the name in 
New Orleans, was for many years a manager of the 
Citizens Bank, one of the oldest financial institutions 
in the city. The family group of the Montegut 
family, by Amans, in the Historical Society Museum, 
was an heirloom of the Pitot family. They have 
confided it to the keeping of the Louisiana Historical 
Society. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 
ROFFIGNAC 

COUNT LOUIS PHILIPPE JOSEPH DE ROF- 
FIGNAC was a native of Perigord. He was of 
noble birth and had been a page to the Dowager 
Duchesse d'Orleans, the mother of Louis PhiHppe. 
At seventeen he received his commission from Louis 
XVI as a Lieutenant of Artillery, and served in Spain 
under his father who held an important command 
in the French Army. At twenty-four he was pro- 
moted on the field of action, for gallantry, to a 
captaincy in the Queen's Regiment of Dragoons. 

He came to New Orleans, as has been related, with 
Jacques Pitot, having been compelled to fly from 
France to escape the guillotine. Avaihng himself 
of an article in the Treaty of Cession which allowed 
French subjects equal privileges, including naturali- 
zation, with those conferred upon actual residents 
of Louisiana, he became automatically upon his 
arrival in Louisiana an American citizen. His 
appreciation of this high honor, as he considered it, 
he proved during his long Hfe. -- 

He does not seem, like so many of the new citi- 
zens at that time, to have opened his eyes to the 
money-making opportunities spread before him, 
but he undertook at once the serious fulfillment of 
civic duties. He entered the Legislature and served 
as State Senator for twelve years. Gallantly 

435 



436 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

responding to the call of patriotism when New 
Orleans was threatened by the British, he became a 
soldier again and he was made a Colonel in the 
Louisiana Legion. 

Roffignac was elected a director in the State Bank 
of Louisiana when the choice signified acknowledg- 
ment of mental ability and moral qualities as well; 
and finally he was elected Mayor of the city and was 
maintained in the office eight years. 

It was a proud day for the city when he assumed 
office. He was, par excellence, the Mayor for New 
Orleans : an aristocrat, a gentleman, a man of letters 
and a clear-headed executive of ability. 

Roffignac restored the finances of the city, strictly 
enforced the cleaning and policing of the streets, 
improved the public squares, and encouraged the 
estabhshment of institutions of education and 
charity. It was during his administration that in 
the Place d'Armes, along Esplanade, Rampart and 
Canal Streets, the sycamores and elms were planted, 
which gave to the city its foreign aspect for so long 
a period. The dear old trees, so kindly in the sum- 
mer with their good shade, and so beautiful in the 
spring with their diaphanous white flowers, under 
which the old inhabitants used to promenade on 
Sunday afternoons, were destroyed eventually in 
one of the unsentimental and ignorant expressions of 
what was termed (as such attempts are always 
termed) civic progress and improvement. 

The first contract to pave the mud streets with 
cobblestones covered with sand and gravel was made 
under Roffignac, and a regular system of fight- 
ing the city was introduced by means of large lamps 
with reflectors, hung from ropes fastened to high 



ROFFIGNAC 437 

posts at the corners of the streets — an innovation 
hailed with delight by the citizens, who hitherto had 
been forced to furnish their own illumination by 
carrying lanterns on dark nights. 

The city needed then just such an administrator. 
It was enduring then the roughest period of its 
existence. A never-ceasing influx of strangers 
poured through its streets — mostly traders from the 
wild West who came down the river in barges and 
flatboats, laden with flour and grain and immense 
quantities of cured beef to sell. They filled the streets 
at night with the noise of their drunken brawls. 
In their wake followed a horde of gamblers and 
disreputable men. Licensed gambling was per- 
mitted; the gambling dens were kept open all 
night. The night poUce were inefficient and too 
few in number for the size of the territory they had 
to guard. Assaults, robberies, crimes of all kinds 
were committed under the very eaves of the Cabildo ; 
incendiary fires were of daily occurrence. 

But all menaces to peace and order Roffignac met 
with the energy and courage of a soldier; and he 
imposed upon the lawless barbarians a regard for the 
dignity of the city. It was, however, toward the 
close of his administration that occurred a great 
civic misfortune — the terrible fire that consumed the 
State House. This was only a plain building on 
the lower corner of Toulouse and the Levee, with a 
broad gallery in front overlooking the river. A 
Httle garden at the side held a parterre of flowers 
and bouquets of tropical shrubbery. To the people, 
however, it was the stately ^' Hotel du Gouverne- 
ment" of the French and Spanish administration, 
and consecrated as the stage of all the great political 



438 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

events of the colony's history. In it every Act 
of Cession of the colony had been registered, every 
^ ^ordinance," or ''Bando de Gobierno/' promul- 
gated. Under its roof was signed the warrant 
that condemned Lafreniere and his followers to their 
glorious death. Within its walls Governor Claiborne 
and General Wilkinson held their conference to 
thwart the designs of Aaron Burr; and there General 
Jackson had followed up his victory over the Enghsh 
by conceiving his high-handed design of dispersing 
the State Legislature at the point of the bayonet to 
get rid of the ''traitors/' as he considered them. 

It had been built in 1761, under the French regime, 
and at the time of the disaster was the official resi- 
dence of Governor Pierre Derbigny. In its upper 
chambers were held the Legislative Assemblies (the 
legislators and senators mounting to them by a 
rickety stairway that was always threatening to 
collapse). The State offices occupied the ground 
floor. Adjoining them was the public library, pos- 
sessing, in truth, but a scant collection of books, 
but rich in irare and valuable manuscripts and histor- 
ical records (to-day they would be considered beyond 
price). All were consumed, including an entire 
edition of the Code of Practice, and all but a hundred 
volumes of the new Civil Code. 

On the day after the fire, the Legislature, which 
had been is session, assembled on the invitation of 
Mayor Roffignac in his public parlor to consult upon 
the selection of another building in which to con- 
tinue their deliberations. It was decided to take 
the Orleans Ballroom, offered by that good citizen, 
its proprietor, John Davis. 

Not only did Roffignac make the city proud of his 




' -^;£.^N«»Q<w^7d. 






Porte-Cochere on Chartres Street. 



ROFFIGNAC 441 

administrative ability; he flattered it by his 
undoubted position as a man of letters. He main- 
tained frequent communication with the leading 
statesmen of France and an unbroken correspondence 
with Lafayette, who in 1825, when he made his ever- 
famous and glorious visit to the city, was received 
by Roffignac under a great arch in the Place d'Armes 
with a speech that outshone Lafayette's reply. 

He lived on Chartres Street between Dumaine 
and St. PhilUppe, in close proximity to the Hotel de 
Ville and the Cabildo. He had married very hap- 
pily a daughter of the good old family of Montegut. 

In 1828 he wrote his farewell address to the 
President and members of the City Council. It was 
a noble letter, which to-day, nearly a century later, 
moves the heart with its genuine and lofty sincerity, 
and true vision of the proper government of a city. 
His retirement from office w^as keenly regretted; 
he had devoted eight years of his Kfe to the service 
of the city, and thirty to that of the State. " 

Roffignac retired to France, where he had inherited 
from an aunt a considerable fortune; but he never 
could be induced to resume his title. To the solicita- 
tions of his wife and children he would reply inva- 
riably that he w^ould remain plain Mr. Roffignac in 
France as he had been in America. He was cor- 
dially welcomed in Paris, and invited to luncheon at 
the Tuileries by Louis Philippe, who remembered 
he was Madame de Roffignac's godfather, and that 
Dr. Montegut had entertained him hospitably in 
the old days of his exile in New Orleans. 

Roffignac's daughter married the secretary of the 
King's sister and his two sons married into families 
of distinction. His wife, ''an excellent and chari- 



442 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

table woman/ ^ says Gayarre, lived with her daughter 
in Paris. 

He retired to his chateau, near Prigueux. There 
Gayarre visited him, when he was over eighty years 
old, describing him thus: 

"He pressed me tenderly in his arms, but alas wept bitterly. 
In the course of conversation I saw that he was an incurable sufferer 
and that life had become to him an insufferable burden. He 
deplored that he had ever left Louisiana, which had become his real 
home, while his native country had ceased in his eyes to retain that 
character after so long an absence from it. Now it was too late! 
too late to go back! His face was woebegone when we parted; he 
pressed my hand with energy and said in a voice that sounded like 
a sob: 'My dear friend, if you wish to meet a friendly eye on your 
deathbed — buy a dog.' He died shortly afterward, in his chair, 
from the accidental discharge of his pistol that he was handling." 



CHAPTER XXXVII 
ST. GEME 

THE memory of St. Geme is preserved in two 
historical records. Gayarre, in a historical 
sketch of Pierre and Jean Lafitte, writes: 

"Shortly after the war (1812), there was between two citizens of 
Louisiana an affair of honor which produced considerable excitement. 
Pierre Lafitte was the second one of them, and St. Geme of the other. 
St. Geme had no superior in New Orleans as to social position. He 
had distinguished himself under General Jackson as the captain 
of one of our uniformed companies, and was considered by the whole 
population as a sort of Bayard. Would St. G6me have consented 
to meet Lafitte in the capacity I have mentioned, if the latter had 
really been looked upon as a pirate?" 

The other record leads us to the years before the 
Battle of New Orleans, when General Victor 
Moreau, condemned to exile by Napoleon, who was 
accused of being jealous of his brilHant rival, came 
to the United States, and in the course of his travels 
paid a visit to New Orleans, where he met with a 
reception of the best New Orleans kind. 

The Governor, the military, the civil authorities, 
as well as the people themselves, turned out en 
masse in his honor, although the American authori- 
ties regarded him with a suspicious eye. He mingled 
freely with the French people, and was most cordial 
in greeting the French veterans in the city, many of 
whom had seen service in Egypt and on the Rhine. 
He played piquet with Pitot, discussed law with 

443 



444 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

Derbigny, sipped wine with Claiborne, and played 
billiards with Marigny; and in every way made him- 
self agreeable to the enthusiastic citizens. He was 
fond of horseback exercise and would make short 
excursions in the surrounding country. It was dur- 
ing one of these jaunts that, in the company of 
Major St. Geme, a man who had seen service in 
Jamaica, he was struck by the peculiar fitness of a 
piece of ground which formed a natural bulwark 
against an invading land force from below the river. 
Sitting erect upon his horse he critically examined 
the spot and descanted with warmth on the many 
advantages the locahty offered if fortified as an 
intrenched camp. 

His companion never forgot the incident and 
related it to Livingston who, in turn, related it to 
General Jackson on the memorable night of Decem- 
ber 24th, 1814, when the first clash took place 
between the British and American forces. That spot 
was Rodriguez Canal, which Jackson selected and 
fortified — and immortalized by his heroic defense. 
'This,'^ adds the author, '^is a historical fact.'^* 

The family of Henri, Baron de St. Geme, Marquis 
d'Ustou Montaubon, Chevalier of St. Louis, ascends 
to the year 1590. When St. Geme came to New 
Orleans is not recorded. It is known, however, 
that in the city he married the widow of Jean Fran- 
gois Dreux, who was a Demoiselle Delmas, and that 
they went to France where they lived in the Chateau 
de Barbazan. They had but one son, Henri. The 
connection with New Orleans was resumed in later 
years when this son married Eugenie de Puech, the 
daughter of Louis de Puech and Althee d'Aquin, who 

* Henry Castillanos, "New Orleans As It Was." 



ST. G^ME 445 

was born in New Orleans and baptized in the old 
St. Louis Cathedral. The marriage took place in 
Tarbes, France. 

The Puechs belonged to an old Huguenot family 
who, after the Edict of Nantes, emigrated to Boston 
and from there went to St. Domingo, where they 
acquired vast property. They were driven out by 
the insurrection of the negroes and took refuge in 
Philadelphia. 

The three children of Louis de Puech were regis- 
tered at the French consulate in Philadelphia as 
French subjects, and were sent to France for their 
education. Ernest was admitted to the school of 
St. Cyr, and was there when the Revolution of 1848 
overthrew the republican government for that of 
Louis Philippe. He returned to New Orleans and 
thenceforth was counted among the foremost citizens 
of the place. He was the organizer and the first 
president of the Cotton Exchange. He enUsted in 
the Civil War and became a major of the Garde 
d 'Orleans, and took part in several engagements. 
His age alone prevented his flying to France and 
offering himself in the last war. At his funeral, 
military honors were accorded him by a file of his 
old comrades of the Confederate Guards. 

The Vicomte Henri de St. Geme died in 190L 
His widow survived him many years. They had no 
children and she adopted Lucile, the granddaughter 
of her brother, Ernest de Puech of New Orleans, 
and who at present is Madame Albin La Fonta. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 
ALLAIN 

FRANCOIS ALLAIN, a native of Brittany, was 
the first of his family to come to America. He 
had been an officer in the French Army and had 
fought in 1745 at the Battle of Fontenoy. Why he 
left his country for Louisiana is not known nor why 
he selected a home in Baton Rouge, ^'le poste des 
Attakapas," as it was called. 

He brought with him two daughters and two sons, 
one of whom, Augustin, Captain of Grenadiers, 
founded the branch of the family known in New 
Orleans. Two sons were Val^rien and Soathene. 
Valerien, the better known of the two, married 
Celeste Duralde, the daughter of Martin Duralde, 
a Spanish officer stationed at the Poste de Attakapas. 
Of the three Duralde sisters, one married John Clay, 
the brother of Henry Clay; another, Soniat du 
Fossat; and the third (Clarisse), C. C. Claiborne, 
Governor of Louisiana. 

The mother of the Duraldes was a Perrault. She 
was from Canada and a descendant of Charles 
Perrault, the immortal author of the Fairy Tales. 

Valerien and Celeste Duralde had one son, Valer- 
ien, born and baptized in 1799, and three daughters, 
who became Mesdames Ursin Soniat, Valerien 
Dubroca, and George Eustis. Mrs. Eustis was the 
mother of Allain Eustis, who married Anais de Saint 

446 



ALLAIN 447 

Manat. Her sons were James Eustis, late Ambas- 
sador to France; and George Eustis, in his day the 
''Beau Brunmiell" of New Orleans, who married 
Louise Corcoran, daughter of the Washington philan- 
thropist. The daughters of this last couple were 
Mathilde, who married an Englishman and liv^ed 
abroad; and Celestine, still living, who is to-day cited 
as the ''fine fleur" of what ante-bellum New Orleans 
could produce in the way of a grande dame. To the 
grace of the Creole she adds the intellect of a woman 
of letters, and she is the author of several books 
connected with the life of her family in New Orleans, 
the profits of whose sale she has given in charity. 

Val^rien, the son, was sent to France to complete 
his education. He spent some ten years abroad, 
most of the time in Paris, where he frequented the 
society of men of letters and indulged his cult for 
the stage. It is not surprising that, on his return to 
Louisiana, he found life on his father's plantation 
insupportably dull and resolved to Hve in the city, 
where he married Armantine Pitot, the daughter of 
Jacques Pitot de Beaujardiere, the first American 
Mayor of New Orleans. 

It was the day in Paris when gastronomy was an 
intellectual pleasure, and a good cooking a fine art. 
Gaj^arre used to say that the nearest approach to 
Parisian dinners that he had seen out of Paris were 
given by Valerien Allain. Fortunately he lived at a 
period when the old French market in the city and 
his father's plantation could supply the viands neces- 
sary. He seldom came home without two or three 
chosen friends to dine with him ; and his wife, not to 
be taken unaware, was in the habit of stationing her 
butler in an advanced post of observation to give 



448 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

warning how many guests were with his master. 
During the meal, Allain, following the brilliant exam- 
ples he had known in Paris, would rise from the table 
and, tucking his napkin under his vest, would pro- 
ceed to the kitchen where, with the most perfect 
taste and skill, he would prepare such a chef d'oeuvre 
of cuhnary art as Dumas himself (Gayarre says) 
would have been proud of. His wines were all 
imported direct from France. His cook was the 
celebrated Gazoue, an African who had been the 
slave of Valerien's father on the plantation. Gazoue 
was sent to the best restaurants to finish him off in 
the art of cooking a dinner fit for gastronomes, and 
thus he contributed as much and even more, very 
likely, than his master to the success of the Parisian 
dinners. 

Among the guests were such men as Victor Burhte, 
a poet as well as a good talker; John P. Grymes, a 
colossus of wit and learning; Etienne Mazureau, the 
finished orator who, it has been said by those who had 
heard both, surpassed even Henry Clay in eloquence 
— and always Gayarre, the host's intimate friend and 
schoolmate. 

When his daughters grew up Allain gave a yearly 
grand ball, and every Thursday a small reception 
for intimate friends, following the custom of Paris 
again. The balls were ordered with the same fastid- 
ious regard to the Paris standard as his dinners; a 
full orchestra for the music, professional decorators 
for the rooms, and a supper that his guests thought 
could have set the standard for Paris. 

Valerien was ruined by the Civil War and never 
recovered fortune, health or spirits afterwards. In 
the meantime, his uncle, Sosthene, lived on his great 



ALLAIN 449 

sugar plantation near Baton Rou^e in the extrava- 
gantly generous style in force, at that time, amonp; 
Louisiana sugar planters, until he was ruinecl. 
Ludicrously enough, he is remembered principally 
by the remarkable reputation achieved by one of his 
slaves; the bright, intelligent, good-looking mulatto 
born on his place, who was named Th6ophile, but 
called by his master ''Soulouque," after the Haytien 
hero. He w^as his master's factotum, accompanying 
him everywhere. 

After emancipation, Soulouque, as his talents 
demanded, quit menial service and entered the bril- 
liant arena of politics, at that time opened to the 
negro. He rose easily above his contemporaries, 
whom he dominated by his intellect and fine address. 
He was elected State Senator; and, at Baton Rouge, 
further distinguished himself as a parliamentarian 
and a speaker. A gentleman of the Allain family, 
wuth whom Soulouque remained always on the best 
of terms, went to Baton Rouge out of curiosity to 
hear him, and, astounded, asked him where he had 
learned to make such fine speeches. Soulouque 
answered magnificently: ''Did I not stand behind 
Mr. Allain's chair for years listening to the most 
brilhant men of Louisiana express themselves on 
pubUc affairs? Hearing such talkers as Grymes, 
Hunt, Gayarr^ and Pitot, why should I not be able 
to speak better than these carpetbaggers up here?'' 

Celestine Eustis, in a paper pubUshed in the 
Courier des Etats Unis (Feb. 4th, 1912), adds another 
page to these good memories, which fits in with theiu 
like a leaf to its twig. Her aunt, Celestine Allain du 
Fossat, Hved for years in Paris. She was pretty, 
aristocratic and distinguished looking. She was 



450 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

made to marry her cousin, Ursin Soniat, to effect a 
reconciliation between her father and his; "elle si peu 
raisonable, faisait un mariage de raison," exclaimed 
her niece. In consequence of a grave illness, her 
physician sent her to Paris, at that time the great 
remedy for all ills. She lived in an apartment in the 
Quartier de la Madeleine, in the same house that was 
occupied by Madame de R^camier. She seldom went 
out, except from time to time to make an appearance 
at a court reception, where Louis Philippe ehowed her 
the same friendship he did to all Louisianians. She 
received no society except a small group who were 
wont to gather around her on certain days, among 
them Chateaubriand and Lamartine. With Cha- 
teaubriand she formed a close friendship, and main- 
tained a correspondence. Miss Eustis gives quo- 
tations from several of the original notes in her 
possession. 

But Madame Soniat — and this is the important 
detail — was in such delicate health that she required 
constant and diligent care, which was given her 
by her maid, Anna Leandre, a colored woman born 
on the plantation, who had been her maid since 
childhood and whose devotion was such that her 
mistress used to say that she prayed God to take 
her first so that she might be spared the sorrow of 
surviving Anna. 

This affection prompted her to send Anna's name 
to the National Society of France for the promotion 
of virtue, and Anna was awarded a gold medal. 
Madame Soniat wrote the account of it to New 
Orleans: 

"The ceremony was touching and handsome. I was thrilled with 
emotion at seeing my dear Anna taking the arm of a young and 



ALL AIM 451 

handsome ofTicor to go to the i)latform, where were ilie thirty judges 
and presidents, and more than five thousand spectators to receive 
the recompense she so well deserved. Each recipient received 
applause, but Anna was more warmly applauded than any one else." 

The official record of it is as follows: 

"Madame Anna L(5andre, a woman of color, sevonty-five years 
old; born in Louisiana, living in Paris. This excellent woman has 
been in the service of Madame Vve. Soniat for fifty years as maid 
and nurse, always showing unalterable attachment. Her parents 
and grandparents have served the same family from father to son 
for one hundred and fifty years. We recompense this rare example 
of fidelity by the award of a medal of honor. Paris, May 22nd, 
1881." 

After the death of Madame Soniat, Anna retired 
to a convent as a boarder, her mistress and friend 
having left her a comfortable pension. They he 
side by side in Pere la Chaise. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 
BEAUREGARD 

THE great name of Beauregard rises out of and 
floats above the limits of city and State, like the 
genii of the ''Arabian Nights" out of the fisherman's 
vase, never to be recaptured and put back into the 
small receptacle. 

The earliest authentic records of the family go 
back to the year 1290, when Tider, surnamed ''the 
Young," headed a party of Welsh in revolt against 
Edward I, King of England. Overcome and his 
followers dispersed, Tider took refuge in France 
and was received at the court of Philip the Fair; he 
there married Mademoiselle de Lafayette, maid of 
honor to Philip's sister. Marguerite, who afterwards 
married King Edward. 

The entreaties of his wife induced the King to give 
Tider a post in Saintonge, the part of the British 
possessions in France. Eventually Tider lost the 
royal favor. He returned to the service of France 
and died in the neighborhood of Tours. His son 
returned to Saintonge, and through powerful influ- 
ence he obtained a position under the English crown. 
To propitiate the King, to whom the name of Tider 
was odious, he changed it to Toutank, which gradu- 
ally was changed to Toutant. 

Toward the close of the sixteenth century the last 
male descendant of the Toutants died, leaving only a 

452 J 



BEAUREGARD 453 

daughter, who married Sieur Paix dc Beauregard — 
hence the family name Toutant-Beauregard, the do 
having been dropped and the hyphen substituted. 

Jacques Toutant-Beauregard was the first of his 
name to come from France to Louisiana. He was 
sent under Louis XIV as commandant of a flotilla 
to bring assistance to the colony and carry back 
tunber for naval constructions. He succeeded so 
well in his enterprise that on his return to France he 
was given the Cross of St. I^ouis. 

He afterwards settled in Louisiana, where he mar- 
ried Demoiselle Madeleine Cartier. Three sons were 
born to them; one of them, Louis Toutant-Beaure- 
gard, married IVIademoiselle Victoire Ducros, the 
daughter of a planter in the parish of St. Bernard, 
who had filled several offices of trust under the French 
and Spanish governments of Louisiana. They had 
one daughter and two sons; the younger son married 
Llelene Judith de Reggio. Several children were 
born of this union; the third of them was Pierre 
Gustave Toutant-Beauregard, the Confederate 
General. 

The Reggios of Louisiana descend from the Dukes 
of Reggio and Modena, of the illustrious house of 
Este. Frangois Marie Chevaher de Reggio (akin 
to the reigning Duke) having distinguished himself 
under the Due de Richelieu in the French Army, was 
given a captaincy by Louis XV, and was shortly 
afterwards sent to Louisiana with his command. 
When Louisiana became a part of the Spanish 
possessions, the Chevaher de Reggio was appointed 
Alfarez Real, or Royal Standard Bearer. 

Of his marriage with ]\Iiss Fleuriau two sons were 
born; the younger one married Louise Judith Olivier 



454 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

de Vezin, who became the mother of Helene Judith 
OHvier de Vezin, who became the mother of Helene 
Judith de Reggio, the mother of the future General 
Beauregard. He was born on his father's plantation 
in the parish of St. Bernard, near the city of New 
Orleans, on the 28th of May, 1818. When not more 
than eight years of age, he was sent to a small 
primary school near the city, where he commended 
himself by his studious habits and good disposition. 
His dominant trait even at that early age was a pas- 
sion for all things pertaining to military life. The 
sight of a passing soldier, the beating of a drum, 
would so excite him that he would forget everything 
else. 

The oft-repeated anecdote illustrates this. At 
the age of ten he was prepared for his first commu- 
nion. The appointed day for the holy ceremony 
arrived; with his mother, his elder brother, and his 
teacher, he was seated in one of the front pews of the 
old St. Louis Cathedral, awaiting the solemn moment 
when he was to approach and kneel at the altar. 
The moment came; his mother touched him on the 
shoulder to admonish him that it was time to walk 
up the aisle. He arose, deeply impressed with the 
solemnity of the scene, and stepped reverently 
forward as he had been directed to do. Halfway 
up to the altar, the roll of a drum resounded through 
the Cathedral; he stopped, hesitated and looked 
toward the family pew, where anxious eyes kept urg- 
ing him forward. The roll of the drum was heard 
again, more distinct and prolonged. Hesitation 
vanished at once. Turning his back on the altar, 
he dashed through the church and disappeared at the 
door, to the utter horror and dismay of his loving 
relatives. 



BEAUREGARD 4r)5 

At the age of eleven, he was taken to New York 
where he remained four years under the tuition of 
two retired officers of the French Army who had seen 
service under Napoleon. At sixteen, he entered 
West Point; his parents, who had persistently 
opposed his wish to obtain an appointment there, 
finally yielding, overcome by his entreaties. He 
went through his four years' course with no less 
distinction than success; and was graduated second 
in a class of forty-five. In the same year he was 
appointed Second Lieutenant in the United States 
Engineers. 

His fife now goes into the military history of the 
United States. His services in the Mexican War 
belong to the briUiant record of the army. From 
1853 to 1861 he remained in charge of what was then 
called the Mississippi and Lake Defense of Louisiana. 
During that time he also superintended the building 
of the Custom House at New Orleans. 

In 1860, he was appointed Superintendent of the 
Mihtary Academy of West Point, but filled the 
position only a few months. Resigning in 1861 from 
the service of the United States he returned to New 
Orleans and volunteered as a private in the old 
Creole Corps, the battaUon of the Orleans Guard, 
composed of the elite of the Creole population. 
When the Louisiana State forces were organized, he 
was appointed Brigadier-General. 

He had married shortly after his graduation 
Laure Marie Villere, the granddaughter of the 
patriot who had been shot by the Spaniards, and 
the daughter of Jacques Villere, the first Creole 
Governor of Louisiana. Three children were born 
to him: two sons, Henri and Ren6, and a daughter, 
Laure. The sons, while mere boys, became officers 



456 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

on his staff during the Civil War. Henri passed 
from New Orleans eventually. Rene became a judge 
in the parish of St. Bernard, and for many years 
filled the office with distinguished ability. Laure 
married Mr. Charles B. Larendon, of Atlanta. She 
died before her father, leaving one daughter, Laure, 
who resides in Atlanta. Judge Rene, Beauregard^s 
son, is the sole male survivor of the family; he bears 
his grandfather's name. 

After the death of his first wife. General Beaure- 
gard married Caroline des Londes, daughter of one 
of the prominent planters of the State (her sister 
had married John SHdell, the Confederate Commis- 
sioner to France). His second wife died during the 
war. 

At the invitation of the Louisiana Historical 
Society, Ren6 T. Beauregard wrote a short sketch of 
his father in his social and domestic Hfe — the simple, 
tender and frank memory of a son. 

"My first recollection of my father," he says, "is when he left 
Louisiana for the Mexican War. I remember his disappearing 
figure and rapid footsteps down the stairs of our old St. Louis Street 
home, and my mother's tears as she stood with her two children at 
the head of the staircase." 

When General Beauregard returned to New 
Orleans, after the surrender of the Confederacy, he 
had been a widower for more than a year. Moreover, 
he found society disorganized, families extinct, and 
business paralyzed. It is a painful memory that is 
tacitly now ignored. He became a mendicant for 
work at doors that were shut in his face (even as 
Charles Gayarre was then making the experience). 

"Condemned to forced inaction," proceeds the son's relation, 
"and to wait the unknown results the victor had prepared for the 




Rampart and St. Peter Streets. 



BEAUREGARD 459 

vanquished," he began, "while the facts wore still fresh in liis mind 
to write the historicnl outlines of the j^roat drama in which hn had 
played a leading ])art, primarily, to safeguard his reputation from 
the imputation of errors that he had not committed, the recollection 
of which rankled in his mind still suffering and sore from the after- 
war conditions. After much labor and time consumed in collecting 
and verifying the documentary evidence of what took place. . . ." 

(evidence which has cleared his name and reputation 
beyond even the suspicion of miUtary errors) two 
compendious volumes were published: 'The Military 
Operations of General Beauregard," by Alfred 
Roman, a friend to whom he modestly conamitted the 
writing of the book. 

As a guide to the understanding of the confused 
condition of military affairs in the South during the 
first years of the Confederacy it has attained a first 
rank in such publications; but at the time his son 
frankly confesses the volumes did not please or 
satisfy all. Gayarre, who made a study of the 
work and reviewed it in a masterly way, gives his 
opinion that ''no future history of the war can be 
written Tvdthout the study of it." 

The General descended to the rank of a private 
citizen, practising ''the dignified submission to 
defeat" that he had counselled others. He accepted 
with soldierly acquiescence the penalties he had 
incurred, and drank his cup of humihation with even 
courtly grace. 

During the long life that followed, he mingled in 
simple cordiaUty with his fellow citizens, enjoying 
social intercourse and the pleasures that chance 
threw in his way, banishing from his face any trace 
of the bitterness that must have welled from his 
heart. He became a familiar figure on the streets 
and in the theatres and popular meetings. Parents 



460 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

used to point him out to their children, who will 
transmit to their children the tradition of the sol- 
dierly figure of the old gentleman with white hair 
and mustache, carrying his head like a marshal of 
France — always simply dressed, always gracious of 
manner, smiling kindly in response to even the shy 
salute of a newsboy. For eleven years he conferred 
upon the Ath^nee Louisianais the honor of serving 
as its president ; and he punctiliously and generously 
fulfilled all the duties required by the position. His 
official addresses, delivered in the perfect French of 
an academician, remain models of amiable and 
enlightened scholarship, restricted by the terse 
eloquence of the soldier. 

He died in 1893, and was accorded that belated 
compliment of a grand funeral. His body lay in 
state at the City Hall, while great throngs paid 
obeisance to it. He was buried in a simple tomb in 
the vault of the Army of Tennessee, a soldier among 
soldiers. His son, Ren6, fies near him in the same 
vault, his daughter Laure not far away. 

A monument has been raised to him at the entrance 
of the City Park, where ends the old road which was 
used by the Indians as a portage, and which Bienville 
traversed on his way to found the city — the road 
that was trod by all of Bienville's followers, the sons 
of France and Canada, the makers of the city. Old 
forest oaks are still standing that were alive then. 
The gray stone figure, mounted on a battle charger, 
looks steadily ahead, bidding as once in a battle 
charge, ''Not go hut follow,'' Not far away, within 
bugle sound, is the home for old Confederate soldiers 
a vanishing wisp of gray cloud after the storm — 
but they were the soldiers of Lee, Jackson and 
Beauregard. 



CHAPTER XL 

ALCfiE FORTIER 

TJE does not yet belong to the past of New 
-■--^ Orleans. His place among us in the family 
of its citizens is still warm. His face and figure are 
still familiar to the eye, his voice, distinct to the ear. 
The time for the cool, detached historical apprecia- 
tion of him has not yet arrived. It belongs to the 
future to which he can confidently be remanded. 
In truth, his life was a compact one of work ; to make 
a succinct account of it requires but small assistance 
from personal detail. The name appears in Louisiana 
in 1740 for the first time, in the person of Michel 
Fortier ^'armurier du roi," a man evidently of force- 
ful character, who took part in the Galvez exploits. 
He married FeHcite La Branche, a daughter of an 
old and distinguished Creole family; and in 1803 he 
w^as appointed by Laussat a member of his municipal 
council, and was one of the four commissioners who 
did the honors of the beautiful ball offered to 
Madame Laussat by the City Council during which 
the pretty incident, unique in American festivities, 
took place. In the midst of the supper, a turtle- 
dove ahghted on a branch of roses before Madame 
de Laussat with a note in its beak containing the 
verse, written by one of the commissioners entitled, 
''Portrait de ]\Iadame de Laussat." 

461 



462 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

"On voit en elle 
Les vertues et les attraits; 
On voit le portrait fidele 
De son ame dans ses traits, 
Affable, sensible et bonne. 
Vertueuse sans fierte 
£t belle sans vanity, 
Tout est charme dans sa personne." 

He was one of those selected by Laussat on the 
eve of his departure from the province to receive the 
curious testimonial of his regard. ' 'Knowing, ' ' * says 
the record, ''that they were all ardent hunters and 
preferred French powder, he distributed among 
them the supply of powder left, belonging to France; 
giving it away in small presents ranging from thirty 
to forty-five pounds/' 

In 1814 he served on the Committee of Veterans 
who were mentioned in General Jackson's report as 
''attending to the preservation of police and civil 
order in the city and contributing to dissipate the 
alarm created by the approach of the enemy; 
besides affording relief to the sick and wounded and 
procuring subscriptions for the purchase of clothing 
for the soldiers who had left their homes unprovided 
for a winter campaign.'' 

His son, Michel Fortier, Jr., a Colonel of Mihtia in 
the army under Jackson, was the father of Florent 
Fortier, who is mentioned gracefully and gratefully 
by his son Alcee in his book 'Louisiana Studies" as 
"a true representative of our Creole planters, whom 
V the war had ruined, but who were to the last energetic 
and noble." Alcee Fortier includes him among 
Louisiana poets, citing some of his verses to La 
Salle. 

* Fortier's History of Louisiana. Vol. II, pp. 292. 



ALC^E FORTIER 4G3 

riorent Fortier married Echvigo Aime, the daugh- 
ter of Valcoiir Aime, one of the richest sugar planters 
of St. James Parish. Their son, Alc^e, was horn on 
the great plantation in 1856, the source of his first 
childish memories, which he was fond of incorporat- 
ing into the relations of his later life. Tlie date of 
his birth fixed his destiny as a later generation sees it 
that of a child born in the luxury of wealth and 
plunged by the results of the Confederate War, into 
poverty. In one of his pages he gives some of his 
earliest experiences of the war: 

'^After the fall of New Orleans, the Federal gun- 
boats ascended the river, and being attacked ])y the 
Confederate batteries, as they passed bombarded 
the plantations on the bank. How wtII do I remem- 
ber the flight of our whole family to the river front 
to seek the protection of the levee w^ienever a gun- 
boat w^as coming. There w^e stood behind the levee, 
my sisters and myself, our schoolmistress and our 
nurses, while our father stood on the levee to look 
at the gunboats and at the shells that generally 
passed over our heads but occasionally wxre l^uried 
in the levee and covered us wdth dust. Our house was 
never touched by the shells, but the houses of a 
number of people our relatives were considerably 
damaged. I remember seeing cart loads of shells 
strewn in the yards. I remember also the holes dug 
in the ground covered wuth thick beams and several 
feet of earth, the inside arranged like a comfortable 
room and filled wdth provisions of all kinds. Then 
came the Federal soldiers in garrison on the planta- 
tion . . . the insolence of some of the liberated 
slaves, the temporary arrest of my father and grand- 
father . . . the serio-comic scenes at the pro- 



464 OLD FAMILIES OF NEW ORLEANS 

vost marshall's court . . . then the flight of the 
family to the Teche and the pillaging by the con- 
quering army; the return home, and then complete 
ruin. From this ruin, we sons of rich planters have 
now partially recovered, and the men of 1894 who 
were boys in 1862 do not keep any unkind remem- 
brance of war times. '^ 

Like most patriots of his time, Florent Fortier 
feared poverty only as it would affect the future of 
his children; and like them he made heroic efforts 
not to replace the vanished luxuries of wealth but to 
educate his children. Alcee was given the oppor- 
tunity of attending the University of Virginia, but 
unfortunately could not complete his course there 
owing to ill health. Returning, however, he put his 
shoulder to the work of educating others; he became 
an instructor and then principal of the preparatory 
department of the University of Louisiana. In 1880 
he was chosen as professor of French in the univer- 
sity and retained the position when the University 
of Louisiana became the Tulane University, and 
then he became also professor of Romance languages. 
This was his great work in the State, giving the 
French language a standard place in education. He 
will always be accounted one of the foremost educa- 
tors of the South. In New Orleans he was active 
in all intellectual work. He became President of 
the Athenee Louisianais and was President of the 
Louisiana Historical Society from its reorganization 
in 1894 until the time of his death; President of the 
Modern Language Association ; member of the State 
Board of Education, and of the State Museum Board. 

His work as a writer and as a lecturer proceeded 
from his educational reputation; he became an assidu- 



ALC^E FORTIER 465 

ous worker in both fields, contribiitinp; many publica- 
tions to general literature and philology. His most 
valuable contribution, according to the estimation 
of contemporar}^ beneficiaries, is his ''Louisiana 
Studies,'' pubUshed in 1894, which) contains frag- 
ments of his folklore and personal reminiscences and 
his original researches into the literature of Louisiana, 
compiHng with precise accuracy the hst of all authors, 
French and American, from the beginning of the 
colony to the time of his writing. 

For school purposes he made incursions into the 
history and literature of France, and produced 
therefrom the good educational papers on ''Le 
Chateau de Chambord," Sept grands auteurs ''du 
XIX Siecle"; ''Histoire de la Littdrature Frangaise'^* 
'Tr^cis de I'Histoire de France.'^ His last work is 
moniunental: ''The History of Louisiana" in four 
volumes, published in 1894 by Manzi, Joyant & Co., 
New York. 

He died in 1914 and hes buried in his old family 
tomb in St. Louis Cemetery. 



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