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The Pirate Jean Lafitte

May 16, 2017 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

Jean Lafitte National Park and the Barataria Preserve located in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana:

The Town of Jean Lafitte is a coastal community rich in history and tradition. Jean Lafitte, Louisiana is a small town in the heart of the Barataria Basin, one of the most prolific estuaries in America and less than an hour from the City of New Orleans. Named after the notorious pirate, Jean Lafitte, this historic fishing village hugs scenic Bayou Barataria and Highway 45, which leads deep into the Louisiana wetlands. The Barataria Preserve is one of six sites comprising Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

Jean Lafitte is believed to have been born either in Basque-France or the French colony of Saint-Domingue. By 1805, he operated a warehouse in New Orleans to help disperse the goods smuggled by his brother Pierre Lafitte. After the United States government passed the Embargo Act of 1807, the Lafittes moved their operations to an island in Barataria Bay, Louisiana. By 1810, their new port was very successful; the Lafittes pursued a successful smuggling operation and also started to engage in piracy.

The men working for Lafitte were called Baratarians because the waterways they used for smuggling were located in an area called Barataria (the Barataria Preserve of Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is located in this area). Barataria’s swamps and bayous stretched south of New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico.

Though Lafitte warned the other Baratarians of a possible military attack on their base of operations, an American naval force successfully invaded in September 1814 and captured most of Lafitte’s fleet. Later, in return for a legal pardon for the smugglers, Lafitte and his comrades helped General Andrew Jackson defend New Orleans against the British in the final battle of the War of 1812.

In 1966, Louisiana authorized a state park to be established at the present site of the Barataria Preserve. The park was named after Jean Lafitte because of his smuggling operations in the area. In 1978, Congress created Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve.

The Town of Jean Lafitte’s hard-working residents are proud of their unique bayou culture that has endured for centuries and can be seen in its hospitable residents, restaurants and businesses
The legend of Jean Lafitte survives in the history and mystery of south Louisiana, where Lafitte’s bayous and backwaters still meander toward the Gulf of Mexico.

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