joy magnetism: "Hellish banditti"




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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Hellish banditti"

Magnet #1313 - Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve

Louisiana's Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve is made up of about six different sites - the Barataria Preserve in Marrero, the Chalmette Battlefield in Chalmette, the French Quarter Visitor Center in New Orleans, the Acadian Cultural Center in Lafayette, the Prairie Acadian Cultural Center in Eunice, and the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center in Thibodaux.

Lots of places to visit, I'm sure it must take days. At least, I think, that's how long my friends who brought back this magnet for me spent down there!

Depending on who you ask, Jean Lafitte was either a pirate or a privateer, a smuggler, or a patriot, creating mayhem and havoc in the Barataria area of southern Louisiana back in the early 1800s. They say he had about a thousand people working with him, helping him smuggle goods and slaves throughout the region.

During the War of 1812, the knowledge of the local area and people came in handy for Lafitte, who actually started working with General Andrew Jackson, the very man who had dubbed him Hellish banditti. Together with Jackson's troops, Lafitte's Baratarians managed to win several key victories during the war, including the Battle of New Orleans. Their efforts earned Lafitte and his men full pardons from President Madison.

Of course, Lafitte totally went back to smuggling. I suppose after doing lots of crime, which he totally blamed on the government, it's hard not to go back to what you know.

But here's what I love. All that living and ne'er do welling, all that fighting and smuggling...and in the end, no one seems to know what happened to Lafitte! While there are some reports that he lived well into the mid-1800s, no one actually knows what happened to the guy in the end.

Talk about building a mystery.

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