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Bouttes / Barataria / Laffite
Posted by: Keith O'Neal Date: February 20, 2000 at 18:40:13
In Reply to: Just connected to Jean Baptiste Boutte by Tracey McGee of 163

Andre Claude was the first Boutte ancestor on these shores. He came over with the French Army in 1740 and was stationed at Mobile. When the British took over the area in 1763, he moved his family to New Orleans. He had 5 sons: Francois Cesar, Jean Philippe, Louis Hillaire, Antoine and Jean Baptiste (your ancestor).

July 8, 1805 Hillaire and Jean Baptiste bought Barataria Island. That same year Jean Laffite took over Barataria Bay. By 1813 Barataria rivaled the Port of New Orleans in incoming tonnage with about $2 million worth of goods moving through the bay annually. Every bit of it had to be put on pirogues and poled through the bayous. This meant many men and a lot of traffic. Barataria Island stands at the entrance to the bayous.

The base was closed by the US Navy at the time of the British invasion. Afterwards, Jean Baptiste had to declare bankruptcy. (Coincidence?)

There's both family lore and old Teche lore that the Bouttes and Laffite were connected. Dr. Harry Griffin, the first Dean of USL (1921)and a local historian, wrote THE HISTORY OF ATTAKAPAS COUNTRY. In his Appendix notation of Francois and Antoine's double wedding he adds, "Ancestors of Jean Laffite." Whether or not this is true is anyone's guess. I've been trying to trace Boutte connections with Laffite but it's very difficult after 200 years. Can't say I've found proof yet.

After Jean Baptiste declared bankruptcy, his son Philippe bought his half of the island and Antoine's son Zenon bought Hillaire's half. In the 20th century oil was discovered on the island. They drilled on a small inland strip that belonged to Zenon and had never been sold. Zenon had no direct heirs. There was a decades long court battle between Jean Baptiste's heirs and descendants of Zenon's brothers and sisters. Zenon's side won and it became the largest oil royalty distribution in history; however, most received only a few dollars/year.

Is this enough of an overview to answer your questions? The Bouttes are a very interesting and colorful family. Hilaire was a well known architect/builder in New Orleans. He was one of the contractors on the St. Louis Cathedral and the Cabildo and built homes for the Pentalbas, Gov. Miro's widow, the mayor, etc. Some of his buildings are 200 years old and still standing (i.e., Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre and the Pitot House).

Too long. Must stop. Let me know if you find out any interesting information about the Bouttes and Laffite!


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