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Date:9/19/2014 1:21:28 AM
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Gentleman Pirate & American Patriot
Today we're goin' to be learnin' about Jean Lafitte. And that will be hard fer this pirate had a way of spinnin' a yarn that left him shrouded in nothing but mystery. Even 200 years later, we know no more about how he arrived in New Orleans! There are no papers or forms that can accurately place where or when Jean Lafitte came to New Orleans. He was no ordinary "pirate" & bristled at being called one. What papers that were found showing Lafitte's signature, each one showed him coming from a different country & at different times. But just from his intimate knowledge of the intricate waterways, bayous, & swamps of Lousiana, it is most likely he was a Cajun who grew up in those areas as a young lad. No one is really sure but it would be the most logical assumption.

His parents, at a time, resided in Santo Domingo & would explain his buccaneer ways. The "buccaneers" were privateers that, after the Spainish Succession, sailed to the Caribbean & tried their hand at setting down roots on the Island of Hispaniola (Haiti & Dominican Republic) The local natives, the Arawak, used wooden frames to smoke their meats on what was called a buccan. The french word for smoking meat is buccanaire. They showed the new settlers this way of preserving meats. There were feral cattle & hogs on the island but it was regularly raided by the Spanish to replenish their stores as they journeyed back & forth from Spain to Mexico & South America. The Arawak ate fish & manatee which is what type of meat was on their buccans. The new settlers weren't up fer stomachin' manatee! Because of the lack of food, many of these "war veterans" took up piracy to make a living. Some didn't agree with that life style & moved to cities like New Orleans. There are quite a few "Lafitte's" on the rolls, & some with variations of spelling that moved into the area as immigrants.

Jean Lafitte was fluent in four different languages (English, French, Italian, & Spanish), was a shrewed business man, was well read, & a brilliant conversationalist with the upper crust of New Orleans. His first dealings with New Orleans began when he & his brother, Pierre, opened up a blacksmith's forge in 1803, on Rue de St. Phillippe. (The smithy was, as it turned out, merely a cover, which served as a depot where the brothers Lafitte took orders for goods recently "confiscated" from ships at sea!) For men who were supposed to have been new to a city, they too-quickly learned its unique, stylish habits & customs, too-quickly understood its sometimes curious laws, too-quickly learned the angles, & too-quickly ingratiated themselves with the local merchandise retailers & bankers, as well as the aristocracy. All for a young man who was supposedly 24 yrs old at the time (1803).
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Hi my name's Captain Darling-RIP 5/19/2014

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