Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur De Bienville, The Founder Of New Orleans

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur De Bienville, The Founder Of New Orleans

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Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne

When Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, has caught sight of the future New Orleans for the first time, he was surprised and astonished.  He said that on the banks of the river, there is a place which is very favorable for establishing a post with one of the finest crescents on the river.

The crescent shape was probably easily characterized as a sickle, which represents sickness, hard labor, and death – all of which the early colonists experienced.

Several years after his observation, one eyewitness described the ‘village’ of New Orleans as not a better one than a vast sink or sewer where reptiles croaked, and malefactors, as well as wild beasts, lurked, and the air has been congested with mosquitoes which deliver a red-hot nail string to their prey.Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne

Crescent or also sickle, the destiny of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne, as being the founder of New Orleans, required him to be as fluid, as well as multifaceted as the river itself was, striving to fulfill his colonial mandate while tirelessly willing the city to survive and be prosperous.

  • Biography of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne or Bienville.

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne or Bienville was born in 1680 in Montreal, Canada. He had joined the navy of France when he was 12, serving under his older brother Pierre Le Moyne Iberville.

After several years of service, he has been wounded in one battle in 1697, and he traveled to France to recuperate. The following year, the crown sent the Le Moyne brothers to set up the colony of Louisiana for Louis XIV.

In April 1699, Iberville established the first settlement at Fort Maurepas, which is present-day Ocean Springs, Mississippi, appointing Sauvolle de la Villantry as governor with Bienville second in command.

Later the same year, the teenaged Bienville has been traveling down the Mississippi with another five men in two canoes when they have discovered an English warship captained by Lewis Bond. Bienville paddled up to the ship, which has been loaded with ten cannons and calmly informed Bond that the French had claimed the lands, also established a settlement, and had a fort a short distance upriver with cannons. Their soldiers were prepared to defeat the claim of the king. Bond bought the lie by the brash young Frenchman that had more on his side than his capacity to bluff – he had his bloodline.

Iberville also had defeated and help Bond captive at the time of the war of King William. Surely Bond had second thoughts about challenging another member of the Le Moyne family. Bond turned and retreated. Thus, that area became known as Le Detour des Anglais or English Turn. After two years, when Saouvolle died in 1701, Bienville became the governor at the age of 21.

  • The tattoos of Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne.

It seems that the founding father of New Orleans, who was known as a rather staid-looking, wig-wearing, typical French colonist, was covered with tattoos from the neck down, the better to mix and mingle the natives.

In his 1720 logbook, one French admiral tells us that Bienville has been inked in a style that was similar to the American Indians of the Mississippi River region. As the admiral explained in the book, when Bienville went into the battle with some residents, he stripped off his shirt to let the ominous reptiles on his body be seen just like his opponents did.

That tattoo revelation is the first thing you are going to read in the tricentennial history book of Jason Berry, titled “City of A Million Dreams,” which, among a lot of other things, describes the gritty struggle of Bienville to get a European trade colony to take root in the cotton mouth-infested mudflat that we now call home.

Berry explains that Bienville may have started getting native-style tattoos way back when he has been a kid in Canada, where the Huron people commonly wore body art.

Mr. de Bienville, who was the general of the country, had all of his body covered in this way, and when he is obliged to march to war with them, he was making himself nude like them. They also liked him very much, but they also fear him.

The scholar Arnaud Balvay claimed that tattooed Frenchmen were usually seen as libertines and operating outside of the strict societal standards. In the mid-eighteenth century, criminals have been branded with the French royal symbol of the fleur-de-lis in order to distinguish them as such and, when necessary, identify them as fugitives.

Europeans of that era considered it a sin to mark the body. For Native Americans, tattoos have marked the entry into their indigenous community, embellished the beauty of women and promoted the status of warriors. The more tattoos, the greater the status of the warrior was. On their battlefields, the European tradition of sashes, stripes, as well as bars were useless. The naked bodies of Native Americans covered in scars and tattoos easily identified their prowess and rank.

The tattoos of Bienville, which blended French and Christian iconography with the wild natural designs utilized by natives, could be seen not just like a fusion of cultural adornment but also a masterstroke of persona, as well as a public commitment to the cause of Louisiana. Although he was not able to lavish gifts on the tribes such as the English, the Native Americans favored him as they trusted and respected him.  Like a lot of warriors and politicians, Bienville was crafty in tailoring his message, as well as tactics to the audience and task at hand.

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