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Nicolas Chauvin de Lafrénière and the Revolt of 1768 or the Creole Revolt of New Orleans

The prompt this week from #52ancestors is Witness to History so I set out to focus on some serious goings on in #colonial #Louisiana. Four brothers by the name of #Chauvin (there is much more information about them in most history books) came from New France, or what is now #Canada, to explore what was to become Louisiana with the #LeMoyne brothers. They helped establish the #Creole elite who would run French colonial Louisiana. One of the four brothers, Joseph Chauvin de Lery is my 6th great grandfather. His brother, Nicolas Joseph Chauvin's son, Nicolas François Chauvin de Lafreniere would be instrumental in a revolt against Spain that would cost him his life.

On October 29, 1768, the Superior Council headed by Attorney General LaFreniere convened to hear grievances against the first Spanish governor, Ulloa who had attempted to reign in the illegal means of commerce that was rampant in the colony. Louisiana residents had to fend for themselves as France was an often absent and always negligent ruler creating the perfect environment for smuggling and the like. This perceived threat to their livelihood sparked a spirit of independence in the locals. They believed that trade with only Spain and its colonies would lead to financial ruin for many (it is even more complicated but I have to keep it brief), they also worried about regulations the Spanish were attempting to put in place concerning the slave trade, and finally, the Spanish were forcing the resettlement of the newly arrived Acadians near the borders of the colony as a buffer against invasion rather than near their relatives.

During the meeting they decided to banish Ulloa and did so without any bloodshed--yet.

For ten months the citizens of Louisiana begged France to reclaim the colony but to no avail. For almost a year Louisiana was "a de facto independent state" (Biagetti, 69) as they believed they had a "right to reject an oppressive government." (Biagetti, 69)

France did not want the colony and had really abandoned the community years ago explaining their dependence on smuggling and illegal trade. After this realization there was talk of creating an independent republic but this idea was squashed when General Alexander O'Reilly appeared in full force in early July of 1769.

Five men were accused of treason including Lafreniere and sentenced to death by hanging. No man could be found to hang the five men so they were executed on October 25, 1769, by firing squad. It is said that Lafreniere is interred at St. Louis Cathedral but no one knows for sure adding to the mystery of this Creole New Orleans history.

On a side note: Lafreniere Park is named after him as it is on the land where his Elmwood Plantation once stood. I grew up on what was probably once his land on a street named Elmwood Parkway.

Photo from Wikipedia because marker isn't there

Usual home of the Revolt of 1768 marker

I was told that it was being repaired


BIAGETTI, SAMUEL. “Enlightenment and Revolution: The Case of Louisiana, 1768.” Early American Studies 12, no. 1 (2014): 68–92.

Dawdy, Shannon Lee. Building the Devil's Playground: French Colonial New Orleans. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

KOLB, FRANCES. “The New Orleans Revolt of 1768: Uniting against Real and Perceived Threats of Empire.” Louisiana History: The Journal of the Louisiana Historical Association 59, no. 1 (2018): 5–39.

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