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The Founder Of New Orleans

Updated on March 28, 2015
Jean Baptiste La Moyne
Jean Baptiste La Moyne

The Founder

New Orleans is a City of history and life.  Sitting at the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans has been one of the most important cities in the history of America.  What creates such an interesting city?  Perhaps it founding.

New Orleans was officially founded by Jean Baptiste La Moyne, Sieur de Bienville, who in 1718 established New Orleans as the capitol of Louisiana and a fortress to control the wealth of the North American interior. However, La Moyne Bienville was not the first to inhabit New Orleans or understand the area's value.

Vintage Map of New Orleans
Vintage Map of New Orleans

The Chitimachas

The original settlers of the area now known as New Orleans were the Chitimachas. The Chitimachas historically lived on the Southern Louisiana coast migrating from Mississippi and Texas. The Chitimacha lived in peace for hundreds of years until in the early 1700's, bands of heavily armed Frenchmen began slaving raids that touched off conflicts which escalated into a devastating twelve-year war for the Chitimacha. By the time of the founding of New Orleans, the Chitimachas' population had drastically decreased. Today, there is an estimated 750 Chitimacha tribal members.

The French Influence Can Be Seen In New Orleans Today.
The French Influence Can Be Seen In New Orleans Today.

The French

As stated, the Chitimachas made contact with the French who were the first Europeans to fully explore the area now known as Louisiana. The first Frenchman to explore the lower Mississippi River was Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle. La Salle passed by the future New Orleans site in April of 1682 while exploring the Mississippi River from Canada.

The French first settled in Baton Rouge in the hopes of a permanent settlement on higher ground. However, this proved to burdensome and the French soon realized that their forts along the Gulf Coast were unable to assure control of the Mississippi. A town closer to the mouth of Mississippi River was needed to shorten the root up the Mississippi and allow the route protection from forts along the River. In 1718, La Moyne Bienville established the garrison town of New Orleans.

The Garrison Town Is Now A Cultural Treasure
The Garrison Town Is Now A Cultural Treasure
Every Year Millions Visit The City That Was Founded As A Military Fort.
Every Year Millions Visit The City That Was Founded As A Military Fort.

Then And Now

La Moyne Bienville is sometimes referred to as the "Father of Louisiana." He was born in Montreal Canada in 1680 and was the son of Charles and Catherine Le Moyne and was one of fourteen children. After growing up on the Frontier, La Moyne Bienville spent his adult life establishing forts and towns in and around the Mississippi Gulf. In 1717, the Governor of Louisianna bestows on La Moyne Bienville the cross of St. Louis, which the king of France bestowed upon Bienville as a special reward for his long service establishing and protecting the colony of Mississippi.

In 1718, La Moyne Bienville was commissioned as the Governor of the Louisiana/Mississippi colony. One of the first acts as Governor was to establish a new colony on the Mississippi River and make it the new seat of government. La Moyne Bienville selects the site that would become New Orleans.

New Orleans remained in French hands until 1763, when it was transferred to the Spanish. In 1800, Spain ceded it back to France who in 1803, sold New Orleans to the United States as part of the Louisiana purchase.

A great resource where I found many of the facts herein is: ory/history.html

Even though founded by the French, New Orleans is a culturally diverse and rich City.
Even though founded by the French, New Orleans is a culturally diverse and rich City.

New Orleans Today

New Orleans remains an important strategic port today.  Imports of oil and other products still travel through the Big Easy to be delivered around the nation.  But New Orleans is much more important that just a port.  New Orleans is a city rich in tradition and history.  More importantly, New Orleans is rich in culture.  All different cultures make up the heart of the City and all our welcome to enjoy.


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    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks. I am a history buff as well. I didn't know that about La Salle.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      9 years ago from Chicago

      I love this page! I love history. I am glad I found your hub. de La Salle was also the first European to set foot in my home town of St. Joseph, Michigan.

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sacramento, California


    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 

      9 years ago from United States

      Excellent presentation on New Orleans history. I'll be bookmarking this one!

    • bgpappa profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Sacramento, California

      Thanks for reading

    • RKHenry profile image


      9 years ago from Neighborhood museum in Somewhere, USA

      I love New Orleans. Thanks for the great history lesson. Now if all my teachers' classes were that easy.


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