Juan St. Malo & Cimarrons – Corrections & Additions to New Orleans Advocate article

The New Orleans Advocate newspaper on August 7th, 2016 carried an article about Juan St. Malo, runaway slave in Spanish Colonial Louisiana. The article in the Historically Speaking section referred to him a Jean Saint Malo. In the Spanish judicial records he was known as Juan St. Malo in 1780’s. He had run away from the D’Arensbourg Plantation upriver from New Orleans on the “German Coast” near today’s Hahnville LA. He made his way to Lake Borgne (see map) and rose to be the leader of two villages of runaways, known as “cimarrons”. The villages, Chef Menteur and Ville Gaillarde, numbered together about one hundred villagers. They traded with the slaves behind plantations, sold cypress trees from the swamps to a British sawmill operator, grew crops and gathered the bounty of south Louisiana wetlands.

After a few years Spanish authorities closed in on the cimarrons. Those captured were interrogated and their testimonies are in the Spanish archives (translated into English in the Journals of the Louisiana Historical Society in the 1930’s). They were not plotting an insurrection, merely seeking their own freedom.

Read more of the story of Juan St. Malo, the village and events that led to their capture and punishment on pages 27-28 in my book DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS: True Stories of a Fabled City.

Marie-Madeleine Hachard – Ursuline nun and writer of 1700’s colony

Women have played important roles across the history of fabled city of New Orleans.  One of the earliest women I love to tell of was young Marie-Madeleine Hachard who turned out to be a storyteller in her own right.  Born in 1704 in France she joined the Ursuline nuns for the journey to the wilderness of Louisiana in what amounted to as  Peace Corps mission to serve in a needy world. She wrote letters to her father about her travels, adventures, and scenes in New Orleans in 1727.  Her father, inspire by her wisdom and insight, saved them all to print what would become the first book published about Louisiana.

More of Marie-Madeleine’s story is recounted in chapter one French Louisiana 1682-1763 of DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS by Bill Norris

 

New Book “Down In New Orleans” by Bill Norris

DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS: True Stories of a Fabled City

Inspired by years of storytelling, meeting people and enjoying their questions, I decided to write a book of the stories. That came to life on Kindle and Amazon in December of 2015.  DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS: True Stories of a Fabled City gives a visitor, resident or tour guide down to earth stories that represent the history, character and flavor of an enchanted city. I approach the history from the viewpoint of a raconteur, a storyteller. History is theories of what happened, detailed accounts, conclusions, footnotes and bibliographies. DOWN IN NEW ORLEANS tells the stories.

It’s available on Kindle and Amazon.

Down In New Orleans - True Stories of a Fabled City