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Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

MARDI

May 30th

Down on Their Luck Orchestra

Music at the Mint, 2PM

Jazz at the Old U.S. Mint

 

Craft Happy Hour

Ogden, 6PM

Learn to make paper magnolias with Suzonne Stirling

 

Vibrational Sound Therapy

Glitter Box, 6PM

Discover the energetic magic of Himalayan Singing Bowls with Faun Fenderson

 

Monty Banks

Mahogany Jazz Hall, 6PM

Trad Jazz, rat pack era swing and more

 

HIITuesdays

Peristyle in City Park, 6:30PM

High Intensity Interval Training

 

Train 

Champions Square, 7PM

Feat. O.A.R. and Natasha Bedingfield

 

Gender 101

LGBT Community Center, 7PM

Expand your understanding of gender

 

Thinkin' with Lincoln

Bayou Beer Garden, 7PM

Trivia on the patio

 

Spring Wrap-Up Show

Arts Estuary 1024, 8PM

Performances and screenings by the artist residents

 

High Profile

Hi-Ho Lounge, 10PM

NOLA drag stars host a variety talent show, The Stage

MERCREDI

May 31st

Abe Thompson

Market Café, 3:30PM

Feat. The Doctors of Funk

 

Food Waste Collection

Children’s Resource Center, 5PM

Bring your frozen food scraps to be composted

 

Weird Wine Wednesdays

Spirit Wine, 6PM

Free wine tasting

 

Free Spirited Yoga

The Tchoup Yard, 6:30PM

Food, drinks, yoga

 

CeCe Winans

Orpheum Theater, 7PM

Part of the “Let Them Fall In Love” tour

 

Dance for Bathrooms

Three Keys, 8PM

Benefitting Music Box Village

 

Rooftop Cinema

Catahoula Hotel, 8PM

A showing of But I’m A Cheerleader

 

Major Bacon

Banks St. Bar, 10PM

Sizzlin blues and free BLTs

 

Caleb Ryan Martin

Check Point Charlie, 11PM

Acoustic blues and roots

JEUDI

June 1st

Jazz in The Park

Armstrong Park, 4PM

Jon Clearly + the Absolute Monster Gentlemen

 

Book Signing

Garden District Book Shop, 6PM

Signing of My Love Looks Back by Jessica B. Harris

 

Mardi Gras Concert

Tipitina’s, 6PM

Benefitting Marty Hurley Endowment Center

 

Summer Of Sustainability

Aquarium Of The Americas, 630PM

Enjoy oysters in a unique setting

 

Magical Burlesque

The Willow, 7PM

Harry Potter themed burlesque show

 

Bonnie Bishop

One Eyed Jack’s, 9PM

Sweet country rock

 

ButchLivesMatter

14 Parishes, 9PM

Roasts, toasts and laughs

 

Una Walkonhorst

The Circle Bar, 930PM

Also feat. Patrick Sylvester

 

Lost Stars

Balcony Music Club, 11PM

Support by Mighty Brother 

 

VENDREDI

June 2nd

Symphony Book Fair

Lakefront Arena, 9AM

Benefitting the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

 

Summer Kick Off Film Party

Second Line Stages, 5PM

Supporting BREASTS the film

 

Nateus Photography Opening

Cherry Espresso Bar, 6PM

Photos as a medium of self expression, snacks included

 

Dinner and a ZOOvie

Audubon Zoo, 6PM

Showing of the movie Moana

 

Self Absorbed

TREO, 6PM

A peek inside fifteen artists

 

Lagniappe Performance Series

Loyola Univeristy @ Marquette Hall, 7PM

Performance by Mikhala W. Iversen

 

As One

Marigny Opera House, 8PM

A transgender musical odyssey

 

Joel Wilson

The Building, 9PM

Also featuring Simon Lott as Context Killer

 

Brass-A-Holics

Blue Nile, 11PM

GoGo Brass Funk band 

 

SAMEDI

June 3rd

Grand Opening Party

Parleaux Beer Lab, 11AM

Pouring on all 12 taps

 

Water Words

New Orleans Public Library, 11AM

Exploring the special role of water in our city and in life

 

Basics of Beekeeping

Hollygrove Market, 1PM

Learn how to start your own apiary

 

First Saturday Gallery Openings

Arts District, 6PM

Check out new and returning exhibitions

 

Harrison Avenue Stroll

Harrison Avenue, 5PM

Food, drinks, fun

 

Louisiana Wetlands

Carol Robinson Gallery, 5PM

Original art by Dave Ivey

 

Moonlit Paddle

Manchec Swamp, 545PM

Enjoy an evening of paddling close to home

 

Final Gala Concert

Jazz and Heritage Center, 8PM

Closing out the Birdfoot Festival

 

Canine Karaoke

Homedale Inn Bar, 9PM

Supporting the Love A Pit Foundation

 

TRAX ONLY

Poor Boys Bar, 12AM

Resident DJs, along with special guest

DIMANCHE

June 4th

June Puppy Social

Louisiana SPCA, 10AM

Toys, treats, low impact agility

 

Jazz Brunch

Josephine Estelle, 11AM

Live sounds served sunny side up

 

THINK DEEP

The Drifter Hotel, 12PM

Presented by Techno Club

 

Book Discussion

Garden District Book Shop, 12PM

C.D. Colins discusses her memoir

 

Summer Reading Kick Off

NOPL Youth Services, 1PM

Feat. Roots music and books by Johnette Downing

 

Saving Abel

Southport Music Hall, 6PM

With support by Akadia and First Fracture

 

Open Mic and Slam

Ashé Cac, 7PM

Team SNO + Jahman Hill

 

Edge Film Festival

Zeitgeist Center, 730PM

Short film screenings + awards

 

Frontier Ruckus

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Enjoy some multi genre rock


NOLA Lore: Jean Lafitte, the Pirate of New Orleans



Each week, J.A. Lloyd will take readers through the secret and sometimes unexamined legends, myths, and folklore of New Orleans past. This week, learn about the swashbuckling adventures of Jean Lafitte. 

 

His life was a bold and daring one. His existence appears more at home in fiction and fantasy because his story is far too adventurous to occur in reality. A businessman and a diplomat, a secret agent and a war hero. A smuggler and a voyager at heart. He held steadfast to the claim of being a privateer until the day he died, but the truth is he was one of the last great pirates belonging to the Gulf of Mexico. True to his nature, his intriguing life did meet an end at sea, yet it is rumored that his spirit still lives here in New Orleans. He is Jean Lafitte—the French-American pirate.

 

Much of Jean Lafitte’s early years remain a mystery patched together with hearsay, speculations, and mismatched puzzle pieces. It is believed that he hailed from France or one of its territories and history’s best guess places his date of birth sometime around the mid-to-late 1700s. Accounts vary, but it is assumed that he arrived in American and settled in Louisiana as a child along with his brothers and mother, who had married a merchant of New Orleans.

 

Learning the ropes from their stepfather, as the boys grew into young men Jean and his brother Pierre entered into the import and export business of international trade. They became quite successful in their undertakings and set up their commercial base in what is now known as Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar on Bourbon Street. Due to their success, it wasn’t long before the Lafitte name gained recognition within the city. Their trade was amongst the few that remained unwavering when other merchants spiraled down a treacherous road toward financial ruin. Nevertheless, as tensions rose with foreign nations during the early 1800s and with the US trade industry headed for disaster as a result, Jean Lafitte decided that he would need to get a bit more creative with his business if he were to elude the plight of the ill-fated merchant.

 

Sadly, disaster did befall many merchants during the early years of the US. In 1807, American ships were banned from entering and trading in foreign ports due to the Embargo Act set forth by the US government in response to mounting conflict with Britain and France. Before the law was enacted, the US attempted to remain neutral while Britain and France were at war. Unfortunately, neutrality didn’t work out so well for the Americans when both France and Britain passed laws prohibiting trade between neutral parties and the opposing country. Initially, it was France who fired the first shots, making it illegal for any neutral party to trade with Britain. Britain shortly followed suit and outlawed neutral dealing with France. The US, who tried (and failed) to stay out of the conflict, got caught in the middle of the dispute.
 

Things deteriorated further for America when both France and Britain began seizing American ships in order to halt trade with the conflicting country. After countless ships and men had been captured, the US eventually decided it was tired of receiving the short end of the bargain. After tensions continued to escalate, particularly with Britain, Thomas Jefferson decided to hit France and Britain where it would hurt the worst; he ceased foreign trade in an attempt to deliver a blow to their economies. While this spelled out catastrophe for US merchants and the American economy it meant big business for smugglers. Only a true pirate could take advantage of such a weighty situation; Jean Lafitte was that pirate.

 

Although the US was doing no legal trading with other countries, Jean Lafitte used the Embargo Act as a major business opportunity and began smuggling illegal goods into the US. The trade was lucrative, very lucrative. With the help of his brother and a crowd of displaced merchants, Jean founded a profitable illegal port in Barataria in order to conduct his affairs away from the watchful eyes of the US Navy. His brother, Pierre, handled the logistics in the city while Jean conducted the naval operations and preyed on foreign ships sailing the Gulf. After capturing and plundering the ships, Lafitte and his band of pirates made their profit by selling the looted goods on the mainland.

 

Business was booming for Lafitte’s colony in Barataria Bay within just a few short years. While the US had little interest in Barataria at the time, Britain certainly kept an eye on the colony. The British were well aware that the bay was an important port of entry to New Orleans and it was a port they desperately wanted to secure during the War of 1812. In order to gain the upper hand over the US, the British offered Jean a captain’s position in their royal navy along with $30,000 in exchange for his loyalty. Like a true pirate, Jean pretended to accept the offer, then behind Britain’s back turned around and offered his ships, cannons, and manpower in defense of New Orleans. The Governor scoffed the offer and ordered the U.S Army to destroy the Barataria Bay colony. The colony did sustain damage, yet Lafitte, his men, and his smuggling business remained standing. After the failed efforts to dismantle the colony Jean Lafitte continued to proclaim allegiance to the US.

 

By this time, Andrew Jackson had taken over the war efforts and Lafitte once again offered to defend New Orleans against the British. Jackson accepted the proposal, sending Lafitte and his men into battle. Jean and his company, who came to be known as the Baratarians, later received a pardon from President James Madison for their exceptional services in the Battle of New Orleans. Thanks to his war efforts, Jean Lafitte had become a free man absolved of all his misconducts.   

 

Receiving a full pardon for his crimes and being hailed a war hero wasn’t enough to keep Jean from the siren’s call of piracy. By 1817, Lafitte had returned to his pillaging ways. He had left Louisiana and relocated to Galveston, Texas, establishing a commune near the bay so that he could continue to plunder ships traveling the Gulf. His time in Galveston was short lived and just a few years after establishing the settlement, Jean returned to the sea. He continued his life of sailing and piracy until his death during battle in the waters near Honduras in the 1820s. The pirate captain was buried at sea.

 

In spite of Jean Lafitte’s burial at sea, many say that his spirit returned to New Orleans and haunts Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. The stone and exposed brick French style building lives on Bourbon Street nestled between Dumaine and Saint Philip Street. It’s charming and unassuming from the outside, still there lives a belief that the spirit of Jean Lafitte resides within the structure’s walls.

 

A spot of particular high activity is located on the first floor of the pub near the fireplace. It is believed that Jean once used the fireplace to store his more valuable plunder; particularly, gold. Some even say that treasure is still buried beneath the fireplace itself. Many reports express an uneasy and disruptive atmosphere surrounding the area. Workers have said to feel sudden cold spots when near the zone of activity. Patrons have reported the feeling of being touched or brushed against when sitting next to the hearth. Yet, the most unsettling accounts belong to those who claim to see red eyes staring at them from behind the grate of the fireplace. The eyes, people say, are watchful and guarded. It is theorized that the eyes belong to the pirate legend that has long since left his treasure behind.

 

In addition to watchful eyes, there are countless claims that Lafitte’s spirit materializes often within the bar. It is said that he can be found in dark corners watching the crowd with a scowl on his face as if annoyed by the patrons. Moreover, near the back of the bar where the piano sits, people often report the strong smell of a cigar and, in brief glances, have seen Jean sitting at a table near the piano with a drink in hand.

 

Rather Jean Lafitte’s spirit lives at sea or near his rumored buried treasure is not for certain. In the face of vibrant and lively stories surrounding Jean’s life and death, one thing remains a fact: the pirate’s legend lives on.  

 

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt

Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily