The Flower Gardens : Jean Lafitte Part II

April 20th, 2012 Miscellaneous No comments


   This image is called The Flower Garden and it’s named for the Flower Garden National Marine Sanctuary that’s located not far from Galveston and the Louisiana Coast. Lafitte would probably have sailed over these Reefs on his way in and out of Galveston.

   After the Battle of New Orleans, Lafitte moved to Galveston Island and continued to operate as before. By 1817 Lafitte had taken command of the island. All people wanting to live there had to take a oath of loyalty to Jean Lafitte. He built a large structure called the Maison Rouge, where the landings were made. It was surrounded by a moat. He lived aboard his ship ” Pride” and conducted business there, issuing false letters of Marque to his captains. Hostile indians and a hurricane in 1818 complicated life on the island, and by 1821 he was forced from the island by the Americans after an American merchantmen was attacked by one of his captains. After leaving, he continued to attacks ships in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1822 he was granted a Letter of Marque by the Colombian government and given a new ship. Shortly after in 1823 he was reported to have been killed Feb 5 1823, or was he?

   Local legends state that Jean Lafitte was actually François Zénon Boutté who lived out his elder days in Breaux Bridge, La.. Zenon Boutee was a historical figure that had connections to the Barratarian lands once frequented by the Lafitte brothers.I have a good friend who is a Boutee and also has connections to the area around the town of Boutee by Barataria Bay and also Breaux Bridge. He has also mentioned to me that Jean Lafitte’s real name was Boutee.

   Lafitte was rumored to have buried a fortune in gold and silver somewhere in Louisiana. At some time every other Cajun has “discovered” the buried treasure of Jean Lafitte. People still dig regularly on the banks of Contraband bayou in Lake Charles to look for gold. At this present time on Cypremort Point, La., there is a an excavation looking for the treasure of Jean Lafitte. The owner of the property had a dream and a voice told him that there was the treasure of Jean Lafitte buried underneath his family home. The property had a very old water well ,only one of 2 old wells on Bayou Cypremort.Lafitte had been know to use the waterway to go up the Bayou Teche. The property owner has been digging there for at least 3 years now, and insists that 3 metallic “targets” of have been identified by some sort of magnometer, but not recovered because of their depth and the problems with the water table.This operation is called the “Big Dig” by locals. Most are skeptical about any recovery of treasure. It’s a testament to the power of persuasion of the owner that’s attracted the rumored over $750,000 of outside capital for this project. Checking today I heard that the dragline latched onto something in the hole about 20 feet down and almost pulled the dragline over. There have been other sightings related to the treasure. I’ve had several people tell me the’ve seen a shell mound in the swamp with an Iron cross on the top, saying this was the lost treasure of Jean Lafitte, but could not find the location again later. I had another friend tell me they’ve found old coins and strange bricks with odd markings on them on their property, in a bend of the Vermillion River (another supposed Haunt of Jeans Lafitte) but have not bothered to excavate around these markers. In the 1920′s Indian Bayou in Livingston Parish was drained to search for the Treasure of Jean Lafitte. At any rate the treasure has not been found yet and is almost certainly non existent.

   One thing is for sure the mythology of Lafitte doesn’t seem to diminish over the years. He is an omnipresent figure in South Louisiana, seemingly having been everywhere. So we’re in store for more wild treasure hunts as the years roll along.

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