Living History Museum

Our History

France and a River

Our history begins with a muddy river called the Mississippi and dense swamplands. Rene-Robert Cavelier Sieur de Salle traveled the beginning of the river to its end. He claimed the territory for France anticipating it to be a source of great wealth for the country. A young son of a Paris financial family, which was part of the court of Louis XV, packed his trunks and sailed to the new world. Destined to find a family that would have a profound impact on Louisiana and the entire United States, he helped set standards by which new territories would be included into the union and shaped the laws of the State of Louisiana. Little did this young man suspect that his son's family home would still be standing in the 21st century; the home we now refer to as Destrehan Plantation.

A Royal Treasurer for Louisiana

The Destrehan family in Louisiana begins with Jean Baptiste Honore Destrehan, Sieur De Peaupre (1716-1765). He was the son of Jean Baptiste Destrehan (ca. 1670-1740), who was councilor to King Louis XIV and treasurer of all arts and crafts guilds in Paris and its environs. In 1730, when Jean Baptiste Honore Destrehan arrived in Louisiana, he took a job as a clerk in the office of ordonnateur held by Edme Gatien de Solmon. After Salmon's dismissal, the new ordonnateur, Lenormant appointed Destrehan the treasurer of the colony.

Marriages and Liaisons

In 1745, Jean Baptiste Honore Destrehan married Catherine de Gauvry and moved into her family home. Jean Baptiste Honore and Catherine had seven children.

  • At 25 years of age, Jean Baptiste Honore Destrehan, the oldest boy, married Feclicie St. Maxent. Her father made his fortune in the fur trade with his partner Pierre Laclede, funding the outpost, which would become St. Louis, Missouri.
  • At 20 years of age, Jeanne Marguerite married Etienne DeBore, who at the age of 30 was a wealthy Louisiana businessman involved in the sugar industry.
  • At 19 years of age, Jeanne Marie, married Pierre Phillip Marigny, son of an important and wealthy New Orleans family.
  • At 18 years of age, Marie Elizabeth Isabel married Charles Phillipe Favre D'Aunoy, son of another important New Orleans family.
  • Jeanne Catherine, daughter number four, had not been well and died in 1773 unmarried.
  • After the death of Jean Baptiste Destrehan on February 26, 1765, the youngest two sons, Jean Baptiste Louis, 15 years of age, and Jean Noel, 14 years of age, were too young to marry and lived with Etienne and Jeanne Marguerite DeBore.
  • In 1776, Etienne bought the two youngest boys, Jean Baptiste Louis and Jean Noel a plantation in St Charles Parish with their share of the estate. Etienne lived with them and taught them how to manage the plantation. At 17 years of age, Jean Noel released from guardianship by his brother-in-law and declared an adult, received the St. Charles Parish Plantation. In 1786, Jean Noel married Marie Celeste Robin de Logny the daughter of the Commandant of the German Coast and Indigo Planter. 
  • Catiche was Jean Baptist's supposed daughter, born in 1738. Catiche married Pompe, also enslaved by the Destrehan estate. Her son with Pompe was named Honore', later, after he gained freedom he changed his name to Jean Baptist Honore Destrehan. The Destrehan name was dropped by the third generation family member, Francois, in the early 1800s.
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