Bernard de Marigny

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Bernard de Marigny
BernardMarignyPortrait.jpg
Bernard de Marigny
Born Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville
October 28, 1785
New Orleans
Died February 3, 1868
New Orleans
Resting place
St. Louis Cemetery #1
Citizenship French, American
Occupation Planter, Land developer, Politician
Known for Craps
Home town New Orleans, Louisiana
Spouse(s) Mary Ann Jones (1786-1809), Anna Mathilde Morales (born 1789)
Children Antoine James de Marigny

Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, (1785–1868) (also known as Bernard de Marigny) was a French-Creole American nobleman, playboy,[1] politician, and President of the Louisiana Senate between 1822-1823.

Early life[edit]

The son of Pierre Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville (1750-1800) Ecuyer and Chevalier de St. Louis by his wife Jeanne Marie d'Estrehan de Beaupré, Bernard was born in New Orleans in 1785. His paternal grandfather, Antoine Philippe de Marigny, was a French nobleman, military officer, and geographer, while his maternal grandfather, Jean Baptiste d'Estrehan, was the Royal Treasurer of the Louisiana colony. In 1798, Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans (who became King Louis Philippe in 1830) and his two brothers, the Duke de Montpensier and the Count of Beaujolais, visited the Marigny plantation, in Fontainebleau.[2] By all accounts, they were lavishly entertained by the Marignys. One story recounts that special gold dinner ware was made for the occasion of the Duke of Orleans' visit and was thrown into the river afterward because no one would be worthy of using it again.

The visit of the French royals apparently had a big impact on Marigny as it is reported as one example of the spoiled life in which he was reared. When he was 15, his father died and Marigny inherited his father's plantation just below the city gates, east of New Orleans' Vieux Carré. According to historians, "His every whim [was] indulged while his father was alive, he became as wild and headstrong after his death as an unbacked mustang, and his guardian, abandoning all idea of control, finally shipped him to England, hoping that life abroad might mend his manners; but in London Bernard's dissipations became only more pyrotechnic, and he spent most of his time at Almack's and other famous gambling places."[3]

Craps[edit]

One of the things Marigny brought back to New Orleans from England was the dice game Hazard[4] which became popular in a simplified form, known in local dialect as "Crapaud".

Faubourg Marigny[edit]

On reaching his majority in 1806, Marigny at once had his plantation subdivided and began to develop the Faubourg Marigny. Marigny had many gambling debts and the smaller the land parcels the more there was to sell. The area grew rapidly and lots were sold all the way into the 1820s.[5] Marigny's development was immediately popular. He spent most of 1806 and 1807 at the office of notary Narcisse Broutin selling sixty-foot lots or emplacements to prospective homebuilders.[6] Marigny has famously named the streets of his neighborhood whimsically (Peace, History, Poets, Frenchman, Greatmen, Music, Love and Craps (after the game of chance he introduced to America). "Though said to be poorly educated in the classics, he christened the main thoroughfare to his house Elysian Fields after Virgil's "Deathless Residence of the Spirits of the Blessed."[7]

As more English-speaking Americans arrived in New Orleans, tensions between them and the settled Creoles began to grow. When two American developers approached Marigny about future commercial development of the city in the area of the Faubourg Marigny, the Creole first agreed, and then reneged by instructing Madame Marigny to stay away from the notary office, thus effectively killing the deal; this was reportedly due to his notorious dislike of the American settlers who were considered uncouth parvenus. This act was seen as extremely bad faith on the part of Marigny, and not only ensured that housing development grew uptown instead of east of the city, but also affected both his finances and his political career: "Marigny was severely blamed by the rest of the Creole population for thus yielding to his anti-American prejudices. This feeling ultimately worked his political destruction. Thereafter he was not looked on as a safe leader, and when he became a candidate for the governorship, they refused to support him."[8]

Strapped for cash, Marigny later sold his lots not only to his fellow Creoles, but to French-speaking gens de couleur to whom he was also related through his half-sister, the businesswoman Eulalie de Mandeville Macarty, thus helping to create a traditional enclave of the New Orleans Creoles of color. Eulalie was the illegitimate daughter of Marigny's father, Pierre Philippe by a black household slave, Marie Jeanne with whom he had a relationship prior to marrying Marigny's mother. Eulalie was given her freedom and brought up by her paternal grandparents who left her well-provided for.

Battle of New Orleans[edit]

During the battle, General Andrew Jackson established his headquarters at Marigny's plantation on Victory Street.[9] Nevertheless, Marigny and Edward Livingston were unable to convince the American General to meet and seek the support of the pirate Jean Lafitte whom the British had reached out to, but who according to Marigny was inclined to support the Americans. Lafitte did eventually meet and persuade Jackson of their support, which proved useful during the campaign.

Political career[edit]

In 1811, and again in 1814, Marigny was elected to the New Orleans City Council to represent the Fifth Ward.[10] From 1822 to 1823, Marigny served as President of the Louisiana Senate, and, as there was no Lieutenant Governor, he was next in line of succession to Governor Thomas B. Robertson. In 1828, Marigny ran for Governor of Louisiana and was defeated by Pierre Derbigny whom he had supported in the 1820 election. He ran again in the tumultuous gubernatorial election of 1830, which was called early due to the death of Governor Derbigny and the resignation of the next two acting Governors. Marigny was unsuccessful and Andre B. Roman was elected.

Marigny eventually lost his fortune gambling and died impoverished in 1868. He was buried at St. Louis Cemetery #1 in New Orleans[11]

Books authored[edit]

  • Refléxions sur la Campagne du Général André Jackson (Reflections on General Andrew Jackson’s Campaign) by Bernard Marigny (1848)

See also[edit]

History of New Orleans
History of Louisiana
Antoine James de Marigny
List of streets of New Orleans
New Orleans neighborhoods

Sources and notes[edit]

  1. ^ Crété, Liliane (translated by Patrick Gregory). Daily Life in Louisiana 1815-1830 (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press), 1978 (translation 1981)
  2. ^ Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. "Fountainbleau Historical Marker". 
  3. ^ Tinker, Edward Larocque, The Palingenesis of Craps (1933), pp. 1-3
  4. ^ Bridges, Tyler, Bad Bet in the Bayou Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2001)
  5. ^ Greater New Orleans Community Data Center
  6. ^ French Quarter history
  7. ^ Scully, Helen, Mobile Press-Register August 27, 2006
  8. ^ Kendall, John, History of New Orleans, The Lewis Publishing Company,(1922) pp. 125-126
  9. ^ Kendall, p. 106
  10. ^ Kendall, p. 92-93
  11. ^ Monograph of the University of Pennsylvania