Bernard de Marigny
|Bernard de Marigny|
Bernard de Marigny
|Born||Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville
October 28, 1785
|Died||February 3, 1868
|St. Louis Cemetery No. 1|
|Occupation||Planter, Land developer, Politician|
|Home town||New Orleans, Louisiana|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Ann Jones (1786-1808), Anna Mathilde Morales (1789-1859)|
|Children||Prosper Francois Antoine Pierre Philippe de Marigny, Gustave Adolphe de Marigny, Antoine James de Marigny, Rosa de Marigny, Marie Angela Josephine de Marigny, Armand de Marigny, Mathilde de Marigny|
Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville (1785–1868), (also known as Bernard de Marigny), was a French-Creole American nobleman, playboy, planter, politician, land developer, and President of the Louisiana Senate between 1822-1823.
The son of Pierre Enguerrand Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville (1751-1800) Ecuyer and Chevalier de St. Louis by his wife Jeanne Marie d'Estrehan de Beaupré, Bernard was born in New Orleans in 1785, the third generation of his family to be born in colonial Louisiana. His paternal grandfather, Antoine Philippe de Marigny, was a French nobleman, military officer, and geographer. His maternal grandfather, Jean Baptiste d'Estrehan, was the royal treasurer of the 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, near New Orleans. By all accounts, they were lavishly entertained by the family. 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 an example of the spoiled life in which he was reared. When he was 15 years old, his father died and Bernard inherited his father's plantation just outside 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 [wild] 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."
On reaching his majority in 1806, Marigny at once had his plantation subdivided and began to develop the Faubourg Marigny. (The Louisiana Purchase had taken place in 1803.) Marigny had many gambling debts; and the smaller the land parcels were, the more there were to sell. The area grew rapidly and lots were sold all the way into the 1820s. 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. Marigny has famously named the streets of his neighborhood whimsically: Peace, History, Poets, Frenchmen, Greatmen, Goodchildren, 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." Others say that Elysian Fields Avenue was named simply as the English translation for the famous Parisian Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
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."
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 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 named 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
Marigny and Edward Livingston were unable to convince General Andrew Jackson 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.
In 1811, and again in 1814, Marigny was elected to the New Orleans City Council to represent the Fifth Ward. 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.
North shore activities
Marigny's land holdings included a sugarcane plantation on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain. This area is Saint Tammany Parish, one of the Florida Parishes, lands acquired by the U.S. in 1810, prior to Louisiana's transition to statehood. Today there are a few ruins of Marigny's 1829 sugar mill; this area comprises Fontainebleau State Park. Fontainebleau was the name Marigny chose for his property, after the Fontainebleau Forest near Paris. In 1834, Marigny de Mandeville laid out the town which bears his family name, Mandeville, Louisiana.
Later life and death
Marigny eventually lost his fortune gambling and died impoverished, in 1868. He was buried at Saint Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans. (His father, paternal grandfather, and paternal great-grandfather were interred in the St. Louis Cathedral. The engraved slab listing their names is one of only two prominent grave monuments located inside the cathedral.)
Two New Orleans streets are named for him or his family, Marigny and Mandeville.
- Refléxions sur la Campagne du Général André Jackson (Reflections on General Andrew Jackson’s Campaign) by Bernard Marigny (1848)
Sources and notes
- Crété, Liliane (translated by Patrick Gregory). Daily Life in Louisiana 1815-1830 (Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press), 1978 (translation 1981)
- Tinker, Edward Larocque, The Palingenesis of Craps (1933), pp. 1-3
- Bridges, Tyler, Bad Bet in the Bayou Farrar, Straus & Giroux (2001)
- Greater New Orleans Community Data Center
- French Quarter history
- Scully, Helen, Mobile Press-Register August 27, 2006
- Kendall, John, History of New Orleans, The Lewis Publishing Company,(1922) pp. 125-126
- Kendall, p. 92-93
- Monograph of the University of Pennsylvania