Henri Peyroux de la Coudreniere

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Henri Peyroux, de la Coudreniere (1743–18??), was a French politician and author who is perhaps best known for his scheme to transport the exiled Acadians from France to Louisiana, from which the people known as Cajuns are descended.

Born in Mortagne-sur-Sèvre in Poitou, to Charles Peyroux, an apothecary and surgeon, and Marguerite Suzanne Joudad, he conceived the idea of resettling the exiled Acadians in Spanish Louisiana.

Securing a commission and pension from Spain, Peyroux took the Acadian exile Olivier Terrio as a business partner, and together they worked with French and Spanish officials, as well as with the Acadian exiles, to coordinate the resettlement project. Complications arose when, for instance, Peyroux was arrested by French officials as a secret agent of Spain; in fact, the arrest had been arranged by French merchants who did not wish the Acadian exiles to depart without paying off their mounting debts. After numerous financial and bureaucratic setbacks, about 1,600 Acadian exiles sailed for Louisiana between May and October 1785.

Peyroux also went to Louisiana, where he benefited from his commissions as a captain in the Spanish army and a commandant of the Sainte-Geneviève Post in Spanish Illinois (now Missouri). Having succeeded in resettling the French-exiled Acadians, Peyroux betrayed his partner, Terrio, refusing to compensate him for his services.

For these reasons Peyroux is viewed by some not so much as a benefactor of the Acadian people as an opportunistic colonial entrepreneur.

References[edit]

  • Brasseaux, Carl, The Founding of New Acadia: The Beginnings of Acadian Life in Louisiana, 1765-1803 (1987)
  • Brasseaux, Carl, "Scattered to the Wind": Dispersal and Wanderings of the Acadians, 1755-1809 (1991)
  • The Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Louisiana Historical Association