Jean Noel Destréhan
|Jean Noel Destréhan|
|United States Senator
September 3, 1812 – October 1, 1812
|Succeeded by||Thomas Posey|
St. Charles Parish, Louisiana
|Died||1823 (aged 68–69)
Jean Noel Destréhan (1754–1823) was a Creole politician in Louisiana and one-time owner of Destréhan Plantation, one of Louisiana's most famous antebellum historical landmarks. The city of Destrehan, Louisiana is named after him.
Destréhan was born in New Orleans to Jean-Baptiste Destréhan de Beaupre and Jeanne Catherine de Gauvrit (1729-1773) and was educated in France. He was the son of Jean Baptiste Destrehan, colonial treasurer to France, and the brother-in-law of Etienne de Boré, who perfected the sugar granulation process. Destréhan married Marie Claudine Elenore Robin de Logny in 1786 and bought Destréhan Plantation in 1792. He served as speaker of the territorial House of Representatives from 1804 to 1806 before receiving an appointment from President Thomas Jefferson to serve on the Orleans Territorial Council. Destréhan served in this position from 1806 to 1811. The council crafted a legal system based on French and Spanish civil codes and established Louisiana's parish system of governance. Destréhan was elected to the United States Senate in 1812, but resigned immediately after taking office. He remained active in the Louisiana State Legislature until 1817. He continued planting, dying at his plantation in 1823.
Destréhan pioneered the unique Creole system of slave labor on his sugar plantations. A blend between the harsher gang system and the more lenient task system, the Creole system used head slaves called drivers to allot tasks and inspect work as opposed to relying on an overseer. During planting and grinding seasons, planters required slaves to work long hours, but during the off-season when the sugar crop needed little maintenance, slaves were granted considerable time off to grow food, work for themselves, and trade.
Several of Destréhan's slaves participated in the 1811 German Coast Uprising, the largest slave revolt in American history. Destréhan himself served on the six-member tribunal at the conclusion of the revolt. Three of Destréhan's slaves were convicted as conspirators and executed. Slave trials were held at both Destrehan Plantation and in New Orleans.
Lawrence, John. 2009. Destrehan: the man, the house, the legacy. River Road Historical Society.
Taylor, Hazel. 2009. A Concise History of Destrehan Plantation. Destrehan Plantation.
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- official Destrehan Plantation website - has more information about current operations
|United States Senate|
|United States Senator (Class 2) from Louisiana
Served alongside: Allan B. Magruder
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