Louis Philippe de Roffignac
Count Louis Philippe de Roffignac (sometimes spelled Rouffignac) (1766–1846) was Mayor of New Orleans from May 1820 to May 1828.
He was born in Angoulême. At the age of fourteen he was a page in the household of his godmother, the Duchess of Orléans; at seventeen, he joined the French army as a lieutenant of artillery. He first saw service in Spain, under his father. At twenty-four he was promoted captain for gallant and meritorious service in the field. His army career then took him to America, and in 1800 he settled in Louisiana.
He served ten consecutive terms in the state legislature. For his participation in the Battle of New Orleans, he was made an honorary brigadier general. When the Louisiana Legion was formed, in 1822, he became its colonel. Among his many business endeavors, he was for a time a director of the State Bank of Louisiana. For many years he was a member of the City Council, and was a member of that body when elected mayor.
As mayor of New Orleans, Roffignac sought to develop the city as fast as possible, borrowing large sums of money by issuing "city stock", a form of municipal bonds. He used the money to improve and beautify the city: he was responsible for the massive planting of trees as well the first street paving. In 1821 he introduced street lighting. In the late 1820s he organized the city's first regular fire department. He established New Orleans' first public educational system. He also strove to regulate gambling, but was only the first of several mayors to deal with this long intractable problem.
He resigned in 1828 and returned to France, to a leisurely retirement in literary and social pursuits. He died at his château, near Périgueux, under curious circumstances: according to the medical examiner called in to determine the precise cause of his death, he had been sitting in his invalid chair, examining a loaded pistol, when he was suddenly overwhelmed by an apoplectic stroke and fell to the floor; in the fall, the pistol fired into his brain.
- Macarty and Roffignac (Kendall's History of New Orleans, Chapter 7)
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