Jean-Jacques Blaise d'Abbadie

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Jean-Jacques Blaise d’Abbadie

Jean-Jacques Blaise d'Abbadie (1726–1765) was the French Director-general of the Colony of Louisiana. He served from February 1763 until he died in office two years later, in New Orleans.[1]


Born at Château d'Audoux, near Navarrenx, Basses Pyrénées, France, 1726, d'Abbadie was educated at College d'Harcourt, from which he graduated in 1742. He entered the royal service as a clerk in the lumber-receiving department of the Rochefort naval yard. He would serve as a royal scribe in the comptroller's office in 1743, and as a clerk in the naval repair shop in 1744. Jean-Jacques served aboard a French man-of-war in the Antilles in 1745 as well as in Canadian waters in 1746. Captured by English forces in 1746, he was held as a prisoner of war until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle set him free, and after being freed in 1748, he returned to the French naval bureaucracy. He was promoted to rank of chief clerk of the artillery department in 1751, and then in 1757 to the rank of commissary general in the Naval Office's colonial bureau. d'Abbadie served aboard a small French naval squadron that unsuccessfully attempted to deliver provisions to beleaguered Louisbourg, Cape Breton Island, Canada.

Commissioned ordonnateur (administrative chief and first judge of the colonial tribunal) of Louisiana, December 29, 1761. Ordered by the French crown to establish and maintain good relations between the colony's feuding religious orders, the Capuchins and Jesuits, and to administer efficiently Louisiana's financial, police and judicial affairs. Shortly after departing Bordeaux, D'Abbadie's ship was captured by English warships. Subsequently held as prisoner of war at Barbados for three months; returned to France following his release. Commissioned director-general of Louisiana, February 10, 1763; position formed by consolidation of former governor's and ordonnateur's positions. Ordered by the Crown to dismantle the colony's French garrison and prepare Louisiana for occupation by English and Spanish forces pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763).

Departed Rochefort, France, for Louisiana, March 1763; arrived at the mouth of the Mississippi River, June 21, 1763. Prepared for the transfer of the Angoumois Regiment from Louisiana to Saint-Domingue, July, 1763. Departed New Orleans for Mobile, Alabama to assist British forces in occupying West Florida and to supervise the transfer of the region's French soldiers to French-held territory. Remaining tenure in office devoted to reconciling English and hostile Indians, preventing France from being drawn into Pontiac's uprising, and in maintaining the skeleton forces in Louisiana long after the Spanish occupation forces were expected to arrive, despite a complete lack of support from France. Was bitterly attacked by New Orleans merchants for having given [to] the LaClède-Chouteau interests exclusive trading privileges with the Indians of Upper Louisiana, 1764. During his administration, abortive attempt made to produce sugar commercially in Louisiana. He died in New Orleans on February 4, 1765.[2]

D'Abbadie's remains lie in the St. Louis Cathedral, in the part of New Orleans known as the French Quarter. He was the only French colonial governor to die in the colony. There is a New Orleans street named for him, although it's a slight misspelling: D'Abadie Street.


  1. ^ Greaves Cowan, Walter; McGuire, Jack B. (2008). Louisiana governors: rulers, rascals, and reformers. Univ. Press of Mississippi. p. 34. ISBN 978-1-934110-90-4. 
  2. ^ D'Abbadie in La. Historical Association's Dictionary of Biography; accessed October 2, 2014.

Preceded by
Louis Billouart
French Governor of Louisiana
Succeeded by
Charles Philippe Aubry