French-Language Manuscript Materials

The imprint of French culture on Louisiana and the Lower Mississippi Valley has been deep and long lasting. French explorers and colonists were among the earliest Europeans to arrive in the region, beginning in the seventeenth century. Louisiana, named for Louis XIV, belonged to France for much of the 1700s and again from 1800 until it was sold to the United States in 1803. French settlers came to Louisiana both directly from France and indirectly from other areas. The latter included Acadians expelled from present-day Nova Scotia in the mid-eighteenth century and refugees from St. Domingue (present-day Haiti) in 1804. Some followers of Napoleon arrived in Louisiana after their leader's defeat in 1814. Other French immigrants came to Louisiana for a variety of reasons throughout the nineteenth century.

The French-language manuscript resources in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC) at LSU touch upon all these sources of French cultural influence. This guide to these resources includes descriptions of the papers of early colonists, French-speaking planters and free people of color in the nineteenth century, and residents of cities and towns like New Orleans and Natchitoches. The documents it describes came from farmers and merchants, writers and artists, women and men, the famous and the anonymous.

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LeBlanc, Auguste. Family Papers, 1812-1866 (bulk 1859-1866). 5 items (includes 1 vol.). Location: Misc:L, G:16. Cotton planter on Happy Retreat Plantation near Grosse Tete, Iberville Parish, Louisiana. Papers consist of documents relating to Octave LeBlanc of Plaquemines Parish and Louis LeBlanc of St. Martin Parish and a plantation record book kept by Auguste LeBlanc. The record books contains entries for daily work performed and slave assignments. Memoranda discuss runaway slaves in Baton Rouge with the federal army in the Civil War, an expense account of building materials used to construct the Grosse Tete Chapel, and accounts with neighbors. Available on microfilm 5322: University Publications of America Records of Ante-bellum Southern Plantations Series I, Part 2, Reel 17. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 214.

LeBlanc, Sam A. Papers, 1921-1955 (bulk 1937-1955). 2,054 items. Location: E:59-62, UU:83, M:25, OS:L. Judge of the Twenty-third Judicial District Court (1921-1929) and of the Supreme Court of Louisiana (1949-1954). Personal papers of Judge LeBlanc reflecting his various civic and personal interests. Included are papers relating to the Chief Justice White Memorial Association and the Assumption Golf Club; speeches in French and English; and miscellaneous items. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1395.

Referenced in Guides: French

Lebrai Brothers. Account book, 1829-1830. 1 vol. Location: G:15. Account book of the Lebrai Brothers, general merchandise firm of New Orleans, La. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 215.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Business, French

Lebret & Hearsey. Record books, 1838-1875. 22 vols. Location: G:14. General merchandising firm in Bayou Sara, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana. Peter Lebret was an owner and operator of Lebret & Hearsey. Manuscript volumes containing Lebret & Hearsey records include 12 journals (1838-1869); 9 ledgers (1842-1874); and an index. Part in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 216.

Referenced in Guides: Business, French

Lebret diary, 1858-1861, 1977 (bulk 1858-1861). 1 item, 1 volume and 1 microfilm reel. Location: VAULT:12 and MSS.MF:L. The Lebret family of Bayou Sara, West Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, was headed by Peter (a.k.a. Pierre) Lebret, French-born owner and operator of Lebret and Hearsey, a general merchandising firm in Bayou Sara, and Fancy Point Plantation. Diary, probably written by Peter Lebret's sister-in-law. She mentions caring for children and slaves, teaching children, sewing, housekeeping, business dealings in trying to purchase more land, Waterloo Plantation in Pointe Coupee Parish, and local and family news. Previously known as anonymous diary. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3504.

Lebreton. Document, 1764. 1 item. Location: MISC:L. Adjudication concerning a house and land of Mr. Lebreton to be sold to Mr. Guachinard, New Orleans, Louisiana. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 217.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

Leche, Richard W. Papers, 1804, 1889-2008, undated. Approximately 100 linear ft., 155 volumes. Location: 80:-81:, 85:, 98:L, MAP CAGE, OS:L, VAULT:1, VAULT:21, VAULT MRDF 15. Orleans Parish native and 44th governor of Louisiana from 1936-1939. Collection is comprised of Leche's gubernatorial papers, which include chiefly office files of correspondence and a variety of printed materials; pre-gubernatorial and gubernatorial campaign papers; post-gubernatorial papers; and a variety of other materials, in large part photographic items and scrapbooks, spanning the three aforementioned eras. Collection also includes papers of Elton Reynolds Leche and Richard W. Leche, Jr. Mss. 2060.

Lefevre, Paul. Letter file book, 1856-1859. 1 vol. (218 items). Location: F:8. Resident of Donaldsonville, Ascension Parish, Louisiana, and apparently a drygoods merchant dealing in women's apparel and accessories. Business correspondence of Paul Lefevre and his wife from New Orleans and New York merchants. Included are a few letters from customers. In French.For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 754.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, Women, Business, French

LeFort letter, 1855. 1 item. Location: Misc:L. French publisher and author. Letter from LeFort in Paris, France, to G. V. Audubon in New York concering the publication of works by his father, John James Audubon, by French, German, Dutch, and Belgian publishers. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3635.

Referenced in Guides: French

Leigh, Captain. Diary and correspondence, 1795. 1 volume. Location: MISC:L. Quartermaster general for the British Army stationed at Fort Royal in Martinique during the British occupation of French islands. Diary (January 14-March 13, 1795) kept by Leigh while on the islands of Martinique and Grenada. Entries provide information concerning army and navy procedures relative to the handling of prisoners, the opening of ports to American vessels, the state of the militia at Martinique, the customs of the French people, and the destruction of property caused by French patriots on the island. Included with the diary are copies of two letters, one from Leigh to Sir I. Vaughan (March 13, 1795). Part of the West Indies Collection. Mss. 658.

Referenced in Guides: Transportation, French