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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De Flandren, Jean B. Document, 1764. 1 item. Location: Misc.:D. Resident of New Orleans. Sale of land and house of Jean Baptiste De Flandren. In French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 103.

Referenced in Guides: New Orleans to 1861, French

De Forest, George. Collection, 1548, 1604-1945. 44 linear ft., 149 vols. Location: 77:35-49; 31:25-30; 31:35-36; 31:63-65; OS:D; 98. New Orleans bookseller. Collection of American (including Louisiana), British, French, Latin American, and other documents, covering a wide range of occupations, including writers, lawyers, soldiers, clergy, and scientists. Includes a group of British travel diaries. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1350.

Referenced in Guides: Religion, French, Literature

De la Roche Family Papers, 1834-1839. 4 items. Location: Misc. Papers include an account of Pierre de la Roche with T. F. Laville, a petition to the Probate Court in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, by the widow of Pierre regarding her husband's estate, and a letter from Madame Pierre de la Roche to her attorney. Letter in French. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 106.

Referenced in Guides: Women, French

DeBlanc, Charles. Slave bills of sale and memorandum, 1835-1854. 3 items. Location: Misc:D. French-speaking slave owner of New Orleans. Papers include slave bills of sale of Charles DeBlanc to Auguste and Octave Reggio of Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, and an undated memorandum to Luis DeBlanc. Slave bills of sale in French, memorandum in Spanish. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 100.

DeClouet, Alexandre (Alexandre Etienne) and Family. Papers, 1787-1905 (bulk 1855-1888). 1.2 linear ft. Location: U:181, J:5. Sugar planter, Confederate congressman, and state senator from St. Martin Parish, Louisiana. Beginning in the 1860s, DeClouet was active in the White League, an organization opposed to rights for freedmen. Collection includes financial papers, legal documents, political papers, and correspondence. Financial records of Alexandre DeClouet and his son Paul document plantation management and labor issues. Political papers include White League materials. Some items in French. Available on microfilm 6061: University Publications of America Records of Southern Plantations from Emancipation to the Great Migration, Series B, Part 3, Reels 5-6. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 74, 258, 461, 756.