Jean Laffite, thought to have been born in France, was more
of a businessman than seafarer. Along with his brother, Laffite practiced
pirating and privateering out of Barataria Bay, south of New Orleans. With over
10 vessels he and his crew raided among others, British, American, and Spanish
vessels. Due to his frequent trips to various worldwide coastal ports, many in
New Orleans traded with his band of pirates.
Laffite was renown for
working his way out of trouble, when arrested by a certain governor, he failed
to show up at the trial. The governor set a bounty for him at $750, in return,
Laffite offered double that price for the capture of the governor.
British officials offered Laffite monetary rewards among others, in
1814, in return for his help in their attack on New Orleans. Laffite notified
New Orleans officials, who paid no head to his warnings. A few weeks later a
small Naval fleet attacked, before which Laffite and his crew slipped out of
town. Later that same year, General Andrew Jackson accepted Laffites aid in
combat with the British. In return for his help, he and his crew were pardoned
for their maritime crimes, but lost their pirate privileges in Barataria Bay.
During an increase in naval activity, Laffite and his crew sailed
towards Spanish occupied territory of Texas. He took over Galveston, from where
he established his pirating activities. Being run out of Galveston, he left, but
only after burning the entire settlement. With his brother, Laffite continued
pirating around Central American ports until he died around 1821.