1826-1829: “Napoleon’s Colonel”

Jean Baptiste Benjamin Vignié

New Orleans’ French heritage and tradition made the crescent city an ideal refuge for the soldiers who fled to the new world after Napoleon’s exile from France in the early 1800’s.

It is said that those soldiers left a lasting impression through the preservation of Napoleonic Code and the naming of streets. Colonel Jean Baptiste Benjamin Vignié was head of Napoleon’s cavalry corps but turned to piracy upon arrival in the new world. An 1812 act of sale on display at the New Orleans Historic Collection lists Colonel Jean Baptiste Benjamin Vignié as the purchaser of the privateer (think pirate) ship “Pandoure”, which may have acted as his residence prior to his settling at what would be the Maison de Ville. Another document discusses the division of spoils gathered on the same ship. Vignie may have enjoyed living at 727 Toulouse Street especially since it’s only 3 blocks from Pirate’s Alley!

Archivo General de Indias – Seville, Spain

with Peychaud, who operated his pharmacy around the corner on Royal Street.


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