Plaçage was a recognized extralegal system in French and Spanish slave colonies of North America (including the Caribbean) by which ethnic European men entered into civil unions with non-Europeans of African, Native American and mixed-race descent. The term comes from the French placer meaning "to place with". The women were not legally recognized as wives but were known as placées; their relationships were recognized among the free people of color as mariages de la main gauche or left-handed marriages. They became institutionalized with contracts or negotiations that settled property on the woman and her children, and in some cases gave them freedom if they were enslaved. The system flourished throughout the French and Spanish colonial periods, reaching its zenith during the latter, between 1769 and 1803.
It was widely practiced in New Orleans, where planter society had created enough wealth to support the system. It also took place in the Latin-influenced cities of Natchez and Biloxi, Mississippi; Mobile, Alabama; St. Augustine and Pensacola, Florida;as well as Saint-Domingue (now the Republic of Haiti). Plaçage became associated with New Orleans as part of its cosmopolitan society.
In recent years, at least three historians (viz. Kenneth Aslakson, Emily Clark, and Carol Schlueter) have challenged the historicity of plaçage and have referred to many of its features, including quadroon balls, as "a myth".
The plaçage system developed from the predominance of men among early colonial populations, who took women as consorts from Native Americans, free women of color and some enslaved Africans. In this period there was a shortage of European women, as the colonies were dominated in the early day by male explorers and colonists.
Given the harsh conditions in the colonies, persuading women to follow the men was not easy. France sent women convicted along with their debtor husbands, and in 1719, deported 209 women felons "who were of a character to be sent to the French settlement in Louisiana."
The placage system first developed in Saint-Domingue. France sent women from the poor houses to the West Indies, but they had the reputation of also being former prostitutes from La Salpêtrière, and in 1713 and again in 1743, the authorities in Saint-Domingue complained that Paris sent the settlers unsuitable former prostitutes as wives.The custom of sending brides from France was therefore discontinued in the French West Indies in the mid 18th-century, which benefitted the development of a placage system there. A new colonisation policy was adopted, in which male colonists from France merely came to the colony to make their fortune and returned to France after a few years, during which they did not marry but lived with a free woman of colour.
France also relocated young women orphans known as King's Daughters (French : filles du roi) to their colonies for marriage: to both Canada and Louisiana. France recruited willing farm- and city-dwelling women, known as casket or casquette girls , because they brought all their possessions to the colonies in a small trunk or casket.
Historian Joan Martin maintains that there is little documentation that "casket girls", considered among the ancestors of white French Creoles, were brought to Louisiana. The Ursuline order of nuns supposedly chaperoned the casket girls until they married, but the order has denied they followed this practice. Martin suggests this was a myth, and that interracial relationships occurred from the beginning of the encounter among Europeans, Native Americans and Africans. She also writes that some Creole families who today identify as white had ancestors during the colonial period who were African or multiracial, and whose descendants married white over generations.
Through warfare and raids, Native American women were often captured to be traded, sold, or taken as wives. At first, the colony generally imported African men to use as slave labor because of the heavy work of clearing to develop plantations. Over time, it also imported African women as slaves. Marriage between the races was forbidden according to the Code Noir of the eighteenth century, but interracial sex continued. The upper class European men during this period often did not marry until their late twenties or early thirties. Premarital sex with an intended white bride, especially if she was of high rank, was not permitted socially.
White male colonists, often the younger sons of noblemen, military men, and planters, who needed to accumulate some wealth before they could marry, had women of color as consorts before marriage or in some cases after their first wives died. Merchants and administrators also followed this practice if they were wealthy enough. When the women had children, they were sometimes emancipated along with their children. Both the woman and her children might assume the surnames of the man. When Creole men reached an age when they were expected to marry, some also kept their relationships with their placées, but this was less common. A wealthy white man could have two (or more) families: one legal, and the other not. Their mixed-race children became the nucleus of the class of free people of color or gens de couleur libres in Louisiana and Saint-Domingue. After the Haitian Revolution in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, many refugees came to New Orleans, adding a new wave of French-speaking free people of color.
During the period of French and Spanish rule, the gens de couleur came to constitute a third class in New Orleans and other former French cities - between the white Creoles and the mass of black slaves. They had certain status and rights, and often acquired education and property. Later their descendants became leaders in New Orleans, holding political office in the city and state, and becoming part of what developed as the African-American middle class in the United States.
By 1788, 1500 Creole women of color and black women were being maintained by white men.Certain customs had evolved. It was common for a wealthy, married Creole to live primarily outside New Orleans on his plantation with his white family. He often kept a second address in the city to use for entertaining and socializing among the white elite. He had built or bought a house for his placée and their children. She and her children were part of the society of Creoles of color. The white world might not recognize the placée as a wife legally and socially, but she was recognized as such among the Creoles of color. Some of the women acquired slaves and plantations. Particularly during the Spanish colonial era, a woman might be listed as owning slaves; these were sometimes relatives whom she intended to free after earning enough money to buy their freedom.
While in New Orleans (or other cities), the man would cohabit with the placée as an official "boarder" at her Creole cottage or house. Many were located near Rampart Street in New Orleans—once the demarcation line or wall between the city and the frontier. Other popular neighborhoods for Creoles of color were the Faubourg Marigny and Tremé. If the man was not married, he might keep a separate residence, preferably next door or in the same or next block as his placée. He often took part in and arranged for the upbringing and education of their children. For a time both boys and girls were educated in France, as there were no schools in New Orleans for mixed-race children. As supporting such a plaçage arrangement(s) ran into thousands of dollars per year, it was limited to the wealthy.
Upon the death of her protector, the placée and her family could, on legal challenge, expect up to a third of the man's property. Some white lovers tried, and succeeded, in making their mixed-race children primary heirs over other white descendants or relatives. A notable inheritance case was the daughters of Nicolás María Vidal, a former high official in Spanish Louisiana, who with their mother, Eufrosina Hisnard, successfully petitioned the U.S. government in the 1830s to intercede on their behalf to secure a portion of Vidal's estate.
The women in these relationships often worked to develop assets: acquiring property, running a legitimate rooming-house, or a small business as a hairdresser, marchande (female street or country merchant/vendor), or a seamstress. She could also become a placée to another white Creole. She sometimes taught her daughters to become placées, by education and informal schooling in dress, comportment, and ways to behave. A mother negotiated with a young man for the dowry or property settlement, sometimes by contract, for her daughter if a white Creole were interested in her. A former placée could also marry or cohabit with a Creole man of color and have more children.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, placées were not and did not become prostitutes. Creole men of color objected to the practice as denigrating the virtue of Creole women of color, but some, as descendants of white males, benefited by the transfer of social capital. Martin writes, "They did not choose to live in concubinage; what they chose was to survive."[ citation needed ]
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, after Reconstruction and with the reassertion of white supremacy across the former Confederacy, the white Creole historians, Charles Gayarré and Alcée Fortier, wrote histories that did not address plaçage in much detail. They suggested that little race mixing had occurred during the colonial period, and that the placées had seduced or led white Creole men astray. They wrote that the French Creoles (in the sense of having long been native to Louisiana) were ethnic Europeans who were threatened by the spectre of race-mixing like other Southern whites.
Gayarré, when younger, was said to have taken a woman of color as his placée and she had their children, to his later shame. He married a white woman late in life. His earlier experience inspired his novel Fernando de Lemos.
Marie Thérèse Metoyer dite Coincoin became an icon of black female entrepreneurship in colonial Louisiana. She was born at the frontier outpost of Natchitoches on Cane River in August 1742 as a slave of the post founder, the controversial explorer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis. She would be, for twenty years, the placée of a French colonial merchant-turned-planter, Claude Thomas Pierre Métoyer, who was two years her junior. At the onset of their plaçage, she was already the mother of five children; she would have ten more with Métoyer. In 1778, he freed her after the parish priest filed charges against Coincoin as a "public concubine" and threatened to have her sold at New Orleans if they did not end their relationship. As a free woman, she remained with Métoyer until 1788, when his growing fortune persuaded him to take a wife who could provide legal heirs. (He chose another Marie Thérèse, a white Créole of French and German birth.)
In setting Coincoin aside, Métoyer donated to her his interest in 80 arpents, about 68 acres (280,000 m2) of unpatented land, adjacent to his plantation, to help support their free-born offspring. On that modest tract, Coincoin planted tobacco, a valuable commodity in the struggling colony. She and her children trapped bears and wild turkeys for sales of meat, hide, and oil locally and at the New Orleans market. She also manufactured medicine, a skill shared by her freed-slave sister Marie Louise dite Mariotte and likely one acquired from their African-born parents. With this money, she progressively bought the freedom of four of her first five children and several grandchildren, before investing in three African-born slaves to provide the physical labor that became more difficult as she aged. After securing a colonial patent on her homestead in 1794, she petitioned for and was given a land concession from the Spanish crown. On that piney-woods tract of 800 arpents (667 ac) on Old Red River, about 5 mi from her farmstead, she set up a vacherie (a ranch) and engaged a Spaniard to tend her cattle. Shortly before her death in 1816, Coincoin sold her homestead and divided her remaining property (her piney-woods land, the three African slaves, and their offspring) among her own progeny.
As often happened among the children of plaçages, Coincoin's one surviving daughter by Métoyer, Marie Susanne, became a placée also. As a young woman, apparently with the blessing of both parents, she entered into a relationship with a newly arrived physician, Joseph Conant from New Orleans. When he left Cane River, soon after the birth of their son, she formed a second and lifelong plaçage with a Cane River planter, Jean Baptiste Anty. As a second-generation entrepreneur, Susanne became far more successful than her mother and died in 1838 leaving an estate of $61,600 (equivalent to $1,500,000 in 2009 currency).
Modern archaeological work at the site of Coincoin's farmstead is documenting some of the aspects of her domestic life. A mid-nineteenth century dwelling, now dubbed the Coincoin-Prudhomme House although it was not the actual site of her residence, commemorates her within the Cane River National Heritage Area. Popular lore also has, erroneously, credited her with the ownership of a Cane River plantation founded by her son Louis Metoyer, known today as Melrose Plantation, and its historic buildings Yucca House and African House. Her eldest half-French son, Nicolas Augustin Métoyer, founded St. Augustine Parish (Isle Brevelle) Church, the spiritual center of Cane River's large community of Creoles of color who trace their heritage to Coincoin.
There were many other examples of white Creole fathers who reared and carefully and quietly placed their daughters of color with the sons of known friends or family members. This occurred with Eulalie de Mandéville, the elder half-sister of color to the eccentric nobleman, politician, and land developer Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandéville. Taken from her slave mother as a baby, and partly raised by a white grandmother, 22-year-old Eulalie was "placed" by her father, Count Pierre Enguerrand Philippe, Écuyer de Mandéville, Sieur de Marigny, with Eugène de Macarty, a member of the famous French-Irish clan in 1796. Their alliance resulted in five children and lasted almost fifty years.
In contrast to the Macartys' stable relationship, Eugène's brother Augustin de Macarty was married and was said to have had numerous, complex affairs with Creole women of color. When he died, several women made claims on behalf of their children against his estate.
On his deathbed in 1845, Eugène de Macarty married Eulalie. He willed her all of his money and property, then worth $12,000. His white relatives, including his niece, Marie Delphine de Macarty LaLaurie, contested the will. The court upheld his will. After Eulalie's death, their surviving children defeated another attempt by Macarty's relatives to claim his estate, by then worth more than $150,000. Eulalie de Mandéville de Macarty became a successful marchande and ran a dairy. She died in 1848.
Rosette Rochon was born in 1767 in colonial Mobile, the daughter of Pierre Rochon, a shipbuilder from a Québécois family (family name was Rocheron in Québec), and his mulâtresse slave-consort Marianne, who bore him five other children. Once Rosette reached a suitable age, she became the consort of a Monsieur Hardy, with whom she relocated to the colony of Saint Domingue. During her sojourn there, Hardy must have died or relinquished his relationship with her; for in 1797 during the Haitian Revolution, she escaped to New Orleans, where she later became the placée of Joseph Forstal and Charles Populus, both wealthy white New Orleans Creoles.
Rochon came to speculate in real estate in the French Quarter; she eventually owned rental property, opened grocery stores, made loans, bought and sold mortgages, and owned and rented out (hired out) slaves. She also traveled extensively back and forth to Haiti, where her son by Hardy had become a government official in the new republic. Her social circle in New Orleans once included Marie Laveau, Jean Lafitte, and the free black contractors and real estate developers Jean-Louis Doliolle and his brother Joseph Doliolle.
In particular, Rochon became one of the earliest investors in the Faubourg Marigny, acquiring her first lot from Bernard de Marigny in 1806. Bernard de Marigny, the Creole speculator, refused to sell the lots he was subdividing from his family plantation to anyone who spoke English. While this turned out to be a losing financial decision, Marigny felt more comfortable with the French-speaking, Catholic free people of color (having relatives, lovers, and even children on this side of the color line). Consequently, much of Faubourg Marigny was built by free black artisans for free people of color or for French-speaking white Creoles. Rochon remained largely illiterate, dying in 1863 at the age of 96, leaving behind an estate valued at $100,000 (today, an estate worth a million dollars).
Marie Laveau (also spelled Leveau, Laveaux), known as the voodoo queen of New Orleans, was born between 1795 and 1801 as the daughter of a white Haitian plantation owner, Charles Leveaux, and his mixed black and Indian placée Marguerite Darcantel (or D'Arcantel). Because there were so many whites as well as free people of color in Haiti with the same names, Leveaux could also have been a free man of color who owned slaves and property as well. All three may have escaped Haiti along with thousands of other Creole whites and Creoles of color during the slave uprisings that culminated in the French colony's becoming the only independent black republic in the New World.
At 17, Marie married a Creole man of color popularly known as Jacques Paris (however, in some documents, he is known as Santiago Paris). Paris either died, disappeared or deliberately abandoned her (some accounts also relate that he was a merchant seaman or sailor in the navy) after she produced a daughter. Laveau was styling herself as the Widow Paris and was a hairdresser for white matrons (she was also reckoned to be an herbalist and yellow fever nurse) when she met Louis-Christophe Dumesnil de Glapion and in the early 1820s, they became lovers.
Marie was just beginning her spectacular career as a voodoo practitioner (she would not be declared a "queen" until about 1830), and Dumesnil de Glapion was a fiftyish white Creole veteran of the Battle of New Orleans with relatives on both sides of the color line. Recently,[ vague ] it has been alleged that Dumesnil de Glapion was so in love with Marie, he refused to live separately from his placée according to racial custom. In an unusual decision, Dumesnil de Glapion passed as a man of color in order to live with her under respectable circumstances—thus explaining the confusion many historians have had whether he was truly white or black. Although it is popularly thought that Marie presented Dumesnil de Glapion with fifteen children, only five are listed in vital statistics and of these, two daughters—one the famous Marie Euchariste or Marie Leveau II—lived to adulthood. Marie Euchariste closely resembled her mother and startled many who thought that Marie Leveau had been resurrected by the black arts, or could be at two places at once, beliefs that the daughter did little to correct.
Sebastopol: This plantation house and property was built and cultivated by Don Pedro Morin in the 1830s in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. It was bought twenty years later by Colonel Ignatius Szymanski a Polish American who later served in the Confederate Army, and renamed Sebastopol. At his death, Colonel Szymanski willed this estate to his placée Eliza Romain, a free woman of color, and to their son John Szymanski.
The term quadroon is a fractional term referring to a person with one white and one mulatto parent, some courts would have considered one-fourth Black. The "quadroon balls" were social events designed to encourage mixed-race women to form liaisons with wealthy white men through a system of concubinage known as plaçage.
The origin of quadroon balls can be traced to the redoutes des filles de couleur in Cap-Francais in the French colony of Saint Domingue.
The French colony, where the male population outnumbered women, white women were few and there were few alternatives to prostitution for free women of color, was known in the Caribbean for its "Mulatto Courtesans", whose trademark was elegance, a haughty demeanor and the demand to be courted.As there were no brothels in the colony, where sex workers worked independently, these balls were the place where the most exclusive courtesans met their clients; having met, they were set up as the official housekeeper (menagère) or openly kept as mistresses, and when their male client died or left to settle in France for their retirement, they were normally left with money, property or slaves for their future support, a common background for free coloured businesswomen, among whom the most famous were Nanette Pincemaille (d. 1784), Anne Laporte (d. 1783), Simone Brocard and Julie Dahey.
Many refugees from Saint-Domingue came to New Orleans and settled between the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution in 1791 until the Dominguan refuge colony in Cuba was ousted in 1809: both white, black and free people of color, who were used to the placage system in Saint Domingue, and who introduced a more formalized form of placage as well as the famous quadroon balls to New Orleans.
Monique Guillory writes about quadroon balls that took place in New Orleans, the city most strongly associated with these events. She approaches the balls in context of the history of a building the structure of which is now the Bourbon Orleans Hotel. Inside is the Orleans Ballroom, a legendary, if not entirely factual, location for the earliest quadroon balls.
In New Orleans in 1805, Albert Tessier, a refugee from Saint-Domingue,began renting a dance hall where he threw twice weekly dances for free quadroon women and white men only. This was an innovation in New Orleans at the time: balls for free women of colour had been held in New Orleans in the 1790s, but they had been opened for both white men and free men of colour, the latter of whom could marry the women rather than form a placage with them, and these new balls exclusively for free quadroon women and white men was therefore more closely associated with the placage system, introducing a Dominguan custom to New Orleans.
The quadroon balls were elegant and elaborate, designed to appeal to wealthy white men. Although race mixing was prohibited by New Orleans law, it was common for white gentleman to attend the balls, sometimes stealing away from white balls to mingle with the city's quadroon female population. The principal desire of quadroon women attending these balls was to become placée as the mistress of a wealthy gentleman, usually a young white Creole or a visiting European.These arrangements were a common occurrence, Guillory suggests, because the highly educated, socially refined quadroons were prohibited from marrying white men and were unlikely to find Black men of their own status.
A quadroon's mother usually negotiated with an admirer the compensation that would be received for having the woman as his mistress. Typical terms included some financial payment to the parent, financial and/or housing arrangements for the quadroon herself, and, many times, paternal recognition of any children the union produced. Guillory points out that some of these matches were as enduring and exclusive as marriages. A beloved quadroon mistress had the power to destabilize white marriages and families, something she was much resented for.
According to Guillory, the system of plaçage had a basis in the economics of mixed race. The plaçage of black women with white lovers, Guillory writes, could take place only because of the socially determined value of their light skin, the same light skin that commanded a higher price on the slave block, where light skinned girls fetched much higher prices than did prime field hands.Guillory posits the quadroon balls as the best among severely limited options for these near-white women, a way for them to control their sexuality and decide the price of their own bodies. She contends:
She notes that many participants in the balls were successful in actual businesses when they could no longer rely on an income from the plaçage system. She speculates they developed business acumen from the process of marketing their own bodies.
Charles Deslondes was one of the slave leaders of the 1811 German Coast Uprising, a slave revolt that began on January 8, 1811, in the Territory of Orleans. He led more than 200 rebels against the plantations along the Mississippi River toward New Orleans. White planters formed militias and ended up hunting down the rebels. The slave insurgents killed one Free Man of Color, the "comandant" "overseer" or "slave driver" on the Andre plantation which started the revolt and one white man during their retreat from the out skirts of New Orleans. The militia and the Army killed 95 slaves which included the battle, which took place on Bernard Bernoudy's plantation, some gratuitous "accidental" killings of innocent slaves by the Army on its march from New Orleans and the executions which followed the Tribunals after the revolt was put down.
In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color were people of mixed African, European, and sometimes Native American descent who were not enslaved. The term arose in the French colonies, including La Louisiane and settlements on Caribbean islands, such as Saint-Domingue (Haiti), St.Lucia, Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Martinique, where a distinct group of free people of color developed. Freed African slaves were included in the term affranchis, but historically they were considered as distinct from the free people of color. In these territories and major cities, particularly New Orleans, and those cities held by the Spanish, a substantial third class of primarily mixed-race, free people developed. These colonial societies classified mixed-race people in a variety of ways, generally related to visible features and to the proportion of African ancestry. Racial classifications were numerous in Latin America.
Marie Delphine Macarty or MacCarthy, more commonly known as Madame Blanque, until her third marriage, when she became known as Madame LaLaurie, was a New Orleans Creole socialite and serial killer who tortured and murdered slaves in her household.
Louisiana Creole people, are persons descended from the inhabitants of colonial Louisiana during the period of both French and Spanish rule. Louisiana Creoles share cultural ties such as the traditional use of the French and Louisiana Creole languages and predominant practice of Catholicism.
Sally Miller, born Salomé Müller, was an American slave whose freedom suit in Louisiana was based on her claimed status as a free German immigrant and indentured servant. The case attracted wide attention and publicity because of the issue of "white" slavery. In Sally Miller v. Louis Belmonti, the Louisiana Supreme Court ruled in her favor, and Miller gained freedom.
Marie Thérèse dite Coincoin was notable as a free médecine, planter, and businesswoman at the colonial Louisiana outpost of Natchitoches.
A casquette girl, originally known as a fille à la cassette but also known historically as a casket girl or a Pelican girl, or a comfort girl, was one of the women brought from France to the French colonies of Louisiana to marry. The name derives from the small chests, known as casquettes, in which they carried their clothes.
The Institute Catholique, also known as Ecole Des Orphelins Indigents, and the Couvent School, was a school founded in the Faubourg Marigny district of New Orleans in 1840 dedicated to providing a free education to African-American orphans. It was the first school in the United States to offer a free education to African-American children. It also served the non-orphan children of free people of color, who paid a modest tuition. It operated as a distinct entity until 1915.
Venerable Mother Henriette Díaz DeLille was a Louisiana Creole of color from New Orleans, Louisiana, who founded the Roman Catholic order of the Sisters of the Holy Family in that city. Composed of free women of color, the order provided nursing care and a home for orphans, later establishing schools as well. They taught slave children when such education was prohibited by law.
Isle of Canes (ISBN 1-59331-306-3), a novel by Elizabeth Shown Mills, follows an African family from its importation and enslavement in 1735 through four generations of freedom in Creole Louisiana to its re-subjugation by Jim Crow at the close of the nineteenth century. Mills explores the family's "struggle to find a place in [a] tightly defined world of black and white" — a world made more complex by the larger struggle of Louisiana's native ancien regime to preserve its culture amid the Anglo-Protestant "invasion" that followed the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and the resulting battle for political and social hegemony. Isle's central theme is the ambiguous lives of those who escaped colonial slavery only to find they could not survive as free without complicity in the slave regime.
Jean-Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville (1785–1868), known as Bernard de Marigny, was a French-Creole American nobleman, playboy, planter, politician, duelist, writer, horse breeder, land developer, and President of the Louisiana State Senate between 1822 and 1823.
The Creoles of color are a historic ethnic group of Creole people that developed in the former French and Spanish colonies of Louisiana, Southern Mississippi, Alabama, and Northwestern Florida in what is now the United States. French colonists in Louisiana first used the term "Creole" to refer to whites born in the colony, rather than in France. It was also used for slaves born in the colony.
Melrose Plantation, also known as Yucca Plantation, is a National Historic Landmark in Natchitoches Parish in north central Louisiana. This is one of the largest plantations in the United States built by and for free blacks. The land was granted to Louis Metoyer, who had the "Big House" built beginning about 1832. He was a son of Marie Therese Coincoin, a former slave who became a wealthy businesswoman in the area, and Claude Thomas Pierre Métoyer. The house was completed in 1833 after Louis' death by his son Jean Baptiste Louis Metoyer. The Metoyers were free people of color for four generations before the American Civil War.
St. Augustine Catholic Church and Cemetery, or the Isle Brevelle church, is a historic Roman Catholic church and cemetery located in Melrose, Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. It is the cultural center of Cane River's historic Créoles of color community.
"Le Mulâtre" is a short story by the American-born free person of color Victor Séjour. It was written in French, Séjour's first language, and published in the Paris abolitionist journal Revue des Colonies in 1837. It is the earliest extant work of fiction by an African-American author, and was noted as such when an English translation appeared in the first edition of the Norton Anthology of African American Literature in 1997.
The Grandissimes: A Story of Creole Life is a novel by George Washington Cable, published as a book in 1880 by Charles Scribner's Sons after appearing as a serial in Scribner's. The historical romance depicts race and class relations in New Orleans at the start of the 19th century, immediately following the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. The book examines the lives and loves of the extended Grandissime family, which includes members from different races and classes in Creole society. The novel juxtaposes a romanticized version of the French Creole culture with the atrocities committed under the European-American system of slavery in the United States.
Antoine Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville, Chevalier de St. Louis, was a French geographer and explorer. Born in Mobile in 1722, he was part of the Creole elite of French Louisiana.
Marie Bernard Couvent, also known as Justin Fervin, Maria Gabriel Bernard Couvent, and Marie Justine Cirnaire, was an African-American woman known and remembered for her philanthropy. Born in West Africa, and shipped to Saint-Domingue as a slave, Couvent nonetheless obtained her freedom and lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she married, accumulated property and wealth - including slaves - and eventually died. She is best known for dedicating the property that would be used to construct the Institute Catholique to that purpose in her will.
Eulalie de Mandéville (1774–1848) was an American placée and businesswoman. She has been called the 'most successful free mulatto businesswoman' in the Antebellum South.
Rosette Rochon (1767–1863), was an American placée and businesswoman, who was an important figure in the Gens de couleur libres society of New Orleans. She belonged to the most famous of the placées of New Orleans alongside Eulalie de Mandéville and Marie Thérèse Metoyer, and made a fortune on investments in dry goods, cattle, banking, slave trade and real estate business.