The legend of Jean Laffite is shrouded in myths, conflicting evidence, and a general disagreement amongst historians. There are so many angles that we could approach this issue from, and it easily becomes overwhelming. We hope to organize this mess into something understandable, hopefully preventing all of you from having to experience what we have with this subject. First, we will begin with who we are and where we are coming from.
We are brothers Chuck and Cody Hix. Both of us are ARMY war veterans and hold college degrees. If you know us, then you know our character, that we are not after a personal gain, and most certainly would not make any of this up. We only want to resolve a myth (or legend if you will) that has been put in our personal care. It is a story that has been handed down for generations and now rests on us. Here is how it goes...
Our ancestors who lived in New Orleans in the early 1800's operated a large privateering operation. They used the name Laffite as an alias to protect the families true identity.
This is the story we were told as children by the members of our family. At the time, those telling the story had only done a little research on our ancestors. In fact, who they thought may have been Jean and Pierre Laffite turned out to be players in the game, but not the key players. Over the past three years, my brother and I have searched archives, talked with family researchers and experts. We have come up with surprising results. We profiled the key players and found many similarities are suprising. These include birth dates, education, a father who was of the sea faring trade and possibly a privateer himself. Their father was also a delegate and member of the council that created France's version of the Declaration of Independence. This could explain how Laffite obtained his organization, leadership, and diplomatic skills. Instead of just dismissing this part of Laffite's life the way EVERY author ever has, we will embrace it. I say again, we have uncovered all this evidence in the last three years, but we have heard our family story our whole lives. What would you do if you were given something like this?
Well, it was given to us. We promise to see this through and discover the truth.
All authors have tried (and still do to this day) to match the Laffites with people that lived in France and St. Dominique, assuming that Laffite was his real name. And really, they are simply comparing people. Of course that is what we are doing also, just comparing the Laffites to a different name: Autheman. However, we go beyond just comparing, instead we have a family story that we can trace its origin back 200 years. Without that we, us and all authors writing about Laffite, would just be comparing people.
As a final note, we want to clear something up. A critic did not pay attention to what we have said before and made an error. A comment was made that our theory about Laffite followed the theory that the Journal of Jean Laffite seems to propose. This is false and has never been spoken by us. For one, the journal claims that the Laffites are from St. Dominique, which is present day Haiti. Our Autheman ancestors, including the candidates for Jean and Pierre Laffite, were from Martigues, France. It is assumed that this critic was referring to the journal's mention that a privateer should never use his real name. This is a similarity, but it does not mean that we are following the journal. We are of the opinion that the journal is at least partly a fake. This means that we are open to the possibility that the journal was originally written by the true Jean Laffite, but that it was latter altered to fit someone's family profile for monetary gain. This is a theory that has been previously proposed by other researchers. Regardless, the issue is summed up as follows: if the journal was originally authored by the true Jean Laffite and later altered, then what parts can we accept as true?
At this point we can't assume that any of it is true. However, we must keep in mind that a lie (especially one potentially this large) must contain some truth, at least in order for it to be somewhat believable. So, even if the journal is a complete fake, it will contain some facts. The journal says that Laffite was a privateer, that he pirated ships in the Gulf of Mexico, based himself in New Orleans, and that he contributed in the Battle of New Orleans. These are facts that we know to be true, yet the journal could be a fake. And similarly when the journal says a privateer should never use his real name, it still could be that the name Laffite was an alias. The question then is how much of the journal is true?. That is what we plan to find out. In the course of our journey, while researching and/or investigating, we will check out the claims that the journal makes. It may gives us some leads. And lets face it, we are not going to just ignore it just because its a fake. In fact, we currently examine and will continue to examine all of the theories about Laffite.
So, I suppose this is our promise, too. We promise to leave no stone unturned, to give fair consideration to all the Laffite claims, and will try not to be biased. We want to solve the mystery about Jean Laffite, even if it means our family story isn't true. Because then at least the truth will be known and we can stop thinking about it! In this blog we would like to discusses in an understandable way the difficulties and probabilities of each theory, hoping to spur good dialogue and perhaps solve some of the mysteries!!!
Thanks, from the Hix Brothers and the Laffite Project!