THE ICON: Jean Lafitte
THE LEGACY: Jean Lafitte was a pirate, and so, unsurprisingly, few verifiable facts are known about his life. Pirates are funny that way. But, as is typical — especially in a place like New Orleans — in the absence of facts, legend has since rushed in to fill the void. The result is one of the city’s most celebrated and romantic figures, a swaggering, swashbuckling man of mystery who led an army of privateers out of Barataria Bay, who helped Andrew Jackson save the city at the Battle of New Orleans — and who has captured the imagination of the city and those who love it. Alternately portrayed as a gentleman smuggler and cold-blooded criminal, Jean Lafitte has over the years emerged as an enduring touchstone to New Orleans’ past, and in many ways a personification of the city itself: roguish, charming, swaggering and an unapologetic follower of his own rules.
THE ARTIST: Maddie Stratton
THE INSPIRATION: “Patriot, pirate, smuggler and warrior, there is no character to compare with him except that of Robin Hood, whom he surpassed in audacity and success.” — Louisiana Historical Society President Gaspar Cusachs, writing in 1919 about Jean Lafitte