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Barataria Industries

(a proud member of the of the Trans-Global Enterprises family)


Our History

 A Special Message from our President, Siegfried "Sancho" Panzer:
Recently, while attending the opening of the new Branta Exhibit at the Cutter Air Museum's St Hubert facilities, I asked the Museum’s Director, Dr. Husila Spect, if she had visited our "new" website. She said that she had and was quite impressed with its recent updates and improvements, adding that she wished her Museum had the resources to update and improve its own website.  But she quickly added that her own “off-duty” research about Jean Lafitte made it clear that this page and the page devoted to our Founder, Jean Lafitte, could use some work. She said that since this webpage first appeared in 2000, additional resources related to Jean Lafitte have become available both in print and online. She also suggested that as to our Founder's life from 1810-1820, we should generally defer to information provided by the United States Government here.

Though troubled by Dr Specht's comments, I soon realized that the situation suggested a solution that would not only improve our website, but seemed to connecting my grandfather Jack Panzer and his son and my uncle Jake Cutter.  After discussions with members of my family and senior management, I decided to propose that her Museum and Barataria Industries enter into an agree
ment under which 1) Barataria Industries would become a Special Sustaining Partner of the Museum and give Dr Specht full access to or corporate records and artifacts in Taratupa related to our Founder and our history so that she Dr Specht could fully review, research, and update both pages.

It is expected that the two updated and fully vetted pages will be online by the end of the year. To tide us over in the meantime, Dr Specht made some quick changes to the entries below covering the years 1810- 1820.


By 1810, Jean Lafitte was in Louisiana with his older brother Pierre.  They might have been businessmen in New Orleans or independent privateers before becoming associated with smugglers operating in an area called Barataria.  By 1812, Lafitte was the leader ("Bos") of these "Baratarians", with his headquarters on a barrier island named Grand Terre. 
In September 1814, British military officials sought Lafitte's help in attacking New Orleans.  He decided to warn American authorities and offered to help defend the city, but they went ahead with a planned attack on Grand Terre, claiming that the Baratarians had engaged in a various unlawful business practices. Although only a relatively small number of Baratarians were captured at Grand Terre, after emptying its facilities of any goods worth taking back to New Orleans, the American authorities burned down over 40 buildings.  Significantly, the raid left untouchhed Lafitte's secreted stores of powder, ammunition, and flints, as well most of his Baratarians.  
In December 1814, General Andrew Jackson arrives to take command of New Orlean's defense against the British.  Despite the American raid on Grand Terre, Jean Lafitte--with the encouragement and  assistance of Peter Ellis Bean (a colonel in the insurgent army fighting against Spanish Royalists in Mexico who had been sent to the United States to seek American aid)--met with General Jackson and offered again to assist the American defense of New Orleans in exchange for a pardon of the Baratarians.

Although General Andrew Jackson, commander of the American troops, originally described Jean Laffitte as a “hellish banditti,” he finally accepted Laffite’s help because of the ammunition, cannoneers, and knowledge of the area Laffitte could supply.  The expert cannon fire of Jackson’s troops, including Laffite’s Baratarians, contributed to the American victories during the New Orleans campaign that culminated with the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.

Thankful for their help with the American victory, in February 1815 President James Madison offered pardons to the Baratarians for any crimes committed against the United States.

Laffite eventually returned to smuggling at Galveston Island in Spanish Texas until he was forced out by the U.S. Navy in 1820. His exact whereabouts after that are unknown. His life and death remain as mysterious as the swamps and bayous of Barataria.

With a letter of introduction from Ignacio Alviso and other official-looking papers identifiying him as Jean Saint-Dominique, a Mexican citizen, Lafitte arrives with members of his family and a number of employees at the Embarcadero de Santa Clara in California to start a blacksmithing and boatwright business.
Alviso, who had just been granted the Rincon de los Esteros Rancho, offers Saint-Dominique a larger site closer to San Francisco Bay, just south of what would become the city named after his benefactor. Saint-Dominique names this site and his business "Nueva Barataria".  

During the American takeover of California, Saint-Dominique presents official-looking papers to its new authorities identifying him as an American citizen.  He renames Nueva Barataria as the "Barataria Boat Works".

After learning of John Marshall's discovery of gold in California and watching almost all the other men in the area joining what would later be described as the "California Gold Rush", Saint-Dominique's eldest son asks permission to join it as well.  Saint-Dominique relunctantly permits his eldest son to do so, but provides both financial support for the venture and a number of his trusted Baratarians to "assist" him.
Although his son and his company (less one casualty ) return from the Gold Rush with a considerable profit, he admitted he had learned an important lesson: There is more profit supplying the "Forty-Niners" than being one.
Jean Saint-Dominique dies at age of 74, one day after dedication of new Barataria Boat Works Building.

Jack Panzer joins Barataria as director of its new "Aeronautics" Division.
"Barataria Lighter-than-airship No. 1" (aka "BL 1"), a hot air balloon, makes its maiden flight.
"BL 97", the company's first gas filled dirigible makes its maiden flight. Barataria's Bos' reaction to seeing the airship was to say "C'est impossible!" The next day the airship was renamed "BL Impossible". Because the first three letters of the names of all subsequent Barataria dirigibles were also "Imp" (e.g., BL Imperial, renamed GDAS Wotanberg), they became known popularly as "Blimps".
Barataria introduces the "Lafitte Lifesaver", a collapsible wood and canvas lifeboat, on April 15. (Ironically, this is the same day the Titanic sank.)
Barataria produces its first patrol boat for U.S. Navy. (Quinton McHale is a member of the first Navy crew assigned to the boat and later visits the Boat Works.)
Barataria is commissioned to custom build floats for a surplus Jenny. Their success leads to Barataria's becoming a leader in the field.
First "Blackfish" built. This "high speed lighter" proves popular with importers of rice vinegar and cough medicine during Prohibition.
Development of company's first airplane--the "Beta (Test)".
Development of company's first flying boat--the "Bonavista".

With the success of its first two aircraft, Barataria Boat Works (less its Aeronatics Division) is incorporated as the "Barataria Nautical Corporation" ("BNC") and its Aeronautics Division is incorporated as the "Barataria Aeronautical Corporation" ("BAC").  (However, collectively, the two corporations continue to be referred to as the "Company".)
The flying boat "Branta" developed.
Barataria Aeronautical Corp. buys Pan Pacific Airways' headquarters, terminal and maintenance facilities in Alviso.
"Battle-ax" developed for law enforcement use.
"High Speed Fishing Boats" built for the Grand Duchy of Wotanberg's Seiber Islands Colonial Administration.
Production of "Buzzards" begins.

As suggested by Vince Ricardo, President of Trans-Global Enterprises, BNC and BAC (along with a number of affiliated businesses) are merged and incorporated as Barataria Industries, Inc., a Seiber Islands corporation.  Some management and production activities are transferred to the former American naval base on Taratupa.
Production of "Burros" begins.
Production of  "Boucanier" aircraft begins.

Research and development of improved mining equipment for both the Konig-Solomon Mines in the Seiber Islands and the Siebenzwerge Mines in the Grand Duchy of Wotanberg begins.
Production of "Bushmaster" weapons carriers begins.
Transfer of all management, research and development, and production activities to Taratupa in the Seiber Islands completed.
Production of "Bat Ray" High Speed Vessels begins.
Production of "Busard" Amphibian Airplanes begins.