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
Jean Lafitte, could use some work.
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
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 agreement
under which 1) Barataria
Industries would become a Special
Sustaining Partner of the Museum
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
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
|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
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.
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.
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.
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
papers to its new authorities
identifying him as an American citizen. He
renames Nueva Barataria
as the "Barataria Boat Works".
|After learning of
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
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"
|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.
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"
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.)
its first patrol boat for U.S. Navy. (Quinton
McHale is a member of the
first Navy crew assigned to the boat and later
commissioned to custom build floats for a
surplus Jenny. Their success leads to
Barataria's becoming a leader in the field.
built. This "high speed lighter" proves popular
with importers of rice vinegar and cough
medicine during Prohibition.
company's first airplane--the "Beta
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
("BAC"). (However, collectively, the two
corporations continue to be referred to as the
|The flying boat "Branta"
Aeronautical Corp. buys Pan Pacific Airways'
headquarters, terminal and maintenance
facilities in Alviso.
developed for law enforcement use.
Speed Fishing Boats" built for
Duchy of Wotanberg's Seiber Islands
|Production of "Buzzards"
suggested by Vince Ricardo, President of Trans-Global
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
|Production of "Burros"
and development of improved mining equipment
for both the Konig-Solomon Mines in the Seiber
Islands and the Siebenzwerge Mines in
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
|Production of "Bat
Ray" High Speed Vessels begins.
|Production of "Busard"
Amphibian Airplanes begins.