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Barataria Industries

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


Jean Lafitte
Our Founder

                                                     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 Specht, 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 company's History, 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 a number of changes to the entries in
our company's History covering the years 1810- 1820 and in this document.


Jean Lafitte is one of American history's most mysterious and intriguing figures. As stated by the U.S. Government here:

Mystery and legend surround the life of Jean Lafitte. Was he a pirate, a patriot, or both? Is his last name spelled “Lafitte” or “Laffite”? Even the date and place of his birth and death are unknown. He was probably born in the early 1780s in either France or the French colony of St. Domingue (now Haiti) in the Caribbean. . . . His exact whereabouts after [being forced out of Texas by the U.S. Navy in 1820] are unknown. His life and death remain as mysterious as the swamps and bayous of Barataria.

It is not our desire to dispute the conclusions of those more learned that ourselves, but we believe that Lafitte's final years were, in fact, spent in Alviso, California. According to our records--which are available for inspection at our corporate offices in Taratupa, the Seiber Islands--a man we believe to be none other that Jean Lafitte arrived at the Embarcadero de Santa Clara in 1834. At that time, according to Eric Carlson's excellent on-line essay Old Port of Alviso

"The Embarcadero de Santa Clara served as a port for the shipment of cow hides, tallow, and other goods marketed by Spanish settlers and the Mission de Santa Clara. In 1835, Richard Henry Dana, author of Two Years Before the Mast, purchased hides from the Mission, loaded them onto a boat at the Embarcadero, and relayed them to his ship in San Francisco Bay."

What Mr. Carlson's essay does not share however, is that the boat used by Dana had been repaired by the local blacksmith and boatwright, one "Jean Saint-Dominique", who had arrived the prior year with his wife and children and a small number of companions. In 1838, the Mexican Governor, Juan Bautista Alvarado, granted the Rincon de los Esteros Rancho to Ignacio Alviso. Alviso--who has been described by Carlson as one of the "adventurers, led by Captain Juan Bautista de Anza, who first trooped into the area in 1776"--was apparently a good friend of "Saint-Dominique" since he soon offered him the opportunity to move his business to a site closer to San Francisco bay. This site, which "Saint-Dominique" named "Nueva Barataria", eventually became part of the town named after his benefactor, Alviso.

"Saint-Dominique" manged to hold onto Neuva Barataria during the transition from Mexican to American rule in the 1840's, changing the name of his company to the now famous "Barataria Boat Works". In 1848, when news of John Marshall's discovery of gold reached him, "Saint-Dominique", now 68 years old, wisely resisted the temptation to join the "Gold Rush" himself, sending his two sons and three grandsons in his stead. Their success is reflected in the ability of the Barataria Boat Works to survive both the economic and ecological ups and downs of Alviso during the next 150 years.

On January 8, 1854--40 years to the day after the Battle of New Orleans--"Jean Saint-Dominique"--now 74 years old--went to Sunday mass with his family. He asked the priest to return home with him, where he died peacefully after confessing his sins. There are some witnesses who report that this took over an hour, but family members claimed it only took 10 minutes. The priest, of course, had nothing to say.