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Title page for ETD etd-09042008-141523

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Marasco, Sue Ann
Author's Email Address sue.a.marasco@vanderbilt.edu
URN etd-09042008-141523
Title Remembering the king on the crescent: Louis XIV’s cultural order and the founding of New Orleans, 1699-1743
Degree PhD
Department History
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Daniel H. Usner, Jr. Committee Chair
Jane G. Landers Committee Member
Katherine B. Crawford Committee Member
Matthew Ramsey Committee Member
Robert Barsky Committee Member
  • Louis XIV
  • Colonial America
  • New Orleans
Date of Defense 2008-08-05
Availability unrestricted
In this dissertation, I argue that many of Louisiana’s founding administrative and military elite relied on French social norms to ground their own social authority in the New World. For these colonists, France represented the height of intellectual and cultural achievement in the world and they wanted this greatness to assure their status in colonial America. They used French court standards to organize and stabilize their New World lives as they asserted elite privilege and status in America. Consequently, even though many—if not most—of these individuals were not born aristocrats, they recreated themselves in America as representatives of crown authority and adherents to the standards of French high society. This loyalty maintained elite ties to the French court and provided them authority to discipline French Louisiana, particularly New Orleans. They employed the urban planning and engineering developed under Louis XIV to design New Orleans. They also used his Parisian laws to discipline the marketplace and morals of the colony’s majority. They promoted these standards even when they did not seem practical or reasonable in the bayous of the lower Mississippi or in Louisiana’s precarious placement among Native and European enemies. Remaining focused on French standards hampered elites’ abilities to understand or engage with the vast majority of European, Native, and African inhabitants who comprised Louisiana’s productive population. Consequently, when Louis XV severed their ties to France by dismantling pre-existing patronage networks, Louisiana’s elites found themselves a frustrated minority amongst a creative and adaptive majority.
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