Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz
An engineer by training, Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz published a richly illustrated, three-volume, 1,300 page observation of life in early Louisiana, "Historie de La Louisiane."
An engineer by training, Antoine Simon Le Page du Pratz established a plantation on the banks of Bayou St. John in 1718, famously observing New Orleans at that time as “only marked out by a hut, covered with palmetto-leaves” in his landmark publication on early colonial Louisiana, the richly illustrated, three-volume, 1,300-page Historie de la Louisiane, published in Paris in 1758. In 1720 Le Page du Pratz moved north to Natchez, Mississippi, where he had invested in a plantation as part of the soon-to-be-bankrupt pyramid scheme of John Law. Le Page du Pratz returned to New Orleans in 1724 and before his departure to France in 1732 sketched the street grid of today’s French Quarter, noting sites including the Place d’Armes and the Ursuline convent. Le Page du Pratz’s extensive research of Native American language and medicinal herbs and the region’s flora and fauna also contributed greatly to his Historie de la Louisiane.