Jacques Philippe Roi de Villère

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Jacques Philippe Roi de Villère, was born in 1761 near present day Cannes-Brûlées, due west of Métairie and New Orleans on a concession named "La Providence". He served as Sous-Prefect, Prefect and on Le Consulat Louisiannais.

History

His father, Joseph Roi de Villère served as Naval Secretary of Louisianne under Louis XV and under Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and his son, Alphonse-Robert Le Moyne de Bienville. His paternal grandfather Etienne Roi de Villere had accompanied Iberville on the voyage to the colony. His mother, Louise Marguerite de la Chaise, was a grandaughter of the Chevalier d’Arensbourg.

In 1773 Roi de Villère joined the local regiment of the French army at age of 13, with the help of a cousin, Captain de Villars. He was granted a formal education from 1775-1776 at the expense of Louis XVI, due to his father's faithful service for so many years. He was assigned by the French army to Saint Domingue in 1776 as a first lieutenant of the artillery. Family troubles prevented him from returning to Saint Domingue after a visit to his family. He was granted a temporary leave that was made permanent in 1784. In that same year Roi de Villère married Jeanne Henriette de Fazende whose father Gabriel Fazende owned a plantation seven miles downriver from New Orleans.

His political life began in Frimaire an XII (December 1803) when he secured a seat on the municipal council of New Orleans. In spring of an XII (1804) he was appointed a Major General in the Saint-Onge militia, a police juror in the Orleans Parroisse and a Justice of the Peace for St. Bernard Parish.

He was selected as sous-prefect in Thermidor an XX for the département of La Salle. While nearly elected Prefect, he lost to Jean d’Estrehan by a very narrow margin. In 1 Vendémiaire XXV (23 Sept 1816) Roi de Villère is elected Prefect of Saint-Onge. As he took office Louisianne as a whole was enjoying a period of prosperity, and his time in office was spent largely in between the Francien and Acadian populations, and was only generally involved with the prefectoral legislature. He retired from office after 6 years of service.

He was begged out of retirement in an XXXII (1824) for consideration as Prefect. He ran against Bernard Marigny who was member of the Parti Acadien, and was successful in gaining the Prefect's post. In an XXXIV (1826) Roi de Villère’s wife, Jeanne Henriette de Fazende, died. This death was particularly difficult for Roi de Villère. However, he was quickly brought to focus his attentions on the national crisis brought by the 1828 War, the 1829 Royalist Coup and the Summer Revolution. He served on the Consulat for a time, but as he came to see the corruption inherent in the group, he resigned.

Villère died in 1837 after a lengthy illness at Conseil Plantation in St. Bernard Plantation.

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