An Influential Politician
Jean Noel Destrehan
Jean Noel Destrehan was born in 1754 in what is today St. Charles Parish. He was the son of Jean Baptiste Honore Destrehan de Beaupre, “the head of the Destrehan family line in Louisiana,” the Treasurer of the Louisiana Colony of France (Harvey 13). Jean Noel was educated in France.
Jean Noel Destrehan married Marie Claude Celeste de Logny. His wife’s father, Antoine Robin de Logny, built for them the Destrehan Manor House in 1787, which is still in St. Charles Parish. Later, the couple had two more wings added to the original house to accomodate their total of fourteen children.
Destrehan was a prominent Louisiana politician and legislator, as well as a mercantilist and planter. He was a member of the Louisiana Territorial government from 1803 to 1812. At one point, he and two other members carried a petition to the United States Congress to protest a 6% tax duty put on the Louisiana Territory and that the appointed governor could not speak any French. Destrehan was elected the first Vice-Mayor of New Orleans in 1805, and was a member of the legislative council of the Territory of Orleans from 1806 to 1811. In 1812 he was elected as a United States Senator, just after Louisiana became a state. However, he resigned less than a month after his election before even qualifying for office, possibly because he did not speak much English. Destrehan served as a Louisiana State Senator from 1812 to 1818. During this time, he helped to draft the Louisiana Constitution.
Jean Noel Destrehan de Beaupre died in 1823 and is interred near Destrehan, Louisiana. The street that bears his family name today runs from River Road on the eastbank of the Mississippi to Noel Street in the town named after him.