Boisdoré – A Quintessential Creole Family

Birth of Hilaire-Arthur Boisdore, son of Jean Baptiste-Francois Boisdore, 14 January 1865

Francois Boisdoré, père (1779-1859) was born about 1779 to Adelaide, an enslaved mother owned by Louis Boisdoré. Adelaide attained her freedom sometime between 1788 and 1809. On 14 November 1809, before notary Narcisse Broutin, Adelaide was able to purchase the freedom of her son Francois, described as a “bon maçon,” a good mason; her daughter Hortence-Clarisse, who was called Pognon; and her grandchild Theodule. The father of Adelaide’s children was Francois Dubuisson. Francois Boisdoré, père, was a master builder and at least one example of his work, 1133 rue Chartres, still stands. He cohabitated with a free woman of color named Lise, who later married Bellamy Dubrueil. This cohabitation produced his son Jean Baptiste-Francois Boisdoré, who was known as Francois Boisdoré, fils. In 1828, he married Marie Joseph Sophie Olivier, who was sickly and died childless within months of their marriage. He finally entered a long relationship with Zabelle Cayetano, who was legally-separated from her husband, Barthelemy Populus. This relationship lasted from at least 1828 to his death on 9 December 1859. He was a close friend of Jean Louis and Joseph Dolliole, who for much of his life were his neighbors. He was also a friend of Francois Escoffier, Raymond Gaillard, and Basile Crocker. He served in Fortier’s Battalion of free men of color at the Battle of New Orleans.

Francois Boisdoré, fils. (1824-1897) was a free man of color, a masterful orator, and teacher. He was a second-generation member of the Economy Society. A bookkeeper by profession, Boisdoré worked for the free colored mortician Pierre Cazenave. After the death of Cazenave, Boisdoré worked as a teacher at the Institution Catholique pour les Orphelins Indigents, more commonly known as the Couvent School. He was thrice married, first to Elodie Mongrein, who died in 1852; second to Octavie Louise Urqhuart, who died in 1856; and third to Marie Circe Esteves, who died in 1895. Marie Circe Esteves was a sister of the famed Creole sail maker and civic leader Arthur Esteves. He had eight children in total, only two of whom lived to adulthood and had descendants.

Francois’ son Hilaire Arthur Boisdoré, who went as Arthur, married Celestine Daunoy. Arthur was born in 1865 and died in 1939. His wife, Celestine, died in 1942. They had five children: Homer Louis; Francis Phillip “Frank”; Arthur Victor; Eugene Dasise; and Eugenie. Eugene Dasise Boisdoré and Francis Phillip “Frank” Boisdoré were both barbers. The other children died young. They have descendants throughout the New Orleans area.

Photograph Source: Orleans Parish Birth Records, Volume 30, Page 551.

J.C.L.H.

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