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468px-Anonymous portrait of Jean Lafitte, early 19th century, Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas

Anonymous portrait said to be of Jean Laffite

Jean Lafitte was a French-American privateer captain and pirate of the Caribbean sea who operated off of Baratia Bay, Louisiana in the early 19th century.

Historical Details

He is considered something of a historic anti-hero in Louisiana and around the Gulf of Mexico, having engaged in smuggling and piracy for a number of years yet - during the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 - helped defend the city from the British with his fleet (in exchange for a pardon).

Haunted Mansion Connections

Lafitte is frequently cited in various expanded lore of the Haunted Mansion, usually with only a tacit affiliation with the house and some of its residents.

The Jean Lafitte Mega-theme

Planned

According to website Long-Forgotten Haunted Mansion, a mega-theme designed to tie Tom Sawyer's IslandPirates of the Caribbean and The Haunted Mansion featured Jean Lafitte as the central figure. The two mentions of Lafitte in the movie and the audiobook were « first steps » to his inclusion, as was the entrance walled crypt which is still to be seen in front of the Mansion, labelled 1764. According to its own inventor, the idea was eventually scrapped, but many other clues that it was once in store can be still found in Disneyland (if you want a complete list of evidences, see here).

Remaining

In New Orleans Square several references to the real-life captain still exist. There is an anchor located in the square which appears beside a plaque reading, "Said to be from a pirate ship commanded by Jean Lafitte in the battle of New Orleans – January 8, 1815 – It is also said that Lafitte’s privateering ships left a wake of blood from the mainland to Barataria Bay – But don’t believe everything you read". There used to be a silver goods and custom engravings shop in the area called, Laffite's Silver Shop (although his name is misspelled). On Tom Sawyer's Island there are two connections to the captain; one in the form of an area called Lafitte's Tavern and the other in the now extinct Fort Wilderness where a display can be seen homaging the final battle of the war of 1812 (which was the battle Lafitte partook in). And most famously, on the Haunted Mansion's sister attraction, The Pirates of the Caribbean the loading zone for the ride is a ramshackle boat landing with a sign referring to it as, "Laffite's Landing" although they do misspell the captain's name.

Ties to the SLG Comics

In the "Mystery of the Manse" story, William Gracey crossed paths with Jean Lafitte during his time as Captain Blood, and contacts one of Lafitte's former associates looking for a place to live after escaping the pirate's life. This contact points him in the direction of what would one day be known as Gracey Manor.

Ties to the the Nuptial Doom version of the backstory

The sea-captain from the storyline is openly cited as being "a compatriot to Jean Lafitte himself."

Ties to the the Mansion in the 2003 movie

According to the spin-off book The Legend of Gracey Manor, set in the continuity of the 2003 movie, it is said that Ambrose Gracey, the merchant captain who built the mansion and Edward Gracey's grandfather, had a "secret association with pirate Jean Lafitte, and sometimes returned to the docks of New Orleans with more goods than he started with."