Plantation Branches

The Pirate of Point Chretien

From Louis Darby

You know, there's always a story.

My dad used to tell me a ghost story about Madame Chretien, a lady of the plantation house. She used to entertain the pirates who sailed up the bayou, as it was the highway in those days.

And dad said that even Jean Lafitte used to come up — and that grandpa knew him.

Well, the pirates would come up to Chretien Point to gamble with Miss Hippolyte — Madame Hippolyte Chretien.

And she was not a lady.

I suppose she was very much a lady of the plantation before her husband died. But after? She didn't have a choice but to become the plantation owner. And therefore, she was known to drink whiskey and smoke cigars.

And gamble with pirates.

As owner of Point Chretien, a cotton plantation, she also owned slaves. And those slaves would serve the guests whiskey while they were at the card table — and signal Miss Hippolyte as to what each person was holding.

And, I daresay, I think she made more money as a gambler than as a plantation owner.

But that’s speculation.

Years after, Jean Lafitte's men were disbanded. And some of them remembered Point Chretien and Miss Hippolyte.

They came in the middle of the night, forcing their way into the house and the lead pirate met Miss Hippolyte at the top of the back stairs.

“What do you have in your apron?” he demanded, holding a gun on her. “All my money!” she answered, throwing it open and spilling the loot on the floor. “Just take it!”

The pirate bent down to pick up the money and when he looked up, she shot him right between the eyes.

Because she had a revolver under her skirts as well.

Miss Hippolyte dragged the pirate under the stairwell and he was there for three days 'till the constable came to document what had happened.

My dad used to say that it was still told whenever the pirate's ghost walks the old back staircase at Chretien Point, the blood will recongeal, bubbling up out of the floor and flowing down the stairs...

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Storytelling

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