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Vive Lafayette!

The Garden District not only has a cemetery named “Lafayette,” but it once was a town called “Lafayette.” We at Unique Nola Tours like to share the many cool stories with folks about our beloved New Orleans. Today we’re going to talk about just who this Lafayette guy was.


The Marquis de La Fayette (his name is wayyyy longer, look it up) was a French General who supported liberty his entire life. He came over to America to help fight the British during the American Revolution. He commanded troops at the Battles of Brandywyne, Monmouth and the key fight at Yorktown. He got shot in his leg during a battle, but he refused medical care, he simply continued commanding. His brilliance and bravery earned him the love of the new United States. If you’ve seen the show Hamilton, you’ll know through his stunning song, that he and Alexander Hamilton worked together.

Mikko Macchione

Tour Guide with Unique NOLA Tours and Author of books about New Orleans.

New Orleans Rum: A Decadent History

After the American victory, Lafayette returned to France to help with their own revolution. He helped write “The Rights of Man and the Citizen,” the French take on the Declaration of Independence. He agreed with Jefferson that humans get their rights from nature, not from some royalty. After the dust up at the Bastille and a new republic of France was declared, he served as the head of the National Guard.

In 1824, President Monroe invited him back to America as a guest. He came for 16 months and toured all 24 states at the time. This was bigger than the Beatles. Crowds lined docks and roads to see this national hero. He laid the first stone of the Bunker Hill monument, and many other important buildings around the country.

In Philadelphia they totally renovated Independence Hall for him. He visited with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and General Andrew Jackson. He attended the inauguration of John Quincy Adams. 

He came to New Orleans in April 1825. The city constructed an enormous wood and canvas arch depicting the heroes of the Revolution. It stood where the Andrew Jackson statue is today. The city cleared out the Cabildo and filled it with furniture donated by rich folks for his lodging.


When he arrived the still very French citizens went nuts. A hundred gun salute, cries of “Vive Liberte! Vive Lafayette!” resounded. When he was buried, dirt from Bunker Hill was sprinkled on his grave. Today the Garden District is not named Lafayette, but there is a Lafayette, Louisiana. There are also Lafayette’s in Indiana, Fayetteville, North Carolina and 21 other Lafayette’s in the world.

Bunker Hill Monument in Boston