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Pierre Clément de Laussat was the last representative of a foreign power to exercise authority in Louisiana. Appointed colonial prefect by Napoleon Bonaparte, Laussat departed for Louisiana in January 1803 to preside over the formal retrocession of the colony from Spain to France, only to have his mission altered entirely by the Louisiana Purchase on April 30, 1803. These memoirs, covering the period from January 1803 to July 1804, provide a unique firsthand perspective on the momentous transaction that doubled the size of the United States.
Laussat pens very personal observations on Louisiana's people and customs, Spanish and American officials with whom he had frequent contact, the local physical environment and economic system, and the formalities involved with the transfer of the colony to the United States. Memoirs of My Life furnishes rare insights into culture, politics, and everyday life in early-nineteenth-century Louisiana.