For roughly four decades, mention Poydras Street to someone in New Orleans and the first thing that comes to mind is the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
However, for the thousands upon thousands that frequent the street daily, many have no clue who Poydras was named for.
Born in 1746, Julien de Lallande Poydras was the first writer to publish poetry in what is today considered the state of Louisiana. Immigrating to the state in 1768, Poydras was also a keen businessman, investing in real estate, most notably plantations. In addition, Poydras was also heavily involved in acquiring property solely for the cultivation of cotton and sugar.
After the Battle of Baton Rouge in 1779, Poydras published a poem to celebrate Don Bernardo de Galvez’s victory in the nine day battle against the British. According to historians, the battle is said to be the only one to be fought outside the 13 colonies during the American Revolution.
Poydras would later serve as a delegate to the US House of Representatives, representing Orleans Territory from 1809 to 1811 as well as the Louisiana State Senate. After a long life of service, Poydras would die on June 25, 1824 at the age of 84 in Pointee Coupee, Louisiana.