Biographer's note: Ever since the Princess and I returned from our trip to New Orleans, Monsieur Warty has been at my heels to write about what he considers his rightful place in the tales of that saucy city of colorful Cajun histories. Warty, after some questionable independent research into the past has decided that he's somehow related to Jean Lafitte - or actually, someone else who should have gotten credit for Lafitte's escapades. I personally believe it's partially due to the pierced ear and silver earring, but the little fellow has now taken to wearing a scarf and an eye patch (though adamantly denying that it has anything to do with this author.) What can I say? As always, I'll let Warty explain for himself.
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Have you noticed that every time I have something interesting to add to my autobiography, my dreary biographer always has to preface my thoughtful recollections with some completely unnecessary commentary? Believe me, one can easily tire of a hired pen. Be that as it may, those clearly intelligent souls who have followed my remarks know by now that there is little he can do to tinge the pure hue of my true character or conceal from inquiring minds the brilliance one may encounter when reading my words.
It is somewhat gracious of him, I suppose, to put my recollections in print since I seem to have little dexterity while attempting to manipulate those lettered pads he calls keys. My lovely hooves are too large to strike them singularly so that words appear on the monitor. And with my somewhat diminished visual acuity, caused by a dueling wound received while defending the virtue of a hapless young lady from some scruffy street scoundrel, I suppose it's best that the other guy records my tale.
Many of you have visited New Orleans for more than that debauchery the world refers to as, "Mardi Gras". You know that the lanes, bayous and back-ways echo with whispers of more ancient intrigues and excitement than ever encountered by college-age brew swillers on Bourbon Street just before Ash Wednesday. I have nothing against having fun, believe me. I'm all for laissez les bon temps roulez! I have quite the collection of beads and mementoes from adoring fans. However, least I stray from the original recollections that set me upon this chapter's path, let me share some rare and exciting discoveries I made while researching my ancestral genealogy.
It was around 1800 when ancestors of mine were doing business with the locals in a strip of land in the southwestern corner of Louisiana. There was a flourishing trade going on in barrel and bottled beverages, fabrics, dry goods, tools - and on occasion - other items and 'things' one can't safely mention without fear of being accused of piracy. Deep in the steaming swamps and marshes known only to the Attakapas peoples and those who lived off the land, was a dashing youth known to all who dealt in the trade that went on in the shadows of the mysterious alligator infested cypress bayous. He was a likeable sort and had a reputation nearly as colorful as mine. The young darlings of the bayous understandably adored him. One union lasted longer than most and produced an offspring of amazing strength and agility - a youth who not only established himself as one not to be trifled with - but began to amass quite a sizable fortune. His true name was Jean Lahoof.
My sources reveal that he achieved some high level of respect from the local citizenry and his influence spread far and wide. There were those who feared him - and some, behind his back, accused him of being little more than a slave trader, a pirate - a buccaneer, while others had visions of him being named governor of the then lawless swamplands - and no doubt he might have done it had not some politics interfered. Seems there are always those seeking positions of power and fame. Not Jean Lahoof. In his wisdom and clear sensibilities, he settled into business with others in the growing city of New Orleans and remained satisfied to enjoy the pleasures that friendships and modest wealth bestow upon those wise enough not to squander it.
Here now lies the disturbing pieces of my story. Some have challenged it as fact, pointing to another as the mysterious personality who accomplished all I've described. Seems people really have no shame. For me, satisfied with the secrets I've uncovered, I have no need to argue with the foolish who insist their hero is the 'one'. Clearly, when all's said and done, the truth will out and my great great great great great great great grandfather's name will be exonerated. I think I got the correct number of 'greats' there but I could be mistaken. I think I was once - but no - I was later proven to have been correct.
Just think - I shall find my name set in the annals of that wonderful city's history. I've finally uncovered and discovered my true last name! Permit me to introduce myself. Dear hearts and admirers, I am Warty Lahoof! It is clear to me now why I sensed my calling identity - why I was taken by tales of pirates and adventure. I do look quite handsome wearing my scarf - and the eye patch does make me look even more interesting. And I am!
For those of you who would like to peruse what I believe to be a more questionable accounting of the facts, you can do your own research and view comments such as the ones made by a fellow named W.T. Block. He wrote a piece titled: THE LEGACY OF JEAN LAFITTE IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA, Reprinted from TRUE WEST, Dec., 1979, p. 26ff; Beaumont ENTERPRISE, Feb. 5, 1984. Source: New York HERALD, as reprinted in Galveston DAILY NEWS, "Story of Lafitte," April 28, 1895.
However all this is to be, for now, I must rest my one good eye and find something nourishing to eat - perhaps some Jambalaya, Seafood Gumbo, or Crawfish Etouffe, followed with a generous slice of Louisiana Pecan Pie. Heavens knows one of my temperament needs to keep up his strength! So until later, adieu, mes amis! Your friend, and grateful for your understandable admiration, I remain always, Warty Lahoof!