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John Audubon

Article on John Audubon from The Times Picayune




John James Audubon,

(Creole of Color).... ornithologist, naturalist, and writer,

John James Audubon, ornithologist, naturalist, and writer, was born in Haiti in 1785, the natural son of a French slave trader and a Creole woman. After Audubon's mother was killed in a slave insurrection in Haiti, John James was raised in France by his father's wife. As a young man of 18, Audubon fled from conscription into Napolean armies, smuggled himself out of France, and came to the United States.

He tried and failed at a series of money-making schemes before he turned to painting. Once he did, his dogged pursuit of featheres subjects led him on hunting parties with the Osage Indians, whose language he spoke; and even into the company of Daniel Boone

Audubon's spare and stylized paintings - accomplished by first killing and stuffing the birds he so admired - served as a foil to his chaotic life. The subjects' highly mannered poses bespeak tha painter's romantic sensibility, and his pictures tell almost human stories of flirtation, pride, and anger.


"Wanderlegs" is how Audubon described the affliction that kept him adrift in the forests and swamps of nineteenth-century America. He once wrote to his anxious wife, in a letter written in New Orleans and dated May 3, 1821 : "Thou art not, it seems, as daring as I am about leaving one place to go to another, without the means . . . without one cent." Audubon did hold for a time in 1821 at a cottage at 505 Dauphine in the French Quarter, working on his Birds of America series in his studio at 706 Barracks Street.

Audubon never lost his French accent, and even permitted rumors to spread that he was the lost Dauphin of France. But when he returned to France on a few occasions to visit, Audubon posed as the wild outdoorsman of the frontier - a noble French savage in buckskin and leggings.

New Orleans has since honored the painter in its naming of Audubon Park and Audubon Zoo.


John Audubon has been honored by the US gov't in the form of a International Stamp which shows him as a Creole of Color since 1940 ..It seems that people are taken away by Photos depicting Him as White with extrordinary intelligence, which goes to show that what You see is not always what You get



More on the Life of John Audubbon


Early life

Audubon was born in Les Cayes, Haiti (then the colony of Saint-Domingue)[1] on his father's sugar plantation. He was the illegitimate son of Lieutenant Jean Audubon, a French naval officer (and privatee), and his mistress Jeanne Rabin, a chambermaid recently arrived from France.

They named the boy Jean Rabin. His mother died when the boy was a few months old, as she had suffered from tropical diseases since arriving on the island. His father already had two mixed-race children by his mulatto housekeeper, Sanitte, and he took up with her again and had another daughter following Jeanne Rabin's death. Sanitte also took care of the infant boy Jean.

During the American Revolution, Jean Audubon was imprisoned by the British. After his release, he helped the American cause.A slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue in 1788 convinced Jean Audubon to sell his holdings and return to France with his French son and infant mixed-race daughter, who was very fair. (She was the daughter of Sanitte.)

Rabin was raised by his father and stepmother Anne Moynet Audubon in Nantes, France, who formally adopted both the children in 1794.They named the boy Jean-Jacques Fougère Audubon. When Audubon at age 18 boarded ship for immigration to the United States in 1803, he changed his name to an anglicized form: John James Audubon.

From his earliest days, Audubon had an affinity for birds. "I felt an intimacy with them…bordering on frenzy must accompany my steps through life." His father encouraged his interest in nature; "he would point out the elegant movement of the birds, and the beauty and softness of their plumage.

He called my attention to their show of pleasure or sense of danger, their perfect forms and splendid attire. He would speak of their departure and return with the seasons."In France during the chaotic years of the French Revolution and its aftermath, Audubon grew up to be a handsome and gregarious young man.

He played flute and violin, and learned to ridfence, and dance. He was hearty and a ge,reat walker, and loved roaming in the woods, often returning with natural curiosities, including birds' eggs and nests, of which he made crude drawings

His father planned to make a seaman of his son. At twelve, Audubon went to military school and became a cabin boy. He quickly found out that he was susceptible to seasickness and not fond of mathematics or navigation. After failing the officer's qualification test, Audubon ended his incipient naval career. He was cheerfully back on solid ground and exploring the fields again, focusing on birds.



Kenny Landreaux



There are a few internet encyclopedias and dictionaries that call him White European, however this is far from the truth...His Father was a well to do slave trader and his mother was a Creole of Color Slave, from haiti...He was born illegitimate because the Laws forbade marriage between Slaves and persons of white European descent...Further more, because of his profession and his mobility, access to White European women was not possible..

.Even though he appears to be European in Color , so were my Grandparents, he was not.. It can be presumed that to label him as a person of Color would discredit those who acknowledged his great work ..Until someone can come forward with proof that he is not of mixed Race We are Calling him a French creole of color ... .It's about time that this racial and Cultural Genocide of People of Color is stopped...Augustine/Comeaux




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