.-Therese, Infanta of Spain, the half-sister of King Charles
II of Spain -- the man who controlled most of the New World's
The colonists were, of course,
preceded by explorers. In 1682, the French explorer Rene-Robert
Cavalier Sieur de la Salle came down the Mississippi River and
arrived at a site about 90 miles (145 km) below New Orleans
and proclaimed the area drained by the river a possession of
the French king.
La Salle was followed by two French Quebec-born
brothers, Sieur d'Iberville (Pierre le Moyne) and Sieur de Bienville
(Jean Baptiste de Moyne), who sailed into the Caribbean and
landed at what is now Ocean Springs, Mississippi and landed
at a point near a tiny bayou.
They named it Pointe du
Mardi Gras, as the Catholic holiday ("Fat Tuesday")
was to fall on March 3 that year. In the autumn of 1699, two
British ships also found the mouth of the river, but the two
brothers from Quebec were able to convince them that they were
in wrong pew.
To commemorate the event, the spot in the river
where the Brits turned back is still called English Turn. (Today,
English Turn is the name of one of the city's finest golf courses.)