Bienville, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de

Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, governor of Louisiana (bap at Montréal 23 Feb 1680; d at Paris, France 7 Mar 1767). Louisiana was New France's offshoot and the Canadian Le Moyne family were its godparents. A naval midshipman under his brother d' IBERVILLE, searching for the Mississippi's mouth in 1698-99, Bienville was left as second-in-command at the Biloxi post and became acting governor in 1701. For the next 40 years, he was frequently Louisiana's senior administrator because the nominal governors were absent or ineffectual.

Officially, he was commandant general 1717-25 and royal governor 1732-43. He founded New Orleans in 1718 and secured Louisiana's frontiers by military prowess, experience, ability to negotiate with native allies, and diplomacy, keeping a small, sickly French colony caught between the Spanish and British empires alive. He retired voluntarily to France in 1743.