Erin M. Greenwald
Erin M. Greenwald is curator and historian at The Historic New Orleans Collection. Since joining THNOC in 2007, she has edited and contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues and books, including In Search of Julien Hudson: Free Artist of Color in Pre-Civil War New Orleans and A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies. She received her doctorate in history from Ohio State University.
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A Company Man: The Remarkable French-Atlantic Voyage of a Clerk for the Company of the Indies (Editor)
Recently rediscovered and never before published, Marc-Antoine Caillot's buoyant memoir recounts a young man's voyage from Paris to the port city of Lorient, across the Atlantic to Saint Domingue, and up the Mississippi River to New Orleans. Only 21 when he set sail as a clerk for the French Company of the Indies in 1729, Caillot was in many ways the ultimate company man. His descriptions of flora, fauna and native peoples mirror the sentiments and literary conventions of his class and his era. He would spend his entire adult life in service to the company, rising high in its ranks before dying, at 51 years old, in a shipwreck off the coast of India.
Yet in other ways Caillot was fully his own man, possessed of a voice both witty and prescient. An incorrigible rake — if not an outright rogue — he documents with gusto a string of pranks, parties and romantic escapades. He stakes narrative claim to New World terrain, and he speaks with immediacy throughout the centuries, illuminating racial and ethnic politics, environmental concerns and the birth of New Orleans's distinctive cultural mélange.
Brilliantly introduced and annotated by Erin Greenwald, translated by Teri Chalmers, and enlivened by Caillot's own exquisite illustrations, A Company Man provides an intimate look at the early history of one of America's most storied cities, placing New Orleans and the fledgling colony it anchored within the nexus of the French-Atlantic empire.
The original manuscript, Relation du voyage de la Louisianne ou Nouvelle France fait par le Sr. Caillot en l'année 1730, is housed in the Williams Research Center of The Historic New Orleans Collection, where it is a capstone of the institution's rich archival holdings documenting life in French-colonial Louisiana.
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