The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989

Wilderness Apollo:
Louis Badins's Immortalization of the Ouachita
Militia's Confrontation with the Philip Nolan
Expedition of i8oo
WINSTON DE VILLE AND JACK JACKSON *
W HERE, ALAS!, ARE THE POEMS OF LOUIS DE BADINSSE?"' THIS WAS
the plea of John Francis McDermott when he wrote over thirty
years ago and showed convincingly that a "lost" poet had actually lived
in colonial northeast Louisiana.2
It was Claude C. Robin, a French traveler in Louisiana, who in 1807
first published the bizarre tale of a wilderness Apollo. According to
Robin's account, he had visited the Ouachita Post three years earlier.
There he became acquainted with and was the overnight guest of one
"M. de Badinsse."3 Robin's host was actually Louis Badins, whose per-
egrine career in Louisiana is well recorded in legal documents of the
Ouachita and Avoyelles areas.4 Badins astounded Robin. The visitor
from France discovered, first, that his host owned an extensive li-
brary-a most unusual accomplishment for that time in that place.
When he learned that Badins was a poet, his amazement grew. Then
* Winston De Ville is a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. His weekly column on
family and local history appears in several Louisiana newspapers.
Jack Jackson is a free-lance historian and illustrator. He is author of Los Mesterios and several
historical biographies in comic book format.
'John Francis McDermott, "A 'Lost' Poet of Louisiana," Papers of the Bibliographical Society of
America, Vol. 46 (4th Quarter, 1952), Bibhographical Notes, 387-390, 391 (quotation).
2Ibid.
3C. C. Robin, Voyage to Louisiana, translated by Stuart O. Landry, Jr. (New Orleans: Pehcan
Publishing Co., 1966) 143, 144 (quotation), 145-146. Originally published as Voyages dans l'in-
terneur de la Louiszane (3 vols.; Paris: F. Buisson, 1807).
4The extant local records of Ouachita Post, present site of Monroe, Louisiana, are relatively
few in number and are without proper archival care at the Ouachita Parish Courthouse in that
city. For a brief but well-done history of this post, see E. Russ Wilhams, Filhzol and the Founding
of the Spanish Poste d'Ouachzta (Monroe, La.: Ouachita Valley Bicentennial Commission, 1982).
The prime historical source for Ouachita Post is the Archives of the Indies, Seville. See Roscoe
R. Hill, Descrzptive Catalogue of the Documents Relating to the History of the United States in the Papeles
Procedentes de Cuba deposited in the Archwvo General de Indas at Seville (1916; reprint, New York:

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/. Accessed December 19, 2014.