From Plastic Tub

Sancho Panza, greedy fool, imagined that he could follow his noble knight, Don Quixote, to riches; he lept when offered governship of Barataria, but the island was pure invention, pranksters riffing off "barato," the Spanish word for cheap.

Notable Locations and Geomantic Loci

Centuries later, the phantasmic isle inspired the Spanish settlers who applied the name Barataria to the mouth of the Mississippi river. Three islands lay low in the Bay of Barataria; though prone to disappearing entirely under hard rains, their strategic and semi-tropical location led to a colorful and decadent history.

Jean Lafitte took up residence there in the early 1800s; establishing himself as Sancho's heir apparent in the Kingdom of Barataria, he held rein over a misfit collection of pirates, runaway slaves, and deserters. With imported prostitutes, smuggled rum, and a simple piratanical code, Lafitte established an easy-going live-and-let-live island life.

Guarding the mouth of the mighty river-road, Lafitte kept safe passage for U.S. ships while plundering French, Spanish, and British traders. His "kingdom" managed a sort of quasi-recognized fiefdom-status with the various national players in the area; the United States and the Independent Republic of West Florida held more naturally favorable relations than did the European Colonial powers.

The quick rise and fall of West Florida led to interesting times. Lafitte lent a hand to the rebellion, helping to secure a short-lived independence for the miniature nation. And when Madison proclaimed U.S. control of West Florida, Lafitte welcomed West Floridian soldiers looking to maintain a last holdout.

As there was really little chance that the West Floridians in Barataria could offer any real resistance to the U.S., the "holdout" turned into a debauched party; women and booze, money and fists flew as wild and as loose as befit such end-of-times. A.W. Slippers is rumored to have hunkered down in Barataria with the Albert Kook Gang during these mad apocalyptic days. The privateers in Barataria were eventually pardoned in a deal worked out by their former governor, Fulwar Skipwith, a colorful associate of the Founding Fathers.

See Also


Low-slung, free-wheeling, sea-bobbing, & short-lived, Barataria strikes parallels with numerous micro-nations, including Wee-Wee.

A malt liquor marketed towards African Americans is still sold in parts of Louisiana under the name of Barataria. Although named after the obscure micro-nation, the Gothic script lends the brew a distinctly Germanic image; for years the brew's mascot has been the Black Baron, a coal-black WWI Ace with a thick Bavarian accent. In 1976, the campaign for the beer, playing upon bicentennial fervor, was patriotic in nature. The ads featured a smooth-talking Crispus Attucks, who rolled up to the local juke-joint in knee-breeches, powdered wig and cool shades, winning over the dubious locals with a witty repartee and a few glistening bottles of his favorite brew.