That's about all we know about the progenitor of the Louisiana family best known today for its Cajun spices. In fact, if the legends can be believed, Louis Chachere wasn't even his real name.
As the family has handed down the story, the first Chachere in Louisiana was an aristocrat who fled from the guillotine in the early days of the French Revolution. He is said to have sailed with his brother to Canada, where he gave himself the name of Louis, after King Louis XVI, and where he changed his family name from Charette to Chachere.
If he was a Charette, it was probably a good idea that he skedaddled when he did and that he took pains to conceal his identity. One story is that he was a cousin of Francois-Athanase Charette de La Contrie, an aristocratic general who fought against the French Revolution. Louis supposedly fought alongside his cousin, but left the country before the general's defeat and execution.
There are two more stories about him that seem a bit far-fetched, but that cannot be proven or disproven. According to one, he was the king's cousin and yet another claims that the man who became Louis Chachere was in fact the king's brother and the heir to the French throne.
Whatever his history, Louis Chachere kept it to himself when he migrated to his first home in Louisiana near Grand Coteau. He later moved closer to Opelousas.
Louis married Catherine Vauchere in 1786 and they were the parents of ten children: Louis Jr., Veilland, Constant, Hermance, Louise, Lisle, Beaupaire, Jacinthe, Emelie, and Manette.
He carried out various sorts of business, some of it shadowy, from these homes and later from offices at Court and Bellevue streets in Opelousas. Nobody knows, for example, what business he had with a mysterious stranger never seen in these parts except when he came to visit Chachere. Each time the stranger appeared, the two moved to some place where their, sometimes lengthy, conversations could not be overheard.
There is only one clue: Louis was once overheard calling the mysterious man, "General."
We have no idea what army or what nation the "general" represented, or if the stranger was in fact really a general. We do know that at the time of the Revolution and afterward sentiment in Louisiana was divided between those favoring revolution and those favoring royalty, and that plots to promote one or the other were as frequent here as they were in Europe well up to the time of the Louisiana Purchase.
We will likely never know whether Louis had any part of any of those schemes. He died in 1827, taking his secrets with him to the grave.
You can contact Jim Bradshaw at email@example.com or P.O. Box 1121, Washington LA 70589.